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June 10, 2010 News 7 Comments

EHRs: It’s Business, But…

Here we go again! Over the past two years, I’ve discovered a new least favorite phrase: “So, what does this acquisition mean for my EHR?”

I started with Eclipsys’ PeakPractice back in the days of yore when it was Bond Technologies’ Clinician. In fact, I was one of their earliest adopters. I lived through the February ’08 acquisition by MediNotes and was a little less “plussed” when later that fall MediNotes itself was acquired by Eclipsys. (’08 became dubbed The Year of the Acquisitions by Clinician devotees.) Clinician was redubbed PeakPractice by Eclipsys. (I personally preferred Apollo or Solstice or some other thematically consistent, astronomically-related name, but what do I know?)

Now, about a year and a half later, just when it was really feeling as if the solar dust was settling, here we go again playing “Owner, owner, who’s now the owner?” with the Allscripts acquisition of Eclipsys announced this morning. Two to three years ago, I remember talking with some good industry folks about the coming deluge of acquisitions, mergers, and vendor disappearances coming in the EHR vendor world, but, boy, oh, boy, I never thought that lightening would hit my home so many times so often in so short a time!

Over the years, I‘ve grown quite fond of many of the folks behind this product. They have been berry, berry good to me. So don’t get me wrong: I’m not looking to bite the hands I feed. (Yes, I remember that I paid them, not vice versa.) But, despite my concerns for both my friends there and for the going forwardness of my current EHR, I’d like to offer a bit of advice to Phil Pead and Glen Tullman. (Maybe I should now alter that billing to Tullman and then Pead.)

Guys, I trust (or hope and pray) that you’re going to do right by Clinician…er…PeakPractice…er, whatever the new Allscripts tag may be. But, I listened to your webcast this morning and reviewed all the Web sites and press releases. I understand that public companies have a responsibility to their shareholders and that, even with privately held companies, business is business. Still, we are dealing here with one of the most intimate of issues: people’s healthcare and its delivery.

From the small end user’s perspective, I found the preponderance of information about the financials and the relative dearth of information about the actual, specific plans for the healthcare delivery tools somewhat disheartening. Goodness, I could barely even find a reference to PeakPractice in all of the available info. (One slide on the webcast, I think, mentioned it.) If you were selling hamburgers, I wouldn’t much care about the plans for mustard or special sauce. But, having been there before…and before…this has a huge potential impact on my practice, my patients, and what’s left of my general state of mind.

I was really glad to see the attention to the open Helios platform, very forward-thinking, I think. And, from my little viewpoint, I think this whole deal could end up as a good move all round (he said, hopefully). But, please, guys, remember this ain’t burgers and fries you’re vending.

Maybe these repeated buy-ups are an indication of Clinician’s strengths. Maybe PeakPractice will acquire some of the better parts and pieces of Allscripts products. Maybe I’m just getting acquisi-dizzy, but, I’d really just like to even out this rollercoaster EHR ride for a while!

From the dizzying trenches…

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician, directs the “Pediatric Office of the Future” exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council for ModernMedicine.com. More of his blather…er, writings…can be found at his blog, practice web site or directly from doc@madisonpediatric.com.

Comments 7
  • Loved your take on what these mergers do to the folks actually using the product. I also noticed the conference call focus on financial aspects and engineering, very little said about product plans. These guys love to talk about synergies, while the number of different products needing to be serviced explodes, leading to loss of focus, loss of people, loss of institutional memory about the users and products.

    The Allscripts-Misys team was still trying to sort out their own dynamics, now they add another whole dimension to it.

    I hope this turns out to be a good thing, but I’ve seen this movie before. It is usually not pretty.

  • Dr. A. – I talked to Eclipsys management last night and they are going to keep Peak practice as one of their primary offerings. I think the most comforting thing for you should be the fact that Peak Practice is built with Microsoft’s .Net technology, which is the same technology that Eclipsys’ Sunrise hospital platform is built on and it is the same technology that Allscripts has built their software platforms on. I always thought it was interesting that Eclipsys bought MediNotes and then decided to push the Bond Technologies product that had a much smaller user base. It was because MediNotes is not .Net based and the Bond Technologies product is .Net based.

    [From Gregg – thanks, IM. Yes, my understanding back it ’08 was that MediNotes was purchased mostly to obtain the Bond product and its sexy technology – and the MediNotes client base, of course.]

  • Get backup NOW……just in case your’deemed’ unimportant.

  • You should just be glad that they kept the astronomical theme with Helios!

  • $30,000 bets you’ll have to pony up that much in 1-2 years to convert to another Allscripts Product. Likely Allscripts Professional. That’s what happened with all of us Misys EMR types.

  • I was also a medinotes notes user. To be honest, it is getting tougher to keep getting gouged in the new environment. I paid for modules, licenses, and spent hours with tech support. I remember when they had an update from 4.0 to 5.0 that was really disappointing.
    At this point, I’m headed to Practice Fusion. I’ve tried it out and it seems to be working well. I asked for my data just to see what would happen and within a day, I had a hyperlinked excel document sent to me. It had all my pts, notes, data etc. If they go belly up, I’m not stuck in some proprietary system, I’ll still be able to print and send stuff and review chart notes. They are also free, so I might be able to stop giving thousands of dollars away every time a vendor feels like rinsing and repeating the fleecing process.

  • LOVED the “every time a vendor feels like rinsing and repeating the fleecing process” comment!!!

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