Coming in at number five in this year’s HCI 100, Siemens Healthcare is clearly a powerhouse among the industry’s vendors. What’s more, the organization is one of only two vendors that offer core clinical functionality to hospitals, such as EMR and CPOE, while also playing heavily in the PACS, RIS and modality space (the other being GE Healthcare IT). Recently, HCI Editor-in-Chief Anthony Guerra had a chance to chat with CEO Janet Dillione about where the company stands – and is going – in the industry’s HITECH-fueled environment.
GUERRA: Would you say it might as well be called Soarian pharmacy at this point or should we not go that far?
DILLIONE: I think if I went that far, the pundits in the industry would scream at me. Potentially, someday it might be appropriate, but what I have told our sales force and the R&D group is to stop apologizing. We’ve made extraordinary investments here, and I tell them that we’ve done a very good job. As a company, we will move forward now and continue to tackle other hills that we have. We did protect the customers who had Pharmacy installed; we did protect their investment and I think that’s a big deal.
GUERRA: Going back to the KLAS Midterm Performance Review, Invision Financials was below the industry average, you scored 68.18, the industry average is 74.9. Soarian Clinicals came in at 72.17, also slightly below the industry average of 73.41. What do you think about those scores, or do you not put major emphasis on them?
DILLIONE: I would say we put a tremendous amount of emphasis on them – I personally do, as well as my management team. It’s a metric for every member of my team. That’s how seriously we take it, and that metric effects their compensation. So, we take it very seriously because, right now, KLAS has a unique position in the market. They have a voice that folks are listening to, so you have to acknowledge that.
I think every one of the vendors would love to have higher scores. Over the last two years, we’ve really tried to peel the onion and understand, not only the mechanics of the surveying process with KLAS, but the mechanics of what we have to do to get the scores to improve. One thing that is tough is KLAS’s methodology of holding on to data for 12 months or so, so that survey doesn’t represent this moment in time, it actually represents a little bit of a historical view.
It’s tough for us because we are the new kid on the block. In the telecom or the chip industry, the timeframes are different, but in the HIT industry we are the new product line, and it’s tough to be the new kid as I have often said. We’re always going to be a new kid until there’s a new kid.
I think Kent (Gale – KLAS Founder and Chairman of the Board), to his credit, has pointed out in some of the reports that Siemens has a customer base on different versions – some are on C3, C4, C5, C6 – because it’s a new product line and we are rolling out software very, very quickly. I think now you’re starting to see that C5 is well established out there and by Sept. 30, I think we will have over 30 customers live on C6; we just went GA (general availability) in April. So, we are moving fast here to get everybody up to the most current release and I think, quite frankly, what you’re going to see are those KLAS scores logically go up with that most recent software as we get the entire customer base migrated to it. It’s one of the positives with ARRA, it really helps make it compelling when we say, “Come on everybody, let’s get current, let’s get upgraded.”
Again, some of the issues have to do with the KLAS methodologies, some of it is us. Clearly, we have had some tough, rocky years early on with the earlier releases. I’m happy to say we don’t see that with the last two releases. C6 looks extremely good and Soarian Financials has been extremely good for the last several rounds.
GUERRA: Regarding your positioning in the market, I had been under the impression that a company like Siemens, and I would put GE in the same category, was extremely attractive to a hospital system that wanted to buy a lot from one company. You have quite an extensive product line, which even extends to the imaging modalities. But some CIOs have told me that PACS and RIS, and especially the modalities, are bolt-on plug-and-play, so it’s not that important to get them from the same vendor providing your core clinicals. What are your thoughts on that?