Aetna To Acquire Health Information Exchange Firm For $500 Million
Aetna, one of the largest U.S. insurers, is expanding its health information technology presence with its $500 million acquisition of technology firm Medicity, Bloomberg reports. "Medicity, based in Salt Lake City, offers technology that helps 760 hospitals and 125,000 physicians in the U.S. exchange medical data, according to the statement." Aetna said it financed the deal with "available resources" that wouldn't affect its financial results (Nussbaum, 12/7).
Dow Jones Newswires/Wall Street Journal: Aetna "said Medicity has a substantial presence in emerging regional health-information-exchange marketplaces, sustained growth in recent years, and a flexible technology platform than can support new business offerings. The federal government aims to promote the use of electronic medical records systems by offering billions of dollars in incentive payments to hospitals and physicians in coming years to use them. Proponents in government and industry say digitized medical records and electronic prescribing can improve patient safety and lower costs" (Wisenberg Brin and Jarzemsky, 12/7).
Meanwhile, Government Health IT, an independent publication, reports, that a "Health & Human Services Department advisory panel wants feedback from the public about concepts it has developed for clinical quality measures for meaningful use in 2013 and 2015. The Health IT Policy Committee's quality measures workgroup is drawing up recommendations for new measures that will take advantage of the evolving health IT infrastructure" (Mosquera, 12/7).
In a separate development, Reuters/MSNBC reports that many "people believe devices that allow doctors to monitor patients' vital signs in their homes offer a potential way to save health costs and allow older people to stay out of nursing homes. The trick is proving it, according to a RAND Corp survey...." The survey "found most believe home healthcare technology has the potential to relieve pressure on healthcare systems that will soon be clogged by elderly patients living with chronic diseases. But the evidence is still not strong enough to show the devices are cost-effective and ready for widespread adoption" (Steenhursen, 12/7).