2013 Health IT Business News – 10th Day of Christmas

Health IT Stocks in 2012A Leap Forward, Mostly, for Health IT Companies

Day 10 of our 12 Days of Christmas Posts we look back at some of the companies and topics leaping to the forefront of this year’s  health IT business news.

The year started off with a bang with athenahealth’s announcement of its acquisition of Epocrates for $293 million, signaling the company’s expansion into mobile device offerings. CEO Jonathan Bush said in a press statement on the acquisition “I have been an admirer of Epocrates since it first emerged and have watched the company grow consistently, one app download at a time, as it has cemented itself into the consciousness of America’s physicians.”

atheneahealth made news again two months later at HIMSS in New Orleans when the company, along with Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts,  Greenway and RelayHealth announced the formation of the CommonWell Health Alliance. In the announcement the healthcare IT giants said the alliance would “support universal, trusted access to health care data through seamless interoperability.” Read the press announcement here.

Also at HIMSS we had a chance to spend a few minutes talking with industry leaders and company executives to hear what they had to say about the state of Health IT as part of our HIMSS Highlights podcasts. Listen to these podcasts here.

EHR ambulatory and practice management company Vitera announced the acquisition of two companies this year; SuccessEHS in June  and Greenway Medical in September.  According to the company website Vitera serves more than “415,000 healthcare professionals including 85,000 physicians, Vitera Healthcare Solutions provides electronic health records and practice management systems, processes 33 million transactions and 2 million e-prescriptions monthly.”

In July start up incubator Rock Health released its midyear report on the state of digital health. The report reflects investment in digital health technology, including EHR and Big Data technologies, grew by 12 percent over last year. Not surprising, the report showed traditional investment in biotechnology and medical devices on the decline, in direct contrast to increased funding in software and digital.

In August Inc. Magazine released its annual 500/5000 list. It is a tremendous achievement to make the Inc. 500 list. To qualify, companies must show consecutive growth in sales over a 3-year period, no small feat for 2013 as this year’s list covered the 2009-2012 window. Ten  health IT companies made the list including a couple of familiar faces to us, Santa Rosa Consulting and GlobalMed.

The year saw no let up in healthcare VC funding activity. Third quarter funding alone hit $737 million. The dollar amount of disclosed deals surpassed the second quarter mark of $623 million with a total raised of $1.85 billion through the first 9 months. The year-end figure will likely exceed $2 billion.

Also in October Medical Economics released its examination of the financial health of health IT companies in its top 100 EHR ranking report. In the press releases issued authors of the report say “though the market is ripe for consolidation, the financial health of these companies remains the most important determinant for product development, innovation and the ability to meet the next challenges of interoperability posed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) EHR incentive program for Meaningful Use Stage 2.”

Speaking of Stage 2, there was speculation throughout the year that, as with Stage 1,  Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program would get an extension.  And so it did. Earlier this month CMS and ONC announced proposed new timelines for both Stage 2 and Stage 3.  Even before the Stage 2 extension was announced there were plenty of vendors tackling Stage 2 requirements and certifications.  Read up on our running report on 2014 ONC Certification Product News.

Not all business news in 2013 was rosey.  Health Management Associates, Inc. announced a restate of its financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the quarters ended March 31 and June 30, 2013 to correct the accounting treatment of approximately $31.0 million of Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments reported as income. Our own Jim Tate referred to the blunder as Meaningful Use Incentives: The Big Giveback

And there you have it. Our look back at a year of health IT business news. We’ll see you back on the business beat in the new year.