An important step towards more open healthcare IT systems

For years one of the major complaints about healthcare IT systems has been the closed and proprietary nature of most vendor offerings.  As we move to improve “information liquidity” (a cool term I read about it a Deloitte study, I believe) across the continuum of care. announcements such as the following are most welcome:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eclipsys-and-microsoft-form-strategic-alliance-to-make-enterprise-health-it-more-open-and-powerful-85193517.html

Of particular note in the press release is the statement:

The Microsoft agreement is part of Eclipsys’ open platform initiative, by which Eclipsys plans to expand its reach by working collaboratively with other industry participants to enhance interoperability, and enabling third parties to develop new applications that work natively with Eclipsys solutions.

I added the bold to emphasize Eclipsys’ intent to support third party applications.  Taking a page from Internet pioneers and giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google, Eclipsys is creating the conditions for an ecosystem in which they do not try to be all things to their customer.  By allowing third parties to add value to their core platform they will make this platform more valuable and more attractive to current and prospective customers.

I hope that other vendors, particularly Canadian EMR vendors, take note of the Eclipsys strategy.  Opening up your platform so that other vendors can develop applications that make use of the information stored in your systems is good for the customer, good for our health system, and good for your bottom line.

2 responses to “An important step towards more open healthcare IT systems

  1. A good move. Exactly what I’ve always been saying to Canadian EMR guys and others. The challenge is not in the strategy but the execution.

    In a galaxy far far away….I used to be an indirect partner program manager for a small software company. The devil is in aligning the self interest of your “partner” with your own. Now the company I worked for was about 25 people and had little leverage. My advice to other small companies is to only pick one or maybe two large partners because they require a lot of care and feeding and give little in return. The real trick for Eclipsys or others is to get some of the small specialist companies/programmers to build niche functionality into your platform. The little guy makes some of the best functionality possible…just lot at the iPhone.

    The part that has me scratching my head is how do you compensate the small niche partners. Do you build an app store, or is their another model that works?

    Mark

  2. Simple … in the near term, you sell to the healthcare organization, either directly or through the partner. Given the relatively small # of healthcare organizations (as compared to consumers) I think that the direct sales model can still work.

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