4th of Today’s Leading HIS Vendors• This week we continue the HIS-tory of today’svendors with Epic, whose 2012 annual revenue of$1.5B places them in 4th place among HIS vendors:1. $3.2B = McKesson, née HBOC = Walt Huff, Bruce Barrington, & DavidOwens2. $2.6B = Cerner, still run by Neal Patterson, co-founded with Cliff Illig3. $1.8B (est) = Siemens, née SMS: Jim Macaleer, Harvey Wilson & Clyde Hyde4. $1.5B =Epic. Gee, I have to wonder, just who was it who founded them?5. $1.4B =Allscripts, née Eclipsys, also founded by Harvey Wilson of SMS.6. $850M (est) - GE Healthcare, née IDX/PHAMIS: created by Malcolm Gleser7. $597M = Meditech, still run after all these years by Antonino Papallardo8. $375M = NextGen: née Quality Systems Inc. founded by Sheldon Razin9. $183M = CPSI, founded by M. Kenny Muscat & Denny P. Wilkins (who??)10. $156M = HMS (Healthcare Management Systems), Tom Givens & John Doss11. $150M = Keane, parent giant by John Keane, but HIS div. built by Ray Paris12. $106M = QuadraMed, née Compucare, founded by Sheldon Dorenfest
The Human Side of HIT• My tongue-in-cheek wisecrack on the preceding list about “…justwho was it who founded them?” sets up this intro to Epic. It is easyto Google tons of data on HIS vendors and, indeed, I could neverhave written half of this HIS-tory without Bing, Wikipedia, etc.• But thanks to the popularity of HIS-talk, I’ve been able to get intouch with the founders of many pioneering HIS firms such as:– John Sacco of JS-Data (who I even dined with in Nice, France!),Dave Lasky&Mitch Pomerance of Dynamic Control Corp., RayParis of Keane, Steve Klick of Dairyland, Kenny & Denny of CPSI,Doss &Givens of HMS, Ron Apprahamian of Compucare, etc.• Indeed, it is their human side of these HIS-tories that I hope hasmade this series far more interested than just market share stats.
View From The Top• However, few of today’s vendor CEOs have the time or interest intelling the story of their firm, usually relegating my requests totheir marketing departments who generally requested the right toedit my work, which I always refused (not even Mr. HIS-talk hasnever asked for that right – he lets me tell my tales uncensored!).• Worse, the higher up in the list of today’s vendors, the harder ithas been to get any answer from the top execs, who generallyhave a cadre of assistants in admin to screen all such requests.• So when I got to Epic this week, I paled at the possibility of evergetting through to Judy Faulkner, not only because we have nevermet, but because of the many critical rants I have posted on thisand other blog sites about her “cult” of followers, the lemming-like rush of large IDNs to EpicCare, high costs, etc.And, to be honest, I’ve got a pretty nasty side myself!
Electronic Supplication• So, I decided to give it the old college try, and shot the emailbelow out to Judy, just like the number of un-answered requeststhat I sent to other top executives of today’s leading HIS firms:– From: Vince Ciotti [firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, May 15,2013 4:13 PM To: Judy Faulkner Subject: Epic HIS-toryJudy,I hope you recognize my name: Ive been writing the "HIS-tory" of ourindustry for Mr. HIS-talk over the past year on his wonderful blog site.Hope youve seen and enjoyed them? This year, Im covering the historyof todays leading vendors, of which Epic is way up near the top. I wouldlike to chat with you about how you formed Epic and its amazing successstory. By luck, Im on my way to Wisconsin to visit a client hospital today,and could come by Verona in person if by any miracle you have any sparetime this Friday 5/17? If not, Id be glad to chat by phone any time yourefree over the next few weeks...Regards, Vince
What?!• To my utter amazement, I received the following reply that night:– From: Judy Faulkner– Date: May 15, 2013 9:41:36 PM EDT– To: Vince Ciotti email@example.comVince,I’d be delighted to see you. Would sometime between 2 and 4pm thisFriday work for you? How long do you think we need?Judy• I was so surprised, I shared this news with a circle of friends whoare CIOs at large facilities that were forced to undergo the agony ofone of our “IT Assessments” with the Hunter Group, Navigant,Insights, etc., and became my friends in spite of ourtough critiquesof their IT shops. Amazingly, every one had gone over to Epic overthe past few years so I figured they knew Judy well…
What I Expected…• And these aren’t just “any old” CIOs: they are the very best I havemet in over 25 years of HIT consulting so I respect their opinions;here’s the email I sent them describing my interview with Judy:From: Vince CiottiSent: Friday, May 17, 2013 8:11 PMTo: W Laker, S Reel, E Marx, B Reese, L Witherspoon, C BelmontYou folks all know Judy so much better than I, and probably wonderat why Ive been such an adamant critic of Epic over the years... Iguess my years with The Hunter Group jaded me on any expensivesystem. Well, as the exchange below shows, she was gracious enoughto host me for 2 hours today in Verona to discuss the history of Epic,and I went in expecting the usual sales & marketing treatment:• an executive secretary ushering me into a luxurious private office• a host of VPs scurrying around at the CEOs beck and call• all over-dressed to the 9s in in formal business attire• handing me a stack of marketing brochures & annual reports• followed by the corporate shtick, then a VP giving a ppt pitch
What I Found…Well, as I sat in the lobby a little early working on my laptop, here shecame in person, down the hall, comfortably dressed, welcoming mewith a sincere hello and banter about the Wisconsin weather. We metin a small, homey meeting room nearby, where she simply startedanswering my questions about her background and the history of Epicwith little or no sales bs that my sharp radar could detect. Just acharming, straight person, looks you in the eye, tells you exactly whatyou want to know, and makes you feel important and welcome.I must confess, Ive sat with many vendor CEOs in our biz over my 40+years, but this has to be the most human one Ive ever met. If theproverbial "stranded on a desert island" scenario ever came to pass,shed be the one! Now I know why youre all her customers…Watch for the HIS-tory episodes on Epic on HIS-talk that will start inabout a month - theyll be epic!Vince
Their Replies• Here is how each of these elite CIOs reacted to my email:– From: "Marx, Edward”– Date: May 17, 2013 8:53:35 PM CDT– To: Vince Ciotti <firstname.lastname@example.org– Subject: RE: Epic HIS-toryVinceI had the same expectation when I first joined Texas Health (an Epicclient) and made the trip to Mecca for an exec visit with my new“bosses.” She amazed me. I learned much in my time with her. And thatrelationship and growth and respect has grown over the years. Sheremains humble. Last CHIME she sat in on my session and thenafterwards spent 30 minutes just chatting about the talk, industry,etc. And Epic remains in good hands with her #2 Carl. Same thing…anengineer who is humble and smart.
Johns HopkinsFrom: Stephanie ReelDate: May 18, 2013 7:14:54 AM EDTTo: Vince CiottiSubject: Re: Epic HIS-toryYour notes are truly touching. And honest! I could not agree more withyour assessment. As you probably know, we signed our first contract withEpic, and Judy, in 1990. I was impressed then, and I am more impressednow - with the integrity, commitment, candor, professionalism, andaccountability Judy, Carl, and the Epic team embody, In 1990, I wasprovided with home phone numbers for all 35 employees - just in casewe needed something or had an issue that needed specialattention. Nothing has changed - other than the number ofemployees!!! I could go on......Thanks,Stephanie, Senior Vice President and Vice Provost
Ochsner’s CMIOFrom: "Lynn Witherspoon”Date: May 20, 2013 9:26:05 AM EDTTo: "Vince Ciotti”Subject: Epic HIS-toryIm glad you made the connection - clearly Epic isnt the answer toeverything but for large systems looking for a quasi-integrated solution Idont think there is any better. I have been impressed with the personalattention I receive - anybody from Judy down is responsive. After themajor implementation dust settled my contacts are a sturdy asbefore. Everything from planning the next major upgrade, the nuts andbolts of meaningful use Stage 2, getting ready for HIMSS Level 7recognitions, Health Information Exchange and interoperability,questions and concerns about content. This has been a most unusualexperience and continues to be. And of course the User Group Meetingin the fall and Spring Council meetings are extraordinary for theircontent. Hope all is well with you.Best, Lynn
Ochsner’s CIOFrom: "Chris Belmont”Date: May 18, 2013 8:01:31 AM EDTTo: email@example.comSubject: Re: Epic HIS-toryLike you, Vince I have worked for or closely with probably all of the majorvendors. Interactions with their executives were exactly as you explained.My three plus years dealing with Epic was the first that I felt truepartnership. The overall quality of the relationship, staff and product iswhat I have always pursued and what our industry needs. Somecompanies have one or two but epic has all three and more. I haveregular calls with Judy and Carl has called on several occasions. AsStephanie said, this culture filters through the entire organization. Ihoped that others would catch on but have seen zero indication that theyget it. Take care. Glad you like the Kool-Aid. Its no Jim Jones recipe. Itsgood stuff.
Franciscan & Sentara CIOsFrom: Laker BillDate: May 20, 2013 8:40:10 AM EDTTo: Vince CiottiWhoa, are you sure you they didn’t spike your drink with some of the Kool-Aid? J I do agree that she is a very nice lady with a very honest and directway of communicating. Refreshing as compared to most other vendorexecutives.Bill LFrom: BERT REESEDate: May 18, 2013 9:02:12 AM EDTTo: Vince Ciotti <firstname.lastname@example.orgSubject: Re: Epic HIS-tory......simply said.... it is my honor to call Judy my friend
Stay Tuned…• So, next week I’ll start the story of thisamazing lady and the firm she builtfrom scratch in 1979 with 3 FTEs and a$70K bank loan, leading it to becomethe 4th largest vendor today with overa billion dollars in annual revenue and6,500 employees worldwide.• Truly an epic tale…