Athenahealth buys Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's homegrown EHR system

Watertown, Massachusetts-based cloud provider athenahealth announced this week its purchase of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's (BIDMC) homegrown Web-based clinical application and electronic health record platform, known as WebOMR. The two organizations will also join forces to develop athenahealth's acute care services solutions.

The announcement, made Feb. 3, is a larger leap by athenahealth into the acute care EHR market. Earlier this year, it purchased RazorInsights and moved into the 50-bed and under inpatient market. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham will be the "alpha" development site for the new inpatient software. BIDMC, which boasts 185 providers in 38 locations, will begin to use athenahealth's suite of EHR, revenue cycle management and patient engagement solutions.

WebOMR was the first self-built EHR to achieve Meaningful Use certification.

In a related blog post explaining the deal, Beth Israel Deaconess CIO John Halamka noted that the "days of self-built systems cannot last forever" and that BIDMC has always focused on value and innovation.

"The HIT software of the future needs to leverage the experience of internet centric companies, offering cloud-hosted services with a zero client footprint, easily deployable in all sites of care," Halamka, who also serves on FierceHealthIT's Editorial Advisory Board, said. "There should be no special browser, desktop, or infrastructure requirements. ... The future belongs to social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. The transfer of our self-developed software to athenahealth will give the industry a unique opportunity to explore the cutting edge of the possible."

Athenahealth's purchase is merely the latest of acquisitions and deals in the EHR industry as vendors look to grow larger, gain a competitive edge and capture more of the market. Last year, athenahealth unseated Epic as the best EHR software vendor, according to the 2013 Best in KLAS report.

Meanwhile, Cerner Corporation finalized its acquisition of Siemens Health Services Feb. 2, and also announced a partnership with Siemens to pair Cerner's health IT with Siemens' device and imaging expertise.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the blog post