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Thought Leaders in Healthcare IT: Girish Navani, CEO of eClinicalWorks (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Oct 9th 2014

Girish Navani has built a $300M+ private company in Healthcare IT that would be valued at over $3B if he were to take it public. We first covered the company in our Entrepreneur Journeys series [Built To Enjoy] in 2010. We continue the discussion here.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s pick up from where we left off about four years ago. Of course, you’re one of the key players in the healthcare IT ecosystem and started way before most of players in the current landscape. Catch me up on what’s going on and how you’ve progressed. I want to set the context of what I love about your philosophy of building the company. You’ve kept it private. When we talked in 2010, you already had thousands and thousands of customers and had substantial revenue.

Girish Navani: People think the first five years of starting the company are probably the most hectic. I think I’m probably running faster today than I ever did. There’s a lot of exciting things. If you follow eClinicalWorks’ journey, we put the physician in the middle and we try to put everything else around it. I still think that’s the core to the company to a big extent. Everything is streamlined from a physician’s workflow. What has complemented that is that we’ve put the patient also on the same footing.

I’ll talk about how I manage growth now while not making it bigger and bigger and slower and slower.  I try to keep that culture agile. Over the four plus years, we have focused on the patient being an equal centerpiece. It’s like the MasterCard commercial. You’ve got two circles and they intersect. We’ve had success on one side of that circle with physicians and we’ll continue to. The exciting part is to make a similar impact on the consumer/patient.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s take those two circles and double-click down. The physician side is relatively straightforward. You probably, metrics-wise, have made a lot of progress there.

Girish Navani: Very true. It’s a hard industry but nonetheless, I think it’s consolidating. The business today is not the same business from 15 years ago. 15 years ago was a lot of green fields where physicians did not have electronic records. Today, the landscape’s different because many times, companies come up from different parts of the country. We’ve had customers adopt lots of different systems. As markets mature, you’ll find consolidation because of many reasons. We’re in that phase. Most of our growth now is coming from customer base that are already on a first-generation user. I see that market continuing to evolve for the next five years.

Sramana Mitra: What is the penetration of EHRs into the physician marketplace right now?

Girish Navani: I’d speculate it’s across 80%. But I’d also say that 30% to 40% of them are going to pick us. That happens in every industry. We love to talk about how healthcare has got challenges. If you look at every industry with a microscope, you’ll find that it went through that same trend. As the market continues to evolve, you need to invest heavily in R&D and in services. Having a customer has its own responsibilities and not everyone comes through with it. I still think the market is going to continue to grow for the ones that want to innovate.

Sramana Mitra: When we talked sometime back, you were basically going into a virgin territory. Now, you’re seeing customer switching.

Girish Navani: 8 out of 10 customers are switching. We actually have a program called Make the Switch. It’s pretty popular. It’s not only moving from one software to another, but also moving to the cloud. Those are the two trends that I see. Even the customers who used to do it in their own infrastructure, tend to build an intranet system.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Healthcare IT: Girish Navani, CEO of eClinicalWorks
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