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A very old doctor?

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Don’t be surprised if Dell or Oracle goes outside its normal acquisition targets next time around. That’s according to Dr. Bijan Salehizadeh, a general partner at venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners–a firm that specializes in the space where medicine and IT intersect.

Salehizadeh, who is also a medical doctor, believes that Dell and Oracle are more likely to target electronic medical record vendors next time around as a way to buy their way into a space that’s ripe for tremendous growth in the next few years.

He brings that impression back from this year’s HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference in Atlanta, where IT vendors were abuzz about the potential for big money ahead. Much of the interest is coming from new government technology mandates as well as from the promise of economic stimulus dollars applied to investments in hospital and physician practice IT upgrades.

“I’ve never seen an HIMSS conference as active as this one in terms of participants,” Salehizadeh told Channel Insider.

There are more than 500 hospitals and 700,000 doctors who are eligible to receive such stimulus funds, Salehizadeh notes.

Already, there’s been activity in the space, with Dell partnering with an EMR SAAS provider, eClinicalWorks, a year ago. Salehizadeh expects that many smaller physicians practices will opt for a SAAS delivery model for their EMR and other IT investments, but it’s still uncertain just how that will play out.

As for Oracle, Salehizadeh speculates that the database and applications vendor could potentially benefit from business intelligence-like software technology being used to aid in medical diagnostic efforts and research.

“Hospitals are large enterprise companies,” he says, “but are 15 years behind other companies. The stimulus dollars will help catch hospitals up.”

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