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athenahealth Inc. (ATHN - Analyst Report) revealed that it has made available the automated marketing, communication, and reputation building software Demandforce as part of the athenahealth Marketplace – a one-stop shop for health care providers to select health care IT (HIT) solutions. This new software will help healthcare providers enhance marketing capabilities and customer relationships by building their reputation online, using social media, patient reviews, email marketing promotions, etc.

The Demandforce software tool is already popular among several small businesses in more than 50 industries, including dental, automotive, and beauty salons. After its availability at the Marketplace, Demandforce can be utilized by physicians to manage online reputation. Health care providers, who are already using ATHN’s cloud-based patient engagement and communications platform athenaCommunicator, will be provided access to Demandforce’s online marketing tools.

Like other solutions, Demandforce has been pilot-tested as part of the athenahealth workflow as well as by More Disruption Please (MDP). MDP is an innovation and partnership program founded by ATHN to bring disruptive innovation in health care. Through the MDP program, athenahealth intends to launch new services and introduce high-value innovation via the cloud.

Last month, athenahealth entered a strategic partnership with non-profit organization Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) to provide technology and consulting services to primary care providers (PCPs) in underserved communities. The partnership will improve performance of medical practices while easing administrative work of PCPs with the help of cloud-based services and information technology (IT) so that they can focus on high quality services to patients.

As part of the partnership, ATHN and PCDC will conduct seminars across the U.S. to educate PCPs about their services meeting their HIT needs as well as developing patient-centered models. Their services will help community health centers to gain access to leading technology services, practice transformation and certification and provide technical resources to prepare reports on quality outcomes and clinical measures.

Athenahealth saw an adjusted loss of 21 cents per share in the second quarter of 2013 in sharp contrast to Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 8 cents as well as the year-ago earnings of 13 cents. Reported net loss in the quarter was $12.4 million or 34 cents per share compared with net income of $4.2 million or 12 cents.

Revenues surged 41% year over year to $146.3 million in the quarter but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $148 million. The increase was attributable to expanded clientele for the company’s offerings and benefits from Epocrates takeover.

athenahealth revised its expectations for 2013. Total revenue is expected to be in the midpoint of the earlier guidance range of $580 million to $615 million.

Currently, ATHN carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we remain on the sidelines about the company, other scrips that are performing well in the medical information systems industry include Medidata Solutions (MDSO - Snapshot Report) and Streamline Health Solutions, Inc. (STRM - Snapshot Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), as well as Alere Inc. (ALR - Snapshot Report) in the medical products industry with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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