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Want People To Use PHRs? Try Making Them A Game

Posted on April 25, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but over the last week I’ve become addicted to a hideously cute little iPhone app called Shopkick.  The app locates where you are geographically, spits out a list of retailers for you, and when you click on the retailer’s name, typically rewards you with “kickbucks.”

The more kickbucks you get, the higher “level” you’re at, whatever that means — and when you collect, say, thousands of points you can get a $25 gift card. (Yippee!)  In truth, the rewards Shopkick offers probably average out to about 3 cents an hour. Who cares?  I keep playing with the stupid app until I’m out of offers to click.

Now can anyone tell me why the same type of scheme wouldn’t motivate at least some consumers to add data to their PHR on a regular basis?  Small cash rewards are already proving effective at improving medication compliance, after all, and for most people, updating their PHR would be no harder than taking a pill.

In the past, I’ve scoffed mightily at online schemes which reward people for participating in communities, filling out forms or otherwise doing what they’re told.  After all, why should anyone care if a site names them an “explorer” or a “champion” or a “grand poobah”?  But there I am, getting psyched when Shopkick promotes me from level 3 to level 4.  Hey, I can’t help it — every time you level up you get such a cute little chime and a big green bubble to pop…  (Yes, I am otherwise a mature, responsible adult.)

But I’m being taught, by playing with this app, that rewarding people — even with very small incentives — can do an amazing job of getting them to repeat behavior.  Offer patients relevant reinforcement and patients are likely to take the PHR maintenance job more seriously.   What if, for example, a health plan teamed up with a pharmacy retailer to offer discounts on products if patients maintained their data? It could be huge.

But don’t make the rewards too exciting. Hey, you might have to keep releasing new, updated versions of your gaming system to satisfy fans.

Intuit Health to Make the Next Major EMR Vendor Acquisition?

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Medical Software Advice has an interesting look at why Intuit Health might be the next company to acquire one of the 300+ EHR vendors on the market. The initial analysis of Intuit Health’s current healthcare IT offerings is really good and does point to them possibly acquiring an EMR company. It also does make a lot of sense for them to acquire a web based EMR software vendor that has a lot of traction. I think the acquisition by Intuit points to the direction they’re taking the company when it comes to SaaS based products (which would include a SaaS EMR company).

My only issue with the article about Intuit Health and their potential acquisition choices is that it’s a pretty casual consideration. The idea of listing AdvancedMD after they were just acquired is pretty funny. Although, Intuit Health acquiring an EMR vendor would be a similar new EMR consolidation as Neil Versel called it.

Same actually goes for Practice Fusion after their recently announced $23 million financing round from Founders Fund. I don’t think Intuit Health is looking for a $200+ million acquisition which is what that type of financing round would likely require. Unless they did a DST style transaction, but I think that’s unlikely. In fact, I think Mitochon Systems might actually be more to Intuit Health’s liking than Practice Fusion. Smaller user base, but could likely acquire them for much cheaper than Practice Fusion.

With the 300+ EHR vendors out there, I guess it was brave to mention any EMR vendors. One thing they definitely got right though, Intuit Health has plenty of interesting companies to choose from. It’s definitely a great time to be an EHR vendor.