10 things to know about athenahealth

Here are 10 things to know about Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth, one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world providing medical record, revenue cycle, patient engagement, care coordination and population health services.

1. Jonathan Bush — nephew of U.S. President George H.W. Bush and cousin of President George W. Bush — and Todd Park founded the company in 1997. Today, Mr. Bush serves as CEO, president and chairman of the board of directors; Mr. Park went on to serve as U.S. chief technology officer during the Obama administration.

2. There are roughly 88,000 providers and 86 million patients on athenahealth's network. A few recent contracts include Tandigm Health — a value-based healthcare company supporting primary care physicians — implementing athenahealth's population health management tool and Michigan State University HealthTeam — the multispecialty faculty group practice of the university — implementing athenahealth's suite of service.

3. In 2016, athenahealth reported a total revenue of $1.08 billion — a 17 percent increase compared to the $924.7 million it reported in 2015. In a list of health technology vendors ranked by highest revenues, IDC Health Insights named athenahealth the eighth highest earner compared to other companies that derive more than one-third of their revenue from healthcare payers and providers.

4. For three years running, athenahealth has ranked as the top vendor in user satisfaction among physician groups with six to 10 physicians and groups with 11 to 25 physicians, according to a Black Book poll. In the 2016 Black Book Inpatient EHR Surveys, athenahealth clients were also identified as "most loyal," meaning the company's clients intend to maintain their business relationship and have a positive attitude toward the vendor.

5. Only 22 of the 4,474 hospitals participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program use athenahealth's EHR technology, according to ONC data from July 2016, making it tied for the 36th most-used certified health IT vendor hospitals report for the program. However, ONC also notes that only 10 vendors, including athenahealth, supply 98 percent of hospitals with their certified IT technology, based on HHS' 2014 Edition Health Information Technology Certification Criteria.

6. In July 2016, the company announced its MIPS Guarantee program, which reimburses clients who face a downward payment adjustment under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. The program is meant to help clients using the athenaOne services suite perform at or above the national performance threshold set by CMS, therefore avoiding any payment penalties on their Medicare Part B fee schedule.

7. One of athenahealth's core initiatives is its "More Disruption Please" program, which connects startups with the opportunity to sell to athenahealth clients. The program has collaborated with companies like Relaymed, which connects point-of-care devices to EHRs, and SnapMD, a telemedicine provider.

8. Another one of the company's primary focuses is interoperability. The company is a founding member of the CommonWell Health Alliance, a nonprofit and independent organization focused on developing and deploying interoperability solutions. Athenahealth, along with other major IT vendors like Epic and Cerner, also committed to the Interoperability Pledge, which HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced during HIMSS16 in February 2016.

9. In June 2013, athenahealth said it would move the majority of its Georgia operations from Alpharetta to Atlanta, and at the start of 2017, the company announced plans to expand its workforce in Atlanta to almost 1,000 employees by 2018. With this new expansion, athenahealth — which currently utilizes 98,000 square feet of space at Ponce City Market in Atlanta — will tack on an extra 40,000 square feet of space to its offices.

10. Athenahealth's CEO and cofounder, Mr. Bush, has made headlines for his outspoken views on both national politics and healthcare management. In a speech to Massachusetts Republicans in June 2016, he publicly stated he would not vote for Donald Trump, who has since won the national election. In an April 2016 interview with Bloomberg, he voiced that — although he is critical of the ACA — he credits some of athenahealth's growth to its ability to connect providers to the legislation.

More articles on health IT:
10 things to know about Cerner
The growth of telehealth: 20 things to know
AI for healthcare: 3 questions with digital health innovators Austin Ogilvie & Ash Damle

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