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Tickers in this Article: CERN, ATHN, MDRX, QSII
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX), a leading player in the health care information technology (HCIT) market, recently entered into a strategic partnership with biopharmaceutical service provider Quintiles. Allscripts and Quintiles plan to collectively develop software solutions to improve the drug development process and demonstrate the empirical worth of biopharmaceutical products. The agreement marks yet another joint activity by the two companies. In an industry where medical errors and safety issues are of prime concern, Quintiles' expertise with data intelligence and trial services are expected to add value to Allscripts clinical  analyses as well as enhance patient outcomes.

The partnership is expected to benefit biopharmaceutical companies, providers, patients and payers. According to Allscripts, the partnership will fasten the commercialization of new drugs and discoveries to improve standard of patient care.

Allscripts and Quintiles will develop relevant products to adequately reduce factors that hinder clinical research, analysis, outcomes, education and proof of new compound safety, effectiveness and value. The focus will also be on late-phase research, recruiting for and monitor of clinical studies and post-market surveillance. A post-market surveillance for newly developed drugs is soon expected to become an increasingly common requirement.

Management at Quintiles is enthused about its alliance with Allscripts. Quintiles reasserted its commitment towards steps needed to eliminate industry specific bottlenecks with this partnership.

The data intelligence available at Quintiles can accelerate the process of drug development. Consequently, the partnership is expected to allow consumers to leverage de-identified longitudinal data from various sources in a manner which is aligned with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The HIPAA-compliant data will be of further use to peer group companies as it can endow other companies with information required to improve efficiency and evaluation associated with drug development.

The HCIT market remains competitive and price sensitive. Among others, Allscripts faces strong competition from Cerner Corp. (CERN), Quality Systems (QSII) and Athenahealth (ATHN).

However, optimism about the growth prospects of select HCIT service providers remains high under the Obama Administration. It has passed the stimulus package in May 2009, aimed at increasing the use of Electronic Health Record systems by medical practitioners.

The strategic alliance to exploit available research opportunities has long been overdue on the part of Allscripts. A faster and efficient drug development process will benefit everyone associated with the industry. This also marks a milestone in rendering new forms of clinical information collected from Electronic Health Records to enhance patient care.

We have a long-term "Neutral" recommendation on Allscripts. The stock currently retains a Zacks #4 Rank, which translates into a short-term Sell rating.

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