Health IT Business News Wrap-Up – December 2, 2012

MThis Week’s Health IT Business News

A few weeks back our own Jim Tate wrote an EHR Swan Song to the demise of a small but quality EHR company, Imagine MD. Jim’s post reflects the thoughts of many in the health IT industry; EHR failures will escalate in 2013, heightened by the need to meet 2014 Edition requirements (more commonly known as Stage 2) and inability to gain any significant EHR market share. But the market will also see its fair share of mergers and acquisitions, leading to positive outcomes for some small-to-mid-size vendors. We lead this week’s column with such an outcome.

In mergers and acquisition news Pri-Med, a provider of professional medical education has purchased EHR vendor Amazing Charts for an undisclosed amount. According to the press release issued Amazing Charts will continue to offer its software to providers “but now will have the resources to accelerate product development and the geographic reach of Pri-Med’s medical education conferences in 30 cities nationwide.” Amazing Charts founder,  Dr. Jonathan Bertman, will continue on as President. You can read more about what was behind the acquisition from John Lynn’s Q&A with Amazing Charts.

HealthTap, a provider of online and mobile apps to connect physicians with consumers, has acquired Avvo, an online question and answer service that connects consumers with doctors and attorneys in a cash deal. While specific terms of the agreement weren’t released Avvo has turned over all assets of its health business to HealthTap and will shut down its health vertical. Avvo is a Benchmark-backed Q&A portal and ranking service that includes attorneys and physicians, with a ratings directory for 90% of U.S. physicians. As a result of the acquisition, HealthTap now counts 1.2 million doctors and dentists in its network. Read more about the acquisition on TechCrunch.

In funding news this week EHR and PM vendor Hello Health has secured $11.5 million in venture funding from First Generation Capital, bringing funding for this start-up to over $21 million in two years. Similar to Practice Fusion who offers a free EHR platform supported by an advertising revenue model, Hello Health is free for physicians. The big difference in the revenue model is that patients pay, Hello Health banks on the patients willing to pay for access to services like secure instant messaging.  Pricing starts at $5 per month with a shared revenue split with the physician. Read the full press release here.

There were quite a few partnership announcements this week including the news that Next Gen and Microsoft are partnering to offer a mobile app for Windows 8 that will allow consumers to create, store, track and share the personal medication records. Company officials say the MedicineCabinet app will be free and downloaded through Microsoft’s app store and is intended to “spur patient engagement, offering users a way to take a more active role in care collaboration.” Read more at HealthcareITnews.

Physicians Interactive (PI) and McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions (MPRS) announced a partnership to provide an e-coupon  solution to automate pharmaceutical coupon distribution for clinicians using EHRs and e-prescribing software.  “We are proud and excited to announce this collaboration with McKesson, a respected and recognized leader in the healthcare industry,” said Donato Tramuto, CEO and Vice Chairman of PI. “Our partnership will empower providers with unmatched access to a greater range of relevant patient benefits integrated directly into the point of care workflow.”

And Surescripts continues to make news with the announcment that they have partnered with Merge Healthcare to exchange medical imaging reports. The connectivity will allow healthcare providers that use Merge’s EHR to deliver imaging reports on the Surescripts Network.

In product development news Health Language, Inc. (HLI), the leader in healthcare terminology management, announced the release of new terminology mapping to support providers and EHR vendors in meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements for SNOMED-encoded problem lists. Under Stage 1 Meaningful Use eligible professionals, hospitals and EHR vendors could record problems in ICD-9-CM or SNOMED CT. Stage 2 now calls for all problem lists to be reported in SNOMED CT. To support this requirement, HLI developed an updated mapping between ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT. Read more here.

In HIE news this week Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) and ICA, a leading provider of interoperability  and health information exchange technology, announced they have begun sharing anonymous patient data with BioSense, a public health system that tracks hospital emergency department visits. “KHIN provides de-identified health information from Kansas patients to BioSense in real time,” said Laura McCrary, Executive Director of KHIN. “This exchange also helps Kansas providers meet a Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirement to electronically share syndromic surveillance data with public health agencies.”
In personnel news this week it was announced that Ralph Catalano, former VP of client development at athenahealth, has been named VP of operations at CareCloud, a provider of practice management, EHR, revenue cycle management and medical billing software. Paul Rudisill, founder of the Healthcare Intellect Group, has been named chief business development officer at Quture, a health care analytics company.