IBM Buys Health-Care Data Management Software Developer

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The financial details of the acquisition weren't disclosed.

Initiate, based in Chicago, is IBM's 30th acquisition in the information management and data analytics arena. Since 2005 alone, the company has spent $10 billion on 14 other "strategic acquisitions" to build out its business analytics software portfolio.

The Initiate acquisition is further proof of IBM's increased emphasis on "high-value" IT like business analytics, said Arvind Krishna, general manager of IBM's information management business, during a conference call. "IBM is undergoing a significant shift in its business model," he said.

The Initiate acquisition, for example, expands the range of offerings available through IBM's recently announced Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting organization.

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The acquisition also improves IBM's position to profit from federal stimulus spending on health care IT and efforts to increase adoption of electronic medical record systems.

IBM said Initiate's software helps speed the exchange of electronic medical records by allowing multiple organizations to confidently share data. The application gives health care organizations, insurers and governments a consistent view of information -- such as patient records and clinical test results -- from disparate sources in doctors' offices, insurance payers and government databases, such as those maintained by the Veterans Administration and child welfare agencies.

The software is based on "registry" technology that creates a summary or index of the disbursed information that leads users back to the detailed information, Krishna said. That's different from other data integration and master data management products IBM already sells.

Initiate's software is in use at more than 2,400 health care sites, more than 40 health information exchanges and a number of government health systems, according to IBM. Customers include CVS Caremark, Humana, Calgary Health Region, North Dakota's Department of Health and Human Services and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.