Health Data Management had a story last week about vendor consolidation in the health care IT market. I've written about this before here and here. The gist of the story goes, the economy is strong, stock prices are up, let's go shopping! Certainly some vendors have sound strategic reasons for acquisitions. But, judging by the historical track record of acquisitions and mergers (which is pretty poor), most corporations must have excess capital burning a hole in their pocket that they'd rather spend than give back to stockholders. The current acquisition frenzy is further justified by the following canard:
The impetus behind the consolidation trend is the fact that many health
care organizations want to consolidate the numbers of vendors they deal
with. The effort to build a national health information
network--anchored by regional health information organizations--has put
a premium on information systems interoperability.
To ease the task, providers are looking to reduce the number of
disparate systems in their organizations, says Randall Lipps, chairman,
president and CEO at Omnicell Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based
vendor of ancillary information systems. As a result, hospitals want
to buy a total solution from a single vendor, he adds.
There is something to be said for a well integrated suite of applications sold and supported by one vendor. Sadly, just because they're all sold by the same vendor is little indication as to the extent or quality of integration. In addition, the scope of hospital information systems is getting so broad - from medical device integration to RHIOs - that the expectation that any single vendor can provide everything is becoming unrealistic. That's why you hear vendors talking about software architectures that facilitate easier and higher quality systems integration.