Hospitals Still Wary About Outsourcing EHR to India

While India-based IT firms have had success outsourcing for U.S. drugmakers and insurers, they still need to convince U.S. hospitals to sign up for electronic health records systems, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Only 20 percent of U.S. hospitals have EHR systems, but starting next year the typical 500-bed hospital will be eligible for $6 million in federal funds to implement an EHR and will eventually face $3.2 million a year in penalties if it fails to have a system in place.

Indian IT companies want a share of a U.S. health IT market estimated to be at nearly $50 billion in the next two years, but U.S. hospitals are wary about security of information and dealing with firms half a world away.

The only healthcare information CHRISTUS Health sends offshore are trend reports with personal information stripped out, said George Conklin, chief information officer of CHRISTUS, which operates more than 40 hospitals in six states. "As soon as it leaves the confines of the U.S., it's not subject to the same rigorous laws as we are," he said.

Also, designing and installing new medical systems "is hard to do off site, let alone offshore," said Darren Dworkin, CIO of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Indian companies have not given up. To be closer to the U.S. market, Delhi-based HCL Technologies recently opened a large software center in Raleigh, N.C with 2,400 American employees.

Read the Wall Street Journal report on outsourcing healthcare IT.

Read more coverage on healthcare IT:

- Why Healthcare IT is Important: Insight From CIO of Prize-Winning Health System

- Debunking the 12 Key Myths of EHR Implementation

- Study Shows Privacy an Obstacle in Adopting EHRs, Makes Recommendations for Better Privacy Protection

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