HCA acquires PatientKeeper, one of the oldest mobile health companies

By Jonah Comstock
Share
PatientKeeper's charge capture application. PatientKeeper's charge capture application.

Last week, the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a company that manages 164 hospitals and 114 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and England, announced it would be acquiring PatientKeeper, one of the oldest mobile health software companies still in operation, for an undisclosed sum.

HCA will continue to operate PatientKeeper as an independent subsidiary, and the company will retain its Waltham, Massachusetts headquarters and its employees, including CEO Paul Brient.

“With its agreement to acquire PatientKeeper, HCA has taken an important step toward the creation of an exceptional user experience for our clinicians to interact with patients’ electronic health records to provide and document care,” Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA’s Chief Medical Officer and president of HCA's Clinical Services Group, said in a statement. “Our combined companies are positioned to provide a unique approach to the electronic health record that will foster the safest and most effective care for our patients.”

PatientKeeper was founded in 1996 and originally made medical software that ran on Palm Pilots and other PDAs before transitioning into modern mobile software. The company’s offerings include computerized physician order entry (CPOE), medication reconciliation, and electronic physician documentation. The company also helps practices transition to the ICD-10 diagnosis coding system.

Crunchbase puts PatientKeeper's total funding at $86.7 million, though that includes $3 million in debt financing raised in 2011 and 2012. There were other indications that the nearly 20-year-old company was flagging. The company currently boasts 58,000 physician users -- just 8,000 more then it reported back in 2012when it raised its most recent round of equity.

The acquisition puts a cap on a seven-year working relationship between HCA and PatientKeeper and will foster the newly minted subsidiary with a test bed in which to develop new products, as well as helping HCA to streamline its technological workflow, according to the company. 

“We have worked closely with HCA for many years and our teams share a passion for technology innovation that promotes continuous quality improvement in a way that truly saves physicians time,” Brient said in a statement. “This is an opportunity to align a software vendor with one of the leading healthcare providers in the world. It gives us a platform that will allow for real-time innovation and the opportunity to improve the delivery of healthcare.”

HCA is no stranger to mobile health. In addition to its longterm relationship with PatientKeeper, the hospital system was one of the first adopters of AirStrip Technologies' remote patient monitoring suite, and has backed a Healthbox class in its native Nashville.

As Modern Healthcare reports, this could be the beginning of a mini-trend in hospital corporations acquiring software companies: Frisco, Texas-based Conifer Health Solutions, a division of the Tenet Healthcare Corporation announced on the same day that it had acquired SPi Healthcare, which provides billing and other practice management tools for small practices, in a $235 million deal.