HIMSS10 – NextGen Healthcare

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NextGen Healthcare Information Systems President, Scott Decker, speaks to Dr. Eric Fishman about the company’s recent initiatives and plans for the future. NexGen recently announced the acquisition of Opus Healthcare Solutions, Inc. This technology will assist hospitals with working in both inpatient and outpatient settings, across the continuum of care. Mr. Decker talks about NextGen’s robust EHR solutions, and how the company is focusing on simplifying its products for the smaller physician practices. NextGen is doing this by leveraging its template driven model, with the ability to scale down options and functionality to meet the needs of 1 to 5 physician practices.

Dr. Fishman and Mr. Decker further delve into NextGen’s development of its own Health Information Exchange (HIE). With 50 installs, the NextGen HIE is a solution to help practices meet interoperability standards included in meaningful use criteria. Mr. Decker discusses the future of HIT: Connectivity. NexGen is focusing its research and development efforts on facilitating the sharing of health information, cloud computing, and web 2.0 for a “Google like environment” for healthcare in the future.

Category: EHR Vendors, HIMSS10, NextGen Healthcare, Tradeshows
Date: March 8, 2010
Views:8,578 views

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman with EHRtv and today we have the pleasure of speaking with Scott Decker, President of NextGen Health Care Information Systems. And Scott, I thank you very, very much for taking time out of your very busy time at HIMSS10.

Scott Decker: Sure, no problem.

Dr. Eric Fishman: NextGen, obviously a leader in the industry, you've obviously been doing something right. You have 30,000 physicians I understand using your technology?

Scott Decker: That's correct, right.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Let's start with the inpatient because you have some interesting news with some inpatient technology and then we'll spend most of our time dealing with the ambulatory markets. So tell us about your recent announcement in the inpatient arena.

Scott Decker: Well, just two weeks ago as you alluded to, we bought a new company called Opus Health Care out of Austin, Texas which is probably what we found to be the leading technology provider for the smaller hospitals. We've been working more and more with hospitals over the last few years and they've been driving us to present a solution that really allows the physicians to work across the continuum of care of both inpatient and out patient. So we've been looking for 18 months the right piece of technology to pick up to fill out our portfolio. We found this company Opus and so our plan really now is for the smaller hospital, the community hospitals across the country, to be able to provide a totally integrated inpatient/outpatient solution which we think doesn't exist in the market today.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And so it's obviously a good plan with the recent relaxation of the Stalk laws and the 85 percent that you can offer to subsidize the physician - not you, but the hospital can - is that part of your rationale in having that done? Or are you anticipating that hospitals that are using the Opus platform will be able to incentivize to purchase NextGen?

Scott Decker: Sure and it's probably as meaningful for that audience because they have meaningful use requirements also to bring CPEO up to the hospital.

Dr. Eric Fishman: They get real money, millions of dollars.

Scott Decker: They get real money for that and so you combine that initiative with being able to have NextGen for the outpatient. We think it's a really nice mix. And that market is even less penetrated than physicians for EHR's, so ripe for a great solution.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And that's not penetration because obviously not many physicians in the small market have this yet.

Scott Decker: Right.

Dr. Eric Fishman: The two products are or will soon be completely interoperable?

Scott Decker: Interoperable right away and what we really want to do is then integrate them together over the next couple years so it would be seamless sharing of data but right out of the bat we'll be able to have them interoperate.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And now let's spend obviously a little bit more time speaking about the ambulatory market. EHRtv's focus is 1 to 5, 10, 20 doctor physician groups. Tell us where NextGen's footprint is in that, and it's obviously huge, but maybe it has some specialized areas.

Scott Decker: Yes. As you alluded to, we have probably between 30,000 and 40,000 users across the country using our EHR and our enterprise practice management product. We've been in the market now 15 years with those two clients. Good penetration across all specialties. We actually have a specialized content for 26 different specialties. Cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics are some of the ones that we probably have a higher market share.

Dr. Eric Fishman: You may know an orthopedic group directly on top of my medical office building uses NextGen.

Scott Decker: Very good.

Dr. Eric Fishman: It's a standard. Let's talk about the size of practice that you're most comfortable with. Obviously, you have one doctor practices and you have multi-hundred doctor practices. Where do you feel the sweet spot is for NextGen?

Scott Decker: Yes, probably the 10 to 100 is really the heart of our market. We have bigger practices and probably more and more we're spending time with health systems who are taking ownership of physician practices and so those get to be pretty big multi- specialty environments we can find and we scale there. We’ve had a history of not doing great in the smaller practice market and to be honest, that's really a focus of ours is to figure out how we take a very robust product now and simplify it a little bit and get it down to a price point so that the one to five doctor practices can more easily get into the technology also.

Dr. Eric Fishman: For practices such as that obviously implementation time is critical and NextGen has a reputation of being extraordinarily robust but with that comes the complexity of having to customize it through your office.

Scott Decker: Right, which goes to my comment on simplicity. We are on a template driven model. So we can really scale the complexity of the product depending on what kind of templates we give a practice to get started. So for the smaller practice, one thing we've done is really simplify the templates, so the starter kit.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And for the viewers, where do you think you are on the curve of that simplification? Has that been implemented and you're ready to do that now or is that still --

Scott Decker: Yes, it's in our product release now. So our latest releases is we think we've made really good strides on that part.

Dr. Eric Fishman: You mentioned obviously large practices. Interoperability is a critical component both from the government perspective and I think you're at the forefront of that. Tell us about some of your interoperability issues, capabilities.

Scott Decker: We actually developed a product six years ago called CHS or Community Health Solution which is our own HIE product. And we have over 50 different installs of that HIE across the country now and it's really kind of hit home now with meaningful use because you have to be able to prove interoperability both with other physicians and with the patients. So we feel like we're ideally positioned and have a whole host of our clients that are using that platform as their intercommunication method. We think that's the future of health care. I mean, stage one was how do you get the physician practice automated but the real bang for the buck is one with shared data.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And does that platform allow for information to be transferred in and out of NextGen physician offices?

Scott Decker: And others. So we have GE hooked up to the platform, we have hospitals hooked up so it's truly a multi-vendor platform.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Now you have a wide variety of products obviously, an integrated electronic health record and practice management. Let's talk about the patient portal for a few minutes it's apparently an interest of both of ours. Tell us how robust it is and tell us some of the physician experiences you've had of your customers who are actually using it.

Scott Decker: Right. So the biggest challenge has always been the culture change and for some reason, physician practices have trouble getting their head around this concept of let's move to self-service, automated web portals. When we get them there, it's really a tremendous reaction because all of sudden they see all these calls that they used to get, the ability for their patients to really have 24 by 7 service. So we have a front end patient portal that integrates completely back into our EHR and EPM. So they can essentially build templates just like they would for their practice for their patients. So they can do everything from register, to do medication refill, to schedule appointments. So as they learn it and they start to get their patients used to it, it's a huge win for both the patient and the physician.

Dr. Eric Fishman: I think it's phenomenal. How long ago was that product released?

Scott Decker: Also has been out for three of four years and really it's just started to pick up tremendously in the last 12 months.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And you mentioned a meaningful use. Let's go to the regional extension centers meaning use. I'm sure you have a whole set of initiatives in that arena and if you could discuss those.

Scott Decker: Yes, it's an interesting development in the market that none of us necessarily saw coming. As you alluded to, it is going to be a player though so we've allocated a large part of our sales focuses to getting out and marketing and helping those regional extension centers understand our product and do everything we can to help them there.

Dr. Eric Fishman: How do you do that?

Scott Decker: We actually just recently announced now a certification process for consultants - but certainly applies to the REC's also - which allows them to go through a formalized training program to become consultants, for lack of better, on our products. So first it's just getting in the door but then it's really making sure we have meaningful education processes to get them up to speed.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Let's talk about what you're seeing as the future coming forward in the next few years.

Scott Decker: There's two things that we really see evolving. One, we've already talked to a little bit which is just connectivity. We think that is more and more where the industry needs to go. So we've done all the blocking and tackling about how you automate the practice. Now it's how are you going to facilitate that sharing of information. So we're making a lot of investments on that front and I think you'll see some exciting stuff out of NextGen in the next couple years on people who use our technology being able to share in ways they never imagined before.

The second piece is how do we continue to get to more web tadado technologies for this industry. And we still severely lack other industries from my perspective and taking advantage of where technology's gone. Google and Amazon, you look at those models and they very much apply to health care too. So how do we get physicians into a cloud computing environment and Opus is a great example of really a web todado technology. All our products will be there in the next 12 to 24 months and we envision a Google-like environment for medical computing in the future.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Great. Scott, it's been a pleasure.

Scott Decker: Yes, thanks for the time.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Thank you very much. It's been Dr. Eric Fishman speaking with Scott Decker, President of NextGen Health Care Information Systems. Until next time, thank you.

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