Australian health software specialist iSoft has purchased US hospital data integration specialist BridgeForward for £9m.

The acquisition gives iSoft a toehold in the burgeoning US market, which the company sees as critical to its future growth.

The deal also reinforces iSoft’s position in the UK, where BridgeForward’s integration technology is widely used, with clients including Great Ormond Street Hospital and NHS Scotland. BridgeForward has a lead position in the private healthcare sector where clients include Nuffield Hospitals and BMI Healthcare.

iSoft executive chairman Gary Cohen said BridgeForward’s new integration engine, Viaduct, offered a good fit with iSoft’s next-generation Lorenzo platform.

The Viaduct product is the successor to BridgeForward’s ClearSpan server and Edge4 integration products. Viaduct is said to enable Enterprise Application Integration and a service orientated architecture by exposing legacy systems as reusable services.

"This acquisition means we’re channelling the R&D dollars we would have invested in building out integration capabilities in Lorenzo into a world-leading product that’s already built," he told Australian IT.

"We see significant potential for Viaduct to be embedded with Lorenzo, as they are both built on a service-oriented architecture.”

BridgeForward licenses its integration technology to a range of suppliers in the US and UK, and the deal will potentially see iSoft become the provider of integration technology to a number of its competitors.

Cohen said the acquisition gave iSoft access to a team of talented developers and a toehold in the US market. President Barack Obama has committed $19 billion to accelerate the adoption of computerised medical records.

Cohen added that iSoft planned to integrate Viaduct with the Lorenzo Health Studio application development tool.

BridgeForward will become an iSoft subsidiary, with offices in Boston and London.