Allscripts, a large US provider of physician office EMR system, and Eclipsys, a provider of EMR systems for acute care facilities, have agreed to merge according a press release. Mark and I have speculated that Eclipsys was an acquisition target, though we thought that companies such as Microsoft or Oracle might use acquire Eclipsys to bolster their presence in the health market.
The Allscripts / Eclipsys marriage signals, I believe, the importance of a single EMR platform for providers across the continuum of care, from individual physicians to large acute care facilities. Will we see a similar acquisition strategy in Canada? I have long wondered when Telus Health will enter the physician office EMR market, for example. They already offer broad array of eHealth / health IT solutions in the Canadian market and their lack of EMR offering is a glaring hole in the product line-up in my view. Given that they already have a sales force aimed at small / medium sized business and they are already pitching mobile solutions to physicians, I would think that it would not be much of a stretch to sell EMRs to physicians.
Another thought … will Allscripts use the Eclipsys acquisition to enter the Canadian market? Some people might argue that they have their hands full addressing the demand created by EHR funding in the US. Perhaps. Then again, as one of the largest physician office EMR vendors in the US, they might just have the werewithal to consider the Canadian market.
For years one of the major complaints about healthcare IT systems has been the closed and proprietary nature of most vendor offerings. As we move to improve “information liquidity” (a cool term I read about it a Deloitte study, I believe) across the continuum of care. announcements such as the following are most welcome:
Of particular note in the press release is the statement:
The Microsoft agreement is part of Eclipsys’ open platform initiative, by which Eclipsys plans to expand its reach by working collaboratively with other industry participants to enhance interoperability, and enabling third parties to develop new applications that work natively with Eclipsys solutions.
I added the bold to emphasize Eclipsys’ intent to support third party applications. Taking a page from Internet pioneers and giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google, Eclipsys is creating the conditions for an ecosystem in which they do not try to be all things to their customer. By allowing third parties to add value to their core platform they will make this platform more valuable and more attractive to current and prospective customers.
I hope that other vendors, particularly Canadian EMR vendors, take note of the Eclipsys strategy. Opening up your platform so that other vendors can develop applications that make use of the information stored in your systems is good for the customer, good for our health system, and good for your bottom line.
An interesting study from KLAS regarding criteria that small US hospitals apply when selection an HIT system.
Some noteworthy points from this study:
- “in light of new meaningful use requirements, many community hospital executives are now considering more complex – and often more costly – IT solutions, which many providers perceive as supporting greater clinician adoption.”
- “Meaningful use requirements are forcing buyers to focus on this issue rather than cost and infrastructure, which were the much more significant criteria in the past”
- “Meditech still dominates provider mindshare for health information systems, with McKesson also gaining significant traction recently. Meditech continues to leverage its reputation as a low-cost, integrated solution, with 70 percent of providers including the vendor in their selection process”
- “Cerner, Eclipsys, Epic and Siemens Soarian are at the table more frequently due to a perceived higher potential for clinician adoption.”
- “The consideration of these traditional large hospital solutions in community hospitals has also been spurred by the shrinking opportunity for new sales among large organizations.”