Health IT Business News Wrap-up – September 30, 2012

This Week’s Health IT Business News

We close out the month with the several big merger and acquisition announcements.  News broke Thurday of the Nuance agreement to acquire Quantim, QuadraMed’s health information management division. From the press release: “Working closely with industry partners, including electronic healthcare record (EHR) providers, Nuance and Quantim will ease healthcare providers’ transition to ICD-10, while preserving clinician productivity and document workflows and, most importantly, ensuring the quality of patient care.” Nuance plans to deliver its Clinical Language Understanding Solution within Quantim’s web-based platform quickly to support ICD-10 transition.

On Friday reported the news that Allscripts is shopping for a buyer. According to the article the EHR giant has hired Citigroup to explore a sale to private equity buyers. Wall Street responded positively, shares rose as much as 21 percent after Bloomberg reported the news. According to the article, Allscripts, with a market value of $2.2 billion, is holding talks about a potential leveraged buyout. Read the full article.

Earlier this week McKesson announced it will acquire MedVentive, a population and risk management solutions provider. According to the press release “MedVentive’s solutions will augment McKesson’s capabilities and experience to support providers as they become clinically integrated, engage physicians and patients to reduce costs, and transition to risk-bearing models such as accountable care. These areas are core to Better Health 2020™, McKesson Technology Solutions’ strategy to support customers’ use of information technology for better business, better care and better connectivity.”

This week saw an announcement on two other industry giants. News out of Seattle involving Microsoft and GE broke with The Seattle Times reporting Microsoft and GE are uniting to create a joint venture. Caradigm will be aimed at creating a system that will let health-care organizations better track individual patients and handle data from disparate sources. According to the article Caradigm will be a 50-50 joint venture “aimed at bringing together Microsoft’s strengths in developing large-scale data platforms with GE Healthcare’s expertise in building health-care applications.” Read the full article.

Speaking of giants, TechCrunch reported this week that the co-founder of Hoover’s has launched an online health concierge service.First Stop Health provides an online subscription model to give patients 24/7 phone access to over 250 on-call physicians. According to the TechCrunch article the service “also delivers access to health care advocates, electronic health records, and tools and information resources that help patients better manage their health care.” First Stop health also provides a WebMD-like online database of medical information.

We liked Health Data Management’s one-two nod to the Rolling Stones and Prince. Start Me Up, Health information technology is partying like it’s 1999, looks at the exploding health IT technology funding environment.

“Investing in HIT is relatively easy compared with high-overhead ventures like drug and device development” says venture capitalist Dan Kincaid, who’s heading Cincinnati’s Innov8forHealth accelerator program. “It doesn’t take a ton of cash to get most HIT startups going, and they’re often business-to-business, which makes marketing and sales efforts more efficient,” he says. Another factor is that the FDA hasn’t (yet) stepped in to regulate most HIT applications, which gives early investors some extra assurance that they might actually make money if the product works.

Read the full article.

In contract news, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Health Information Exchange (UPHIE) announced the finalization of its contract with health information exchange vendor ICA. The contract will cover one-third the state. UPHIE will implement ICA’s CareAlign® CareExchange platform, which provides interoperability between disparate health information systems. Read the full press release.

Computerworld reported this week on the Health IT staffing shortage. According to a July CHIME survey the need for IT staff is more critical now than two years ago, with two-thirds of healthcare operations in the U.S. reporting a shortage. This shortage is higher than in 2010, when a similar survey by CHIME showed that 59% of those surveyed reported a shortage. Like the 2010 survey, the need  is acute for implementation and clinical applications specialists.  Download the CHIME survey.

Speaking of jobs, in personnel news this week M*Modal has names Mike Etue as their EVP of sales. Etue is the former vice president of sales and marketing for OptumInsight. Maryalice Anderson has been named VP of clinical solutions for MedHOK. Prior to joining MedHOK, Anderson was the director of healthcare practice for Highpoint Solutions.