Definition

athenahealth Inc.

Contributor(s): Shaun Sutner

athenahealth Inc. is a developer of cloud-based practice management, point-of-care mobile applications and electronic health record (EHR) systems for small to medium-sized (SMB) physician practices and hospitals. Across a range of software products, athenahealth provides solutions for network-based medical records, revenue cycles, patient relationships, and coordination of care. Today, athenahealth has around 5,000 employees across six locations in the United States and three locations in India, and its applications are used by nearly 115,000 healthcare providers. The company is in the top tier of EHR vendors for the ambulatory care market - competing with eClinicalWorks, Greenway Health, Practice Fusion and others.

History of athenahealth

Headquartered in Watertown, MA, the company's co-founders, Jonathan Bush and Todd Park, developed the onetime startup's first software in 1997, soon after buying a birthing practice in California and growing frustrated with the volume of paper records the practice generated.

Due to strategic mergers and acquisitions (M&A), athenahealth has made inroads into the small and medium-sized hospital space. In 2015, it acquired small hospital EHR vendor RazorInsights, and it forged a deal with Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and its prominent CIO, John Halamka, M.D., in which athenahealth will adapt BIDMC's homegrown EHR for hospitals in the 50- to 100-bed category.

Bush, athenahealth's CEO and first cousin of former U.S. President George W. Bush, is somewhat of a health IT industry celebrity. He has been outspoken about the advantages of the cloud, what he has alleged is big EHR vendors' refusal to make their systems interoperable and his conviction that government regulation of health IT has stifled progress and quality.

Towards the end of 2018, athenahealth was sold to Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital. The deal will be finalized in 2019 and athenahealth will continue to operate independently until eventually merged with Virence Health, a value-based care software acquired by Veritas Group.

athenahealth products and services

The fully integrated suite of athenaheath cloud-based services is athenaOne, which combines practice management, EHR systems and care coordination in one product. The company also has several primary individual software offerings:

  1. athenaClinicals- a cloud-based electronic medical records (EMR) system for care coordination and population health that includes Epocrates, a medical reference and clinical decision support system (CDSS) app that specializes in the areas of drug and disease information, clinical guidelines, clinical messaging and research.
  2. athenaCollector- a cloud-based electronic medical billing system for practice management, claims processing and revenue cycle management (RCM).
  3. athenaCommunicator- a scheduling system for patient engagement that includes a patient portal, self-scheduling solutions, live operator service and automated messaging.
  4. athenaCoordinator- a product designed to simplify medical order transmission and streamline care collaboration.
  5. athenahealth Population Health- a module for the EHR that includes data aggregation, analytics and reporting, and quality and care management.
  6. athenaOne Analytics- an analytics dashboard application that provides statistics around the financial and operational health of an organization, certification processing and referral processing.

Shaun Sutner reports: Jonathan Bush, athenahealth CEO, discusses the advantages of the cloud.

In recent years, athenahealth has developed other services, including:

  • athenahealth Marketplace- an app store for systems and services that work with athenahealth systems in areas including chronic care management, telehealth, patient surveys, patient screeners and quality management services.
  • The More Disruption Please (MDP) program- provides health IT entrepreneurs and startups mentorship, access to experts and exposure to athenahealth customers, as well as rented workspace and investment capital in some cases. This accelerator initiative acts as a partner program and incubator environment for independent startups to develop athenahealth solutions. Arsenal Health is a developer of smart scheduling services for healthcare providers that athenahealth invested in and acquired through the MDP program.
This was last updated in January 2017

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What kind of scenario can you envision in which athenahealth would be able to transform itself into a vendor of EHRs for larger healthcare systems?
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