Health IT Business News Wrap-up – September 16, 2012

This Week’s Health IT Business News

It was a week to celebrate the world of Health IT.  The 7th Annual National Health IT Week concluded Friday and what a week it was. Read Roberta’s recap here.  Not surprising, the spotlight on health IT put the industry up front and center in business news reporting.

We lead with the Wall Street Journal’s article Private Equity Maintains its Focus on Health-care IT Deals.  The article notes that with the healthcare industry’s continued move towards integration of health information technology, health IT promises improved healthcare and increased revenues. The article makes note of some sizable capital investments and acquisitions over the past several months including SAIC’s purchase of maxIT Healthcare for $437 million.

Speaking of acquisitions, athenahealth made news this week with the announcement of their plan to acquire Healthcare Data Services (HDS). The company press release says the acquisition will help ensure their success in the face of payment reform and shift to new payment models  including ACOs.  HDS is a web-based solutions provider and expert in health care data analysis and population health management for payers and providers. The transaction is expected to close next month.

In other partnership news, simplifyMD EHR and Capario announced they are joining forces.  The partnership of Capario and simplifyMD will allow customers to leverage Capario’s EDI platform with simplyMD’s EHR software. Michael Brozino, CEO of simplifyMD, said, “A lot of physician practices are being forced to change practice management and EDI solutions when they make their EHR decision. Capario and simplifyMD are targeting the same core group of small to mid-sized practice physicians with the same simple approach.”

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, GE Healthcare and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) announced GE’s investment in a new state-of-the-art imaging research facility. The center will be located in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR). The 10-year research agreement has GE Healthcare provides up to $32.9 million to support its collaborative research program with UW’s existing Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics, which plans to expand its research activities into additional space in WIMR. Read the full press release here.

Earlier this week we reported on HL7 recent announcement of its decision to make much of its intellectual property, including standards, freely available under licensing terms starting in 2013. Now comes the news that HL7 has successfully completed its first connectathon event to support its Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Initiative. FHIR is a new HL7 draft standard for data exchange in healthcare. Sixteen HL7 members participated in the inaugural FHIR Connectathon including Kaiser Permanente, GE Healthcare, Orion Health, Mohawk College and Thrasys. The purpose of the event was to test the infrastructural components of FHIR.  Participants demonstrated three types of workflows: the creation and exchange of Profiles, of Persons, and of Lab Reports. Plans are underway to hold additional FHIR connectathons at future HL7 working group meetings.  Learn more at the HL7 Wiki.

A new report on HIE indicates 71% of U.S. hospitals plan to purchase new health information exchange (HIE) technology solutions.The study conducted by CapSite concludes the market adoption of HIE technologies  will continue to accelerate over the next two years as provider organizations move towards Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. The study represents insight from more than 370 hospitals on the market adoption, market share, market opportunity and vendor mind share across the U.S. hospital market. PDF of the study is available here.

An Ernst & Young  health care report explores collaboration as key to a patient-centric system. The E&Y annual health care provider report examines how collaboration is imperative in delivering quality care and better outcomes at lower costs.“The forces at work today are unprecedented,” said Jon Weaver, Provider Care Sector Leader, Ernst & Young LLP. “Collaboration with stakeholders to share knowledge, pool resources and synergistically enhance patient care has become a common theme. We are in a time when silos are being razed, connections made, and shared purposes linked.”

And finally, Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts and guest contributor to Forbes wrote an article this week titled Why This CEO Supports the President: He Holds the Difficult Middle Ground. The article gives a nod to EHR adoption:

President Obama’s stimulus bill included funding to subsidize the rapid adoption of electronic health records, connectivity standards, and quality measurement and reporting. All are critical to turning health care into the information business it must become if we are to bend the quality and cost curves. Along the way, those dollars are creating employment, a strong side benefit.

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