AthenaHealth Grabs Mobile Footprint With Agreement To Acquire Epocrates

Posted on January 8, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Practice management and EMR vendor athenahealth has signed a definitive agreement to buy mobile health information giant Epocrates Inc., in a move which emphasizes the importance of mobile channels to the the future of EMRs.

athenahealth has agreed to pay $11.75 per share for Epocrates, a hugely popular mobile point-of -care app which is very broadly adopted across the U .S. physician base.

The EMR vendor must have really wanted Epocrates badly; the deal, which values Epocrates at $293 million, represents a 22 percent premium over the closing price per share on Friday, January 4, 2013.  What’s more, athenahealth is tapping out its entire existing credit facility to offer an all-cash deal.

As for why athenahealth is so hot for Epocrates, I’ll let them explain. They say Epocrates ofers the following:

  • Better Information Access for Health Organizations — By combining Epocrates’ mobile expertise with knowledge and data from athenahealth’s cloud-based network, the combined company will be uniquely positioned to introduce new mobile applications that deliver high-value information to the clinical community when, where, and how they want it.
  • Advanced Mobile Workflows — the combined company will seek to pioneer new mobile workflows to improve provider efficiency and support care delivery outcomes; initial efforts will focus on care coordination, provider-to-provider communication, and patient engagement tools.
  • Accelerated Awareness and Growth Across the Physician Market — athenahealth would expand its current provider base of 38,000 to include the more than one million health care professionals on the Epocrates network, allowing athenahealth to build upon the highly favored Epocrates brand, recognized today by approximately 90 percent of practicing U.S. physicians.

You know what, all of the above makes a whole lot of sense. It seems far smarter to buy your way directly into phyician workflows with a trusted product like Epocrates than to compete against hundreds of me-too physician EMRs out there. Expect to see more deals like this in the future.