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ACE Wrap- Final thoughts from the Allscripts User Conference

August 14, 2008
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I returned on Friday from the Allscripts national user conference in Chicago. They call it “ACE”- the “Allscripts Client Experience”.

Last time I wrote about some of the keynote speakers and offered some thoughts on where the company is on their V11 journey. Here are a few other random thoughts:

Rebranding-

Surprise! Allscripts has decided to rebrand their “solutions”!

Maybe it’s unavoidable in a time of consolidations and acquisitions that these companies will reevaluate their portfolios of applications from time to time and try to give them names that will make them easier to describe and sell. But it’s a real pain for existing customers to reprogram your users. No more Touchworks?

In a nutshell, what they’ve done is taken all the products that they’ve developed or acquired and relabeled them with some variety of “Allscripts” moniker.

Canopy and ECIN are now Allscripts Care Management and Allscripts Post Acute Care.

Impact.MD is now Allscripts Document Management.

HealthMatics ED and EmSTAT are part of Allscripts ED.

Touchworks is now Allscripts Enterprise- made up of Allscripts Enterprise EHR and Allscripts Enterprise PM. That’s a mouth full.

eRxNow and Touchscript all fall under Allscripts ePrescribe.

HealthMatics Office, which was made up of HealthMatics EHR and HealthMatics Ntierprise will now be Allscripts Professional- EHR and PM.

So now we’ll start weaning people away from Touchworks and toward Enterprise.

I wonder how Microsoft has gotten by with calling that spreadsheet product “Excel” all these years?

The Misys Deal-

Is it an acquisition or a merger? Remember that I was hearing the Allscripts party line, but they were talking like they were looking forward to the deal closing.

Remember that Misys people will make up most of the corporate board, while the Allscripts management team will be running the show (at least for now). They expect to call the company “Allscripts”. (More products to rebrand.)

The Allscripts people are anxious to begin cross-selling their products into the existing Misys customer base. They made the point that much of their growth was fueled by the exposure to the IDX customer base that they received when that deal came down. (That was how they got us.)

If sheer volume of installed base is any measure, the combined company will be in a good position. They will certainly have to execute if they want to avoid major defections.

The two companies both had a major presence in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Apparently the Allscripts facility in Cary was bursting at the seams, while the Misys facility has some room to expand. They see that as a benefit.

They claim that they don’t have major product overlap, but I’m counting at least three practice management systems and three EMRs. I can’t think of any good reason to want to support all that long term. As they inevitably sunset some of those products, the challenge will be convincing the customers whose products you’re taking off life support to convert to something else inside the Allscripts family, versus using the opportunity to revisit the market.

Vendor Fair-

One interesting indicator of how pervasive a vendor is becoming in the market is the count of how many satellites they’ve sucked into their little galaxy. I was surprised at the size of the “partner pavilion” that Allscripts had assembled for this show.

The usual suspects were there- hardware vendors that sell servers, clients, scanners and the like. (Fujitsu, Dell, Motion, et. al.)

There were also a lot of consulting firms offering to help with training and implementations- GlobalWorks, Hayes, Culbert, Abreon, others. There’s a story in there somewhere that I’ll let you deduce at your leisure.

Of special interest are the companies that are developing software products to enhance the basic Allscripts applications. A little company out of Hawaii called TeamPraxis has written a cool add-in to help manage PQRI.

I also thought it significant that CoRadiant was there. They make devices to help you figure out why your system isn’t performing well.

Altogether, there were just shy of 50 “partners” who considered it worth their time and effort to spend four days marketing their wares to the Allscripts customers in attendance.

The first Allscripts user conference I attended, I don’t think there were 50 customers there.

Those are the highlights of ACE from what I saw.

Next week I’m planning on attending the GE Healthcare NUC in Washington, DC, assuming my plans don’t get derailed by a possible accreditation survey. I’ll plan on sharing my observations that week as well.

We can all compare and contrast.

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