The Upcoming Convergence of the Healthcare, Tech, and Sports Industries (CERN)

EHRs (electronic health records) are currently one of the fastest growing areas of healthcare IT. The U.S. government is encouraging physician practices to adopt EHRs to digitize patient records with federal subsidies. As the healthcare industry scrambles to meet the federal government's "meaningful use" requirements to secure funding, investors in the major players in this fragmented field should also pay attention to an overlooked area of HER growth -- professional sports.

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Last November, Cerner Corporation (CERN) signed a deal with the National Basketball Association to use its cloud-based EHR system to digitize and organize athletes' health records in a centralized location. Cerner's specially designed platform, HealtheAthlete, connects all 30 NBA teams onto a single platform and allows trainers and doctors to immediately access X-rays, MRIs, lab tests, medications, and special notes for each athlete. This system makes it much easier to keep track of athletes if they change teams. In addition to enhancing athlete care, HealtheAthlete collects and analyzes health trends across the entire NBA and allows the league to optimize its training and treatments accordingly. Trainers and doctors will be able to access a player's stats and health immediately via an Apple (AAPL) iPad or Google (GOOG) Android tablet. That same month, the National Football League also signed a ten-year deal with privately held EHR maker eClinicalWorks. The system is similar to the one Cerner developed for the NBA, and it unites all 32 NFL teams on a single platform. The unified platform will be available at all of its training facilities, and the league hopes that it will be a positive step in improving the quality of healthcare in a sport that is well-known for its high occurrence of serious injuries. The deal with eClinicalWorks set the foundation for Microsoft (MSFT) to showcase the use of its Surface tablet during NFL games. Microsoft's eClinicalWorks app for Windows 8 taps into the EHR provider's NFL athlete records and optimizes them for use in conditions that may occur on the field. Despite the high-profile partnership with the NFL, Microsoft only shipped 300,000 Surface tablets last quarter -- which accounts for only 15% of all Windows tablets shipped. Windows tablets themselves are already a tiny niche market, accounting for only 4.5% of the global tablet market. However, Microsoft has something that neither Apple nor Google have -- its own cloud-based EHR system, HealthVault. Although HealthVault isn't as full-featured or widely used as the major EHR services, it could be combined with its Surface and Windows 8 tablets for an all-in-one mobile EHR solution in the future. The acceptance of EHRs in professional sports opens the doors to a lucrative area of growth for the major companies in the industry. It will be interesting to see if the MLB and NHL will follow suit and adopt unified EHR solutions across their leagues. Although large EHR companies like Cerner, Epic, General Electric, McKesson (MCK), Greenway, and Allscripts (MDRX) are probably better suited to take on the health records of entire sports leagues, I wouldn't rule out a surprise deal with a smaller, more forward-thinking HER company like athenahealth or WebMD. Other News About CERN Health Care Software Maker Cerner Names Zane Burke its President Analyzing HP's Data Analytics Deal With Cerner Other Stocks in the News Would It Be Foolish to Trust Unilife? Should You Follow in Sanofi's Footsteps and Invest in This Booming Biotech? Copyright 2013 by, Inc. InvestorGuide has no control over the sites we link to, is not affiliated with these sites, and cannot take responsibility for their quality or suitability. The news, analysis, commentary and profile information is not meant to be comprehensive, and the data provided is not guaranteed to be accurate. WebFinance Inc., the publisher of this newsletter, is not a registered investment advisor or a broker/dealer. This is not a stock recommendation newsletter but rather a source for investment ideas, and we encourage you to fully research any company before considering investing. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of nor are they endorsed by WebFinance Inc. No employee of WebFinance has owned or currently owns any shares in the company described above. The above is neither an offer nor solicitation to buy or sell any securities. The trading of securities may not be suitable for all potential readers of this newsletter, and the purchase of stocks mentioned in this newsletter may result in the loss of some or all of any investment made. We recommend that you consult a stockbroker or financial advisor before buying or selling securities or making investment decisions. We are not responsible for claims made by advertisers and sponsors. Anyone who makes decisions based on what they read here does so at their own risk and cannot hold WebFinance Inc. (DBA, Inc.) or its employees responsible.

Published on Sep 23, 2013
By Leo Sun
Leo Sun
Leo Sun is a freelance finance writer and position trader. He focuses on a combination of value and momentum investing, with a strong interest in the trading philosophies of Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch. Leo also has experience writing articles to help small business owners acquire loans and manage their finances. He regularly contributes to the Stock of the Day analysis.

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