Are Europe and the US a match made in heaven where long-term healthcare-IT alliances are concerned, or should some pre-nuptials be agreed before any formal pairings take place?

Though more integrated and standardised platforms are clear benefits of many US-Europe partnerships, the dissenter in the crowd before the two say ‘I do’ will often voice concerns that regional shifts in healthcare provision will be better served by incumbents who understand local needs.

“Some of these mergers are not successful because the organisational cultures of both the companies are varied and although they have become a single entity, there is a lack of communication and alignments,” says Shruthi Parakkal, research analyst – healthcare IT at Frost & Sullivan. “Often they fail to integrate products. And, in Europe, with regulations different on a country basis, [incoming vendors] find it difficult to get a grasp of the market, contributing to the failure of mergers in most cases.”

Because Europe ‘has a very scattered landscape with respect to local regulations and legislation’, says HIMSS Insights, there is also ‘no “copy/paste” possibility for US systems in the EU countries’.

Customers will be keeping a weather eye on Cerner for any hint of a one-size-fits-all trajectory in the wake of the merger, particularly as the long-term goal will presumably be the migration from two sets of legacy technology to a single, integrated platform.

‘So the challenge for European healthcare ICT,’ says this magazine, ‘is less about creeping Americanisation and more about ensuring a flexible collaborative development model for standards-based systems that will also accommodate the variety of local and regional requirements.’

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