Liz Gannes

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Practice Fusion Grabs Another $15M for Electronic Health

When you’re putting in the time and energy to raise a whole bunch of money, you might as well add on an extra strategic chunk that’s offered.

So goes the thinking of Ryan Howard, CEO of the electronic health record company Practice Fusion, which today is disclosing another $15 million in its Series D round from Qualcomm Ventures. That round is now at $85 million, with Practice Fusion having raised a total of $149 million (and widely seen as a near-term IPO candidate).

There’s also the fact, said Howard, that Qualcomm’s chips are used in all sorts of things that might be useful for future partnerships and integrations. Howard mentioned the potential for working with a company like the activity tracker maker Fitbit — which is also a Qualcomm Ventures investment — to help slurp health and wellness data directly into a patient’s record.

San Francisco-based Practice Fusion has had a good year, handling 55 million patient visits in the U.S. in 2013, primarily in small practices. Howard said he expects that number to double next year, with Practice Fusion finding its way into 12 percent of U.S. healthcare visits.

What’s next for the company is becoming more engaged with patients on behalf of doctors, allowing them to reach out before and after appointments.

That will open up opportunities to make all the data Practice Fusion collects much more useful. “Today, it’s like doing a tax return after the fact,” said Howard. “What you really want is to be on the trip and flag the expense now. You want proactive implementation.”

The new Practice Fusion product sounds similar to a startup that’s also announcing funding this morning called HealthLoop — in this case, a $10 million Series A round — but obviously Practice Fusion operates on a much larger scale.

Howard said to expect the new product in the first quarter of 2013.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work