The planned purchase of Per-Se Technologies by McKesson Corp. could help efforts to develop electronic-prescribing systems, but also may raise questions among Per-Ses physician office software clients about where they will fit in the picture.
The $1.8 billion deal, announced last week, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007 if regulatory approval is met. The deal would give McKesson, a San Francisco-based drug wholesaler, medical-surgical supplier and healthcare information technology systems vendor, access to Alpharetta, Ga.-based Per-Ses pharmacy software systems business. The deal also gives McKesson a dominant position in small-physician office practice management software, as well as a claims-processing business boost.
Although in the long term the deal would strengthen McKessons e-prescribing business, in the short term, many of Per-Ses smaller practice-management clients will have to ride through the second ownership change in 11 months in a business thats not a high priority for McKesson, according to industry analysts.
The purchase will better position McKesson for expansion in e-prescribing, said John Hammergren, the firms chairman, president and chief executive officer in a telephone interview. Now we have a complete complement for pharmacy software for large retail and mail orders, he said.
E-prescribing and the possibility of instant recognition by members of the pharmaceutical sales chain when and for whom a prescription has been written represents a potential marketing bonanza for the chain as a means to sell more drugs. Thats because a large amount, perhaps 30%, of prescriptions are never filled.
The outlook is less clear regarding McKessons intent in practice management software. Vinson Hudson, a healthcare IT consultant at Jewson Enterprises, said Per-Ses small physician practice-management system software business probably had very little to do with McKesson buying Per-Se.
Per-Se had purchased its practice management software businesses from
NDCHealth Corp. as part of a larger deal that closed in January. McKesson already has a practice-management software system for small-physician practices that is not meeting overwhelming success, Hudson said. I dont know what they are going to do with them, Hudson said about Per-Ses two systems, Lytec and Medisoft. McKesson is not a company that wants to or does well in the small end.