These few stories may be straws in the wind, or may be little streams rushing to a bigger confluence. You be the judge!
AthenaHealth kicks butt in its most recent quarterly numbers, showing a 35% increase in revenue and a change to a profit compared to a loss the same quarter a year before. This marks the second quarter that once the post-IPO euphoria cooled down, they’ve been delivering on their numbers. Now stock-wise this may all remain tricky—the PE ratio still looks like 90’s dotcom stock, but what’s more interesting is the strategy.
After adding the Clinicals EMR to the core practice management Collector product, yesterday AthenaHealth bought a little company called MedicalMessaging for $7.7 million. What’s interesting about that is that it provides a front end for doctors using the AthenaHealth system to provide those little functions to their patients like online visits, record summaries, Rx refills, appointment booking and all the other stuff that needs to go online to make today’s doctor office more user friendly.
So Athenahealth now enables it’s doctors to go up against the big
systems (like Kaiser, Caregroups et al) that are already providing those
services. And combined with the Clinicals product, they’re spreading
their footprint well beyond collections and practice management to the
point where they’re starting to integrate patient data to and from many
So what else suggests that this is starting to happen? Well just
last week McKesson’s RelayHealth — the market leader (albeit in a
pretty weak market) in email visits linked up with HealthVault. So now there are more ways for patient-centered data to be moved around.
And today via HISTalk there’s a rumor
that United Healthgroup, a big Kahuna in insurer world, has decided to
let its members data “go free” into Healthvault and Google Health.
We keep waiting for that day when data can flow and then services
can be overlayed on top. Then consumers can get more efficient
services from their physicians.
Well it’s getting a teeny bit closer.