More open systems will “make us scrap and fight and die on the basis of transparency and innovation,” said Jonathan Bush, Athenahealth’s CEO, at a joint news conference held by the companies. “It will no longer be, ‘Hey, we can use opacity to lock people up and keep them from shopping.”’
Along with deflecting scrutiny from federal regulators, the partnership may help the companies compete with Epic, which has been extending its dominance among big, well-funded hospital systems, according to Eric Coldwell, a Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst in Chicago.
“Epic has a tremendous amount of momentum,” he said. Its competitors “want to make their systems easier for everybody to work with and they want to use that to their advantage in marketing pitches. They also want to help patients and help health care, but there’s a business reason to do this, too.”
Cerner rose less than 1 percent to $89.60 at the close of New York trading while San Francisco-based McKesson fell less than 1 percent to $107.39.