Allscripts' Tullman: We'll do better

It's been a month of upheaval at electronic health record giant Allscripts, but CEO Glen Tullman told Healthcare IT News in an interview that he's working hard to right the ship.

"Many companies would love to have our positioning, our products, our market share and our earnings and cash flow. But to be clear, we can execute better than we have, and we will," he said.

As we reported earlier, there's been a sense that Allscripts was not capitalizing on the federal government's push for EHR adoption, in addition to lingering frustrations from the company's 2010 purchase of Eclipsys. What's more, lawsuits have been filed claiming Allscripts made false and misleading statements about the progress being made to tie together the two vendors' technologies, Health Data Management reported.

Chairman Phil Pead was ousted April 25, prompting three board members to quit in protest. Then its CFO left after a dismal quarterly report and lowered outlook for the year, which Reuters tied to higher software development costs and weaker bookings. The company adopted a stockholder rights plan, commonly known as a "poison pill," and the company's largest shareholders sought Tullman's resignation, calling into question his leadership and the company's execution.

Some individuals, weighing in from HIStalk's advisory panel on the subject, said the company needs a strategy for its acquisition of Eclipsys--"pick a lane" as one commenter put it--and to communicate that strategy clearly.

Another commenter said that physicians appear to be losing confidence in the product, adding "We have seen deteriorating support and turnover amongst the sales/support team that crosses product lines."

Tullman told Healthcare IT News that the company is focusing on product delivery and client experience, investing $190 million in 2012 for improving performance, integration and innovation "with a number of major releases and improvements in motion." He noted that Allscripts has added more than 400 support staff and a new data center to improve its hosting capabilities and monitoring.

The CEO, however, deflected questions about the lawsuits and the ouster of Pead.

"We have had challenges in a number of areas and have plans in motion to address them," he said. "The key is that we are positioned for the future, where the market is heading."

John Bosco, CIO of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System--Allscripts' biggest client--told Healthcare IT News in another interview that the cultural differences between Allscripts and Eclipsys were far greater than expected, making the integration that much harder. He called the removal of Pead and the replacement of the board members who came with Pead from Eclipsys the "silver lining" that will allow Tullman to put his plans into action.

To learn more:
- read the Tullman interview
- read Reuters' earnings story
- and Reuters 'poison pill' report
- read the HIStalk Advisory Panel chat
- read the Healthcare IT News article

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