The acquisition last week by Premier of the CareScience clinical data-mining unit of Quovadx will expand the reach and the breadth of services for customers of both companies, but it will take several months and maybe as much as a year before those customers can benefit from the synergy, according to Stephanie Alexander, senior vice president for Premier Healthcare Informatics, the data services and analysis division of the San Diego-based group purchasing organization.
Premier announced the sale Monday, but agreement on the $34.9 million deal was reached Friday, according to Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Quovadx, which also announced Monday that it had been acquired for $136.7 million by Battery Ventures, a Waltham, Mass., venture capital firm specializing in technology companies.
"We will immediately join the databases together so we can begin to test the various models from CareScience with Premier and vice versa," Alexander said. "We see (that) within 90 days we'll be able to merge the databases so we can begin to look at it from a research-and-modeling standpoint."
Alexander said the company will layout a 12-month to 24-month plan to fully reap benefits from the combination. Meanwhile, she said, Premier will continue to serve its 700 or so customers with information and analysis from its existing database, and CareScience will similarly continue to serve its 200 customers with the resources available to them through the CareScience database and product offerings.
All 92 CareScience employees were onboard as of the closing, Alexander said. "They've had no interruption of employment. The leadership will stay the same. I'm going to be putting someone in charge of transitioning the businesses. Within 90 days, we'll merge that management team with the current team."
Premier is a not-for-profit corporation that calls itself an alliance of 200 not-for-profit member hospitals and hospital systems. In contrast, Philadelphia-based CareScience was founded in 1993 by David Brailer, the former physician head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Merging the two cultures should not be difficult, Alexander said.
"I don't think it's going to be a problem at all, and that's a part of what we looked at when we did our due diligence," she said. "This team here (at CareScience) is totally committed to and has a strong passion to having as its mission improving healthcare.
"I've been in this decision support industry almost 23 years," she said. "I understand the CareScience company very well." Alexander said the acquired company's strength in clinical analytics and research will complement what Premier has, which is expertise in financial data and warehousing. The combination will become particularly useful as the industry moves ahead with pay-for-performance schemes, which require transparency, according to Alexander.
"One of Premier's core roles is transfer of knowledge," Alexander said. "So bringing Premier and CareScience together will bring together that type of sharing."
Michael Guthrie, a former senior vice president of physician relations for Premier, now an executive in residence and teacher in the health administration program at the University of Colorado and an executive consultant, noted that Premier has positioned itself well with CMS in quality reporting.In February, CMS announced it was extending for three years the its pay-for-performance demonstration program with Premier, which gained praise from the American Hospital Association.
Adding data from another 200 healthcare facilities, "makes a lot of sense, from at least a market share (perspective)," Guthrie said.
"Everybody who is in this (quality improvement) piece in the industry wants to have the best database that they can and the best service to offer, not just to hospitals, but to doctors as well," Guthrie said. "On the surface, it looks good."
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