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by Ed Park, COO

In 1997, I got a phone call to join my brother Todd and his partner Jonathan out in San Diego to help their fledgling women’s birthing clinic crack the code on making healthcare work the way it should. It was meant to be a summer a gig – a favor even – that turned into nearly two amazing decades.

I remember so many things so clearly-- the cries of newborn babies through ventilation shafts, sitting with receptionists as they used their first computer, shuttling boxes full of medical records in a Chevy Chevette between clinics. And through the fog of war, through the haze of denied claims, post-it notes, and reams of paper, I remember making the bet that this thing called the Internet could help.

I’m incredibly humbled by what we have accomplished since then. Today, athenaNet helps more than 80,000 providers stay focused on what they do best: delivering better care to over 40 million patients. More importantly, I’m proud that we’ve stayed true to our mission of doing well by doing good. In the first incarnation of the athena business model, our product was healthy bouncing babies. While we’ve changed our method, we haven’t changed our motive.

While the mission of athenahealth continues to excite me and captivate the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of clients and employees, I’m even more excited about what’s to come. The healthcare industry is in the midst of an extraordinary transformation and athenahealth is perfectly positioned to play a major role in enabling that change. I am excited that athena will continue to lead the charge to unbreak healthcare: to advance innovative patient-centered care models, to advance connectedness, to be the advocate and champion of providers nationwide. To make the complex things simple and to let doctors be doctors. I still believe that the Internet will be big in healthcare and no other company is better positioned for this than athenahealth.

Most importantly, I’m proud of the team we’ve built. From the beginning, we hired for potential and then brought in leaders from other industries to cultivate our talent and challenge our thinking. As a result, we’ve built a company with a deep, multi-faceted culture and a deep, talented leadership bench. It’s this last point that not only inspires me, but gives me no pause in my decision to step away from my day-to-day work at athenahealth. It’s time for these colleagues -- other leaders who I know, trust and respect-- to take the helm on the important work we do at athenahealth.

For me, I’m not going anywhere fast. In fact, I’m not going anywhere professionally or geographically. I’m dedicating the remainder of the year to ensure my teams and the work of the company are fully supported and to ensure all transition happens as it should. After that, I’d be honored to accept the Board’s invitation to take on a director role and continue my work and relationship with athena in a different capacity.

If I had multiple lives I’d give a full one to athenahealth, but I don’t and there’s too much I haven’t tried. Life is a great gift and adventure and while I have nothing planned, it’s actually the whitespace that I look forward to finding and coming to know. We’ll see where the wind takes me.

Thank you to my colleagues, investors, clients, mentors, friends, family – everyone who’s contributed to an incredible two decades at athenahealth. You know who you are and I will always be eternally grateful for your goodwill and support.

Ed Park is the Chief Operating Officer at athenahealth. 

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