Eric Wieman is executive vice president of Perot System’s civilian IT division. Here he shares three steps to healthcare IT success among your government customers, and what other trends “” beyond electronic medical records “” he sees coming down the pike.
Where do you see the majority of healthcare IT dollars going on the state level?
Eric Wieman: The vast majority of those dollars will be focused on electronic medical records, implemented through CMS. It's going to be a huge initiative; I do think you're going to see hospitals and doctor's offices across the country looking to implement electronic medical records, especially given that down the road [in 2015] a penalty will be imposed on those that don't.
What are you doing to capture the healthcare IT market?
Eric Wieman: We've got a huge pool of IT services offerings on the commercial side “” clinical transformation, clinical applications development, and data center management, for example. We've tapped into the best practices on the commercial side and leveraged those in the federal space. So, we've got a sales organization now that is dedicated to bridging the gap between our commercial practice and our federal services organization.
If you restrict yourself to a narrow focus there is the potential that you will miss out on some opportunities outside that area of expertise.-Eric Wieman
What else is your sales organization doing to position Perot Systems for relevance?
Eric Wieman: We have people who can talk the language and are focused on a specific set of clients as opposed to being spread across the entire government healthcare space. So, for instance, we have a sales individual assigned to VA military healthcare, while a separate sales executive covers accounts with HHS and CMS. We'll continue to look for sales individuals who have specific domain expertise and then apply them in the appropriate markets.
You began anticipating increased funding in healthcare last year “” before the election results. How did you position yourself in advance?
Eric Wieman: We put together “” for a lack of a better term “” a “tiger team.“ This was done some time ago at the behest and sponsorship of our CEO [Peter Altabef] and our chairman of the board [Ross Perot, Jr.] to track the government health initiatives. It's chaired by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Harry Greenspun. Essentially we established a “war room“ at our headquarters in Plano, which houses a coordinated team of not only Harry's people but congressional liaisons and budget people who sift through the legislation and the media reports and keep track of exactly where the administration is directing funding to support government health initiatives.
What other trends do you see coming up in government health initiatives?
Eric Wieman: Beyond the implementation of electronic medical records “¦ looking down the pike a little bit, RFID is a great methodology to track and assess patients and their conditions. Unfortunately, I think the rate of adoption is going to be uneven. I think you will see large hospitals and health care organizations adopting the technology at a much faster pace, while individual doctors with small practices will be slower in adoption.
What tips would you offer the government contracting community on contributing to the government healthcare space?
Eric Wieman: First, obviously, you need to be up on pending legislation and involved on the Hill. Second, you need to be really, really flexible “¦ to react at a moment's notice because this whole picture shifts on almost a daily basis. Third, breadth of capability is key. Don't become too focused on a single technology or services offering. There are going to be opportunities across this space for any number of services, product, and technology offerings. If you restrict yourself to a narrow focus there is the potential that you will miss out on some opportunities outside that area of expertise.
As you said, the healthcare market shifts on a daily basis. So, how else do you continue to calculate the right moves for your team?
Eric Wieman: Our commercial health IT practice is roughly 50 percent of the business that Perot Systems does on an annual basis. They are constantly developing new and innovative technologies to address the commercial space. My impression is that the government healthcare space will probably move in essentially the same direction as the commercial space. Consequently I'm going to leverage what they've [commercial health IT] developed into the federal space.
What technologies from the commercial sector will you be leveraging?
Eric Wieman: In a rather generic sense we've got offerings in clinical transformation, clinical applications, revenue cycle solutions, payer support services, and data center management. We've got a broad array of offerings to the commercial space. Those are some of the things that I believe will play well not only now but in the future in the federal space.
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