Over the last few years there have been a substantial number of acquisitions and buyouts that have consolidated much of the transcription industry. Bill Benter, chairman and international CEO of Acusis, a Pittsburgh-based transcription company, says that the industry’s frequent buy-outs are, at the very least, a disruption. It can put clients on edge and have an effect on internal operations as management gets shifted and changes take place.
Acusis has carefully completed a few key acquisitions and Benter says he knows what’s involved in the process. Among other tasks it includes the assimilation of cultures, transitioning the customer from legacy systems to the Acusis technology platform, healthy communication between the newly hired staff and existing staff, consolidation of management responsibility, and seamless consistency in meeting client needs. Each of these is a large feat in itself and Benter says takes a lot of attention from the management team. “The idea of digesting more companies than one and still addressing all those criteria is hard to imagine,” Benter says. “But I do feel there is a Pac-man effect taking place where the larger companies gobble up the little ones.”
One of the negative effects when that happens is the possible loss of key talent, Benter says. “Sometimes the people that really know the business, the customers, and the software are the ones that end up being let go in the consolidation of management and the cost cutting that usually follows a major acquisition,” he says. “I think the instability of management and operations following an acquisition are issues we need to address and make sure are not hurting the industry as a whole.”
One of the concerns over these changes is the stability of the industry. With so many acquisitions, it would seem as though things are in a constant state of flux. That can have a negative impact on client relations. “Stability is really important in a service industry like ours,” Benter says. “Our personnel team members are our biggest asset. They have the knowledge, the customer specifics, and the experience. That helps us when it comes to maintaining communications with the client. Unfortunately, during a buy-out, those assets tend to get cast to the wind.”
Even though there are a couple large, key players that have a large percentage of the market, small to mid-size companies say that the current marketplace has actually created renewed opportunity. Larry Jackson, chief financial officer at Acusis, says that “bigger isn’t always better” and there will always be those clients who prefer working with a smaller company. “Clients don’t always want to work with the largest company out there because there’s this sense of getting lost in the crowd,” Jackson says. “Our customers are a big deal to us. Large companies that consistently change through acquisitions cannot care for their clients the same way a stable mid-size company like Acusis does.
While the last few years have brought some turmoil, those companies that are strong enough to stand on their own have some room for growth. “I do see a future of optimization for mid-sized companies like us,” Jackson says. “Hospitals need some variety and choice in the marketplace. I don’t see the stronger mid-sized companies going away any time soon. We bring stability and quality to the playing field.”
Acusis, a nationwide provider of outsourced clinical documentation offers integrated medical transcription solutions for hospitals, clinics, and Physician practices. Acusis has Higher Standards, specializing in superior performance, integrity, and quality. A team of 1,100 highly trained Acusis associates throughout the world provide consistent excellence and high customer satisfaction. The Acusis product development team provides state-of-the-art clinical documentation and technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with client needs. Contact 412.209.1300 or www.acusis.com for more information. Acusis is a registered trademark of Acusis, LLC. All rights reserved.