iPad just what the doctor ordered for Nimble creators

Last week, we had a short "Also Noted" item on ClearPractice introducing what the St. Louis-based company calls "the first comprehensive EMR solution developed in iOS to run natively on the iPad." The New York Times found the story more interesting, not so much because of the EMR--named Nimble--but because who is behind the product: venture capitalist John Doerr and his brother, ClearPractice founder Dr. Tom Doerr.

According to the Times, the Doerrs are banking on the convergence of two seemingly unstoppable forces, namely the federal EMR incentive program and the growth of mobility--mobile Internet in general and Apple's iPad in particular.

"The Doerrs' aging start-up is unusual in that it has evolved to extend its reach in healthcare beyond technology," the Times says about ClearPractice, which dates to 1999. "The lessons it has learned along the way are a microcosm of the challenge of applying technology to healthcare." ClearPractice actually is part of Essence Group, a three-company consortium that also includes a Medicare Advantage HMO offering outcomes-driven reimbursement and a medical analytics software firm designed to bring data-mining capabilities to small physician practices.

While most of Essence Group's $450 million in annual revenue comes from Medicare Advantage, Nimble is where the Doerr brothers see the most potential because it's mobile and runs on a device that actually has doctors excited. "With the right software that is cloud-based, the iPad is going to be transformational in healthcare," John Doerr tells the Times. Eventually.

"Healthcare is a complex system, where the improvements and effects are felt over time," explains health industry analyst and investor Esther Dyson, who is identified as a friend of John Doerr's. "So in that sense, this is very different from conventional venture capital investments. It's not going to take off quickly."

To learn more:
- check out this New York Times story