Federal EHR efforts could force vendor, practice consolidation

The federal push for interoperable EHRs could be a "steamroller" that forces yet another round of vendor consolidation and pushes physicians in small practices to join larger groups just to survive, one consultant predicts. Leonard Fuld, a Cambridge, MA, business analyst, reached this conclusion after conducting a "war game" with students from four top graduate business schools, and shared his findings with the New York Times.

The stimulus funding for health IT, according to Fuld, could make even large health EHR vendors--like Cerner, Epic Systems and Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions--attractive acquisition targets for Fortune 500 giants like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and another familiar health IT name, McKesson. At the same time, the cost and complexity of implementing EHRs threatens to overwhelm "hundreds of thousands of doctors in small practices," the Times reports, prompting those physicians to combine with group practices.

To read the entire interview with Fuld:
- click to this New York Times blog post