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Monday, January 29, 2018

Practice Fusion: canary, meet coal mine?

Back when I was with the REC, I had some clinics on Practice Fusion. It was OK. They gave us all "sandbox" "registered user" accounts so we could kick the WKFL tires -- as did a number of other vendors. 

Most of my caseload was eCW, and I had to be up to speed on about a dozen others.

I didn't care all that much for PF, but my docs seemed to like it. Interesting story on them of late.
Employees at Practice Fusion expected IPO riches, but got nothing as execs pocketed millions
  • Practice Fusion sold for $100 million, after reports in 2016 said the company might go public at a $1.5 billion valuation.
  • Documents show the company was looking for a buyer and that bids were a fraction of that price.
  • Executives pulled in millions as part of a pre-arranged deal, while common shareholders were wiped out.
CNBC, Christina Farr: @chrissyfarr
Allscripts' Practice Fusion Deal Brings EHR Consolidation Down to Small-Practice Level

When the healthcare information technology (IT) firm Allscripts announced this month its $100 million cash deal to acquire the cloud-based electronic health records (EHR) vendor Practice Fusion, the Chicago-based company said part of its rationale was the desire to grow its reach among smaller providers.

“Practice Fusion's affordable EHR technology supports traditionally hard-to-reach independent physician practices, and its cloud-based infrastructure aligns with Allscripts forward vision for solution delivery,” said Rick Poulton, Allscripts’ president, in a press release announcing the agreement.

The deal highlights what has been a persistent challenge for many EHR vendors: penetrating the small-practice market…

Allscripts had 2016 revenues of $1.55 billion, and although it’s still significantly smaller than competitors like Epic and Cerner, the company has been growing its footprint in the hospital sector, most notably through its August 2017 acquisition of McKesson Corp.’s Enterprise Information Solutions business.

Allscripts believes the deal will be a win for Practice Fusion’s clients, as they say their acquisition will add value and additional services to its offerings. That could help the merged company stand out in the crowded field.

However, Allscripts won’t necessarily need to alter its services to help smaller practices…

Sorry. Just a Photoshop Moment. It's a chronic affliction.

More news,
Health IT eyes M&A as market grows up

Allscripts CEO Paul Black issued a prescient ultimatum in October on a stage at Health 2.0.

"Either we need to disrupt ourselves or somebody in this room will come in and disrupt us because it's too easy now that everything is digital," he said.

Allscripts revealed this week it had purchased its cloud-based competitor Practice Fusion for $100 million.

Practice Fusion once touted a $1 billion valuation and toyed with going public. In the end, the company was sold for less than the investment capital it raised. Venrock investor Bob Kocher called the news "disappointing."

The story points to a larger consolidation trend sweeping across the industry. A confluence of factors is driving the pairings-up, including exhausted Meaningful Use funds, a tapped EHR market and shift toward consumer-centric models. That's driving larger players like Allscripts to hunt for new revenue streams with smaller targets to add code, staff or customer reach.

But the larger companies can't rest on their laurels; new entrants — some major players the likes of Apple — are lurking in every garage in Silicon Valley.

"The EHR market is saturated [and] consolidation is very clear," Kenneth Kleinberg, vice president of research at Chilmark Research, told Healthcare Dive. "Four, five [or] six players is about what we're looking [at] for 2018.”…
Be interesting to see what shakes out this year. There's a ton of ambulatory EHRs out there, but the Meaningful Use gravy train is now over.

The EHR griping continues, too.
Highly Experienced Physicians Leaving Medicine Due to Electronic Medical Records
Yves here. We’ve posted off and on for at least the past five years, via the dogged coverage at the Health Care Renewal website, over the way that electronic medical records are undermining the delivery of health care. Some readers instinctively reject that idea, but that is due to not understanding that these systems are entirely about billing, not about diagnosis or treatment, and regularly force doctors to navigate through numerous irrelevant screens before they get to the parts that are relevant to their patient. That wastes time and dilutes the doctor’s focus…
Yeah. Recall my recent little Twitter spat with "Healthcare_Kate?"

Paper is not better. And -- tedious to keep repeating -- that is not to assert that EHRs are adequately aligned uniformly in support of clinical cognition, clinical WKFL, and patients needs.

More to come...

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