Quest Diagnostics, the £3.3bn a year diagnostics test company, has signed a joint venture deal with HCL Infosystems to develop a portable patient record file and to enter the billion dollar Indian market for healthcare diagnostic services.
Announcing the deal, Quest chairman and CEO, Surya Mohapatra, said the aim was to give patients control over their medical data. "It is their data," he said.
Two pilot schemes, one in Florida, the other in Pittsburgh, have enrolled 20,000 so far. Patients use a secure website to register and add their medical records. What they include is up to them, but could include data on allergies,
Existing conditions, present treatments, test reports and diagnoses. Access to the data is via a Pin code, but a later stage could include web access to the data. "We use the principle of no consent, no access," he said.
Mohapatra said it would not include X-ray images because of space restrictions on the USB memory stick that Quest will use to start.
The formal launch, which is aimed at the "worried well" (people who are in good health but worried about accidents or sudden deterioration) is expected early next year.
Mohapatra said HCL will also provide the IT infrastructure and systems for Quest's thrust into the sub-continent. He said the market was poorly developed and standards were variable.
He said the deal was less about money than about opportunity. "We picked HCL because the chemistry was right and because they could give us a faster entry into India," he said. "We put the deal together in seven months, during which HCL did not have a contract, even thought they were producing work for us. That was all about trust. That impressed the Americans," he said.