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The EHR Formerly Known As – Written by Maria Vargas

Mergers and Acquisitions: This is nothing new in business, and certainly nothing new in the healthcare market.  As consumers of healthcare, we have experienced the impact of M&As in the delivery of our care to varying extents.  Several prominent M&As have significantly changed the way that the healthcare market is configured in our nation.  This week’s announcement of a particular acquisition got me thinking of the vast change we’ve seen in the configuration of the EMR provider marketplace, and what the future might look like.

In the past week Allscripts finalized its acquisition of McKesson’s hospital IT systems division.  Allscripts, once a household name for physician office-based systems will now offer McKesson’s Paragon EMR to the ‘small hospital’ market segment.  With this offering, it will continue to position its Sunrise EMR to the ‘large hospital’ market segment, a solution resulting from its 2010 acquisition of Eclipsys.

In 2015, another prominent acquisition was finalized when Cerner and Siemens’ HIT division, in seemingly Valentine fashion, merged during Cupid’s month in February.  In contrast, it was not a clear small vs. large hospital segmentation.  But don’t despair because in November of the same year, Computer Programs and Systems, better known as CPSI acquired competing ‘small hospital’ EMR vendor Healthland hoping to become the “it” vendor for rural and critical access hospitals.  Healthland being the result of a 2008 merger between Minnesota-based Dairyland, and Texas-based Advanced Professional Software (APS).

One might conclude that all this leaves MEDITECH as the go-to option for hospitals with bed counts over critical access, but just a tad bit too small for the larger hospital vendors. MEDITECH’s limited acquisition activity, including Patient Care Technologies, Inc. (PtCT) for home care and hospice solutions in 2007 and LSS Data Systems in the ambulatory space 2011, positioned the vendor nicely to serve the continuum of care.  It would be tempting to conclude that 200-bed hospitals turn to MEDITECH, right?  Wrong!

Cerner’s CommunityWorks, Epic’s Community Connect, shared instances of Epic, hosted models and various other arrangements, not to mention EHR replacements driven by hospital system M&As, have all increased the presence of Epic Systems, and Cerner throughout the industry.  These two vendors now hold 50% of the EHR market share in the US.  But wait, don’t forget that innovative company disrupting the marketplace, now making its way into the acute-care space and potentially shaking things up for the more established vendors. Oh yes, athenahealth with its acquisitions of BIDMC’s webOMR and RazorInsights is not to be overlooked.

So, that begs the question(s):  How will hospitals choose their vendors, in a seemingly contracting marketplace, and does size matter?  Can industry disruptors cause sufficient shake-up to expand market options in the acute-care space?  Could real innovation be stifled in the face of an active M&A market?  Which vendor will make the next major acquisition?  Could less vendors lead to smoother interoperability, and the exchange of data these efforts are meant to promote?  What’s your take on the future of EHR providers?

Chime in on the discussion (get it? CHIME in).  Global Healthcare IT wants to hear from you!  And, if we can help you address your HIT-related staffing requirements for consulting roles and permanent vacancies, just let us know!

Written by Maria Vargas, Business Development Executive at Global Healthcare IT.

Maria can be reached at or 714-551-0270.