The CMA said that the NHS could use its supervision role to prevent the combined business from utilising the data that EMIS holds to stifle the competition in the supply of data analytics and advisory services for population health management
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the £1.2bn acquisition of EMIS by Optum Health Solutions (UK) [Optum UK] following the completion of an in-depth phase 2 probe into potential competition concerns in Britain.
Optum UK is a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based UnitedHealth Group.
The final approval has come following the CMA’s provisional clearance given to the parties in August 2023.
EMIS is a British healthcare technology firm that provides connected healthcare software and systems. One of its core business units, EMIS Health caters to the National Health Service (NHS) by supplying integrated care technology.
According to the British competition watchdog, EMIS’ acquisition by Optum UK does not raise competition concerns, although both provide services to the NHS.
Optum UK supplies software, which are used by GPs when prescribing medicines. It also offers data analytics and advisory services that are used by NHS to help enhance overall healthcare and provision of health services.
The CMA said that the NHS could use its supervision role to prevent the combined business from utilising the data that EMIS holds to stifle the competition in the supply of data analytics and advisory services for population health management.
Besides, the regulator found that a strategy that involved restricting access to EMIS’ electronic patient record system will not be commercially beneficial to the merged entity in the supply of medicines optimisation software.
CMA independent inquiry group chair Kirstin Baker said: “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.”
In its initial phase 1 probe, the regulator found that competition could be significantly stifled, particularly in the population health management and medicines optimisation software markets.
The phase 1 and phase 2 investigations into the deal were launched in January 2023 and March 2023, respectively.
EMIS accepted the all cash-offer from Optum UK in June 2022.