Athenahealth and Sermo partner to improve patient care

athenahealth-Sermo Data Shows Physicians Remarkably Optimistic about Electronic Health Records, with 80% Holding Favorable Views of EHRs; Despite this 90% Agree EHRs Are Expensive to Purchase and 72% Agree EHRs Still Require Effort to Stay Current with Changing Payment Requirements and Incentives

athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHN), a leading provider of internet-based business services to physician practices, and Sermo, the world’s largest online community for physicians, announced at HIMSS10 a partnership that will help gauge and amplify physicians’ views on issues that are affecting the practice of medicine in the United States. In doing so, athenahealth and Sermo hope to enable physicians to benefit from each other’s collective input and improve the financial health of their practices.

At the annual HIMSS conference today in Atlanta, athenahealth and Sermo are previewing physicians’ sentiment on electronic health records (EHRs)–a hot topic as the U.S. government distributes some $19 billion in stimulus for doctors who “meaningfully use” EHRs. These findings are part of a broader Physician Sentiment Index (PSI) to be released by athenahealth and Sermo later this month that explores physicians’ frustrations and opinions on a host of issues that could compromise quality of care in America, such as government involvement and the increasing challenges of running a medical practice. The PSI EHR data is based on responses from 1,000 randomly selected respondents within the Sermo online community.

Findings show a level of optimism and enthusiasm around EHRs, but also reveal a physician community in need of better solutions than are currently available. The clear majority cite EHRs as expensive to purchase. Data also suggests that time to install, effort and cost to maintain, and improvements to a doctor’s efficiency are not where they need to be in order to truly add meaningful business value and free up physicians to focus on patient care.

Findings include:

  • 80% have a favorable or very favorable opinion of EHRs
  • 80% feel EHRs improve patient care
  • 73% agree the patient benefits of an EHR justify the financial costs.


  • 90% agree / strongly agree that EHRs are expensive to purchase
  • 72% agree / strongly agree that having an EHR still requires effort to stay on top of constantly changing payment requirements / incentives
  • 81% agree / strongly agree that EHRs are expensive to maintain and upgrade
  • 60% agree / strongly agree with the statement that EHRs distract from face to face interaction with patients
  • 54% agree / strongly agree that EHRs slow down the doctor during patient exams
  • Only slightly more than 50% believe EHR systems are designed with them in mind

“It is clear from the survey that current EHR solutions are imperfect with cost, resource allocation, and ease of use being areas that could stand great improvement,” said Dr. Daniel Palestrant, CEO of Sermo. “Discussion amongst the Sermo physician community supports the survey’s findings of ‘holes’ in current offerings and more broadly the notion that EHRs have a long way to go towards delivering on the promise of cost savings, freed resources, and better medicine.”

“Athenahealth aims to be the physician’s most trusted business partner. Whether getting them paid sooner by insurers or bringing doctors online in meaningful ways, we exist to shift the administrative onus off the doctor so they can concentrate on the practice of medicine,” said Jonathan Bush, athenahealth’s Chairman and CEO. “athenahealth and Sermo are alike in spirit and mission–progressive, Health 2.0 companies with models that leverage the heck out of the Internet to empower doctors. Building on our own physician advocacy work, this partnership provides a distinct, non-association channel for the doctor’s voice to be heard and us an opportunity to learn.”

Over the next several months, athenahealth and Sermo will work to bring additional physician insight to the market, helping this community assert a collective voice on issues critical to the practice of medicine and, ultimately, to identify solutions to address challenges they face.

About Sermo

Sermo is the largest online physician community, where over 116,000 physicians collaborate to improve patient care. Sermo provides access to its community for clients that need fast, actionable insights directly from practicing physicians.

About athenahealth

athenahealth, Inc. is a leading provider of Internet-based business services for physician practices. athenahealth’s service offerings are based on proprietary web-native practice management and electronic health record (EHR) software, a continuously updated payer knowledge-base, integrated back-office service operations, and automated and live patient communication services. For more information, please visit or call (888) 652-8200.

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the collaboration between Sermo and athenahealth and of athenahealth’s service offerings, as well as the nature and timing of the results of their collaboration. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. In particular, the risks and uncertainties include, among other things: the risk that our service offerings will not operate in the manner that we expect due to design flaws, security breaches, or otherwise; potential interruptions or delays in our internet-based service offerings; our reliance upon third parties, such as computer hardware, software, data-hosting, and internet infrastructure providers, which reliance may result in failures or disruptions in our service offerings; errors or omissions included in our payer and clinical intelligence rules engine and database; and the evolving and complex government regulatory compliance environment in which we and our clients operate. Existing and prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. athenahealth, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update or revise the information contained in this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances, or otherwise. For additional disclosure regarding these and other risks faced by athenahealth, Inc., please see the disclosure contained in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available on the Investors section of our website at and on the SEC’s website at


Sermo, Inc.
Greg Shenk
P: 617-500-2310

athenahealth, Inc.
John Hallock (Media), 617-504-0958
Director, Corporate Communications