HCA to acquire PatientKeeper

'Our combined companies are positioned to provide a unique approach to the electronic health record'
By Mike Miliard
10:42 AM
Shaking hands

Hospital Corporation of America will acquire PatientKeeper, which makes software that enables physicians to have a unified view of disparate patient data, for an undisclosed sum.

For more than a decade, PatientKeeper has developed apps that give doctors ways to see information aggregated from multiple systems across a hospital. Some 58,000 docs at community hospitals, academic medical centers and other providers use its technology, including apps for computerized provider order entry, charge capture, physician portals and more.

For the past seven years, physicians at some of the 164 HCA-affiliated hospitals have been using PatientKeeper to access a single view of their patients’ information across a variety of hospital systems. Officials say this streamlines workflow and makes for better patient care.

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By purchasing PatientKeeper outright, HCA hopes to apply some if its resources to the continued development of HCA’s electronic health record, officials say, and help its physicians make better use of its CPOE, medication reconciliation and documentation tools.

In a January 2013 interview, PatientKeeper President and CEO Paul Brient expressed his hope that the year ahead would be one where "hospital IT executives and physicians can link arms and become effective collaborators."

Too often, said Brient, the "propagation of physician-facing applications – CPOE, medication reconciliation, and all manner of EHRs" – has "had the unfortunate effect of pitting physicians against IT." A poor user experience often leads to reduced physician productivity, he said. "There's no other industry in the world that would accept reduced productivity as an outcome of automation."

With this acquisition, HCA sees itself taking "an important step toward the creation of an exceptional user experience for our clinicians to interact with patients’ electronic health records to provide and document care,” said Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, HCA’s chief medical officer, in a press statement. "Our combined companies are positioned to provide a unique approach to the electronic health record that will foster the safest and most effective care for our patients."

After the acquisition is finalized, Brient will serve as CEO of the organization, which will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of HCA. PatientKeeper’s approximately 160 employees will continue to work at its Waltham, Mass. headquarters.

“We have worked closely with HCA for many years and our teams share a passion for technology innovation that promotes continuous quality improvement in a way that truly saves physicians time,” said Brient, in a press statement. “This is an opportunity to align a software vendor with one of the leading healthcare providers in the world. It gives us a platform that will allow for real-time innovation and the opportunity to improve the delivery of healthcare.”

"HCA is investing in advanced, forward-looking informatics approaches to healthcare to improve usability, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of care," said Jim Jirjis, MD, chief health information officer at HCA, in a statement. "The acquisition of PatientKeeper is an important step in that direction. It gives us important influence in the layer of the electronic record that the doctor sees, creating an innovative platform for workflow improvement."

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