Neil Versel writes for Health-IT World on recent and future merger and acquisition in the health care IT market. The consensus: there will be more. The story is wrapped around Misys' acquisition of Payerpath, and provides a nice summary of recent deals.

According to [Misys Healthcare's CEO Tom] Skelton, Payerpath offers adds claims-scrubbing services and revenue cycle management to an existing Misys clearinghouse business, plus it brings Web-based practice management to Misys, a company without a lot of application service provider-type software.

This deal followed by less than two weeks the news that ambulatory EHR vendor Allscripts would acquire smaller competitor A4 Health Systems of Cary, N.C., for $272 million in cash and stock. Allscripts also announced that it would modify its partnership with IDX Systems in light of the fact that IDX recently was taken over by GE Healthcare.

A4 gives Allscripts a ready practice management and EHR product for small and mid-size group practices. Allscripts' TouchWorks already is adaptable for the smaller end of the market, but the Chicago-based company has been concentrating on the more lucrative large-group segment and on the ambulatory side of many academic health centers.

GE says it will honor the five years remaining on the 2001 alliance between Allscripts and IDX for the two companies to sell their products to each other's existing customers. Now, with A4 in the fold, Allscripts will be allowed to offer an integrated ambulatory EHR/practice management package to customers of IDX hospital systems.