Acquired technology debuts as Kareo EHR

EHR technology originally developed by Epocrates prior to that company's recently announced acquisition by athenahealth has found a new home as part of Kareo's medical office software platform.

At the HIMSS12 Conference and Exhibition last year in Las Vegas, Epocrates showcased an iPad version of a certified EHR, which operated on screen touches rather than mouse clicks. Then, two weeks later, Epocrates announced it was ending its two-year-old EHR project with an eye toward selling the technology assets or finding a business partner. Thomas Giannulli, MD, who was chief medical information officer (CMIO) at Epocrates at the time of the EHR pull-back, told InformationWeek Healthcare that the company couldn't sustain both its EHR business and its core reference tools business.

Now the pieces are coming together. On Feb. 20, Kareo announced that Giannulli has been hired as its CMIO. He will oversee the newly launched Kareo EHR. Prior to his work at Epocrates, Giannulli founded Caretools, an early-stage software company that developed an iPhone-based EHR. Caretools was acquired by Epocrates in 2009.

Kareo officials said the firm acquired mobile technology and a clinical knowledge base from Epocrates and "leveraged those assets" in developing its new EHR. The knowledge base enables documentation and treatment orders for the top 100 primary care conditions, according to Kareo. The mobile device technology is designed to help physicians efficiently take notes through "intuitive swipe, tap and touch actions," the firm explained.

The free Kareo EHR is available as a standalone application or can be integrated with Kareo's practice management and billing services applications. It runs natively on the iPad and iPhone or can be accessed through a web browser. Kareo's cloud-based medical office software/services platform serves more than 17,000 medical providers, according to the company.

“More physicians in the [United States] practice medicine in small practices than any other way, yet the demands of managing a small practice continue to grow. Small practice physicians need smarter and more mobile technology to help them care for their patients and optimize their businesses,” said Dan Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Kareo, in a prepared statement. “Our customers asked us to develop an electronic health record to complement our practice management and billing services solutions. With Kareo EHR, small practice physicians can now take advantage of an intuitive solution designed for how they deliver care and run their practices…Kareo’s EHR is available for free and without ads or any long-term commitments.”

“Kareo has a very thorough understanding of the small medical practice and a proven track record of delivering products and services to meet the specific needs of those organizations. As a physician, I applaud this focus on such a vital part of the patient care continuum,” said Giannulli in a release accompanying the product announcement.  “I have dedicated much of my career to leveraging the latest technologies to create intuitive, intelligent, mobile EHR solutions. Joining forces with Kareo was the obvious choice for bringing this new EHR to the market. Kareo’s ability to offer the EHR at no cost will enable many more small practices to take an important step forward in the adoption of electronic health records.”

Giannulli told InformationWeek Healthcare that the deal was consummated in June, but Kareo waited to make a public announcement until it was certain the product could be transferred from Epocrates to Kareo.