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Verizon betting big on medical IT

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 4:46pm
Brian Santo

Verizon Enterprise Solutions has entered a strategic relationship with Health Evolution Partners (HEP), with the ambitious goal of developing ideas for transforming the delivery of health care in the United States.

Verizon’s broadband unit, competitors such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and vendors such as Amdocs and Technicolor have all been moving toward providing supplemental broadband services, listing medical monitoring as a possibility. And, of course, whenever the federal and state governments talk about broadband, they often speak of telemedicine.

Verizon Enterprise Solutions is thinking grander thoughts beyond applications such as in-home monitoring and telemedicine, however. With Health Evolution, the company is embarking on a program to investigate new ways to transform the delivery of health care.

“We’re looking at how the paradigm changes. This is not about saving 10 percent on your medical bills,” said Sam Bastia, Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ general manager of strategy.

That Verizon actually has a chief medical officer is testament to the strategic value the medical IT market has for the carrier. Dr. Peter Tippett, vice president and chief medical officer at Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions, said: “Strong collaboration across the health care ecosystem is essential to enabling health IT transformation. Verizon is committed to building strategic relationships to help spur the adoption of connected health technologies.”

Health Evolution calls itself a health care buyout firm. The company has invested in a large number of medical companies whose common thread appears to be that each has an innovative take on some aspect of health care, ranging from specific areas of treatment to means of delivering care.

Julie Murchison, executive director of HEP’s innovation network, said her company is working with a number of companies in the IT area, including Dell and Oracle, among others. The biggest issue with improving health care, she said, “is around consumer engagement. Verizon has enterprise strengths and extensive consumer experience.”

The two companies expect to eventually leverage HEP’s health care insight and Verizon’s platform-based health IT portfolio of mobility, cloud and IT offerings to accelerate change by providing innovators with the ability to develop and scale connected health IT solutions and applications.

That’s likely to be based on a combination of advanced broadband, video-based technologies and wireless devices that incorporate geo-location capabilities and sensors.

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