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HIStalk Interviews Norbert Fischl, CEO, CompuGroup Medical US

May 31, 2014 Interviews 6 Comments

Norbert Fischl is CEO of CompuGroup Medical US and SVP North America of CompuGroup Medical of Koblenz, Germany.


Tell me about yourself and the company.

Globally, CompuGroup Medical or CGM is amongst the top five to top 10 healthcare software providers. We have offices in 19 countries, customers in 43 countries, and more than 4,000 employees. 2014 revenue guidance is about $700-$712 million US and EBIDTA approximately $137-$150 million. 

We have the largest physician customer base worldwide. It’s a one-stop shop solutions and services offering. We serve small and large physician practices and huge hospital installations. One of our customers is Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm,  which nominates the Nobel Prize candidate medicine or physiology, with over 30,000 concurrent users. Beyond that, we also offer solutions for pharmacy, lab, dentists, patients, and many more.

We entered the US market with three acquisitions in 2009-2011. We are ranked the #16 EMR provider in the US with about $50 million in revenue and 300 employees in six main offices.

We have three divisions. The ambulatory information systems, with our standalone and integrated EHR/PM systems. We have our EDI division, with our own integrated clearinghouse and reimbursement services. We also have a lab division, with a 30 percent market share in the physician office laboratory segment.

I call my vision 10-5-5-10. I want to be among the top 10 healthcare software providers in the US within the next five years, and in the top five software providers within the next 10 years. We here for the long run as an owner-led and publicly traded company as the reliable, trusted partner for our customers.

Being an entrepreneur and working in software is what I love to do. With CompuGroup Medical from 2011 until the end April 2013, I led our Northern European region with around 450 employees. Since May of last year, I’m honored to be responsible for our North American business, with the main focus on United States.


How do you see the US EHR market evolving?

There are still many doctors without EHRs. Of those, the question is, will they ever have one? We have Meaningful Use and adoption rates are still increasing, but they’re slowing down. Any market segment in any industry is characterized by incremental innovation and ultimately competing for replacement business.

What is interesting in the US is that switching rate of doctors to new software and to new software vendors is much higher than in most other countries in the world, especially on the EHR side. In Europe, for example, churn rate is more like one to two percent range. In the US, these rates are more around 15 to 20 percent. 

This means that in the EHR market and in the healthcare software market overall, there are enormous market opportunities for software vendors that understand their target groups and do their homework in terms of providing solid software solutions, a good amount of innovation, and excellence in service. CGM is delivering on those.


How will the market change if providers don’t stick around for Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Meaningful Use was supposed to improve quality by producing more fact-based measurement. Some doctors are more receptive to this than others. The money provides incentive for adopting EHRs, but that’s more appealing to some specialties than others. We see doctors who don’t give a lot of focus on the Meaningful Use topic, while others do.

Ultimately it’s the decision of the doctors themselves. I don’t think it will have a major impact on the development of the market.


How will you get a foothold in the US market?

Our US software solutions are solid and our services are of good quality and local. We will continue to invest in both product and service innovation. For example, by hiring the right talent into our service function.

Having said that, the main focus is on growing our business by continuing our path of operations excellence combined with continuous innovation. 

Operations excellence means, for example, the scaling of our direct sales force, which we’ve started to rebuild last summer. It also means that we will further improve on our service delivery and customer support. I want to be among the top 10 software providers in the next five years. I want to be best in class. We have made big progress there, but I still see big upside potential.

The US is a great market to be in. It is admittedly a highly competitive and geographically huge market. However, if you look at CompuGroup Medical’s history over the past 25 years, we penetrated all countries though acquisitions and we know how to do it successfully. We know that with the size of the US, it needs longer breadth and we have that. 

Excellence in the software business is how you take care of your customer and how close you are to your customer. The progress we made with our US business proves us right. Customers are returning from other competitors. We have won new customers in all product lines. 

It’s really doing the ground work and doing our homework. It’s not about spending millions of dollars to boost your brand recognition. Money can’t buy everything.

CompuGroup Medical stands for sustainability and long breadth. Feedback on our progress is greatly encouraging.


Do you have any final thoughts?

I would like to take the opportunity to say to our customers and to everyone else that we are back. I would like to thank everyone, our customers especially, for their loyalty and let them know that this is just the start. We are passionate about what we do, we are available 24/7, and we are here for the long run.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Did he really say that MU would not impact the Market? If not MU what will? Why is everyone getting certified if it has no impact, I have never heard of this company, but what does he mean by “We are back?” where did they go-and where are they back from?

  2. I am not really sure what he is saying here, he is going to be a top 5 company in Healthcare by doing nothing but offering PM/EMR? Wow-Really innovative?! Does he know there are 3000 other companies doing the same thing? Also-What does having a good Hospital system in Stockholm have to do with the US? Have they done anything in the US that is comparative? I have never seen CGM in the Hospital space, Also, I did some research, they are losing ground to Epic in Europe, -Ouch! I think his 10-5-5-10 plan is more like 1055 -10, They will be ranked 1055 in 10 years. They got ranked by one publication at 16 out of 100. Everyone knows that you pay for that ranking, if you go by attestations, they are far behind anyone in the top 50. Cerner-Epic-Allscripts-eCW, these are the real players, CGM doesn’t hold a candle to these guys!

  3. CGM is a great company. I am a current client and very happy with the service. It is true that we had some minor issues in the past but our response time and support have been greatly improved since Mr. Fischl took over. He even reached out to us personally and asked if there was anyting CGM could improve with our group. I have never had a CEO reach out to me personally. I believe CGM will continue to improve and be a strong presence in the U.S.

  4. Wow, a Generic post by a satisfied CGM client, Notice how they didn’t mention their clinic name? Probably because it is a fraud. I have never met a single CGM client that was excited about their system. I have met tons that have jumped ship and came over to a real system. Hey John A. What site are you from, and what product are you using? What exactly has improved since he took over? I can get a CEO to call you, but most CEO’s are busy running real companies. The fact is, CGM doesn’t have a single product that works with ALL browsers, or can be used with a tablet, including ipads, no iPhone app, no iPhone usage at all, as well as no hosted set up for 2 of their 3 systems. Their support may be marginal, but how hard can it be to support an antiquated system. They are in steep competition with PCN/Mends/Versus. Good work guys!! Keep killing it.

  5. CGM is actually a pretty good company that has some potential. I would say that this is do in part to their COO Kent Brostrom. He is very knowledgeable about architecture of IT. I have sat in on calls where he discussed ideas to enhance performance, and he seemed very knowledgeable about true fixes for our clinic. I don’t know too much about Mr. Fischl, I did see him in a airport once, and he is wearing a lady’s scarf along with skinny jeans, and high tops. He didn’t seem very CEO like, he was on a call with our clinic, and he really didn’t seem to know what he was talking about, which is evident by this article, but I was really impressed with Kent Brostrom, if CGM has a shot, it will be because of him.

  6. I knew this idiot wouldn’t last. The new CEO, has been in the states for a long time, is a visionary of true technology, and will really lead the comeback for CGM.

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