Online health e-business firms Global Healthcare Exchange(GHX) and HealthNexis have announced plans to combine their operations into a single, comprehensive Internet-based exchange.

Supplier members of both organisations will be connected to GHX’s growing membership of 70 integrated delivery networks (IDNs), representing nearly 600 hospitals. The combined exchange will operate under the name Global Healthcare Exchange, LLC.

According to GHX by combining the resources of GHX and HealthNexis, supply chain participants will be able to more quickly realise the benefits of e-commerce in healthcare.

The merger announcement follows recent GHX alliances with Neoforma, Inc. and AmeriNet, Inc. “Connectivity, participation and cooperation among all members of the supply chain is critical for e-commerce to reach its full potential,” stated GHX President Mike Mahoney.

“HealthNexis and its membership of leading healthcare companies provide considerable e-commerce technology solutions and supply chain expertise. This combination reinforces GHX’s commitment to building an open and neutral healthcare exchange to drive supply chain savings,” he added.

The deal should accelerate the adoption of industry standards, by consolidating GHX’s AllSource catalogue with its HealthNexis’ counterpart, the Product Data Manager, into one industry standard catalogue.

David Hurley, chief executive officer of HealthNexis, called the merger an historic event in healthcare: “We are creating the first fully operational, end-to-end healthcare supply chain technology solution."

Financial terms were not disclosed. The new company will be based at the current GHX headquarters in Westminster, Colorado.

HealthNexis, formerly the New Health Exchange, was founded in April 2000 by four of the US’s largest healthcare companies: AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., Fisher Scientific International Inc., and McKesson Corporation.