Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vermedx, Inc. is seeking a new CEO

This exciting healthcare technology start-up provides state-of-the-art decision support services to patients with diabetes and their physicians. The technology has been proven in clinical trials to generate large first year returns on investment for insurers, providers at risk for utilization expenses, and self-insured employers. The company has 6 employees and serves thousands of patients across the country from its headquarters in Burlington, Vermont. The new CEO will need to improve sales, lead efforts to raise more capital, and support the development of new products and services.

Job Description and Requirements

Position: Chief Executive Officer

Reports to: The Board of Directors

Key Responsibilities
  • Identify, develop and direct business strategy in cooperation with the Board of Directors
  • Plan and direct the organization’s activities to achieve the Board’s targets and standards for customer satisfaction, financial performance, quality, culture, and regulatory adherence
  • Manage the executive team
  • Maintain and develop the organizational culture, values and reputation of the company in its markets and with all staff, customers, suppliers, partners and regulatory/official bodies
  • Direct the sales activity to meet or exceed requirements for revenue growth
  • Lead the company’s efforts to secure additional outside financing through equity, debt or other arrangements as approved by the board of directors
  • Identify and develop strategic relationships that will accelerate attainment of company goals
  • Collaborate with the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Medical Officer, and Chief Technology Officer on the evolution of the Company’s products, technology, and business model.

Other Responsibilities
  • Serve on the Board of Directors, provide them with information needed to fulfill its responsibilities to stakeholders, and propose actions to the Board that support Company objectives.
  • Represent the Company in a manner that reflects favorably upon it.
  • Report to the shareholders and board on organizational plans and performance
  • Provide active personal support to the Sales team in gaining access to qualified customer prospects and closing sales.
  • Actively engage in and represent the company at Conferences and other events
  • Manage financial operations, with appropriate support from the Company’s accountants

Professional Qualifications
  • Prior successful experience in running either a successful for-profit company or a profit center of an established company in the healthcare Provider, Payer, or Information Technology sectors.
  • High level contacts in one or more of the Company’s target markets.
  • Strong practical knowledge of the role and functional aspects of chronic disease decision support technology in clinical settings.
  • Ability to work successfully with medical, IT, operations, and business professionals.
  • Experience in raising investment capital.

  • A combination of salary and equity to be determined.
  • Compensation will depend on the CEO’s impact on increasing the market valuation of the Company.

To apply, please send a letter and resume to
Benjamin Littenberg, MD

Monday, April 19, 2010

Brookings Institution Weighs in on Information Exchange

It was my honor and pleasure to serve on a panel convened by the Brookings Institution that discussed ways to better take advantage of laboratory data in diabetes. We discussed a lot of interesting ideas and made some suggestions on how to overcome the various barriers (legal, social, political, technical and psychological) that stand between the data and improved patient services.  Here is the announcement of the report's release:

Expert Panel Recommendations: Lab Data Integration for Diabetes Care Improvement
Integrating lab results with other sources of data, such as claims and other contextual, clinical patient health information, has the potential to significantly increase the data’s usefulness with regard to decision-support and care management improvement, and performance and population health management. The Engelberg Center convened a panel of key stakeholder experts – representing physicians, payers, health IT vendors, laboratory vendors, policy makers, regulators, and academics – to develop recommendations for overcoming key barriers and challenges to the collection and integration of electronic lab data through practical and replicable solutions. Read the panel’s full report.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some of the most influential healthcare executives are all about information exchange

Can a top 50 list tell us something about the role of information exchange in healthcare?  Modern Healthcare's list of the most influential physician executives shows the growing importance of informatics. Although mostly filled with CMOs and CEOs of big healthcare providers and professional associations, the top spot is held by David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. Then there's a sprinkling of informaticians and information exchange advocates such as Donald Berwick, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a driving force behind the movement to make health information more transparent to patients, and Paul Tang, Vice President and chief medical information officer the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.Other awardees certainly get it such as Robert Wachter, Chief of the division of hospital medicine at UCSF and healthcare quality expert and blogger, Carolyn Clancy Director of the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Thomas Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and originator of the first municipal diabetes registry in the world when he was Commissioner of Health for New York City.

With friends in high places, maybe we can get some progress in using all those bits of data to help people live better!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Is Health IT Worth it?

Congratulations to Colene Byrne, Blackford Middleton and their colleagues for a fine paper in Health Affairs about The Value from Investments in Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  They calculated that the VA has saved over $3 billion from their investments in VISTA and other IT. By investing more (and perhaps more wisely) than private sector, the government has achieved efficiencies that the big corporations delivering health care haven't been able to find yet. I take that as cause for optimism.

Friday, April 2, 2010

EMRs for Care Coordination

One of the really good reasons to use an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is that it helps to coordinate care among the various providers working on a single case. This is certainly one of the points that has been used to sell EMRs and to justify the huge upcoming federal investment in them. But, do they really work?

Ann O'Malley and a team from The Center for Studying Health System Change interviewed 60 users from 26 practices across the country and asked them how their commercial EMR fared in supporting coordination of care. The found some good news: EMR users reported that in-office coordination was improved. However, they also found some bad news: EMRs are not so good at the much more difficult task of coordinating care across offices (as when the Primary Care Provider refers to a specialist across town). The full report is in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. You can see the abstract here.)

To squeeze the real value out of EMRs, we're going to need new approaches to Health Information Exchange. The EMR is a multi-purpose tool, but it will need some different kinds of features if it is to improve care the way some single-purpose tools (like Vermedx) do.