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Investors To Take Greenway Medical Private

Posted on October 14, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Health IT vendor Greenway Medical Technologies has agreed to be taken private by investment firm Vista Equity Partners for $644 million.  The deal, which comes less than two years after the company went public, will roll up Greenway with Vitera Healthcare Solutions LLC, a privately-held EMR vendor which is owned by Vista Equity, Reuters reports.

Vista has agreed to pay $20.35 per Greenway share, about 19 percent more than the stock’s Tuesday close of $17.13 on the New York Stock Exchange. The price is more than the Greenway shares have seen through its existence as a public company. (According to Reuters, the shares saw a lifetime high of $19.44 in November.)

Greenway has said that stockholders owning about 50.9 percent of its shares have agreed to tender in their holdings and vote to push the deal through. All of Greenway’s directors and some of its executive officers have also agreed to do so, according to the Reuters report.

Vista must have seen tremendous value in hooking up Vitera with Greenway. After all, it’s willing to take on a financially wobbly company that lost $5.1 million in its 2013 fiscal year ending June 30 and pay a premium for it. Although Greenway has regularly commented that many of their revenue issues stem from their move to a monthly revenue model.

If nothing else, the deal bulks up both sides to a level that can only help during an era of EMR consolidation. According to the two companies, the combined entity will serve almost 13,000 medical organizations and 100,000 providers. The new health IT company will be marketed under the Greenway brand.

This transaction made me think about a recent post by my colleague John Lynn regarding the status of the EMR vendor marketplace. It’s his view that we’re past the “Golden Age of EHR Adoption” and that things will be tougher for vendors than ever before. Assuming he’s right — and his thesis is pretty hard to argue — we should see a lot more consolidation deals taking place in the near future.

EMR Data Theft Returns!

Posted on August 8, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

My August 3rd post Data breaches and EMRs: bad guys or just dumb mistakes? discussed my skepticism about the DEFCON level we need to have regarding EMR and EHR.  I found it eyebrow-raising when Reuters was quick to distance itself from the author at the beginning of her article The road to electronic health records is lined with data thieves, which I have not often seen in EMR and EHR blogs.  After I read through it, I began to think that maybe the disclaimer had to do with the content of the post.  This story was a bit more interesting than Digitized medical records are easy prey, but all is not lost, the topic of my August 3rd commentary, in that it really highlighted more of the paranoia and fear about what could be rather than what probably will be.  I’ve also said in previous posts that it’s not that I believe electronic medical records are going to be completely secure and HIPAA compliant under all circumstances.  However, the following excerpts from the Reuters post drove me nuts with all the fear mongering that was clearly promoted.

Setting an epic tone for her piece, Constance Gustke begins discussing “The future of your personal health information…” and“gigantic Internet-driven databases”.  The rest of her post includes the following comments.  I admit they’re a bit voluminous, but the quotability here was difficult to resist.

“the data being stored is sensitive and so far it isn’t very secure,”

“… access explodes”.

“data breaches can have harmful effects, including medical discrimination.”

“we can’t see who uses our electronic records,” “And they can be back-door mined.”

“only 10 percent of all hospitals lock down their data”  “HHS investigations have found… dozens of data breaches… in New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Massachusetts, Georgia and Missouri.”

“patients can put their information at risk at home, too, using unsafe computers that may not be secure”

“wild west in terms of how data flows,”  

“Assets are roaming on the open ranges.  And the rustlers are out foxing us all.”

“identity thieves and other fraudsters”  

“Medical records are a gold mine of personal data, including Social Security numbers,”  “financial and medical information.”  “It shows everything about you.”

“Even more dangerous, stolen medical data can damage your healthcare.  There could be more healthcare discrimination,”

“government regulation is weak.” “doesn’t offer enough protections”  “no system can completely track access”.

“Currently, there are 281 cases listed, including hospitals, doctors and insurance companies that reported large data thefts, losses and other breaches. For example, HHS found that Massachusettes Eye & Ear Infirmary and Kaiser Permanente Medical both had medical data thefts.”

But which were cases of electronic theft that actually required hacking?  Which ones were specifically due to the fact that the records were stored on an EMR or EHR system and then electronically stolen?  This is to me perhaps the most important question, since without true electronic crime, a lot of the gusto cited above tends to be less grounded.  She doesn’t stop with EMRs, but rather goes on to warn, “Right now, portals put more information at risk.”  Okay, okay…  I think I get the message.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.