In a move that further broadens its expanding product suite, HealthTech Holdings — parent of Nashville, Tenn.-based Healthcare Management Systems Inc. (HMS) — has acquired Addison, Texas-based MEDHOST, a provider of emergency department (ED) systems.
The companies will develop an integrated ED system to be used with the HMS health information system (HIS) for community hospitals.
“We think this will be a big win for our customers,” said Tom Stephenson, CEO of HMS, which has over 650 community hospital clients. “They will be able to acquire a functionally rich ED solution right from us, a company they have worked with for years — it becomes more attractive when its one-stop shopping.”
In an interview with healthsysemCIO.com, Stephenson stressed that neither company’s customers would experience any dip in service levels as the two organization work to get in synch. “MEDHOST will essentially operate as an independent entity. Their support and implementation staff will not be pulled onto HMS accounts, nor will our team be pulled onto MEDHOST projects.”
While MEDHOST will continue to provide ED systems for large community and tertiary hospitals, Stephenson did say HMS would work with the newly acquired organization to develop a scaled-down version of its ED system for cash-constrained community hospitals – the core of HMS’s customer suite. “I think, by and large, our customers do not have an ED system, so we’ll focus on creating something that can work for them.”
Stephenson said community hospitals have been reluctant to venture into the best-of-breed space on their own, with all the integration work that necessarily entails. “But now they can come to us with any issues.” In addition, he says the company has a sophisticated integration strategy that goes beyond the surface-level interface many vendors weave between acquired products.
“Of course, when you develop a product from scratch, there is a deeper level of integration, but we plan to go three of four levels deep — beyond the exchange of ADT and demographic information between the HIS and ED,” said Stephenson, who started his career as a programmer.
Though there may be some opportunities to sell HMS’s core system into the MEDHOST client base, the main fuel for the acquisition came from sales prospects in the other direction. That’s because most organizations either don’t have an ED system or are often frustrated with the one that came as part of an enterprise package. “ED physicians demand a level of functionality that is often lacking in the offerings from enterprise vendors,” said Stephenson.
The most attractive selling point to hospital administrators, however, isn’t around clinical workflow at all, but rather a robust charge capture feature which can keep ED dollars from walking out the door. “Charge capture is a huge part of the ED system,” says Stephenson.
This acquisition comes on the heels of HMS’ addition of the HMS Ambulatory EHR, which enabled the company to offer a clinical package that incorporates physician practice management and EHR functionality to facilitate care between the physician office and hospital.