Investors who want to make money with sometimes unorthodox, and sometimes amusingly presented, approaches, often follow advice from the Motley Fool family of media market gurus. Amid the ballyhoo of their latest picks of health IT stocks, however, is a salient point to comfort healthcare provider CIOs. It’s a growth sector, worth investing in, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Of course, it’s no surprise to savvy health IT investors that some stocks in the category are hotter than others, nor that “Foolishness” about health IT has taken hold in the Motley world of this Washington, D.C. –based group of investment honchos.
A recent column by Motley Fool contributor Seth Robey enumerates “10 problems electronic health records can help solve.”
Among the list of problems EHRs can help solve is a panoply of health IT and EHR vendor royalty and other companies. These names of these publicly traded health IT and other tech companies won’t surprise anyone, especially those who already know they possess the capacity to make owners of their stock wealthier. The picks also inform health IT insiders and startup wannabes what technologies look to have staying power in the eyes of these analysts.
- Cost. EHRs can drive down healthcare costs, Robey asserts. The market plays here: Epic Systems Corp., Cerner Corp. and athenahealth Inc.
- Healthy living: Robey says savvy investors can profit here from stock in Apple, Inc. with the megacompany’s frontal assault on the wellness-wearable-mHealth market by way of smart watches, health apps and huger smartphones.
- Personalized care: Gene sequencing and customized care make an appearance here, but the Fool doesn’t pinpoint any specific companies, but rather the EHR sector as a whole.
- Empowering patients: Ditto as to investment advice, but patient access to their own health records via cool EHRs gives them more information to make better choices among providers.
- Empowering doctors: Robey gives athenahealth a big nod here, saying the company’s cloud-based EHR systems help smaller physician practices meet federal meaningful use and Medicare standards and exploit opportunities for profit without hospital-sized economies of scale.
- Crowdsourcing care: IBM’s Watson supercomputer project in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is trying to outsource diagnostic care by learning to treat cancer with evidence-based medical data from EHRs, Robey points out.
- Population health: Robey singles out Cerner Corp’s cloud-based Healthe Intent platform for providers to track regional population health trends and enable better, cheaper care.
- Epidemiology: Twitter is mentioned as a key tool that first tracked Haiti’s 2010 cholera epidemic. The Foolish columnist says a great EHR could provide the same real time data for early warning epidemic systems in the First World.
- Drug development: Medidata Solutions’ Rave lets clinicians easily input relevant trial data to detect safety problems, among other things. As a result, Robey reports, the firm’s subscription sales have spiked sharply.
- Innovation: No single pick here, but Robey writes: “The broad acceptance of EHRs will bring the benefits listed above, but will also open the doors to untold innovation built on the flexibility of an interconnected health care industry.”