Industry consolidation, ambulatory edition

The news today is that Allscripts has agreed to acquire A4 Health Systems for $272 million in cash and stock. Allscripts also announced that it is modifying its partnership with IDX Systems in light of the fact that IDX recently was taken over by GE Healthcare and that A4 offers practice management software.

As previously reported, GE 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, Allscripts will be allowed to offer an integrated EHR/practice management package.

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.

I’m expecting to hear a lot of rumors fly at next month’s HIMSS conference about the next round of consolidation in ambulatory EHRs.