Bruce Johnson is the CEO and president of GHX, the world’s largest electronic trading exchange for healthcare. Prior to being named CEO in 2007, Johnson served as the company’s chief operating officer, with previous responsibilities at GHX including the leadership of business development, professional services, sales, marketing and corporate communications. Before joining GHX, Johnson spent 12 years at GE Healthcare in a variety of management roles in sales and marketing. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and his master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Sramana: Bruce, let’s start by reviewing your personal background. Where do you come from? What is the genesis of your professional career journey?
Bruce Johnson: I grew up in the Midwest and have a background in electrical engineering. I grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska. After graduation I joined General Electric where I worked in various sales and marketing roles in the GE Healthcare business. I worked there for 12 years before joining GHX in 2000. That was at the height of the Internet craze and so myself and a handful of other GE employees started the company in 2000. I worked in sales and marketing roles until I became the COO in 2006. In 2007 I was named the CEO.
Sramana: What was the premise on which GHX was started?
Bruce Johnson: GHX has always been focused on automating the business processes of healthcare with an emphasis on reducing costs. There are tremendous inefficiencies in healthcare. There are billions of dollars wasted every year and our missions have been to prevent that. Our goal is to take 5 billion dollars of cost out in 5 years. We are currently at the 3 billion dollar mark and have until 2014 to meet that goal.
Sramana: What products did you start with when you launched the company?
Bruce Johnson: Our products were really based on toolsets to automate the procurement through payment process. Healthcare was a manual world in 2000. People went to a paper catalogue, called a person to place and order, and were mailed an invoice. Those processes in the healthcare supply chain were highly flawed with errors.
Sramana: What specifically did you launch?
Bruce Johnson: We launched our exchange which is the core platform where the data flows through. That would be information like content updates, purchase orders, content updates, and other thing you would expect an exchange platform to facilitate. We don’t set price and we don’t deliver product. We are automating all of the business processes to make that happen.
Sramana: Who are the players on your exchange? Are hospitals doing most of the buying?
Bruce Johnson: We have a solution that really serves both the buy side and sell side community. On the buy side that could be acute care hospitals or doctors’ offices. The way you would interact with our exchange would depend on the technology you have as a buyer.
On the other side of that, if you are a supplier it is the same scenario. If you are a large company like Johnson and Johnson who has a large ERP deployment then we can integrate with you. You could also be a small, regional distributor who is working with just a handful of hospitals and you might work with some of our web based tools.