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The Secret is Out

by Todd Rothenhaus, MD, Chief Medical Officer

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you may know that I was once an athenahealth customer. Now, I’m one of a very small cadre of former clients inside our company. Most of us joined because we saw that the work of becoming a high-performing medical group was becoming essential, and the work of maintaining a small medical group was becoming impossible. In our efforts here at athenahealth to address the problems in health care delivery by disrupting the status quo, we’ve been recognized along the way as heading in the right direction and doing right by caregivers. And that recognition has never been as reaffirming or humbling as today, with the announcement that athenahealth has earned five Best in KLAS awards, including #1 Overall Software Vendor.

Let me pause for a moment and put these accolades in professional perspective. I had been a health system CIO. And like most CIOs, I was deploying hospital systems, ambulatory systems, and what I thought were the tools needed to deliver population health. Meaningful Use was looming and ICD-10 had yet to be pushed, of course. New payment models were poised to become a national experiment. There was too much work to be done, too little budget, and mounting pressures to succeed (with failure not an available option). My portfolio topped 200 vendors, but only one actually took work off my plate – athenahealth.

You almost needed to be a customer to see that their unique combination of cloud-hosted software, centrally curated national knowledge, and the wicking away of work from caregivers and staff could literally guarantee practices could thrive. How strange, then, that athenahealth was almost a secret – that weird company with an octopus in their advertising that did things differently.

Three years later, things that were hazy are now clearer. In general, if Meaningful Use is any guide, those health care providers who had the greatest amount of money to invest in health IT did well and largely made their vendors look successful. Providers with less capital to invest stuck it out with conventional server-based software and upgrades, and ended up delivering less success to their vendors.

One clear exception to the trend of the rich getting richer with Meaningful Use has been athenahealth. Quietly, the one vendor that requires little to no capital investment has risen to the top of the industry heap. Today, we are thrilled to announce that our time has arrived.

As rated by nearly 20,000 health care providers across the U.S., athenahealth has been named Best in KLAS as the #1 Overall Software Vendor and #1 Overall Physician Practice Vendor, as well as top-rated for Practice Management in 1-10 and 11-75 physician segments, and #1 in patient portals.

That accolade of Best in KLAS overall software vendor is really our crowning achievement because it speaks not only to our services, but to the people behind them — our implementation teams, account managers, customer support representatives, and all the other athenistas who get the opportunity to directly help our clients every day. It’s that aspect of “service,” of lessening the load of administrative drudgery, that we are often most proud of.

A long time ago, a few of us knew we’d get here. (Please pardon the mild gloating, but it’s true.) Now you’re in on it, too. Just don’t keep it a secret.

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