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Two CIOs before me have written regularly for HIStalk. I’m honored to follow or join in their footsteps. I hope I can be a tenth as insightful as John Glaser was under his regular/irregular column of the past. I also promise to stay away from the leadership and life lessons offered up by Ed, as I could not come close to being that inspirational.
Instead, my focus will be observational healthcare IT industry stuff offered up with a style best described as, “A mix of sarcasm, adequate grammar, and poor spelling.”
One of the many things I enjoy in my role as a CIO is the ability to hear about new ideas from new companies.
In a given week, I likely participate in 2-5 calls or meetings related to new products from startups. I learn a lot, I see many emerging concepts taking shape, and I get to observe trends as patterns of companies start to form to fill new gaps.
Sometimes sitting through the presentation is an exercise in patience, as the product idea falls flat. But it all becomes worth it when you can discover the right thing to fill the white space between or within our current application portfolio. It really is encouraging how many smart people are working on solutions to solve problems in healthcare these days.
How do we find the 1-5 cool products a year among the 200+? Good question. Perhaps I will address that in a future column.
But for now, let me offer up the observation of Epic Bingo. Not just a trend, but a fun new game to play when talking to startups. I’ll offer some advice, too.
I think conservative numbers would put Epic market share at 40 percent. It feels higher to me, but admittedly I work at a place that has Epic, so I hear a lot about them. Epic customers tend to share traits. A key one is the vision of a single patient record. Epic’s tagline (“One Patient, One Record”), workflow, and single pane of glass are keywords that Epic clients to focus on.
When a new company comes to pitch their wares at an Epic site, they are keenly aware of needing to answer the “integration with Epic” question. The result is what I would like to call the new game of Epic Bingo. Here’s how you keep score during the pitch.
- Saying Epic. No points for the first five times, but a quarter point every mention after.
- Using “Judy” or “Carl” in a sentence. Half a point (everyone can do that.)
- Using “Madison” in a sentence. Half a point. Double points if “Verona” is used.
- Saying Epic is closed and based on MUMPS. Half a point. No originality.
- Making reference to open.epic.com. A full point just for being current.
- Stating you have one or more former Epic employees working for you. Two points each. This can really add up!
- Telling a story about actually meeting or talking to Judy or Carl. 2-5 points. Depends on the story. Charming and funny earn extra.
- Dropping other Epic employee names. 2-3 points, depending on the employee. Using “Sumit” or “Stirling” and spelling them right gets five full points each.
Have fun with it. See how your questions of the presenter may generate more points! A good score is 10 or more.
While I am writing this with Epic in mind, I bet it applies to Cerner and other systems as well.
- Hospitals can be segmented along lots of criteria. One is those that have deployed enterprise EMRs and those that have not. Know your customer. If you are presenting a new solution to an enterprise customer, be sure it really fills a new space.
- If you have an idea to compete with a core function of an enterprise EMR, your difficulty is not integration, it is competition.
- A single better feature does not make a product. Not every product idea can actually become a company. Make sure you have scope and scale.
- Go six degrees to the left or right of the core vendors. Don’t pitch a better mousetrap — pitch an idea disruptive to the mousetrap itself.
In the mean time, have fun playing bingo.