Chicago-based Allscripts Healthcare Solutions has further solidified its position in the connected health platform space with its acquisition of HealthGrid — and an Allscripts executive says more M&A activity is ahead.
Allscripts — which provides physician practices, hospitals, and other health care providers with practice management and electronic health record technology — acquired the health care IT division of McKesson for $185 million in cash last fall before laying out another $100 million to pick up Silicon Valley's Practice Fusion electronic health record platform earlier this year. The company closed its $60 million cash deal for HealthGrid in May. Improving the level of patient engagement with providers – while boosting Allscripts' customer base and product portfolio — was the driving force behind each of these deals, according to Jim Hewitt, executive vice president of solutions development for Allscripts, who sat down with Crain's last week to discuss the string of acquisitions — and hint at what's ahead.
"We firmly believe there will be continued consolidation in the health IT market, down to maybe three to four major players," Hewitt said. "We're doing what we need to do to make sure we are one of those three." The deal with McKesson represented a synergistic fit, he said, while the HealthGrid acquisition was all about snapping up a patient-engagement tool that will be valuable to Allscripts going forward.
That tool was the brainchild of Raj Toleti, the co-founder of HealthGrid who was recently honored as "Entrepreneur of the Year" for Florida in the health care technology category. Toleti previously founded (and later sold) two other companies in this same field of patient engagement technology, Galvanon and Cytura. He launched HealthGrid in early 2015 with an emphasis on incorporating smartphone technology into the provider-patient equation.
Patients are becoming more and more comfortable with communicating with their health care providers and their office staffs online — and especially via smartphone. Integrating HealthGrid with Allscripts' existing platform, called FollowMyHealth, will make life easier for patients and health care workers, providing a single platform for accessing test results and medical history, booking appointments, paying outstanding bills, and completing myriad other functions.
"We truly believe patient engagement is going to be a platform play," Toleti said. "Patients want one, unified platform across care settings."
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