Tag: athenahealth

Who will be the of Healthcare IT?

Last week was the massive user conference Dreamforce (massive in that there were more attendees at Dreamforce then this year’s HIMSS!). We’ve been reviewing more than a few articles and writings written by those who attended the event. In the few short years of its existence (~13yrs) has become one of the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors in the market and basically pushed the previous leader Siebel to the brink and into the arms of Oracle. Salesforce is arguably the leader in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market and thus someone to pay close attention to on all things “Cloud Computing.”

So what makes so compelling and what are some parallels to the healthcare sector?

Similar Market Demographics: From the beginning Salesforce has always been structured as a SaaS and targeted the hard to reach and highly distributed sales forces of companies of all sizes. Actually, they first targeted the small to medium business (SMB) market and once successful there, went after Siebel in big enterprises. In healthcare, the vast majority of care is provided by small, 1-3 physician practices that are highly distributed across the country – perfect target for a hosted SaaS offering.

Continue reading…

Why CMIOs Matter, and Why We Hired One

On Monday morning, April 4, we were proud to announce that Dr. Todd Rothenhaus has come onboard here at athenahealth to serve in the role of chief medical information officer, or CMIO. It’s a new position and we’re excited he’s joined us. Among many other tasks he’ll take on, he’ll be working on various product development and physician advocacy initiatives.

So now that we’ve got one on the payroll…you might ask: what exactly is a CMIO? And why do we now have one at athenahealth?

I have always known, at a gut level, that from a sales perspective, CMIOs are more important for us to engage with early in the sales process than a traditional CIO (no offense Halamka, I still wanna be friends). In fact, we became major sponsors of CMIO magazine long before I truly appreciated the role of a CMIO!

The CMIO is almost always a doctor, but a doctor in an executive position responsible for managing the health information in a medical organization. They lead implementation of EMR and other health information technology systems. And it seems there is a Lorax element to most. Remember that Dr. Seuss favorite? Well, in the way that the Lorax speaks for the trees, the CMIOs I know speak for the other docs in their organization where management of information is concerned.Continue reading…

Physicians–grumpy and getting grumpier

As the careful THCB reader may have noted, we like to feature Daniel Palestrant (CEO of Sermo) and Jonathan Bush (CEO of athenahealth) relatively frequently because a) they’re both very entertaining and b) their companies are providing new types of services that aggregate both the opinions and the clinical activities of physicians. Given that physicians are very important in health care, and that I (and my Health 2.0 colleagues) think new clinical and business processes are a must, it’s well worth considering what physicians are thinking.

My impressions from observing what’s happening in Sermo is that physicians are grumpy. Grumpy with insurers, grumpy with the AMA, and grumpy with government. My sense is that about 2/3s of commenters on Sermo wish they can go to some kind of cash-only direct patient pay system, and the rest would want to go to some kind of protected salary system. Continue reading…

Jonathan Bush, quickly

Jonathan Bush gave me a quick interview at HIMSS ten days ago. We had a chat about what the recent restatement of accounting was all about (stock off about 12%), and last night they released numbers that apparently made Wall Street a little happier (stock up 6% after hours)

More interestingly we also chatted about the uptake of the clinicals product (pretty well), and whether and when athena would open its network to other application vendors (in a while).

Not exactly what athenahealth was looking for

This is not a fun day for athenahealth, and frankly with HIMSS coming up, not a fun time to have such a day. None of this has anything to do with their products or their client services, but late last night the company announced that it’s going to be restating its earnings. You can see a longer discussion on The but essentially it appears that athenahealth has been amortizing its installation costs over one year whereas they ought to have been doing it over more years. The net result is that they’ll have to restate some earnings and are going to miss the next earnings reporting deadline. The stock is off roughly 12% today.


What’s been happening is that the new CFO (Timothy Adams) has come in and cleaned house, and not liked what some of the old CFO (Carl Byers who moved to Chile!) had been doing. Long term this clean up is probably good news. The company is still operationally profitable (we assume!), and its business of running the back office and increasingly front offices of doctors using a combination of technology and forklifts/sweat remains a great way of both routinizing their businesses and aggregating data for overall process improvement.

So better to get any financial “irregularities” cleared out now and be more conservative. But while other than the shareholders (and the coming lawsuits) it probably doesn’t matter much, this may per chance slow down Jonathan Bush a touch next week. Or maybe not. We’ll see….

Open Letter to Athena


Afterburner (af·tər′bər·nər) n.

  1. A device for augmenting the thrust of a jet engine by burning additional fuel in the uncombined oxygen in the gases from the turbine
  2. The augmentation of thrust obtained by afterburning may be well over 40% of the normal thrust and at can exceed 100% of normal thrust

Athenahealth is one of my favorite companies anywhere. I believe they have a great vision, a  highly capable team, an incredible business model, and an unprecedented business opportunity before them. However, for all the amor, I have been disappointed that even with all their blistering success (Bam, Bam, and Kabam!) they have captured less than 2% of the target market since the IPO. I am not just disappointed for them but for the entire ambulatory care space which doesn’t seem to readily get the value of the collective intelligence inherent in the network.Continue reading…

Interview with Jonathan Bush, AthenaHealth CEO

In this interview Jonathan Bush explains the nation’s major problem: a severe shortage of MUMPS programmers. Well not exactly, but as always the AthenaHealth CEO is well worth watching. And of course he’ll be at Health 2.0 on the same panel as Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman. That will really be worth watching, and of course you can sign up to come to Health 2.0 in October here.