WebMD's strategy might ultimately force a consolidation within the industry. Most e-scription start-ups, once flush with venture capital, are on the block, looking to be acquired or to align with bigger fish that can offer womb-to-tomb IT solutions. IBM's new venture will probably be a buyer, and Allscripts already has a deal with IDX, whose own back-office, practice-management system is used by more than 100,00 doctors. "This whole industry is so fragmented," says Wygod. "In order to make it more efficient, you can't have so many different players." Wygod just has to hope that when the paper chase is all over, it's WebMD that has a clean bill of health.
Just What the Doctor Ordered? WebMD Elmwood Park, N.J. Sales: $517 million 52-week high: $26.19 4/12/01 close: $7.59
Provides consumer health information on the Net and administrative services for doctors. Will soon unveil a portable prescribing unit
Allscripts Libertyville, Ill. Sales: $55 million 52-week high: $41.50 4/12/01 close: $5.03
Offers physicians handheld clinical systems--for e-prescribing, drug reference, dictation and creating bills for reimbursement