February 29, 2024

heathcare reform

Entrepreneurs Aim to Capitalize on Healthcare Reform

Barbara Miracle | 9/1/2009


  • Last year, patients nationwide spent an average of 4 hours and 3 minutes in emergency departments before being either discharged or admitted to the hospital. In Florida, the average is 4 hours and 26 minutes.
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach led the nation in level of emergency room satisfaction in 2008.


  • The per capita amount spent nationwide on personal healthcare expenses in 2004 was $5,283. In Florida, the amount was 4% higher, $5,483.
  • 7.1% of Floridians did not seek medical care in 2005-06 because of cost, compared with 5.5% of Americans overall.
  • 10% of Floridians delayed care because of cost, compared with 7.7% nationwide.
  • 7.7% of Floridians did not purchase prescription drugs because of cost, compared with 7.1% nationwide.
  • 20.3% of Floridians do not have health insurance. Nationwide, the figure is 15.3%. Only two other states, New Mexico (21%) and Texas (24.1%) have higher percentages of uninsured residents.

Electronic Medical Records

A number of Florida firms are among those entering the wide-open marketplace for electronic medical records — computerized systems that can keep track of all of a patient’s records, from tests performed to drugs prescribed.

Doctor To create standards that head off a proliferation of incompatible systems, a non-profit group, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, certifies new electronic records products that meet industry standards.

Among the 200 firms with certified records products are Sage Health in Tampa, with a records system called Sage
Intergy EHR, along with Naples-based Allen Systems Group and Tampa-based NexTech Systems.

Chuck O’Neill
“The consumer is going to have to smarten up.”
— Chuck O’Neill
An essential part of enabling healthcare providers to share information will be setting up regional and community clearinghouses for the records — so-called health information exchanges. Physicians, laboratories, hospitals and other medical professionals will deposit records on an exchange’s central computer server, where a program will standardize the clinical data so that it can be accessed by all members of the exchange.

In Florida there are at least nine exchanges in various stages of development, with the Tallahassee-based Big Bend Regional healthcare Information Organization the furthest along in implementation.

Since last year, Melbourne-based Harris Corp. has been developing a National Health Information Exchange Gateway system that will let federal healthcare agencies and healthcare providers share information. The second phase of the project will create a more public system — something like a world wide web of healthcare information — that will let all types of healthcare providers participate.

Tags: Florida Small Business, Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law, Healthcare, Entrepreneur

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