This is a good company with 2 products: billing services and EMR (Electronic Medical Records). This is not a software company in the same way Microsoft or Oracle is. It will not have the compelling marginal income rates of a software vendor.
I have attended the steak dinners ATHN hosts where providers and staff are invited to a nice place like Ruth Chris' and given a brief overview of the EMR. I am certain one or more groups were successfully landed but the size groups in attendance were very small.
I am also aware of Athena's sales to large systems but it is not clear whether these will end in total implementations. I thought Johnathan dodged that question repeatedly on Bloomberg recently.
Privia is an interesting example of a joint venture that has some promise. Privia contracts with provider groups in the hopes of providing increased future income through better fees, additional services, improved management, etc. Privia uses Athena for its EMR and billing. Privia is growing but probably has somewhat of a sweetheart deal or a "cut" of the Athena revenue stream.
Billing companies make their money by performing the service of billing/collecting for a % of the received total often in the range of 5%. That 5% can be juicy if the gross billing gets to be a big number. However, there are costs associated with billing that are directly proportionate to the gross: the cost of the people supporting the process of appeals, corrections, re-bills, billing patient balances, coordination of benefits, etc. It also takes good management.
My understanding is that the EMR is a good product. There are a number of competitors whose releases seem to make them better received and then they fade. Some EMRs are attached to a local hospital system like Epic. Hopkins is compelling its implementation this year and includes its community relationships.
The reason I have purchased Sept puts is because I do not believe the current valuation makes sense for a