More LIS Consolidation as CliniSys Buys Horizon Lab

CliniSys’ acquisition of Horizon Lab Systems gives it a presence in U.S. and European Union

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CEO SUMMARY: By acquiring Horizon Lab Systems, CliniSys has committed to moving some of its services beyond the clinical laboratory as Horizon sells into other lab markets, such as environmental management. Also, CliniSys will combine with Sunquest Information Systems, bringing two LIS vendors under one corporate brand. It remains to be seen what effect that move will have on both companies’ LIS products.

RECENT MOVES BY CLINISYS, A BUSINESS DIVISION OF ROPER TECHNOLOGIES, might be positioning this provider of laboratory information systems (LIS) to have a substantial market presence in both the United States and the European Union (EU). 

The most recent move was CliniSys’ purchase of Raleigh, N.C.-based Horizon Lab Systems on Jan. 18. Horizon has lab customers in several different industry sectors using its LIMS (laboratory information management system). 

The second move happened earlier. Roper made its Sunquest Information Systems a part of its U.K.-based CliniSys Solutions Group. It appointed Michael Simpson, then Chairman and CEO of CliniSys, as the leader of this business group. 

These business moves have interesting implications for clinical lab administrators and pathologists here in the United States who use the Sunquest LIS and its anatomic pathology LIS solutions—Sunquest CoPathPlus and SunQuest PowerPath. It means executive leadership and strategic direction for the Sunquest product line will come from the CliniSys headquarters in Surrey, U.K. 

Further, the addition of the Horizon Lab Systems product line positions CliniSys to serve many different types of laboratories. In its website, Horizon says it is “one of the only commercially available LIMS that may operate as both sample-centric and batch-centric, making it ideal for use in the public health laboratory sector where it can be used across the entire laboratory. Horizon is sold into environmental, agricultural, cannabis, clinical, pain management, forensic toxicology, and public health laboratories both domestically and abroad.”

Environmental Testing

“CliniSys can now provide organizations and governments at all levels, and across different sectors of the public health ecosystem, solutions to improve health at population scale,” CEO Michael Simpson said in a news release.

“Horizon may be the hidden jewel in these new developments at CliniSys,” explained Dennis Winsten, President at Dennis Winsten and Associates in Tucson, Ariz., noting further that “those non-hospital areas are expanding quicker than hospital-based laboratory services.” “In the environmental, public health, and agriculture fields, the lab market is expanding because there is a growing need for more sophisticated testing,” Winsten noted. “That makes Horizon and its LIMS a strategic growth asset for CliniSys.”

Winsten outlined several positive and negative aspects to the overall CliniSys announcement. 

“First, CliniSys and Sunquest each get access to a broader, worldwide market as a combined organization,” Winsten observed. “Second, they both have good corporate reputations. 

“Third, there may be the opportunity to reduce the sales and marketing overhead, and they are not competing with each other,” he added. “And, of course, Horizon gives them entrée into a growing market. 

Different Operating Systems

“One possible negative to these developments is that the various products use different operating systems, programming languages, and databases,” Winsten noted. “That could offset the benefits of software synergies.”

In addition, having two LIS brands under one company may be confusing to customers. “With these three brands, there is uncertainty as to what they’re going to do and which LIS may emerge as the flagship system. Deciding which products will address what market segments or geographies is a question that CliniSys management will need to answer,” Winsten said.

Another interesting factor that CliniSys will need to address is that clinical laboratories in the United States and the United Kingdom serve very different healthcare systems and lab tests are reimbursed via two radically different payment methodologies. This is one reason why few LIS companies are able to sell the same LIS to clinical labs in both countries at the same time.

Contact Dennis Winsten at 520-331-4656 or dwinsten@msn.com.

Companies At a Glance

HERE’S A BRIEF LOOK at CliniSys, Horizon Lab Systems, and Sunquest Information Systems. 

CliniSys-logo

CLINISYS SOLUTIONS GROUP

    • CEO: Michael Simpson
    • Founded: 1988
    • Industry: Health IT
    • Revenue: Not broken out (owned by Roper)
    • Core products: Laboratory information system (LIS) and result consultation software
    • Market reach: LIS used by 70% of National Health Service trusts in England

Horizon-logo

HORIZON LAB SYSTEMS

    • General manager: Eric Dingfelder
    • Founded: 1987
    • Industry: Health IT
    • Revenue: Not reported, private company
    • Core products: LIS
    • Market reach: Sells to environmental, agricultural, cannabis, clinical, toxicology, and public health labs

Sunquest-logo

SUNQUEST INFORMATION SYSTEMS

CEO: Michael Simpson

    • Founded: 1979
    • Industry: Health IT
    • Revenue: Not broken out (owned by Roper)
    • Core products: LIS and lab analytics tools for pathology
    • Market reach: Counts 1,700 laboratories as customers and has over 300,000 end users

Sources: CliniSys, Horizon Lab Systems, Sunquest Information Systems

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