Merger Shows Health IT Still Blooming in GA

Unrecognizable male doctor pulling open white coat on the chest

The merger brings additional staff, customers and software tools to Azalea Health.

Seven years ago, Baha Zeidan and two of his Valdosta colleagues entered a local competition for business plans, looking to build on their idea for a health care software startup.

At the time, the three young men, all graduates of Valdosta State University, were working at a medical lab company in the South Georgia city. The group saw a need for better software for the health care industry, which still was bogged down with paper medical records.

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce awarded them the first prize of $15,000 for their business plan. The contest award also came with legal and other services.

“That was the start of the company,’’ Zeidan said.

The merger underscores the importance of the health IT sector in Georgia, and its broad geographic reach within the state. (Alpharetta is in northern metro Atlanta, while Valdosta is just a few miles from the Florida line.)

According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, there are more than 250 health IT companies in Georgia, supporting nearly 30,000 jobs.