Allscripts embraces consolidation in health IT market

Vendor wants to be one of the three or four major HIT players through an ongoing strategy of acquisitions.

As consolidation continues to shape the healthcare industry, the health IT vendor market is following suit, and Allscripts—which provides physician practices, hospitals and other providers with practice management and electronic health record technology—insists that it will not be left behind.

“We believe that consolidation is going to continue to happen in the market, and there’s probably only going to be three, maybe four players left in the space when it’s all done,” says Jim Hewitt, solutions development executive vice president at Allscripts. “We are making sure that we’re going to be one of those three or four players.”

Allscripts has been on a major buying spree of late. Last year, Allscripts announced plans to acquire the Enterprise Information Solutions division of McKesson, which operates its hospital and health system IT business, for $185 million. Earlier this year, the company announced an agreement to acquire physician practice vendor Practice Fusion for $100 million.

However, Hewitt emphasizes that Allscripts is not just an EHR vendor. In May, the company bought HealthGrid Holding Company, a mobile enterprise patient engagement platform business, in a $60 million acquisition designed to expand the capabilities of the Allscripts FollowMyHealth platform portfolio—the vendor’s patient engagement solution.

He contends that, thanks to the HealthGrid acquisition, “nobody has the capabilities we do for the empowered healthcare consumer,” including appointment confirmation and waitlist notification functionality, as well as the ability to conduct post-discharge surveys.

Also See: Allscripts looks to expand patient engagement line with HealthGrid buy

Allscripts has closed the acquisition and expects to have the first combined release by the end of August that will tightly integrate the HealthGrid capabilities into its FollowMyHealth platform, according to Hewitt, who says the offering will enable providers to reach 100 percent of their patient populations without requiring patients to sign up for a portal and instead will leverage existing patients’ contact information.

“FollowMyHealth was built to sit on any practice management system or EHR—it is completely EHR agnostic,” adds Hewitt, noting that Allscripts acquired cloud-based patient and consumer engagement vendor Jardogs in 2013 and the rights to its patient portal that was called FollowMyHealth.

Overall, he says Allscripts has made “extraordinary investments” into the company’s existing and future solutions. Earlier this year, the vendor announced the launch of its Avenel mobile-first and cloud-based electronic health record, which Hewitt claims is the industry’s first machine learning EHR.

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