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New Leadership at Misys

April 17, 2007
by Anthony Guerra
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Changes at the top may mean a new direction and sharpened focus at Misys Healthcare Systems.

Earlier this year, Raleigh, N.C.-based Misys Healthcare Systems shook things up at the top with the hiring of Roger (Vern) Davenport as executive vice president and general manager. He replaces Tom Skelton as leader of the division, who resigned to pursue other interests, according to the company.

Roger (Vern) DavenportDavenport, who joined the organization from Eastman Kodak Company — which, almost at the same time, sold its entire healthcare business to Toronto-based Onex, and renamed the division Carestream — has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Though the timing might lend one to think Davenport saw the writing on the wall at Kodak, he says the acquisition had "nothing to do with my coming or going."

Looking forward

With less than a week on the job at the time of this interview, Davenport said he hoped to help the company recover from a "lack of focus. Some borne out of management buyout activity in the last year from Misys PLC, but all of that is behind us now." He said the company would renew its focus on customer needs, a task Davenport said he was very comfortable with considering his work history.

Specifically, Davenport said he planned to make sure Misys Healthcare divisions worked together instead of as autonomous entities as they had done in the past, a charge handed down by Misys PLC CEO Mike Lawrie. "From the top leadership of PLC, we are going to work closer together," he explains. But the lack of coordination is something that also needs to be remedied within the healthcare division. "This has been run like a portfolio of companies," he adds. "We need to find the leverage points between them, and pick those places in the market where we want to compete."

In terms of high-level trends that the company is watching, Davenport noted the rise of consumerism as warranting close observation and strategic alignment. He also noted the benefits of adopting best practices observed in other industries, such as financial services, where the use of IT has made far more strides than in healthcare. "Consumerism was addressed by the financial services industry 10 years ago, so what are some things that they have done that we might leverage?" he asks.

Divisions, divisions, divisions

When it comes to integrating its healthcare businesses, Davenport notes there's work to be done. The company is in the hospital business, it has a lab solution offering, and it's getting into clinical IT. It also has a unit focused on the physician space, including practice management and electronic health record software. Misys Healthcare also has products and services in the home care space and in electronic transactions (PayerPath). Davenport notes that the business lines span the continuum of care people move through in the healthcare system.

"I think there is an opportunity to leverage our services for people who move from the hospital setting to the physician; from the physician office back into the hospital; and from the hospital back into the home — both a nursing home and an individual's home," he says.

Message to customers, employees

While most new executives emphasize a "business-as-usual" message to calm any customers fearing a loss of direction or lack of focus, Davenport is stressing the changes he plans to make. "I think that it is not going to be business as usual," he says. "We are going to be more intensely focused on customers and customer satisfaction. I told the team that, starting today, we are going to have refocused energy. So you can bet it's not going to be business as usual."

To his new family of employees, Davenport says it's accountability that matters to him. Bring him ideas with some data behind them and there may be a positive reception, he adds. "I am purpose-driven and our focus is going to be very data-driven. Facts are going to support all the decisions that we make going forward."

David Raths is a contributing writer based in Philadelphia.