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10/14/2010
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Allscripts CEO Asserts Vision For Healthcare Applications

Glen Tullman has predicted a future in which inter-connectable healthcare applications from different vendors will dominate.

Slideshow: Who's Who In Healthcare IT
Slideshow: Who's Who In Healthcare IT
Four months after announcing the acquisition of Eclipsys, and just a few weeks after the transaction's completion, Glen Tullman, CEO of "the new" Allscripts, said his organization's vision of the future -- replete with inter-connectable healthcare applications from different vendors -- would dominate.

That vision is based on leveraging Eclipsys' Helios platform, upon which independent developers can build applications. "As we worked together, we learned that we shared the same platform, which is Microsoft-based, but we also shared the same commitment to an open platform," he said.

Regarding competitors, Tullman specifically targeted Epic for criticism, saying that vendor may stand tall today, but would not continue to enjoy its current success. He likened Epic to a once-dominant IBM, whose commitment to the mainframe caused it to miss the advent of personal computing.

"The question is do you really think that a MUMPS-based system that is monolithic, that tells people the way they have to practice and is not connected, is going to be the future of healthcare in this country? Do you think we're going to tell every hospital and every physician, 'You've got to convert all your stuff?' One, we can't afford it, two we don't have time for it, and three, there's a lot of people that are very happy on their systems."

Tullman said Allscripts and Eclipsys have made significant progress integrating their products, largely because the two began working together before a merger was ever envisioned.

"We began to work together as two competitors, so what was interesting was some of the announcements we made this past week demonstrating native connectivity between Sunrise Clinical Manager, our acute application, and Professional, our mid-range ambulatory application, really astounded people. But to be honest, some of that had started prior to the merger."

Tullman added that removing uncertainty from any business situation is helpful. As such, the organization has already established an organizational structure, along with an operating philosophy and product plans.

In line with the theme of uncertainty is ensuring continuity. As such, both Tullman and Phil Pead, former CEO of Eclipsys and now Chairman of the new combined entity, have signed three-year contracts. "Neither of us is going anywhere. Phil and two of the Eclipsys directors joined our board and, again, that was very important. Phil also has a substantial stock interest in the company going forward."

Employees of the company can also now focus on work, rather than ponder their fate. "We wanted to make sure that on day one everybody who was sitting out in the audience as one of our employees knew either they had a job and a future with this new company or, if they weren't there, then they were off to their next adventure."

Anthony Guerra is the founder and editor of healthsystemCIO.com, a site dedicated to serving the strategic information needs of healthcare CIOs. He can be reached at aguerra@healthsystemCIO.com.

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