IBM to buy health care software firm

Big Blue to acquire Initiate Systems, maker of software that helps health care companies better manage and and share patient data and medical information.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

IBM said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy Initiate Systems, a privately held company that makes software designed to help health care companies manage and share information.

Initiate Systems

Initiate's software is geared toward customers in both the private sector and government, all of whom deal with a huge amount of health care information across different systems. Initiate's Interoperable Health software tries to help health care companies and government agencies more quickly find and share patient and clinical data, thereby saving them time and money.

The company's customers run the gamut from health care payers to providers to prescription drug sellers and include Alberta Ministry of Health and Wellness, Calgary Health Region, CVS/Caremark, Humana, North Dakota's Department of Health and Human Services, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"With the addition of Initiate's software and its industry expertise, IBM will offer clients a comprehensive solution for delivering the information they need to improve the well-being of patients at a lower cost," said Arvind Krishna, general manager of Information Management at IBM, in a statement. "Similarly, our government clients will now have even more capabilities for gathering and making use of information to serve citizens in a timely and efficient manner."

No financial details were given. Subject to the usual regulatory approvals, the acquisition should close in the first quarter of this year. IBM said it then plans to merger Initiate with its Information Management operations.

High-tech companies have been showing a growing interest in the health care sector, which is moving more and more toward electronic record-keeping. In December, Microsoft said that it plans to buy Sentillion, which supplies software to health care professionals.

The buyout of Initiate marks IBM's 30th acquisition in the area of information and analytics. Over the past couple of years, Big Blue has been on a roll picking up new companies and ended 2009 with several businesses in its shopping cart.