Athenahealth revenue up 13% in 2017 as CEO Jonathan Bush predicts continued growth

athenahealth headquarters
Although an industry "sugar low" impacted bookings, Athenahealth saw revenue increase to $1.2 billion in 2017. (Athenahealth)

Athenahealth saw double-digit growth in 2017 boosted by fourth-quarter revenue that came in on the high end of projections.

Although year-end financials came in below estimates, the company expects it will maintain that level of growth with a leaner business that will focus heavily on health IT services that reduce burden and costs for providers.

“We’re going to keep growing—double digits,” CEO Jonathan Bush said in an earnings call.

Total revenue reached $1.22 billion in 2017, up 13% from the previous year, according to year-end financials released on Thursday. Fourth quarter revenue was $329.2 million, a 14% increase compared to the fourth quarter in 2016. The company also saw a 15% increase in providers on its network.

The company experienced double-digit growth despite a $55 million dip in consolidated bookings compared to the previous year. Bush pointed to weaker demand throughout 2017 in an industry that “is in the midst of a sugar low” in the wake of the HITECH Act.

In October, the Athenahealth announced it would shutter offices in San Francisco and Princeton, New Jersey, and trimmed its workforce by 9% as part of a strategic plan to streamline operational efficiencies. The workforce reductions will save an estimated $115 million by the end of 2018.

Later that month, the company raised speculation about a possible takeover when it filed a new change in control severance plan for its top executives.

RELATED: Athenahealth’s recent SEC filing stokes speculation about a potential takeover

The Massachusetts-based vendor plans to navigate the declining demand for EHRs by focusing services that can cut costs and simplify administrate tasks. Bush said the company plans to “go after a long tail of microaggressions on the practice of medicine that we all so abhor.”

He also highlighted steps the company is taking to improve interoperability. Athenahealth has connected with nearly one-third of all Epic sites and three-quarters of Cerner sites through CommonWell and California Health eQuality, according to Bush.