MGMA 2010 – Dan Michelson (Allscripts)

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Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRtv in New Orleans at MGMA 2010 speaking with Dan Michelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Allscripts

Category: Featured, MGMA 2010, Tradeshows
Date: November 4, 2010
Views:7,617 views

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRtv and we're in New Orleans at MGMA 2010. I have the pleasure of speaking with Dan Michelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Allscripts and Dan, obviously a tremendous number of things have happened since we've spoken most recently including obviously the Eclipsys acquisition and many others. So maybe starting with those chronologically, tell us some of the highlights.

Dan Michelson: Yes. Well, I would start right where you just mentioned. The Eclipsys merger was an incredibly exciting thing not only for us but for our clients. The new thing about us coming together as two companies is that when people took a look at what we were doing and what they were doing they said you should be working together. And so we had a lot of clients who were already using both products and they were really pushing us to make sure that those products came closer together already. And as we started to talk more as companies, we realized that our futures could be linked. I think what's interesting is that at a MGMA session that I just went to, there were probably three or four hundred people in a room that fit 100 people. That session was on physician hospital alignment. So there's a tremendous amount of buzz and interest in the industry about trying to get the inpatient and the outpatient areas together to work as one to deliver a single patient record. And that's really the context of this company. So this new company, the new Allscripts, really is predicated around three things. One is delivering one network. We have 180,000 physicians or one of every three physicians in the country currently using our products but not stopping there, bringing those together with the 1,500 hospitals and the 10,000 post acute care facilities that we work with to create this one experience or single experience for our patient. The way you do that is with a single platform. So in some cases, some vendors approach the industry that if you're using all of our products, that's really nirvana for us. Really what we're trying to do is put a platform in front of our clients that will allow them to connect and bring all the different solutions they use together whether it's within the four walls of a hospital or clinic or just within the community to deliver a single patient record.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Part of this new process of the new Allscripts seems to be a change in the logo and maybe there is some symbolism behind the logo and a single platform. If so, I'd like to hear that.

Dan Michelson: Yes. I appreciate the question cause I am in marketing but the question really does speak to what we were trying to do as we brought the companies together. What we did is we went and we surveyed our employees, we surveyed prospects, we surveyed our clients. We asked them about naming, we asked them about the color of the Company, we asked them about the logo and how we developed it. Really what the logo itself signifies is the bringing together of two companies to create a new company with a single direction and then also the bringing together of healthcare into what we call connected community of health. So the reality is a patient will go to see a clinician and perhaps something will be wrong, they'll get referred to another clinician, maybe they'll be referred into a hospital, they'll have a test done after they're in the hospital, they'll go potentially to a post acute care facility and then at some point, they'll come home and they'll receive care in all of those places and all of those are equally relevant to that patient. So our vision is really bringing together all of those points of care into a connected community of health. Not just healthcare but of health to enable providers to be pro active and not just react in terms of how they care for patients.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Very interesting. I don't bring this up to many people but our logo we've had for quite a number of years. My instructions were I want a feeling of interconnectivity in having information go from one place to another. And we have nine bubbles that are maybe some passing symbol.

Dan Michelson: Yes. The easiest thing to do within healthcare technology is to look at technology outside of healthcare because healthcare technology typically has been, at least on the information technology side, a few years behind. And when you look at what's going on in the general market, you see applications like Google, Facebook, Twitter. All of these are applications that take place in the community so everybody is contributing to those communities and it's really a platform that many people contribute to and used essentially as a communication platform at the end of the day when you really look at it. That's what we're trying to enable within healthcare. So you can view our footprint in the market as sort of being the Verizon of healthcare if you want to use an analogy. So we have a big map and there's a lot of people that use our products so we have this great network but what we're really doing is closer in many ways to being the Facebook of healthcare which is bringing providers or people together so that they can collaborate. And within that collaboration, that's where great things can happen in healthcare especially innovation.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Tell us what you see in the next let's say 18 months both in healthcare itself - how the healthcare reform is going to interface with some of the challenges that we all face - and then more specifically with respect to the new Allscripts.

Dan Michelson: Yes, I think it's a great question. It's hard to look past 18 months but I think you can look into the next 18 months and take a look at some of the trends which are really shaping the market. One, which MGMA actually came up with, was showing that the percentage of physician practices that are now owned by a hospital or a corporation has gone from 30 percent five years ago in 2005 up to 50 percent only five years later. If you look at what that means, there's 163,000 practices in this country that have less than three practices. That would mean that 32,000 more are now owned by a corporation or potentially a hospital. So that shift in the market is really stunning and I think that as healthcare comes together, either through buying entities or connected communities, you're going to see a big change in terms of how care is delivered. You hear about the ACO model, Accountable Care Organization model, you hear about the medical home model. Now we'll have to see how those two play out, but I think the subtext to both of those is really this excitement around collaboration of care. What we like to say is that quality is becoming the new currency. So whether it's pay for performance or pay for quality or pay for fill in the blank, this idea that quality is going to be what you're paid for is really the overriding concept in terms of how healthcare may shift.

Dr. Eric Fishman: You've anticipated my next question. How is it that Allscripts products assist physicians in providing better quality care?

Dan Michelson: Well, I think one is coordination of care, so being able to collaborate is really key. The fact that a third of the physicians in the country, now part of the Allscripts networking, can send referrals back and forth to each other, as well as other information, is highly relevant in that case. I think providing the right data sets, space protocols, being able to share that information from a quality reporting perspective are all tools that we've now enabled and allowed our providers to do not only through Meaningful Use and what's required in Meaningful Use but also extending that beyond that to the next level. So that's a lot of the excitement. I think people view healthcare ultimately as an information business that hasn't had information that was flowed or shared in a very fluid fashion and that was an enormous challenge. I think the promise of healthcare IT is it can simplify how healthcare is delivered and help take it to the next level by allowing providers to do what they do best which is care for patients but with the information in their hands that will help them do that even better, faster, quicker than they have in the past.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Very good. Dan, let me talk about one type of information flow and that would be patient portals. I was speaking with Glen a little over half a year ago and he and I shared a surprise at the relative lack of physician adoption of patient portals. How has that panned out over the last few months?

Dan Michelson: That's a really interesting question. So it's not physician adoption of patient portals, it's patient adoption of patient portals.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And yet patients are people who fly and they go to the airport and they use the kiosk. Why the disconnect here?

Dan Michelson: Yes, I think that's a really good question. I think you're going to see a number of different things on the patient side that are going to be incredibly innovative because everybody's trying to engage consumers to a greater extent than they are today. The disconnect in many cases is the fact that if I'm a patient and I see multiple providers, well then do I need to have multiple portals that I can interact with much less good technologies like Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault that have been put out there. So I think there's a lot of interest in trying to bring that together but there hasn't been really a solution that's allowed people to do that. We think our approach is a little bit unique. What we've done is we've partnered with some pretty innovative companies. One of them is Intuit to bring what they've done on the consumer side into healthcare. So Quicken Health is a really good example of what you can do through simplification and innovation at the same time. The one thing that's really interesting about Intuit is online they do about four or five billion dollars of business in terms of selling software online between the months of January and April every year. So they've obviously cracked the code in terms of bringing consumers into the world of software and engaging them and we're trying to learn from companies like that how to create an easier, more simplistic patient experience. The nice thing about ARRA is it does require that information is communicated and shared with patients. We believe there's going to be more awareness of the availability of that information and we do think that certain health systems are going to start to compete with sharing that information more actively because I think up until now, it's been an exception when you see this, not the rule and you're starting to see it more and more.

Dr. Eric Fishman: It was 15 years ago when I was using Managing Your Money and a friend of mine said, good program but you should use Quicken and he was right. I started and for 15 years I've been a loyal user of their technology and there has been a substantial evolution. But to be honest, 15 years ago it was an aha experience with just phenomenal benefits. I don't want to push 15 years in the future but let's go back to the patient portal situation. When do you think patients will be happy to be providing information to having financial transactions with their physicians online?

Dan Michelson: Yes, I think they're happy to do it today. I think in many cases, they're not aware of it and I think the neat thing is if it works right, the patients aren't putting any information out there, the information is being provided to them. So today, patients can pay bills online, they can renew medications on line, they can review their lab results, they can have patient directed or physician directed patient education and information that's shared with them and they use an application very actively right now called Google where they do a tremendous numbers of searches for health related information. So I think you're going to start seeing it more and more as providers become more comfortable with it and ultimately, patients will be more active in terms of engaging their providers directly and vice-versa because there's a lot of I think transition, a fairly big transition that's taking place in terms of whether providers want to care for patients in that way and so that will play out over time. But I think Malcolm Gladwell who is the keynote speaker here at this conference has coined the phrase very effectively: the tipping point. The tipping point has not occurred on the patient portal side. Clearly, it's tipped in terms of paying your bills online for the general consumer market so you would think that we're maybe still 18 months out before we can really see the kind of traction I think that one would hope for and anticipate where this becomes more commonplace in the market.

Dr. Eric Fishman: One of the documents that mandates, if you will, information transfer of that nature I believe is 864 pages of the Meaningful Use documents. So it would be my anticipation that Allscripts already had a pretty good understanding of what was to be expected both for 2011, 2013 but let me put a different spin on that question. Do you believe that it is the practice of medicine that determined what in fact showed up in those 864 pages? Or, do you think that the political mandates in the pages there are making a meaningful change in the software that Allscripts and companies such as yourselves are making and how the practice of medicine will evolve over the course of in a few years?

Dan Michelson: That's a great question. I don't think ARRA in terms of how it was produced, Meaningful Use and how it was defined did not redefine an electronic health record, it reflected that and I think that's appropriate. I think the bar gets raised over time for many of us but we feel that Meaningful Use is Minimal Use in terms of how it's been defined and we are more focused on the concept that we call Meaningful Value which is the value that a provider sees and feels and experiences from using an electronic record. That has to be the focus. Meaningful Use gets you to be put in a position where you can get pretty significant funding that's never been provided on this scale and really any industry for using an electronic system. That's fundamentally a good thing and it's a great bolus if you will in terms of driving the market.

Dr. Eric Fishman: That's one of my terms. Do you find that most of your physicians are focused on that $44,000 or is it a nice issue but not a major inducement?

Dan Michelson: Oh, I think it's a great instigator and that's how the market has reacted to it. So there's research that's coming out I believe tomorrow that shows that awareness among physicians of ARRA in terms of the details of how it works is probably between 75 and 80 percent. So it could be more but that's actually pretty good. And so that's a good starting point and I do think that there's more in the mix here. People are very worried about Medicare payments obviously in terms of some of the things that are on the horizon. That has people's attention but it terms of there being a good guy out there that can drive something that physicians were fundamentally interested in to begin with it, it has it's place and it certainly is driving a lot of activity and interest in the market there's no question about it.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Dan, it's always a pleasure speaking with you. Anything else that you'd like to add?

Dan Michelson: Well, I think the only other thing that I'd like to add is there's a lot of excitement at MGMA regarding a couple of things. One is the stimulus itself like we just talked about. People are trying to figure out what their strategy is and take advantage of it as the window is opening now but it closes soon. The second thing is collaboration between hospitals and physicians. You've never seen that more than you see it today, you'll never see it more than you'll see it 12 months from now in that respect because it's something that is certainly growing in terms of the level of energy and interest in terms of people trying to understand the future. And then I think the last thing is simplicity because in a confusing market, people seek a simple solution to try to solve really fundamental and important issues for them. And hopefully, as a company, that's what Allscripts is able to provide in the market. We've created solutions that are easy to use, we've created financing programs to make them easy to access and we've created a network of clients that are out there that show that in many ways, Allscripts is the safe choice and the best choice for the market.

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Eric Fishman with EHRtv speaking with Dan Michelson, Chief Marketing Officer of Allscripts. Thank you.


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