What the Eclipsys story tells us

Summary:While EMR software may have low penetration the business of hospital software, for decision support and other functions, is decades' old. System integration between this past and the big-time future will not be easy for anyone.

What is up with Eclipsys?

The Atlanta-based hospital software company lost its savior, Andrew Eckert, and the shares fell 10% just a month after a big hedge fund, Tremblant, took a big stake in the company.

Eckert had engineered a reboot of the company which included lay-offs, a move to Atlanta from Florida, and the purchase of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) outfit, MediNotes, last year.

On the surface very little is going on. The company announced a nice pop in earnings for its recent quarter, Eckert said he was just tired of commuting from Silicon Valley. The new boss is Philip Pead (above), formerly head of Per-Se Technologies in the Atlanta suburbs, which was acquired by McKesson in 2007.

Underneath a lot has gone on and continues going on. The company was once tied closely to Unisys, a lot of its technical people are on Long Island, This is an old-line hospital software outfit Eckert had to reinvent for a Windows-compatible world.   

Pead had been Eckert's CFO, and seems bent on bringing a sales focus to the company. It's easy to see Eclipsys delivering solid returns to investors thanks to the HITECH law. or gaining value as an acquisition target, with McKesson a possible buyer.

Maybe Eclipsys is ready to fly on its own.

But before you take any sales pitch from any hospital software vendor at face value consider this.

While EMR software may have low penetration the business of hospital software, for decision support and other functions, is decades' old. System integration between this past and the big-time future will not be easy for anyone, customers or vendors.

Look under the hood of any experienced vendor and you're going to find some old code. Under Eckert Eclipsys has cleaned the surface of its product line, but is everything modern under the hood?

It's a question worth asking any vendor.

Topics: Software, CXO, Data Centers, Enterprise Software, Health, IT Employment

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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