Ingenix bets on intensive care with Picis buy

Ingenix, a consultant to doctors and hospitals, bought Picis, whose software focuses on "high-acuity" areas of the hospital space -- places like emergency rooms, surgical suites, and intensive care recovery rooms.

Correction: While the press release and other stories about this indicate Ingenix was the buyer, and a quick check told me Ingenix is privately-held, it turns out Ingenix is a unit of UnitedHealth, the health insurance company. My apologies for the error.

Ingenix, best known as a consultant to doctors and hospitals, has decided its future lies in the most intensive areas of the hospital space, buying Picis and keeping its management in place.

Picis software focuses on what it calls "high-acuity" areas of the hospital space -- places like emergency rooms, surgical suites, and intensive care recovery rooms.

Most of the expected growth coming to hospital IT from the HITECH stimulus involves Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other systems used not just throughout a hospital but in clinics and (through portals) by patients themselves. This deal seems to fly in the face of it.

But Ingenix hopes that its presence in the ER and ICU can give it an entree to sell consulting services and coding resources, as well as a play in the growing area of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) -- moving EHRs among hospitals and doctors under the emerging NHIN Connect standards.

With hospitals expected to be awash in cash thanks to savings from the stimulus, Ingenix could still find itself a major beneficiary of hospital dollars.

The deal also gives Picis a measure of independence. There is no overlap between Ingenix' current product line and what Picis offers. That might not have been the case with other acquirers.

The price of the deal was not disclosed. Ingenix is privately held and based in Salt Lake City. Picis is also privately held and based in Massachusetts. Maybe they'll see some Novell executives on the plane.

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