Medsphere makes big merger move

Companies move toward comprehensive, interoperable IT solutions
By Bernie Monegain
10:50 AM
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putting puzzle pieces together

Medsphere Systems and Richardson, Texas-based Phoenix Health Systems have merged.

The merger, officials say, adds Phoenix's information technology expertise to Medsphere's existing focus on VA VistA and VistA-derived systems. Moving forward, Phoenix Health Systems will retain its name and operate as a division of Medsphere. The expanded company will now offer a broader portfolio of IT services, including hosting and cloud-based interoperability, IT service desk support and project management around many EHR solutions, including enterprise OpenVista.

The companies announced the merger April 2. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

[See also: BT bets on Medsphere's 'open' EHR.]

Derived from the VistA system developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, OpenVista is a comprehensive EHR combining both clinical and financial applications. Medsphere has enhanced VistA to meet the particular functional needs of federal, non-federal and international hospitals and the availability, for example, mobility and requirements of modern physicians.

Phoenix provides a service set that encompasses systems implementation, compliance project management – such as meaningful use, service desk, end-user device management, infrastructure support, application management and IT leadership.

"Medsphere is very pleased to announce this merger with Phoenix, which really is the most natural thing we could do given our existing relationship and complementary skill sets," said Medsphere President and CEO Irv Lichtenwald, in a press statement. "Our focus on hospitals with financial constraints and limited internal health IT support clearly suggests a need to grow into a one-stop shop for all health IT services. It makes good business sense for Medsphere and Phoenix, and it creates a single source of systems and support for our clients."

The services now available under the Medsphere banner will give hospitals cost-cutting options such as remote or cloud-based EHR access, an outsourced help desk, additional training and other system efficiencies, company officials said. It will also create more resources devoted to complete interoperability between OpenVista or another EHR and all third-party applications.

[See also: Medsphere Silver Hill.]

"The unification of Medsphere and Phoenix is very exciting for us because it enables us to apply our expertise where we think it will be most valuable – on affordable, adoptable and flexible systems that improve patient care," said Phoenix Chairman and CEO Ronald Gue, in a news release. "Phoenix and Medsphere have clients across the continuum of care, and Phoenix has the experience and personnel to enhance the effectiveness of IT adoption regardless of clinical setting or hospital size."