New online portal makes bid for industry-physician communications

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2009

iMedicor offers physician education, EMR file transfers and community services

The social-networking capabilities of the ‘Net have attracted numerous players, from medical associations to for-profit dot-com companies. Now, Vemics (Nanuet, NY), which started in the online-education world, is linking up with a variety of other online firms to make its bid for being the primary interface between physicians, manufacturers and payors.

In early February, the company announced two partnerships: one with Navimedix (Cambridge, MA), which operates networks for connecting providers with payors, and one with Franklyn Ideas (Parsippany, NJ), which develops marketing programs for life sciences companies. The common ground among the three organizations is Vemics’ iMedicor platform, which links physicians with each other, and provider organizations with payors. Late last year, Vemics acquired another online service, ClearLobby, which is set up specifically for “a secure bidirectional online link between pharmaceutical companies and . . . doctors offices,” according to the company.

Tom Dorsett, president of the healthcare solutions unit of Vemics, says that the unifying theme of the partnerships is to facilitate communications to help medical practices. Organizations will use the portal to exchange medical records and reimbursements (all in a HIPAA-compliant manner) as a matter of convenience, and then activity will “grow virally” between physicians and other parties, such as pharma companies. Through the various links between Vemics, Vemics clients, NaviMedix, and NaviMedix partners like SureScripts or Medem, Vemics claims a reach of 700,000 healthcare practitioners. Dorsett himself came to Vemics when it acquired a company he founded, NuScribe, which enables physicians to use voice-recognition technology to create medical transcriptions of records (the NuScribe platform is now bundled with Vemics services).

The pharma-industry-facing part of the Vemics platform will allows manufacturers (for a fee) to post peer-reviewed journals, physician-education materials and the like, to receive orders for samples, and to engage in online conversations with the medical science liaisons (MSLs) of manufacturers. The pharma-industry support is a key element of the Vemics business plan; physicians can register for the services for free. Unlike other physician portals, physicians are not paid to participate. Discussions with several pharma companies to join in are “moving down the path,” according to Vemics CEO, Fred Zola.

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