GHX closes Medical Columbus buy

November 01, 2018
by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter
Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX), which provides cloud-based supply chain technology, solutions, analytics, and services in the healthcare space, has closed its acquisition of Germany-based Medical Columbus AG.

Financial details weren't given for the deal, which boosts the European supply chain and products portfolio for GHX.

“Our mission at GHX is to remove costs from healthcare, and the completion of this acquisition helps us further that goal,” GHX CEO and president, Bruce Johnson, said in a statement, adding, “With the products and talent we’re adding from Medical Columbus, GHX is broadening a global trading partner network in Europe that will benefit multinational suppliers and local European provider customers alike to deliver cost and process efficiencies.”

GHX offerings include procurement and accounts payable automation, contract and inventory management, vendor credentialing and management, business intelligence, payment management and “other supply chain-related tools and services,” according to the company.

The deal was first announced in July, at which time Johnson noted that the assets and talent being acquired would be “a tremendous addition” that would expand “our footprint” in Europe.

CEO at Medical Columbus Dirk Isenberg highlighted the deal's potential “to help drive down costs in healthcare, allowing our customers access to best of breed e-catalogue and e-procurement solutions.”

Medical Columbus, founded in 1998, is considered an e-health pioneer in the areas of procurement processes, with a transaction platform that synchronizes IT systems and catalog data from hospitals, medical device makers and the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2015, Tina Vatanka Murphy, now chief revenue officer for GHX, weighed in on the traditionally high costs in the field compared with others as part of a 64-organization roundtable that looked at the issue in the October 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine.

“Because the supply chain crosses organizational boundaries, the actions of one party impact all of the parties with which it transacts business. This can result in unintentional but very real costs,” she wrote at the time.

The roundtable's top-five cost boosters included:

• Mistrust and lack of communication (between the right people)
• Freight charges and excess inventory
• The complexities of healthcare contracting
• The shadow supply chain (clinical involvement in the supply chain)
• Physician preferences

GHX also revealed its commitment to innovating in the sector in May with its partnering deal with Hashed Health, a leader in blockchain innovation for healthcare. The goal is to work on blockchain and distributed ledger innovation projects in the healthcare supply chain space.

Blockchain has huge potential in such secure-transaction arenas as product tracking, credentialing, auditing, master data management, contracting, and order processing – as it “creates a shared system of record among business network members, eliminating the need to reconcile disparate ledgers,” according to industry leader IBM. These members are permissioned – so data is need-to-know – and the “chain” of “transactions” is unchangeable and undeletable, even by the admin.

“Data is at the center of our business and blockchain offers healthcare an interesting opportunity to innovate around data at new levels that may add exponential value and efficiencies,” said Peter Nelson, vice president, Product Management at GHX, of the Hashed Health deal.

Founder and CEO at Hashed Heath, John Bass, began working on supply chain issues in the late 90’s. “My work in supply chain has focused on proving that trading partners in healthcare can mutually benefit by working together in new ways,” he said, adding that the GHX partnership “begins a new chapter in our quest to create shared value in the healthcare supply chain.”