Two of the largest publicly-traded health IT vendors have some very different priorities for 2018 and beyond, as Allscripts focuses on expanding its offerings to an array of different clients and partners, and Cerner focusses on the ongoing roll out of the US Defense Department's MHS Genesis and the looming US Veteran’s Affairs modernisation project.
Allscripts' revenue was up 23 per cent and earnings up 142 per cent for the second quarter of 2018 but, despite the positive results, on the company’s earnings call President Rick Poulton conceded he was a "bit disappointed" with the quarter's bookings of $278 million.
Poulton said long sales cycles and timing uncertainty could lead to more "quarter-to-quarter volatility" ahead but the company remains "very confident in our pipeline of opportunities".
Allscripts CEO Paul Black pointed to double-digit revenue growth and the fact that Q2 earnings per share were "the highest they've ever been" under the current management team.
The executives said they're prioritising innovation on a number of different fronts, including precision medicine (the company is "just scratching the surface" of what its 2bPrecise platform can do for its EHR clients, said Poulton) and interoperability (the Allscripts Open API platform just crossed the 4 billion data share milestone, Black noted).
"Today more than 8000 registered developers have accounts on Allscripts Developer portal," Black added.
"This vibrant community of entrepreneurs and their collective innovation creates a key competitive advantage for Allscripts."
Black said the company's continuing track record of strategic investments, such as its acquisition of patient communication platform HealthGrid, which helps position Allscripts for the era of consumerism, and its addition of Netsmart, with aims toward post-acute care.
In addition, growth of its payer and life sciences business, analytics offerings for "driving additional value from our pharmaceutical clients", and ongoing R&D spending in general are contributing to Allscripts' evolution in a diversifying healthcare space, said Black.
Cerner, meanwhile, enjoyed a "solid Q2, with all key metrics coming in at or above our expected results," said the company’s Chief Financial Officer Marc Naughton.
While revenues were up 6 per cent, earnings were down by the same number. However, bookings were up 9 per cent over the same period 2017, "largely due to the initial task orders for the Veterans Affairs contract that was announced in May," he said.
Now that the substantial deal is officially signed, sealed and delivered, the VA promises to take up much of the company's bandwidth in the years ahead, as well as the ongoing rollout at the Defense Department.
With regard to MHS Genesis, "we remain on track to begin the next wave of implementations later this year," said Cerner President Zane Burke, noting that DoD upped the contract ceiling for MHS Genesis by $1.2 billion to include the Coast Guard and other expanded scope.
As for the VA, "we believe there is great potential for a broad industry impact," Burke added. "At the core of this project, Cerner will enable seamless care through a single system that links both veteran populations totalling more than 18 million people, while also delivering national interoperability to the commercial market."
Both of those projects will also help Cerner boost its efforts across the board in population health, open platforms and telehealth, he said, "all of which have relevance to our commercial client base."
Burke also offered some further insight into the intriguing value-based care partnership it launched with Lumeris this past month, which will see the launch of an "EHR-agnostic" technology, called Maestro Advantage, to help health systems manage Medicare Advantage plans and other risk-based reimbursement models.
"It will provide connectivity across the provider health plan and consumer, and will be designed to improve outcomes and lower costs by embedding actual insights into the provider workflow," he said.
"It will include a unique accountable clinical care model that supports a health system's development of a high-performing integrated delivery network and shared savings with providers through value-based incentive alignment."
Originally published on the US version of Healthcare IT News.
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