Q&A: Providence Exec on Bluetree Acquisition, Trends in Health Tech

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be bringing Engage—which also is a separate subsidiary of Providence—under this hood … and then ultimately Epic Community Connect, which today is a division of our IT department.

X: So the idea with Providence’s subsidiary Epic Community Connect is to roll Epic’s software out to non-Providence hospitals and clinics?

MB: Exactly. We wanted to be able to connect other hospitals and clinics to our health system.

X: Would you say Engage and Bluetree have similar areas of concentration, the main difference being that Engage works on Meditech projects and Bluetree works on Epic projects?

MB: It’s similar. [Engage has] 165 clients today. They do everything from implementation to optimization to hosting Meditech on their servers.

The difference is I don’t think Bluetree does hosting, but [Engage does]. One thing we think is really good about it as organizations wind off of Meditech onto Epic, often they need services for five or 10 years [after they switch].

X: Are all of Providence’s hospitals and clinics now using Epic’s software to manage patient records?

MB: We’re not 100 percent implemented yet. We did a merger with St. Joseph Health, based out of Southern California [in 2016]. We’re in the process of implementing [Epic] there [and] rolling it out in Orange County, CA, Northern California, and Texas.

X: Engage focuses on Meditech and is a subsidiary of Providence. Do any of Providence’s hospitals or clinics use Meditech? Or is Providence’s ownership of Engage the organization’s main link to Meditech?

MB: It’s kind of an interesting story how this all works. The hospitals at St. Joseph’s are still on Meditech. It’s challenging to maintain staffing on Meditech and Meditech shops when it’s inevitable that you’re [switching] over to Epic. Engage is actually managing Meditech for our St. Joseph’s sites. They will do that through all the conversions to Epic that will be going [on for] a couple years.

The beauty of the business we’re building is … as Bluetree grows and is doing more and more Epic implementations, [many] of those are going from Meditech to Epic. Engage can be there to help the client transition out of Meditech, and not worry about losing staff. And then Bluetree brings them into Epic.

X: In terms of Bluetree’s outlook and where the health systems are that will be installing Epic’s software in coming years, do you anticipate Bluetree doing a lot of work outside the US?

MB: We have not yet talked about the international strategy. With think there are a lot of opportunities as it relates to implementation.

[Another area] where we see some upside is Epic is selling its technology now to health plans. We think there may be a whole other line of business that we haven’t talked about.

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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