News Column

Allscripts to Add 350 Jobs in Raleigh

May 9, 2013

Medical software company Allscripts plans to add 350 jobs in Raleigh as it shuts down facilities across the country and consolidates jobs at key locations.

State officials on Wednesday awarded the Chicago company an incentives package worth as much as $5.35 million if it meets investment and hiring goals over the next four-and-a-half years.

Allscripts also must retain the 1,266 jobs it currently has in Raleigh to receive the incentives. If it meets the goals, Allscripts, which employs about 7,000 worldwide, will employ more than 1,600 people in Raleigh, already the company's largest U.S. site.

Allscripts chose Raleigh over sites in Chicago in large part because the Triangle is considered a hub for professionals in engineering, programming and scientific fields, company officials said. Allscripts is eliminating nearly half its 15 locations as part of its global consolidation.

"Some of the places we opted to move away from because the talent we need just isn't there," said Deborah Snow, Allscripts' senior vice president for Culture and Talent.

Allscripts' electronic medical records software is used by doctors, medical offices and health care systems to track patient health, check drug interactions and make health care decisions. Demand for such software has surged as a result of federal health care reform, which pays doctors to buy products from Allscripts and its competitors.

More than 180,000 doctors use Allscripts' electronic records software, about a third of the nation's practicing physicians. The company reported nearly $1.5 billion in sales in 2012.

Allscripts is offering employees at various sites slated for elimination the opportunity to transfer to Raleigh. The number of takers will determine how many people the company will hire locally, Snow said.

Many of the jobs are in research and development, including quality assurance, engineering and software development, she said.

The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $75,800, well above the Wake County average of $48,042. Allscripts is expected to invest $2.8 million in its North Raleigh offices as part of the expansion to create space for the incoming workers.

Its Raleigh office includes scientists, sales, marketing, finance, HR and support functions.

Allscripts established a presence in the Triangle in 2006 when it acquired A4 Health Systems, a Cary company, for $272 million.

Allscripts merged with competitor Misys Healthcare Systems in 2008. As part of that union, the company closed two Allscripts offices in Cary and consolidated its Triangle workforce into Misys' North Raleigh campus in Six Forks Road.

The company has been expanding in recent years as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to pay doctors as much as $22.5 billion in financial incentives -- up to $63,750 per doctor -- to switch to electronic medical records, which covers much of the cost of buying the expensive software systems.

The federal government also plans to fine or penalize doctors and hospitals that don't use electronic systems for their Medicare patients.

Source: Copyright News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) 2013

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