Ingenix's pending acquisition of health information exchange vendor Axolotl Corp. is the latest strategic move to create an "end-to-end" presence in health care, with its biggest competitor increasingly being McKesson Corp.

That's the view of John Osberg, principle at Informed Partners LLC, a Marietta, Ga.-based consulting firm. Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Ingenix has a presence in the revenue cycle management, transactions processing, coding, ambulatory software, ancillary inpatient software, data analysis and benchmarking, physician credentialing, consumer health, regulatory compliance and insurance markets.

Now, the company will add one of the leading HIE vendors whose Elysium platform gives Ingenix the opportunity to establish a de facto standard for clinical communications between health care entities and the vendors that serve them, Osberg says. More than 30 electronic records and practice management vendors accept this platform, if necessary, to connect to other vendor products to exchange demographic and clinical information. Additionally, Ingenix's recent acquisition of QualityMetric enables connnectivity to patients. "This takes them one step further to being end-to-end."

But Ingenix's owner, giant health insurer UnitedHealth Group, is a significant obstacle to growth and accepance in the health care community, Osberg contends. That's because payers compete with UHG and providers have issues with reimbursement amounts and delayed payments. Consequently, Osberg wouldn't be surprised to see Ingenix conduct an initial public offering of stock in the near future to split from UnitedHealth.

--Joseph Goedert


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