As more evidence demonstrates that timely care coordination improves outcomes and reduces costs, visionary vendors and clinicians are finding a fertile field for technology that provides real-time or near-real time communication capabilities.

"If you look at existing electronic health records, the biggest problem we have is they are actually silos of data," says Gregg Malkary, managing director of healthcare IT analyst firm Spyglass Consulting. "The communication tools are inferior. What if I could have much more context-sensitive patient information that's actually communicated in the message?"

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