Athenahealth and EClinicalWorks CEOs Explain Their Differences, Critique Software Subsidies
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investors. That’s simple to understand. But it was interesting to hear both Bush and Navani comment on the ownership of their respective companies.
EClinicalWorks “is a self-funded business with no investors, no debt, and we focused on recurring revenues, but not planning to hit the jackpot on the first day,” Navani said. “It was supposed to be a lifestyle business. It continues to be a lifestyle business at a different scale than what it once was, and we’re adjusting it.”
Bush, the first cousin of former president George W. Bush, said: “We have exactly the opposite approach. I come from a family of public servants, I want to create a public good, and I think that the right place for a public good is to be capitalized by the public markets. I’ve raised a ton of money.”
It appeared that the ways that Bush and Navani have organized and built their companies, while vastly different, are both well suited for their goals. Navani wanted to start his own company and have control over decisions. Bush was interested in taking advantage of the capital available in the public markets, and Athena is a publicly traded company.
A Point of Agreement
Bush and Navani seemed to both be wary supporters of the billions of dollars that the U.S. government is pouring into incentives for doctors to adopt electronic medical records. At the end of the day, both Navani and Bush see their companies as disruptive forces in the electronic health records market that are, in a way, hurt by the incentives because they will support the purchase of antiquated technologies.
“What it’s going to do is create an artificial catalyst,” Navani said. “It’s going to create some incentive that wasn’t [available] before for an adoption curve that might this from maybe getting 50 or 60 percent adoption to maybe 80-85 percent adoption” among U.S. physicians.
“What we both don’t like about [the government-subsidized electronic health records] is that the GE golf outing has a whole new topic,” Bush said, “and they can jam a piece of tired , exhausted, nearly dead software down the throat of some hospital.”
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