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All Things HIT

Jul 23 2012   12:35AM GMT

SAIC & Harris aren’t sleeping on “COTS”, nor services

Posted by: AllinHIT
Accountable Care Organizations, ACO, Best in KLAS, Carefx, COTS, Harris Corporation, HIMSS, KLAS, MaxIT, SAIC

After reading about SAIC’s purchase of health IT consulting firm elite, MaxIT last week, I reflected on a conversation I had with Jim Traficant, President of Harris Corporation’s healthcare division.  I was interviewing Jim for my “HIMSS Homecourt” series during the 2010 conference held in Orlando, literally an hour after it was announced that Harris Corporation had just purchased Carefx, one of the leaders in clinical portal and HIE solutions. 

I asked Jim, was this purchase due to Harris’s need to diversify to commercial markets.  Of course, his answer was “certainly”. If I could have that same discussion with Steve Comber, SAIC’s healthcare unit leader, I believe he would give the same answer. It was Steve where I first heard the term “COTS”. After SAIC purchase of Vitalize Consulting Services, Steve referred their desire to have COTS or commercial off – the – shelf solutions. In the current times of possible defense cuts due to an uncompromising political logjam, both SAIC and Harris Corporation, seem to be adopting a commericial strategy. However, I believe this is only the beginning for both firms. 

Stating what is the obvious by now, both Harris and SAIC are huge defense contractors. They could be viewed as competitors since both provide technological solutions to the DOD, CIA, and other governmental agencies.  As I mentioned, Harris bought Carefx a true “COT” solution. However, SAIC is taking the service approach by purchasing both MaxIT and VCS, both was BEST of KLAS in 2011 for consulting services.

I suspect that both are looking to further buy their way into the commercial markets.  SAIC will probably look at COT targets, and Harris will be looking at service companies.  In this HITECH, ACO and Obamacare vibrant market, it only makes sense that they continue to stay awake and invest in health IT solutions.  Whether COTS and/or services, both have deep enough pockets to have a major impact on health IT. Of course, I’m commercially speaking!

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