Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

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Allscripts Buys Practice Fusion to Bulk Up on Big Data, EHR, Life Sciences

Allscripts will purchase cloud-based EHR vendor Practice Fusion for $100 million in cash, expanding Allscripts' big data-driven portfolio for providers and life science companies.

Allscripts buys Practice Fusion

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Allscripts has announced that it will acquire Practice Fusion, a health IT vendor offering a cloud-based EHR and data analytics tools for life science companies, for $100 million in cash.

The acquisition will allow Allscripts to extend its big data analytics capabilities, gain clientele among smaller physician practices, and continue to deliver data-driven solutions to the life science sector.

“By adding Practice Fusion offerings to our portfolio, Allscripts will be further positioned for continued growth and long-term leadership in healthcare,” said Allscripts President Rick Poulton.

Practice Fusion is perhaps most well-known for its cost effective electronic health record solutions aimed at smaller practices. 

With a cloud-based design and automatic system updates, the vendor has seen significant success among specialty and primary care providers without the budgets or IT staff to support complex and costly on premise implementations.

READ MORE: How the CVS, Aetna Deal Will Overhaul Healthcare Big Data Analytics

Allscripts, meanwhile, has seen success with larger clients in both the inpatient and ambulatory settings. 

After a difficult period at the beginning of the decade, marked by changes in leadership, legal wrangling over the discontinuation of its MyWay product suite, and speculation of a sale, the company has quickly rebounded to consistently rank among the top vendors in the field.

The acquisition of Practice Fusion is intended to continue this upward progress, says Poulton, by bringing more of the small practice EHR market into the Allscripts fold. This will allow Allscripts and Practice Fusion clients to improve their population health management and care coordination skills while aligning with Allscripts' plans for the future.

“Combined with Practice Fusion, we expect Allscripts to continue to drive innovation in addressing gaps-in-care, improving clinical outcomes and real-world-evidence research,” he said.

“Plus, 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.”

READ MORE: Epic, Cerner Get Tepid Population Health User Satisfaction Scores

Allscripts also plans to benefit from Practice Fusion’s experience in the life sciences industry.  Practice Fusion has been actively involved in research and clinical trials while offering data analytics, surveillance, and marketing solutions to life science companies.

In February of 2017, Practice Fusion launched a medication safety surveillance tool that integrates with its EHR offering, enabling providers and pharmaceutical developers to better report, track, and address adverse events.

The tool is part of the company’s emphasis on leveraging real-world evidence collected in the EHR to improve population health management and fuel clinical trials.

Allscripts has taken a similarly active role in the burgeoning precision medicine ecosystem. 

As a participant in the National Precision Medicine Initiative and the owner of 2bPrecise, which offers big data analytics and data management tools for precision medicine projects, Allscripts has also focused on integrating genomics and clinical trials into the provider experience.  Combining the two sets of offerings may create more options for providers and life science developers to collaborate on personalized treatments that are safe and effective.

READ MORE: How Big Data Analytics Companies Support Value-Based Healthcare

The acuqisition deal follows a number of intriguing partnerships and buy-outs in the health IT industry, several of which have been moves by Allscripts itself.

In August of 2017, Allscripts paid $185 million to purchase McKesson’s hospital and health system information solutions division.  In the same month, it acquired NantHealth’s patient engagement assets, two years after taking a $200 million stake in Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong’s company.

The actions followed IBM’s combined $3.6 billion investments in Truven Health Analytics and Merge Healthcare, as well as the massive $67 billion merger between Dell Inc. and EMC Corp.

And since the summer of 2017, CVS has purchased Aetna for $69 billion in another strategic maneuver largely driven by population health and analytics, while mainly consumer-driven technology companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all making significant investments in healthcare tech.

With a partnership between Amazon and Cerner unfolding in November – and Cerner’s successful bid to modernize the VA’s aging EHR infrastructure, it comes as little surprise that Allscripts is actively working to maintain its position as one of the largest health IT vendors with respectable user satisfaction ratings.

Allscripts will still have continue to fight difficult battles against its traditional main competitors in the EHR space, including Cerner, Epic Systems, and MEDITECH – as well as new entrants in the field with sharper focuses on population health, machine learning, or clinical decision support. 

But the purchase of Practice Fusion is likely to help Allscripts’ reach into one of the last remaining EHR markets with significant room for growth: the small practices, specialists, and solo physicians that have thus far remained somewhat disconnected from the resources and big data analytics capabilities of the larger health IT ecosystem.

“Allscripts’ highest priority remains to successfully meet healthcare providers’ highly complex needs as we enable them to lead the change to smarter care,” Poulton said.

“We believe this transaction will directly benefit Practice Fusion clients, who will now have access to Allscripts solutions and services. We look forward to welcoming Practice Fusion team members to our family.”

Subject to the usual conditions of such a sale, including antitrust considerations, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

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