Primary Care News

Markets authority clears £1.2 billion EMIS purchase

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared UnitedHealth’s £1.2bn purchase of EMIS.

In August, the CMA provisionally cleared and found no competition concerns for the proposed deal, leading to a final confirmation announcement on 29 September 2023 that “the transaction does not raise competition concerns” and has “cleared the deal to proceed”.

It follows an in-depth investigation by an independent inquiry group in March 2023, “after identifying competition concerns that warranted further investigation during an initial Phase 1 review,” the CMA said.

One of the areas of concern the authority noted, is that “although the merging businesses do not supply competing services, the CMA was initially concerned that the deal would allow Optum to limit its competitors’ access to the data held within EMIS’s patient record system or to degrade the digital connections to this system, which rivals rely on to provide integrated software.”

However, “in the supply of data analytics and advisory services for population health management, the CMA found that the merged business would not, in practice, be able to use the data that EMIS holds to harm the competitiveness of rivals, primarily because the NHS could use its oversight role to prevent the merged business from pursuing this kind of strategy.”

Kirstin Baker, chair of the independent inquiry group carrying out the investigation, commented: “The NHS increasingly relies on digital technology and data analytics to support the delivery of high-quality healthcare. So, it is important to ensure that, as the main customer of these services, the NHS continues to have access to the options and innovations that new and developing technology can bring.

“Following a thorough investigation, careful consideration of a broad range of evidence and consultation with a variety of stakeholders, we are satisfied that this deal will not reduce competition or mean that the NHS and its patients lose out.”

More information can be found here.