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What’s Behind the Pri-Med Acquisition of Amazing Charts EHR?

Posted on November 29, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those of you who missed the news, Pri-Med acquired Amazing Charts EHR for a currently undisclosed amount. This was a really interesting move in the EHR industry. Anne Zieger suggested that this and other indicators was a sign of EMR consolidation. Turns out there’s a lot more behind the Pri-Med acquisition of Amazing Charts than most people would see on the surface.

In a call I had with Amazing Charts founder and president Dr. Jonathan Bertman, as well as John Mooney, founder and CEO of Pri-Med, I learned a lot about why this acquisition makes sense and how they’re planning to capitalize on the investment.

CME Chart Level Review
One of the most interesting things I learned was that chart level review was the best way to see the gaps and needs that can be satisfied by CMEs. Considering Pri-Med is a major player in the CME space, you can see the value that having relationships with a bunch of doctors using an EHR can be for them. I didn’t dive into how Pri-Med plans to leverage the Amazing Charts EHR charts, but you can see the possibilities. Although, Amazing Charts is a mostly client-server based EHR, so Pri-Med won’t have any access to do chart level reviews without permission from the doctors using the EHR.

Protecting EHR Data
In fact, in my discussion I learned that Dr. Bertman and John Mooney both had no interest in using a physician’s EHR data to make money. That philosophy actually seemed to bring Pri-Med and Amazing Charts together to make this acquisition happen. Both believe that their company should make money providing the software and services a doctor needs as opposed to making money off the data in an EHR. This is nothing new since I’ve heard Dr. Bertman espouse this belief many times before, but does contrast with other EHR vendors in the market.

EHR Acquisition Options
I was also fascinated to hear about Dr. Bertman’s thoughts on Amazing Charts approach to acquisition. He said that he didn’t want Amazing Charts users to experience what other EHR users had experienced when their EHR was acquired by another EHR company. He didn’t want Amazing Charts to be one of many EHR software in a company’s portfolio. Inevitably, EHR software will get sunset to streamline the company and Dr. Bertman didn’t want that for his users.

What does the Acquisition Mean for Users?
Ont thing users of Amazing Charts can expect is efforts to create clinical training and information at the point of care. John Mooney mentioned their “5 Minute Clinical Consults” as a model of short education that could be integrated into the clinical documentation process. I’ll be interested to see how this evolves. Even 5 minutes seems too long for most doctors to stop their patient workflow. However, it is interesting to bring Pri-Med’s education knowledge, experience and library to the point of care in the Amazing Charts EHR.

I also was fascinated by John Mooney’s suggestion of Amazing Charts possibly integrating a Provider Self Assessment tool into Amazing Charts. Definitely makes sense to have the doctors self assess to get the best CME. While not a perfect match inside an EHR software, it doesn’t seem completely out of place in the EHR if it’s done right.

Amazing Charts User Groups at Pri-Med Events
I also learned that they’ll be working to hold Amazing Charts user group meetings at the various Pri-Med events. This could be a great boon for Amazing Charts users. I know a lot of doctors and their staff won’t or can’t attend the national user group meetings that most EHR vendors hold. I’m not sure where the 6500 Amazing Charts users are found throughout the country, but if planned well it would be great to leverage the existing Pri-Med events for this and engage more of their EHR users close to home.

Post-Acquisition Logistics
They told me that Amazing Charts would maintain a separate entity in Rhode Island to continue developing and supporting the EHR software. Their marketing and sales would come out of Boston where Pri-Med is located. For Amazing Charts users, this sounds like it will be mostly business as usual from their perspective. In fact, it could mean Amazing Charts has more resources available to build our their EHR software. All in all, this seems like a smart move for Amazing Charts and their users.

Full Disclosure: Amazing Charts is an advertiser on this site, but you can be sure I’d cover every EHR acquisition I can find.

Meaningful Use Does Not Ensure Solid EHR Company – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on April 30, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those of you who don’t follow all the inside EHR “baseball” that’s happening right now with Allscripts, you might want to check it out. If you use one of Allscripts various EHR software (do they have 6 EHR softwares now? I lose count) then you really want to pay attention. Here’s my cliff notes version of what’s happened for those who don’t want to research the details. Half the Allscripts board left and so did the CFO. It appears it was an Eclipsys departure with the previous Allscripts board members and CEO Glen Tullman remaining. After this happened the stock (MDRX) plummeted.

While to those inside the EMR world will realize that this isn’t a death knell for everything Eclipsys related, many who don’t know how important the Eclipsys software is for Allscripts could easily see this a different way. Of course, in the heartless world of publicly traded companies and CEO’s doing what they can to prop up stock price, you never know what action they might take next.

The best evaluation I saw of the Allscripts situation is that it is very likely that Allscripts and Glen Tullman will use this stock drop to start making even more drastic moves. For example, we all know that they don’t need that many EHR software and so none of us should be surprised if they choose to sunset 1 or more of their EHR software. Yes, that’s right. Your EHR software isn’t safe even if you buy it from a large EHR vendor like Allscripts (see also when GE ceased operations of Centricity Advance).

Think about it from Allscripts perspective. It takes A LOT of extra resources to ensure that multiple EHR software products are even just meeting the meaningful use and certified EHR requirements let alone actually creating innovative new EHR software features. Cutting out an EHR software will provide a huge cost savings to Allscripts going forward.

Why is this the topic of Meaningful Use Monday? I think this is an incredibly important topic related to meaningful use, because I can already see the physicians and practice managers hitting my website if Allscripts chose to cease their Allscripts MyWay EHR offering (I have no indication that Myway is gone. I’m just speaking hypothetically). I’m quite certain that many physicians and practice managers will wonder how an EHR vendor could sunset or stop developing an EHR software that is certified for meaningful use.

It’s quite simple: Meaningful Use and EHR Certification are NO guarantee of an EHR software’s long term viability.

I have a section in my EMR selection e-Book about ensuring the viability of your EHR vendor. I’ll admit that it’s not an easy task and is more art than science given our limited information about MANY EHR vendors. However, it’s worth considering the long term plans of an EHR vendor and a particular EHR software in that vendor’s quiver. Although, meaningful use and EHR certification do nothing to help you in that regard.

One final warning: we’re just at the start of EHR vendors going out of business, EHR vendors being bought by larger vendors, EHR software being closed down, EMR software being sunset. I give it another year before the Tsunami of EHR software mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies, fire sales hit our shore. Although, the early warning signs are there and so we should prepare for the oncoming wave. The challenge is knowing where you can find high ground.

EHR Vendor Consolidation

Posted on June 10, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

What happened in the M&A arena had interesting ramifications, but what didn’t happen might be equally significant: The overcrowded electronic health records market didn’t consolidate.

Well over 200 EHR vendors are fighting for meaningful use business. How crowded is the field? As of mid-April, the federal government lists 393 Complete or Modular certified ambulatory EHR products, along with 182 certified inpatient Complete or Modular products.

There were several good reasons for the non-event, but consolidation’s got to come soon, says Rob Tholemeier, senior research analyst at Crosstree Capital Partners, a Tampa-based corporate financial advisory firm. “There has never in the history of software been 200-plus companies selling similar functionality,” he notes. “Less than a dozen-maybe a dozen at most-will survive.” –Source

I always find these reports on the EHR market fascinating. I’ve done some analyst work for a few companies that are looking at the EhR market. I should probably do more since it’s pretty fun to be able to provide investors a view at what I see happening in the EMR and EHR market.

I agree with the above statement that it’s been a little bit surprising that we haven’t seen more consolidation in the EHR market. I think we can all agree that there are far too many EHR vendors out there right now. I’m all about competition, but this many competitors makes it really hard for the clinician to choose an EHR. Certainly this is going to change.

The above linked article suggests that most of the EHR consolidation would be through attrition instead of acquisition. I don’t totally agree with this theory. There will be a nice mix of both. Although, I believe that acquisition of EHR vendors will actually be more common than EMR vendors shutting down the business.

Plus, while we will see some consolidation, I totally disagree with the above quoted articles assertion that the EHR market will consolidate down to “a dozen at most” EHR vendors. I’ll be surprised if we get down to 100 different EHR vendors. The SaaS EHR vendor business model just doesn’t need that many doctors using their system to work. Unlike many other industries, I think that there’s a whole set of very conservative EHR vendors who can run their business very well with a small subset of providers.

Of course these EHR vendors are always looking to grow, but I see many of these companies ready for the long EHR grind. They’ve been very conservative in their approaches and can last a very long time with their current EHR user base. Many aren’t even trained in the thinking of how to exit the business. They’re entrenched and ready for a long battle. So, while we’ll see some consolidation of the EHR industry, don’t believe these analysts that are predicting a massive consolidation to a handful of companies.