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Bio-Reference Labs enters e-health with CareEvolve.com

Bio-Reference Labs enters e-health with CareEvolve.com

Many companies are making the move into e-space, and how to be “e” is a hot topic among medical systems vendors. In order to increase the odds for success, even such established companies as Siemens are looking to alliances and acquisitions to strengthen their presence in e-healthcare (HNN 5/17/00).

Now Elmwood Park, NJ-based Bio-Reference Laboratories, a provider of clinical laboratory testing in the northeastern U.S., has chosen to modernize its business by offering Web-based services to its existing customers. This expanded strategy includes a new ASP business called CareEvolve.com.

“The value of clinical laboratories in the marketplace is driven downward at the whim of larger healthcare players,” said Dr. Marc Grodman, CEO of BRLI. “Big e-health companies tend to view laboratory services as a commodity. But if you look at a single laboratory, it has multiple assets, including equipment, scientific background, expertise with logistics, and existing licenses. We have an immense amount of clinical data that we can link with other bits of data.”

In addition to its accumulated business expertise, BRLI is counting on physicians themselves to drive widespread acceptance of its new offerings.BRLI is using its existing relationships with providers in the Northeast to position itself in the Web-based business space. The ongoing daily data exchange between laboratory and clinicians was the catalyst for concentrating on connectivity products. To capture the latest changes in the healthcare marketplace, the next logical step was to offer Internet-based services to physicians already participating in the laboratory network, according to Grodman.

This was the impetus behind CareEvolve.com, which will launch commercially in June. BRLI has been working on CareEvolve for less than a year and has beta-tested the product in about six physicians’ offices. The base product offers secure messaging, prescription refills, laboratory results, patient summary charts, a free Web site, and scheduling. Eventually, BRLI plans to offer additional services such as claims processing, supply purchasing, and even a discount brokerage. Users buy a subscription, which will cost about $39.95 a month with Internet service and $24.95 a month without.

Under BRLI’s model, CareEvolve will manage the information submitted through the portal, but the data will belong to the users. For physician groups, CareEvolve will offer management reporting capabilities. As more data are collected, Grodman surmises that CareEvolve could track lab results against drug history information and claims reporting. BRLI hopes to roll out a disease management product soon, which may focus on asthma or diabetes in its initial phase. With all these products, the company is focusing initially in the Northeast but is pursuing relationships with labs in other regions to move into those markets as well.

BRLI contends that its competitors are now e-health companies such as Healtheon/WebMD, not other laboratories.

“Healtheon wants labs to pay to transmit information,” said Grodman. “We are not looking to charge other laboratories to use our services, but rather are looking to partnerships with other labs to market our product.”

 
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