"Internet Developments"

Web-Based Lab Transactions Part of McKesson HBOC’s Plan

CLINICAL LABORATORY DATA will play a big role at iMcKesson, the new Internet healthcare business unit of McKesson HBOC, Inc., based in San Francisco.

McKesson HBOC is putting existing business assets representing annual sales of $300 million into this new division. They include Abaton.com, Physician Office Manager, and Acess Health, among others.

Real-Time Web Services

iMcKesson intends to offer a full-service menu of real-time, on-line physician office and medical management products and services. Because of McKesson HBOC’s existing business relationships with physicians, hospitals, and laboratories, iMcKesson starts with lots of credibility and access.

McKesson HBOC’s installed base of software in hospitals and hospital laboratories throughout the United States gives it a unique competitive advantage. It is already in a good position to help many integrated hospital networks develop Web-based access to clinical data and patient records.

iMcKesson’s first product offering is an ASP (application service provider) information package that allows physicians to “order lab tests, view results, prescribe medication electronically and maintain patient medical records in the context of existing practice workflow.”

This package will also handle administrative needs, such as patient eligibility checks, online claims editing and submission, patient referrals, and claims processing. It also has a patient education component.

It’s a major business gamble for McKesson HBOC to convert a huge chunk of its annual revenue base to the ASP business model of thin client and Web browser-based access. McKesson’s decision demonstrates how rapidly the healthcare system is converting to Internet-based communication and information management tools.

McKesson HBOC has one important head start over emerging healthcare E-commerce competitors such as Healtheon/WebMD. McKesson HBOC already has a sizeable, welltrained sales force in the field. It has 700 people selling to hospitals and health systems, along with another 500 people who call on physician offices to sell medical and surgical supplies.

Striking Difference

Hospital-based laboratories now using McKesson HBOC’s LIS products will probably soon see sales reps at their hospital working with administration to implement the iMcKesson business strategy. Things will happen quickly, because McKesson HBOC needs to generate revenue from iMckesson.

THE DARK REPORT predicts that similar reorganizations will be announced by other leading healthcare IS companies. Their goal will be to offer integrated information solutions which, by definition, must include clinical laboratory test ordering and results reporting.

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