IBM To Purchase Consulting Firm Healthlink as Part of Electronic Health Records Effort
IBM on Tuesday was expected to announce the acquisition of Healthlink, a Houston-based consulting firm and "leader in the fast-growing niche business of helping hospitals and clinics convert to electronic health records," the New York Times reports. IBM has not disclosed how much it is paying for Healthlink, which employs 625 people.
The Bush administration's goal for all people in the United States to have electronic health records within 10 years is expected to cause a "surge" in spending on health care information technology, the Times reports. Industry experts said they expect more "investment in heath information technology and accelerate[d] consolidation among suppliers," according to the Times.
Neil de Crescenzo, head of IBM's health care consulting business, said, "This really strengthens our skills, especially in clinical systems and processes."
Ivo Nelson, CEO of Healthlink, said, "Only companies like IBM, with deep technology and financial resources, are going to be able to pull this off" (Lohr, New York Times, 4/26).
IBM officials on Monday said that the company is developing a test system to help identify the best standards for sharing electronic medical information among health care providers, insurance companies and patients. The test project -- the Interoperable Health Information Infrastructure -- will use a variety of real and false data to determine the best way to establish an interoperable system and work out problems that might arise before the network is deployed globally, according to de Crescenzo (California Healthline, 4/25).