Athenahealth Going to Inpatient EHR School

Posted on February 4, 2015 I Written By

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In case you missed it, Athenahealth announced a collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the purchase of their webOMR platform. This comes on the heels of Athenahealth’s acquisition of RazorInsight’s inpatient EHR. Here’s a short video where Jonathan Bush and John Halamka talk about the acquisition:

When you dig into the details of the acquisition, you realize that Athenahealth isn’t going to sell the webOMR software. They’ve purchased the right to be able to copy what’s been built into that EHR software and no doubt bake it into the RazorInsights software. Plus, they’ll have the people at BIDMC providing feedback and guidance as Athenahealth builds out a full inpatient EHR platform that can compete with Epic and Cerner. Jonathan Bush makes it clear that it’s going to take a couple years to make this full vision come to pass, but he believes building it on the right technology will make all the difference as they go after the inpatient EHR market.

I have to admit that I think KLAS got it right when they said that this deal is really about Athenahealth going to inpatient EHR school:

No doubt this was also a way for Athenahealth to get into BIDMC in order to sell their ambulatory software. As part of the deal they’re starting the rollout of Athenahealth ambulatory EHR to a few of their clinics. It will be interesting to hear how that goes since it will say a lot about how the future BIDMC partnership will go for Athenahealth. No doubt, Athenahealth is going to throw all of its resources at the implementation to make sure they’re a success.

This move by Athenahealth is a big one and fraught with risk. It combines the complicated hospital environment with an existing software base and the acquisition of another software base as they integrate a third software base’s experience into a new platform for inpatient EHR. Yeah, nothing could go wrong with that mix. Of course, in a high stakes game of poker when there’s a lot of risk, there’s a lot of reward. Jonathan Bush and Athenahealth have pushed their chips all in. We’ll see the final card in about 2-3 years.