IBM Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire health care data management vendor Initiate Systems Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Privately held, Chicago-based Initiate sells enterprise master patient index, provider registry and record locator applications.

Initiate in 2009 acquired Irvine, Calif.-based Accenx Technologies Inc., bringing Initiate expanded integration and interoperability technologies. Accenx's software suite includes a health information exchange platform to connect hospitals and physicians for orders, results and other interactions. The suite also includes practice management/electronic health records integration, secure messaging and data synchronization applications, as well as consulting services.

Initiate has substantial market share in the hospital and health information exchange arenas. It serves provider organizations, insurers and government agencies at more than 2,400 sites, including over 40 HIE initiatives.

The acquisition will be the 30th Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has made to advance its information management and data analytics capabilities. IBM will integrate Initiate's technologies with its Information Management business line. Initiate also will expand the services available through IBM's recently established Business Analytics and Optimization Consulting unit. The companies expect the acquisition to close during the first quarter of 2010.

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