Athn Booth

Source: athenahealth.

Thursday started off as a really good day for athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN). The cloud-based healthcare software-provider's stock closed up nearly 5% after the company announced a major deal with NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services Organization. After the market closed, though, athenahealth released its second-quarter financial results. The stock gave up around 2% of the day's gains in after-hours trading. Here's what happened.

By the numbers
Revenue jumped 21% from the second quarter of last year, to $224.7 million. However, that increase was smaller than the year-over-year revenue growth reported in the first quarter. Wall Street also had higher expectations, with a consensus analysts' revenue estimate of $226.57 million.

Athenahealth's earnings picture looked better. The company announced second-quarter GAAP earnings of $9.3 million, or $0.24 per diluted share. This reflected a significant improvement over the GAAP net loss of $2.2 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, reported in the same quarter of 2014.

On a non-GAAP basis, athenahealth posted earnings of $12.4 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. This was on par with the $12.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, in earnings from the second quarter last year. It also easily topped the consensus analysts' estimate of $0.25 per share.

Behind the numbers
Chief financial and administrative officer Kristi Matus noted that athenahealth remains "ahead of internal financial goals through the first half of the year." It certainly helped that the company chalked up record bookings in the second quarter for both group and small-group segments.

Athenahealth-branded services continued to outperform the company's other brands, particularly Epocrates, with 23% year-over-year revenue growth. The good news there is that the athenahealth-branded services account for more than 93% of total revenue.

But while athenahealth grows sales, it's growing expenses at nearly the same rate. Total expenses jumped 21% year over year. That's not necessarily all bad news, though. This includes a 48% increase in research-and-development costs, an investment that holds the potential to pay off over time. 

Looking ahead
Athenahealth maintained its full-year revenue and earnings guidance provided earlier this year. However, the company gave some additional information that is encouraging. Revenue is expected to be at or above the mid-point of the $905 million-$925 million guidance range. Athenahealth also projects non-GAAP earnings to come in at or above the mid-point of the $1.10-$1.20 range provided earlier.

Landing the New York-Presbyterian Physician Services Organization account likely gave athenahealth some confidence in giving a more optimistic shading on its full-year outlook. The company's continued progress in expanding its provider network is also good news.

As always seems to be the case with athenahealth, though, shares are subject to taking a big hit at any sign of weakness. A forward earnings multiple of more than 82 just carries that kind of risk. So far, however, the company appears to be in good shape for the rest of the year.

Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Athenahealth. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.