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Ambulatory EHR and Health System M&A on the Rise – What System Replacement Means for Legacy Data Management

01.24.2018

After expanding its hospital footprint with the McKesson acquisition in October of 2017, Allscripts recently announced it is buying Practice Fusion in a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018. This purchase aims to expand Allscript’s client base in the ambulatory/outpatient market.

The ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) market is in big-time growth mode. The global ambulatory EHR market is expected to reach $5.20 billion by 2021 from $3.92 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 5.8% during the forecast period. The major drivers for the market include government support for the adoption of healthcare IT, growing usage of EHR solutions, and the need to curtail healthcare costs.

While there are many areas spurring this increase, e-prescribing is expected to witness the fastest growth in demand during the forecast period in the ambulatory EHR market according to industry reports.

Further, EHR giant Epic is expanding its product offering to provide additional options for the various-sized players within the healthcare landscape. Epic is expected to release its new Sonnet software in early 2018 – which is designed for small hospitals, physician groups and post-acute care facilities. This product leverages a compact method for installation, which only takes a few months. It also will be interoperable with its mid-size Utility and full-service All-Terrain products.

The target market for the Sonnet product is physician practices and smaller hospitals, such as critical access hospitals, which may benefit from the lower price points and shorter implementation times. Another target market is medium-sized community hospitals, which may want a lower starting price point with the option for a more advanced EHR version later on.

While EHR giants such Cerner and Epic may dominate the market, research shows no single company comprises even 20 percent of the EHR industry. Because no single vendor monopolizes the entire market, smaller vendors, local sales, and web-based offerings still have a chance of getting a reasonable foothold in the industry.

While EHR vendors are bustling with M&A activity, hospital merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has increased significantly in the past decade as well, with buyers and sellers looking to create operational, strategic, and financial value. Between 2008 and 2014, there were more than 750 hospital acquisitions or mergers. In a recent study by The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), they reported that, through M&A, health system investments in technology, quality improvement, ancillary services, or shared services can be spread across a broader base post-transaction. The study reported that nearly 40 percent of all survey respondents used the capital to upgrade or implement clinical information systems, the top-reported use of capital.

The healthcare IT landscape is being reinvented with market consolidation, M&A and technology advancements. What does this mean for your legacy health data systems?

Archiving Supports a Secure Solution for Legacy EHRs

A well-planned legacy data management strategy alleviates future IT costs, risks and burdens as platforms come and go. Long-term medical data archive vendors that know the EMR market inside and out offer secure solutions that ensure data integrity and meet HIPAA, state and agency medical record retention requirements.

If your organization is working through the burden of what to do with an acquired system or with having numerous outdated legacy systems, this might be the time to contact Harmony Healthcare IT, the makers of Health Data Archiver, for a consultation about system replacement and data retention.