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Where Experts Go to Learn

by Jonathan Bush, President & CEO

It’s so nice to have our own forum on leadership, especially disruptive leadership!

I can remember when we first started athenahealth. Professor Nancy Koehn, one of my favorite teachers from Harvard Business School (HBS) and the first person to agree to be on our board of directors, gathered us around a flip chart on an island in Maine and had us write down our FONDEST WISHES for our fledgling venture. “Imagine what the front page of the Wall Street Journal will say when you are first on it,” she said. Most importantly, imagine what it will be like to be “from athena” and what it will mean to have that on your resume.

I loved this exercise and have reproduced it in different ways with different audiences every one of the twelve years since.

One of my original “fondest wishes” was that we become a place where the “experts go to learn.” Whenever we have one of our strategic client forums, I get a gust of wind in my sails from that early desire.

The Leadership Forum is different, though. It takes that original aspiration to a whole new level. We partnered with the Harvard Business Review and some faculty from HBS to press together their expertise with the enormous flow of original content that we get from our unique position as a cloud-based health information network--not to mention our EHR, practice management and care coordination services. The information cooks down into exciting stuff about how to be in the business of medicine in a way that equally inspires both the id and the super-ego.

In our athenaInstitutes we talk about such varied subjects as failure being the best teacher in saving Chilean miners, “same day encounter documentation,” and the best leading indicator of physician quality. My favorite is the talk on David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage…this is an 18th century concept that we are barely starting to grasp in health care. (Wacky stuff…but then again it also took us 35 years to adopt penicillin.)

I hope you all check out the Leadership Forum…Now I can scratch it off my bucket list.

Jonathan Bush is the President and CEO of athenahealth.

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