APCO, Text100 launch health technology group

The two firms have collaborated on BlackBerry's global account.

NEW YORK: APCO Worldwide and Text100 launched an initiative on Wednesday with the goal of making disruptive healthcare concepts and technology like telemedicine and interoperability integral parts of healthcare.

Called ATDigitalHealth, the joint offering will work on issues such as medical device interoperability of electronic health records and medical devices and promoting telehealth services, particularly among lawmakers.

Stig Albinus, chair of APCO’s global health practice, said the team will focus on creating "a positive environment for access to personal health technologies and telemedicine."

This may sound like a familiar challenge, but as was the case with the effort to implement electronic health records, establishing a technology or company as an integral part of the US healthcare system is not easy. The federal government has spent more than $29 billion to encourage hospitals to use electronic health records but, as reported by The New York Times and others, electronic-health-record vendors and others have prevented their systems from connecting with those of rival companies.

Similarly, the telehealth sector is also seeking to become a more common part of the healthcare experience. Differences in state laws about how telehealth can be used are one challenge. Consistent insurance reimbursement is another.

Albinus said he anticipates clients will fall into one of three categories: traditional health systems that want to use technology; tech firms that want to go into healthcare; and pure-play digital health companies that want to apply their technology to a bigger business opportunity.

The two agencies have collaborated on the BlackBerry global account. However, the mobile-device company shifted its agency model late last year to include more work with local firms.

Text100 SVP Erin Humphrey said the experience prompted the firms to find another opportunity to collaborate. They picked digital healthcare because they wanted to pursue an industry driven by technical innovation and that would tap into their combined expertise of establishing strategic relationships and social engagement.

This story originally appeared on Medical Marketing & Media.

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