In a cash transaction valued at approximately $91 million, financial software vendor Intuit will acquire Medfusion, a vendor of patient communications services. Intuit’s flagship products include QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax. Medfusion’s portal software enables patients to communicate with their providers to schedule appointments, pay bills, request prescription refills and exchange secure messages. The companies said they plan to combine Intuit's user interface and design expertise with Medfusion's broader portal offering and bill presentation capabilities. After the transaction closes, Intuit will build upon its existing Quicken Health product line with the goal of making it easier for patients to understand their medical bills and for providers to get paid faster. Medfusion already uses Intuit software to provide some of its services, including online bill payment. The transaction is expected to close by July 31.

From a strategic point of view, the deal makes sense, observes Ray Falci, managing director at Cain Brothers, a New York-based investment bank. To Falci, the deal underscores the importance of delivering enhanced connectivity to patients. Many of the EHR stimulus criteria, he notes, are based on moving patient information directly to consumers. "Many core EHR vendors have not focused on moving data, but acting as repositories," he says.

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