AdvancedMD sale to ADP shows new side of EMR consolidation

Here’s an interesting one from the world of mergers and acquisitions: Human resources and payroll services and firm Automatic Data Processing (ADP) announced Tuesday that it has purchased EMR and practice management systems vendor AdvancedMD for an undisclosed sum.

I’d say this is part of the expected consolidation that federally sanctioned certification was supposed to bring to the market, except that ADP’s only experience in healthcare to date has been in providing HR, payroll and benefits management services to approximately 13,500 physician practices. Those are the same types of services ADP offers to any business, so the AdvancedMD purchase represents uncharted territory for the company. ADP now bills itself as “uniquely positioned as an integrated, single-source provider of Medical Practice Optimization,” whatever that means.

Interestingly, I learned at HIMSS last week that at least a couple of new EMR vendors had spent tens thousands of dollars developing systems then getting products certified, but still hadn’t found or even looked very far for customers. They were at HIMSS to find marketing partners.

Right now, the EMR market doesn’t seem to be consolidating into the hands of a few, large vendors, but actually branching out. As of this evening, ONC’s Certified Health IT Products List includes 298 ambulatory systems and 129 inpatient products. That’s greater than 400  total, or about a third more than the last time I looked back in December. The market may actually be expanding faster than it’s consolidating. The ADP acquisition of AdvancedMD represents a different kind of consolidation, one with a company outside healthcare repositioning itself as a health IT vendor.