Jonathan Bush and Girish Navani, Two Major Figures in Health IT, to Headline Xconomy Xchange

There are literally billions of dollars at stake in this contest: Across the U.S., electronic health records (EHR) vendors are hustling to get physicians to buy their products as the federal government forges ahead with a multibillion-dollar effort to increase usage of the records.

The race was ignited by the February 2009 passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which provides $19.2 billion to fund electronic health records adoption in the U.S.. Competition has been fierce, with many software providers stepping in to get a piece of the action. Because the vast majority of the country’s doctors are still using paper records, there’s a large market for these electronic health record outfits to tap. In this intensely competitive market, Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) and Westborough, MA-based eClinicalWorks have been aggressively making the case for their respective health record systems. They represent the state’s two leading firms in the race to gain EHR customers.

Now, Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush and eClinicalWorks chief executive Girish Navani are meeting at the next Xconomy Xchange in Boston for an intimate, up close and personal chat about their companies’ efforts to gain new customers during this unprecedented time of change in their industry. This unique event is taking place on September 29 at WilmerHale in downtown Boston (register here for one of the remaining tickets). Pamela McNamara, president of Cambridge Consultants and a healthcare innovator in her own right, has taken up the task of moderating what is likely to be a colorful exchange between two health IT chiefs who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

Athenahealth and eClinicalWorks are great examples of the rapid growth in the health IT sector, particularly in the electronic health records business. Athenahealth doubled the number of medical providers who use its Web-based electronic health records in a year, from 1,046 at the end of June 2009 to 2,256 at the end of this past June, according to the company. Meanwhile, eClinicalWorks says that it now has more than 40,000 providers who use its software. Both companies also provide revenue management software for doctor’s offices, so they compete in multiple categories in the healthcare software market. In fact, healthcare reform is expected to bring major changes to the ways some doctors get paid, from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance models, creating opportunities for Athenahealth and eClinicalWorks to further expand their revenue management businesses.

Widespread adoption of electronic health records in doctors’ offices is presumably a step toward democratizing the healthcare system in a way that gives patients greater control of their health information—and, ideally, their actual care. We’ll find out where Athenahealth and eClinicalWorks see themselves playing a role in improving the portability of electronic health data for the benefit of patients as well as doctors—and where they see the biggest future payoffs, not just for their own companies, but for consumers. McNamara, whose Cambridge Consultants has done extensive work in health product development, brings an expert perspective that will help guide this sure-to-be-fascinating discussion.

All three of these experts will be around for a networking reception after the Xchange.

So please secure your tickets to this unique event and networking opportunity here—they’re going fast. We look forward to seeing you on Sep. 29.

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