Care360 EHR, MedPlus and Quest Diagnostics

While some might consider the following commentary an ad for Quest Diagnostic’s Care360 EHR, it’s not. I don’t even have them as an advertiser. Plus, you could easily submit a number of other companies name in the place of Quest. However, the following were some thoughts I had after talking with the people behind Care360 EHR at Quest.

First, let me clarify some name issues so we’re all on the same page. Quest Diagnostics is the company. It’s publicly traded on the NYSE with the ticker DGX. Most of you will know about Quest since they’re one of the leading lab companies in the US. MedPlus is the subsidiary within Quest that covers the healthcare IT portion of the company including their EMR software. Care360 is the name of their SaaS EHR software which they sell. Although, Care360 is also used to provide lab results amongst other functions as well.

Now why am I talking about Care360 and Quest? I find it completely fascinating that a company like Quest is part of the EHR landscape. Certainly we have plenty of large and even many publicly traded companies that already provide an EHR, but I see some potential differences between Quest and many of these companies.

One of the biggest fears that doctors have when selecting an EHR company is that they’re afraid of how long that company will be around. Even in the cases of very large companies, there’s still the fear that the large EHR company might get bought out or merged into another company and the EHR software will be left on life support (see Misys being bought by Allscripts for an example). This is a reasonable fear that should be considered during the EMR selection process.

I believe that Quest and Care360 EHR has a distinct advantage in this regard. Quest is not likely to go out of business or even sell off their EHR software to another company. In fact, their Care360 EHR is so tightly coupled with the rest of Quest’s lab services, I’m not sure it would even be possible for Quest to sell off their EHR software if they wanted to do it.

That’s not to say that something couldn’t happen to Care360 that would make Quest change their direction. They could essentially “sell” their users to another EHR vendor through some sort of referral process or they could just choose to shutdown that division of the company because it wasn’t profitable. However, you can be quite sure that they’ll be interested in the transition process. At least if you’re a Quest lab customer. They’re not going to want to lose lab customers because they decided to stop doing EHR.

This is only one factor related to selection of an EMR (see my free EMR selection e-Book for more). There should be some discussion related to how tied you are to Quest if you use their EHR. For example, I can’t remember if Care360 has an interface with LabCorp or not. You might even ask yourself if a Lab company can make great EHR software. They also don’t have a practice management system, but said they’d consider creating one in the future.

It’s like most things in life. There’s pros and cons to everything. You could certainly argue some of the other benefits of going with Quest and Care360 EHR. For example, Quest’s been doing the SaaS based model with their Care360 lab results for a while on a very large scale. They have some expertise in that regard which they can carry over into their EHR product.

Now the question I’m interested in finding out is, what is Labcorp’s approach to EHR?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

12 Comments

  • John – this one of my favourite topics; EHR for a lab is a connection to the future business; and Quest is trying to get connected to as many providers as possible through its EHR. Providers should try requesting Quest to provide an interface for a regional lab/s. It will take its time, if it gets done!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And a EHR without a PMS is a pain for a small practice is a pain…………..

  • Privately held EMR and PMS vendors such as MacPractice can be sizable, 24,000 users in 3600 offices, and financially stable, for example MacPractice has 12.5M in annual revenue with 25% growth in 2011 after just 7 years in business. These vendors’ sole business is the development, sales, implementation and support of EMR and PMS software. They do not answer to stockholders. They are in a position to make development and other decisions that most benefit their users without having to weigh those decision as they relate to other primary businesses such as lab revenues.

    Just saying…

    Mark Hollis
    President, MacPractice, Inc.
    MarkHollis@MacPractice.com
    MacPractice.com
    (212) 683-2224

  • Anthony and Mark,
    Definitely valid points. Thanks for sharing. There’s a lot of angles associated with every EHR vendor. Hopefully we can get them all out in the open for providers so that they can make a more educated decision.

    MacPractice is an interesting approach too since it’s building upon the Mac brand and the fans of Mac. I imagine selling MacPractice to another vendor that doesn’t hold Mac in high regard would provide some interesting fireworks from your users. Which definitely would change the possibilities for merging or being acquired.

  • We have established and are continuously building a long term business on the Mac platform. We worked with the leading Mac solution on Classic Mac OS starting nearly 30 years ago.

    We are not building the business with the intent of merging or being acquired. We add 600 new offices each year (this year promises to be a much bigger year because of ONC certification and incentives), and they are comprised of doctors who prefer to be on a Mac. We are not trying to convince doctors to purchase MacPractice who do not already appreciate the benefits of Mac OS.

    Of course some our clients do not work in a vacuum, and some of them use Windows in Virtual Machine on a Mac for other applications, some of which we integrate with. In addition to MacPractice EMR, we interface MacPractice PMS with a couple of other vendors EMRs, which can be Mac or PC or Web-based, providing options for clients further solidifying our PMS business.

    Mark Hollis
    President, MacPractice, Inc.
    MarkHollis@MacPractice.com
    MacPractice.com
    (212) 683-2224

  • I am very familiar with the Care360 product. Here is a couple answers to questions posed by John. Why is a lab selling an EHR? Its because they are trying to increase lab, or retain lab revenue! An EHR provides stickyness, hence, if a customer hates their lab service, but has their EHR, they will be reluntant to change lab providers. Also, if they don’t have a physician as a lab client, and they sell him/her an EHR, then they can go after the lab business. This is a good strategy for gaining market share, using an EHR as a loss leader! However, MedPlus, has recently been “spun off” into a separate business line at Quest. This is to put pressure on MedPlus to become profitable, after Quest invested so much in their e-Pre and EHR products! The management at MedPlus has yet to reach one sales goal related to Care360 (ePre & EHR), in the past 5 years! Hence, this is the make or break year for MedPlus and if goals aren’t reached, most people internally believe that Quest will “pull the plug” to some extent. Quest is in the lab business, and Lab revenue will not be threatened by a lack of execution on the EHR side.

    In terms of the product, John is right, there are pro’s and con’s. One of the main weaknesses is related to John’s question on a Labcorp interface, it does not provide a Labcorp interface! Hence, the doc has to use Quest exclusively, or they will be scanning in Labcorp results (not good for the workflow)! Additionally, not having a practice management system is a huge weakness, I felt was underplayed in your article. What is more of a weakness is that their EHR doesn’t even send the codes to another PMS, hence one must go into a separate PMS to manually put in the codes for billing. Some good things about the EHR, easy implementation is the big one! If a physician is a current Quest client, then MedPlus has most of their patient information, lab order codes, etc. This makes implementation much easier and faster! Also, its a cheap EHR, so those who want cheap and fast, this may be a good choice, as long as they can ignore the PMS weakness, which is usually NOT the case.

    Lastly, what is Labcorp doing? Labcorp and Emdeon recenlty announced their partnership!

  • Great comments Patrick. Thanks for sharing. You definitely highlight some of the reasons that Quest got into the EMR game.

    Interesting comments about MedPlus being spun off. Although, I’d still be surprised if they cut off their EMR. Maybe cut some of the resources they are using on it, but I guess we’ll see. The comments you make about how the EMR can benefit their lab business is why I think they’ll be forgiving when it comes to “pulling the plug” on MedPlus.

    Interesting info on Labcorp and Emdeon. I’ll have to look into it more. I figured Labcorp had to be doing something.

  • Hi Randy,
    I have talked to them recently. They are an advertiser on my site. With those disclaimers, they are still an EHR only platform. I’ve heard of some people who like them and some who dislike them like most major EHR platforms. If you mostly use Quest for labs and you have a PM system, then it’s worth taking a look.

  • Care360 DOES offer PM/Billing. Care360 does interface with competing labs. The labs who do not interface with Quest choose not to do so. The above comment makes it seem Quest is to blame which is certainly not the case. Care360 is the one of the easiest systems I have seen. Imagine implementing a new EMR and on day one, you already have the demographics and years worth of labs history for many/most of your patients.

  • Is MacPractice certified for all Quality Measures? I was on their website and I only saw 33 measures. Is this true? Just asking.

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