Today, leading ambulatory EHR vendor AllScripts announced that it will merge (it’s really acquire) with one of the larger acute care EHR vendors, Eclipsys creating one of the largest EHR vendors in the market with some 180,000 physicians using their solutions. This acquisition is being driven not by ARRA and all the taxpayer dollars flowing into healthcare, but by healthcare reform and the trend towards bundled payments, patient centered medical home models and the move by hospital networks to become Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Large healthcare organizations will increasingly be looking to HIT vendors who can provide the full suite of solutions for both acute and ambulatory requirements. This merger is simply an acknowledgement of that need. It will be interesting to see what impact this merger will have on other ambulatory EHRs, such as NextGen and eClinicalWorks.
Now there will be plenty of others writing about this merger and its implications to the market so rather than focus on the obvious issues regarding EHRs, rationalization of product portfolios, go to market, etc., Chilmark Research will look into one small and important piece:
What might this acquisition mean to these companies’ respective HIE partners, dbMotion and Medicity?
We’ve spoken to both HIE vendors and are on track to release our HIE Market Trends Report (includes in-depth profiles of the twenty leading HIE vendors in the market) by the end of June so we are uniquely positioned (at least we think so) to provide an educated assessment.
In April 2009, AllScripts and dbMotion announced a go-to-market partnership wherein dbMotion would be AllScripts go to partner for all things HIE. This partnership is both marketing and R&D with both companies working together to deliver what is called the AllScripts Community Record powered by dbMotion solution. This partnership did not make a lot of sense to us as dbMotion is a fairly sophisticated solution that is more suitable for large IDNs and academic medical institutions like its US lighthouse customer, UPMC, which also happens to have a significant equity stake in dbMotion. dbMotion is also not exactly an inexpensive solution. So how does this fit in the ambulatory market that is the sweet spot for AllScripts?
Speaking to Peter McClennen, dbMotion’s North American President, Peter stated that he is both “excited and humbled” at the thought of this merger. Excited in the future prospects, humbled in its implications to the broader market. Peter went on to state that to date, the partnership has seen a number of market successes such as that at UMass Medical Center, and most recently the win at Thomas Jefferson University. Today, AllScripts/dbMotion have about a half dozen customers that are leveraging the dbMotion suite to enable, as Peter put it, “actionable semantic interoperability” between an acute care facility and affiliated ambulatory practices. What Peter means by actionable semantic interoperability is basically an ability to create an on-demand view of a patient record (drawing from all data sources in a dynamic fashion), which is quite similar to Microsoft’s Amalga platform. This is an important factor which we’ll come back to later.
So getting back to the question: How does dbMotion fit in the ambulatory market that is the sweet spot for AllScripts? Looking at those joint sales, large mothership institutions (UMass, Jefferson, etc.) are making the investments in dbMotion to more closely tie affiliated practices who are on AllScripts. These large institutions have the need and the resources to make this happen.
In June 2009, Eclipsys and Medicity likewise announced a a go-to-market partnership. Unlike the AllScripts/dbMotion partnership, the Eclipsys/Medicity partnership is far deeper wherein Medicity is the underlying technology powering the Eclipsys’s branded HealthXchange. This requires a deep level of technology integration between the two respective platforms. It also requires a higher level of sales and marketing investment by Eclipsys as HealthXchange is on the price sheet that their sales force takes to market. It’s no easy task to back-out of such a deep integration.
In speaking with Medicity’s CEO, Kipp Lassetter earlier today, Kipp stated that Eclipsys informed him that they remain “fully committed to the partnership.” Kipp went on to state that in addition to several wins to date, the partnership has a “number of deals in the works.” As with the AllScripts/dbMotion partnership, the objectives are the same, help large IDNs and hospital networks better link acute to ambulatory. HealthXchange is based more on Medicity’s MediTrust and layered in their some of their Novo Grid technology.
AllScripts+Eclipsys, Who Loses?
In any acquisition/merger there is a natural rationalization process, rationalization of staff, products and of course partnerships. The combined entity will now have two HIE partners and some rationalization may occur with one HIE vendor remaining at the alter, while the other walks away with the groom.
In their investor slidedeck, AllScripts, on slide 22, clearly shows HealthXchange in the Eclipsys solution portfolio stack. Looks like AllScripts certainly acknowledges the importance of HealthXchange, though it is curious that they have the solution under the columns of financial and administrative transactions and not clinical. Evenmore curious is that there is no mention of dbMotion and the AllScripts Community Record solution on this slide.
So does this mean dbMotion is the one that will be left standing alone at the alter?
Well, if anyone was left standing alone, it would likely be dbMotion, however, we do not believe this will happen for a couple of reasons:
First, though the relationship is barely a year old, AllScripts and dbMotion have benefited from landing a number of key wins, so why stop now?
Secondly, dbMotion has one of the more technologically advanced HIE solutions in the market today. It’s not cheap, but it does provide some pretty impressive capabilities that are not easily matched. And remember what we said earlier, dbMotion is more akin to Microsoft’s Amalga than it is to the traditional HIE solutions in the market today, including Medicity’s solution suite. Thus, there may actually be more opportunities to create synergies between these two companies and their offerings. The wildcard in this scenario is Microsoft’s partnership with Eclipsys wherein Eclipsys is now offering modular apps on top of the Amalga platform. Will this have any influence on the dbMotion partnership? That’s anyone’s guess today.
In closing, we see polygamy occurring with both Medicity and dbMotion playing a role in the combined AllScripts/Eclipsys organization. If done properly, everyone will benefit, especially customers. If done wrong, a major cluster f*ck in the making. These are capable companies with capable leadership, our bet is on a successful polygamist relationship.