This Week’s Health IT Business News
Five days, 35,000 attendees, 1,200 exhibitors, 200 education sessions, one day of questionable drinking water. HIMSS13 has concluded and it will be back to business as usual tomorrow. Or will it? While there was no shortage of headline news at HIMSS this year, one of the biggest was made Monday when some of the industry’s largest vendors announced they have come together to advance interoperability of electronic health records.
The CommonWell Health Alliance is a non-profit organization established by Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, athenahealth, Greenway Medical and McKesson subsidiary RelayHealth, with a mission to “promote and certify a national infrastructure with common standards and policies.” The move was herald by many at the conference but questioned by others, and in particular Epic. According to Forbes and other sources, when the announcement was made Epic COO Carl Dvorak challenged the purpose of the alliance, saying national interoperability standards already exist in federal and privately-led initiatives, and refuting some industry observers that say Epic has a closed EHR platform. According to Bloomberg, Epic’s CEO Judy Faulkner said her rivals involved in the alliance are attacking her business under the cover of easing patient access to data. Epic wasn’t asked to join the alliance, which she suggests is a move to contain Epic’s EHR market share. This is a story we’ll continue to monitor in the coming weeks and months.
Mergers and Acquistions
One of the industry’s largest business software companies, Infor, announced it has reached an agreement to acquire CERTPOINT Systems, a provider of SaaS-based learning management software (LMS) and learning content management software (LCMS). Infor will acquire CERTPOINT to support the company’s ability to deliver contextual, social and mobile learning technologies as the healthcare industry transforms itself. “The acquisition of CERTPOINT will enable Infor to offer customers an end-to-end HCM solution, delivered to help maximize access and business insight and achieve breakthrough performance,” said Tarik Taman, GM, HCM, Infor. “In addition to complementary functionality, the acquisition of CERTPOINT sends the signal that Infor intends to be atop the leaderboard of SaaS Enterprise Human Capital Management solution providers.” Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. The transaction is expected to be complete by April 1, 2013.
EHR vendor Allscripts has announced two acquisitions, dbMotion, a supplier of community health solutions and Jardogs, a patient engagement solution provider. “Healthcare physicians and other caregivers need improved care coordination, and these platform technologies put us in a leadership position to deliver on our vision for population health management through our Connected Communityof Health,” said Paul M. Black, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allscripts. “Inclusive of these acquisitions and our research and development plan, we will invest approximately $500 million in 2013 to develop the solutions our clients and the market need to deliver individualized quality care across communities.”
While Epic may have been left out of the CommonWell Health Alliance, the company will partner with Dell, Red Hat, Intel and VMware to open a dedicated center where hospitals can test and deploy running Epic’s EHR software on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The DRIVE (Dell, Red Hat, Intel and VMware for Epic) Center of Excellence is located near the EHR vendor’s Verona, Wis., headquarters. At the DRIVE Center of Excellence, hospitals can test their applications on a variety of Dell server and storage options, test configurations for end-user computing, perform cross-functional testing of other optimized solutions such as help desk services and disaster recovery, and interact with all the primary third parties involved in a Linux deployment.
Morrison Healthcare Food Services, Varsity Brands and some EHR companies announced new commitments to the childhood obesity fight at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s (PHA) 2013 Building a Healthier Future Summit. PHA works with the private sector and its honorary chairwoman First Lady Michelle Obama to end the nation’s childhood obesity crisis. Cerner, GE Healthcare and Physician’s Computer Company have joined PHA to develop the Healthy Weight Plan, which provides doctors with tools to identify, manage and track childhood obesity, and work with patients and their families on building healthier habits. In the next 18 months, all EHR technologies produced by partners will help primary care doctors develop healthy weight plans for patients and their families. The plans will give providers the tools to capture relevant data to track at-risk patients; present data to patients and families in a way they can understand and use; generate practical goals for patients and families to pursue between visits; and provide information about community resources to help support healthy weight goals.
Qualcomm Inc. announced its subsidiary, Qualcomm Life, Inc., is joining forces with WebMD to enable health-conscious consumers to access and manage wireless health data from a wide array of fitness, wellness and medical devices. According to the new release, the technology collaboration will establish an open ecosystem of digital health apps and third-party devices across various disease categories and lifestyle interests where consumers and physicians can select solutions that suit their preferences and healthcare needs.
Nuance Communications and Cerner announced this week that Cerner will incorporate Nuance’s clinical documentation improvement (CDI) technology. According to the press release issues, the integration of Nuance’s CDI solution within Cerner’s EHR and Revenue Cycle solutions “will help healthcare providers improve the quality and accuracy of their clinical documentation in real-time at the point of care, supporting both clinicians’ and CDI specialists’ workflows. The technology will be used concurrently to give feedback to physicians on the information needed to complete the record and will provide CDI specialists with the tools necessary to improve their analysis of the physician’s documentation.”
Medsphere Systems announced this week that Houston’s IntraCare Behavioral Health will implement the company’s OpenVista EHR. “Our decision to go with OpenVista was influenced by both the success and reputation of VistA at VA hospitals and our seeing OpenVista in action at Silver Hill Hospital, another Medsphere client,” said IntraCare President Deo Shanker. “
Emdeon, a provider of healthcare revenue and payment cycle management and clinical information exchange solutions, recently ranked first place in two separate industry surveys. Emdeon received first place rankings in overall vendor preference for interoperability, integration and connectivity in the Black Book Rankings 2013 State of Electronic Prescribing Industry, as well as overall EHR vendor support for Meaningful Use and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) support in the Black Book Rankings 2013 Overall Best EHR Functionality Performance.
Allscripts announced thw winners of its Open App Challenge contest, awarding $150,000 in prizes. An application that generates tasks and notes automatically from patient calls and a secure social network that enables patients to interact with physicians were among 15 award recipients. More than 200 developers answered the call to “Start a Revolution” by creating innovative stand alone applications that can integrate with Allscripts Open Electronic Health Records (EHR) software.
athenahealth announced that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has appointed athenahealth Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Jeremy Delinsky, as a member to the Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC). Infor announced it has hired healthcare industry veteran Barry P. Chaiken, MD, as CMIO. Chaiken has extensive expertise in the healthcare and information technology and is a Fellow of the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS).