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    E-prescribing: Follow the money—and former government officials

    Remember internist David Brailer, once the point man for EHRs in the Bush administration? He’s now the chairman of a private-equity firm that’s bankrolling a healthcare IT startup with its own cast of ex-public servants.

    Brailer’s firm, Health Evolution Partners, announced on April 28 that it was investing an undisclosed amount of money in an e-prescribing company called Prematics. Various health plans have introduced Prematics’ e-prescribing service—including wireless hand-held computers—for participating physicians to use free of charge.

    As part of the deal, Brailer will join the Prematics board of directors and hobnob with other former government officials who have migrated to private industry. Two members of the company’s executive council are former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and former Sen. John Breaux (D) from Louisiana.

    Health Evolution Partner has a war chest of $700 million to invest in healthcare IT companies like Prematics. That’s more than 10 times the annual budget that Brailer had at his command when he headed the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a branch of HHS, from May 2004 to April 2006.

    His firm is channeling money to Prematics through an investment fund called the Health Evolution Partners Innovation Network. Four well-connected physicians serve as HEPIN advisers: Former Surgeon General and general surgeon Richard H. Carmona, preventive medicine specialist David M. Lawrence, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente; psychiatrist Arnold Milstein, co-founder of The Leapfrog Group; and preventive medicine specialist Molly J. Coye, founder and CEO of The Health Technology Center.

    Robert Lowes
    Bob has reported on the medical profession since 1988, covering everything from HMOs to end-of-life controversies. He now specializes in ...

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