Big news today on the patient portal front. Not only has Medfusion announced their acquisition of Medem's iHealth, but Allscripts has finally announced their partnership with Medfusion (which has been developing for the past year...at least) to deliver the Allscripts Patient Portal. Allscripts has known that their partner, Medem, hasn't exactly kept their iHealth product as "fresh" as it could've been. As an iHealth user, I have always been a little (very) disappointed in the user interface and complexity of what could be an extremely easy solution. I stopped using my iHealth account years ago and marked all iHealth email reminders as SPAM simply because every time I logged in, I remembered how difficult it was to use.
The Medfusion relationship is much more important here. It means that Allscripts has decided to develop a partnership with a company with a strong patient portal offering rather than attempting to develop it in-house. Over a year ago, we worked up a relationship with Medfusion to offer MBA HealthGroup clients their services. It doesn't surprise me at all that they have partnered with Allscripts. Allscripts desperately needed a stronger offering than iHealth for patient portal functionality. Especially with some competitors delivering their own patient portal functionality.
What is unique about Medfusion is their approach. They've recognized that the best way to sell this solution is to offer a full web development solution for practices with the patient communication features built right in. I'm not sure how Allscripts plans to resell this patient portal, but Medfusion sells it by charging a monthly fee per provider depending on which features a practice wants in their portal. You get the choice of features like: online bill pay, "ask a biller", patient registration, PHR, patient history forms (integrated with some EHRs but more integrations are in the works), appointment requests, virtual office visits, prescription renewals, online scheduling, etc. They break their solution down by front office, back office, and clinical solutions, but again, one of their main differentiators is that they can develop your website from scratch, or just integrate the portal login into your existing site.
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