Telus Health Continues EMR M&A Strategy – Acquires Nightingale Informatix

Telus Health, a Canadian based healthcare technology and services firm that is a division of one of Canada’s largest telco operators (Telus Communications), recently announced the acquisition of Nightingale Informatix for $14 Million CDN (approximately $10.4M USD).

You can read the announcement here.

This is the latest in a string of acquisitions that Telus has made over the past 5 years in the Canadian ambulatory EMR space. Med Access, Wolf Medical Systems, Kinlogix, MD Physician Services, Medesync and now Nightingale are all part of Telus Health’s product portfolio. With these acquisitions Telus is now by far the most dominant player in the Canadian ambulatory market. There are only a handful of vendors remaining – the largest of which is Vancouver’s QHR Technologies.

EMR consolidation in Canada was inevitable. The small market size could not sustain the more than 50 EMR vendors that cropped up in the heyday of adoption. As well, unlike in the US, the government in Canada did not pour billions of dollars to encourage physicians to adopt EMR technologies. The incentive programs in Canada were handled by the provinces and were much smaller in scale. Thus the Canadian market was ripe for consolidation and Telus has been aggressively seizing these opportunities.

It is a little surprising that none of the US EMR vendors have looked north of the border for growth opportunities. With a single payer system and unique patient identifiers, you would think the Canadian market would be enticing. However, no US ambulatory EMR has made significant in-roads.

Missed opportunity? or perhaps a wise decision to focus at home?

*Disclosure – This writer was VP of Marketing at Nightingale Informatix from 2012-2014.

[CORRECTION – July 19, 2016 2:11pm ET – The original post erroneously reported that Telus had acquired Healthscreen, EMIS and Clinicare EMRs. These three EMRs were in fact acquired by QHR Technologies and not Telus. This post was updated with a corrected list of Telus acquisitions]

About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

4 Comments

  • I believe your understanding of companies acquired by Telus is incorrect.

    “Clinicare, EMIS, Healthscreen, Wolf Medical, Kinlogic, MD Physician Services, Medesync and now Nightingale are all part of Telus Health’s product portfolio.”

    Clinicare was acquired by QHR in 2009:

    http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/qhr-to-acquire-clinicare-corporation-tsx-venture-qhr-1073167.htm

    EMIS was acquired by QHR in 2011:

    http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/qhr-to-acquire-assets-of-emis-inc-508086581.html

    I agree with the premise that consolidation is inevitable, and also wonder why US vendors have not entered the market. Especially with QHR making in-roads into hospital based ambulatory care departments.

  • Hello Michael.
    Thank you for your comment. Appreciate you pointing out that the list of Telus EMR acquisitions was not accurate. I’ve corrected the post and noted the correction.

    It has been really puzzling why Canada has remained untouched by US-based EMR vendors. Hopefully the failure of Target hasn’t scared EVERYONE away from doing business north of the border.

  • I often wonder if U.S. based Allscripts has their eye on QHR. Allscripts has a strong presence in Canadian hospitals for inpatient areas. Many of these same customers however are choosing QHR’s Accuro EMR for their facility based ambulatory/outpatient areas.

    You got to think someone at Allscripts is asking why their customers (with existing integrated health systems) are choosing QHR’s Accuro product over their own integrated offering.

    With ambulatory care exploding, it seems a no brainer that Allscripts would take a run at QHR, especially considering their history… Allscripts bought out Eclypsis for their electronic patient record; which was the product originally owned/developed by Health Vision out of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

    One thing is for sure… I think we will see more consolidation with only one or two EMR vendors left standing when all is said and done.

  • I think the answer to why the US EHR companies haven’t gone to Canada is that they didn’t need to go there. There was still so much opportunity in the US that they didn’t need to go to Canada. As the US market dries up, it will be interesting to see if more go to Canada and other international markets.

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