Medsphere transformation appears complete

"Healthcare IT should be collaborative, not siloed," Doyle concluded. "In medical research people collaborate to improve welfare and share it openly. Healthcare IT is 180 degrees away from that. We think open source by its nature, being collaborative, is the right approach."

By getting right with open source Medsphere has gotten right again with the market. (Picture of CEO Michael Doyle by Stephen Ryan.)

When I first wrote about the company, back in 2006, it was suing its founders and taking the public domain VistA software into a proprietary direction.

The turnaround began in 2007. It brought in a new CEO (right), settled the lawsuit, and rededicated itself to the open source process and community.

Last year it partnered with Tolven to commercialize a complete hospital information suite and finished installation at a key customer, Midland Memorial Hospital in Texas, which bragged it got an $18 million system for just $7 million.

Now, with the Obama stimulus in place and new offices in the San Diego area, CEO Doyle called to say the company has opened its training "university" and that business is firing on all cylinders.

"We doubled our bookings last year and will double it again. We have made substantial progress and are just at the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Much of the credit goes to following through on open source promises. "10% of our new product development last year came from outside Medsphere's four walls," he said.

The company has now trained consultants at MaxIT Healthcare, certifying them to deploy its OpenVista. "We are proud of that. It helps us scale and leverage our model," Doyle said.

But the real news is that Doyle is reaching back to his own heritage, running the online billing company AHS. The result should mean a SaaS version of Medsphere coming available later this year.

"Every hospital under 100 beds is a candidate for a SaaS offering.," he said. "Hospitals that size don't have IT guys." And many still aren't automated.

So what is responsible for the turnaround? Medsphere changed and began riding the wave of reform.

"Healthcare IT should be collaborative, not siloed," Doyle concluded. "In medical research people collaborate to improve welfare and share it openly. Healthcare IT is 180 degrees away from that. We think open source by its nature, being collaborative, is the right approach."

By making those words real, Mike Doyle has both done good and done well. Hospitals that need to fulfill their obligations under the Health IT stimulus now have multiple, valid open source options.

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