GE Healthcare Will Acquire IDX Systems for $1.2 Billion

IDX’s physician office management system helps GE position itself for the universal EMR

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BIG CORPORATIONS continue racing to create the universal EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and a fully-integrated healthcare informatics platform.

Last Thursday, September 29, General Electric Co. announced that it would pay $1.2 billion to acquire IDX Systems Corporation of Burlington, Vermont. The transaction is expected to close in early 2006.

Executives from both companies touted the deal as an ideal marriage. The core business at IDX is selling both physician medical groups and hospitals software for billing, scheduling, and electronic medical records. GE Healthcare has strengths in radiology, image archiving, and PACS.

Doctor Groups & Hospitals

Although not the largest player in the market, IDX includes among its clients more than 850 medical group practices and 500 hospitals in 370 integrated delivery networks. Long known for billing and scheduling solutions, only in recent years has IDX entered the market for electronic medical records.

It was in 2003 that GE Healthcare purchased Triple G Systems Group, Inc. of Toronto, Canada. GE Healthcare was interested in the laboratory information system sold by Triple G. At the time of the acquisition, one GE executive had noted that “because most clinical treatment decisions are based on laboratory test results, the potential for improving patient safety by enhancing workflow in this area is significant.”

Since the Triple G acquisition, GE Healthcare has continued to acquire software products that will allow it to build an integrated healthcare informatics platform. “We believe the acquisition of IDX fits nicely in GE Healthcare’s portfolio of next generation healthcare businesses; with Amersham, its recent predictive diagnostics acquisition, GE can likely now predict, diagnose, inform and treat patients far sooner and with higher degrees of accuracy than in the past,” wrote Prudential analyst Nicholas Heymann in a research note.

THE DARK REPORT observes that GE Healthcare is just one of several major corporations, like Motorola and IBM, that are developing major informatics solutions for healthcare. Collectively, these companies want to offer software products that create clinical value by presenting the clinician with a full and complete patient record, then offering him/her recommendations for treatment generated by proprietary algorithms.

For laboratories and pathology groups, this has the potential to interpose another layer between the laboratory and the referring physician.

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