A US healthcare company has bought leading GP IT supplier EMIS in a £1.2bn deal.
A statement from EMIS today confirmed that US company UnitedHealth, which functions as Optum in the UK and provides medicines optimisation software to GPs and population health management for the NHS, has acquired the supplier.
Earlier this month, the company had been given the official go ahead, after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigated whether the merger would reduce competition in the market.
The statement said: ‘The Boards of EMIS and Bidco [an affiliate of Optum] are pleased to announce that, further to the announcement on 25 October 2023 that the High Court of Justice in England and Wales had sanctioned the Scheme at the Court Sanction Hearing held on that date, the Court Order has been delivered to the Registrar of Companies today.
‘And accordingly, the Scheme has now become effective in accordance with its terms and the entire issued, and to be issued, share capital of EMIS is now owned by Bidco.’
The statement also said that as the sale became effective EMIS non-executive directors Patrick De Smedt, Denise Collis, Jennifer Byrne, Kevin Boyd and Jayaprakasa (JP) Rangaswami resigned from their posts, while Andy Thorburn and Peter Southby will remain on the EMIS Board.
In August, the regulator gave provisional approval, and it rubber-stamped the decision following a consultation.
While the two companies were not direct competitors, Optum used data from EMIS in order to integrate their own software with EMIS’s electronic patient record (EPR) system.
The CMA was therefore concerned that Optum would be able to ‘limit its competitors’ access’ to the data held in EMIS’s EPR, however the investigation found that this is unlikely given the NHS can use its ‘oversight role’ to prevent this strategy.
Its final decision, the regulator has concluded that the merger ‘may not be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK market.
EMIS has received criticism in recent months with GPs reporting numerous technical issues and outages, including a ‘significant disruption’ affecting thousands of GP practices in May.
Pulse’s recent analysis of frequent IT faults looked at the effects on patient safety and GP workload.
Last week, NHS England announced £2m of funding for an engagement campaign to gather views from patients on how data in their GP record is used.