Medfusion acquires Medem, signs partnership with Allscripts

By Eric Wicklund
09:00 AM
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Medfusion is boosting its offerings for physicians and their patients with the acquisition of Medem’s iHealth suite of services and the iHealth PHR.

The company has also announced an agreement with Chicago-based Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions to provide the Medfusion patient portal to Allscripts’ electronic health record and practice management clients nationwide.

The Cary, N.C.-based provider of patient-to-provider online communication solutions boasts a weekly tally of 20,000 patients joining the company’s hosted portal to communicate with roughly 20,000 physicians using the company’s online solutions. Medem, founded by the American Medical Association and based in San Francisco, adds roughly 8,000 providers to Medfusion’s physician network, which provides access to the Medfusion Referral Portal.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to require physicians to provide electronic patient-to-provider communications as a condition of qualifying for incentive payments authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for both Medfusion and our clients," Steve Malik, Medfusion’s founder and CEO, said Tuesday.  "This acquisition will accelerate the expansion of our patient communication platform and enable Medfusion to provide even more value to physicians and patients.  With the ARRA stimulus funding nearly in place and the definition of ‘meaningful use’ to include patient access and communication, patient portal technologies are a necessity for physician practices today. The acquisition of the iHealth services allows Medfusion to both broaden our solution offering and provide even more options for physicians to enhance communication with their patients.”

Originally established in Raleigh, N.C. in 1996, Medfusion began providing medical Web site development and support to healthcare clients such as hospitals, physician groups and insurance companies. The company released the Virtual Office Suite in 1998 for physician practices looking for secure, interactive solutions for improving patient communications.

“The Medfusion suite of patient-provider communication services will offer new features and functions for iHealth providers that will advance care quality and efficiency,” added Ed Fotsch, MD, Medem’s CEO. “The combined Medfusion-iHealth network creates the dominant patient-provider network in the country.”

The Medfusion-Allscripts partnership, also announced Tuesday, creates the Allscripts Patient Portal, designed to enable patients to make appointment requests, renew prescriptions, view test results and conduct other common tasks on-line, including HIPAA-compliant secure messaging with their care team.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Allscripts in a way that aligns both companies to help physicians and their practices meet the guidelines for meaningful use of healthcare technology under the ARRA,” said Malik. “Patient involvement – through access and communication – in the management of their care is critical to reshaping healthcare in America, and Medfusion is proud to offer the platform to enable such change.”

“Physicians are eager to strengthen their relationship with patients and enhance the quality of care they provide by making the entire care process more efficient, more effective and easier for patients,” said Glen Tullman,
Allscripts’ CEO. “Our agreement with Medfusion, a true industry leader in patient portal solutions, offers physicians the best clinical and administrative communications solution available today, while satisfying the requirements that we believe will be approved by CMS.”