A Meaningful Q&A with eClinicalWorks CEO, Girish Navani

Our Meaningful Use Team had a chance to meet face to face with Girish Kumar Navani, CEO of eClinicalWorks, to hear his thoughts on meaningful use. We wanted to know his current position and long-term vision for eClinicalWorks in light of the wide-sweeping requirements for meaningful use within the medical industry.

MU Team: How would you describe meaningful use in a single sentence?

Girish: I define it as a minimum set of criteria for health information technology to facilitate decision support, interoperability and to measure the outcome of chronic care or preventive care.

MU Team: How do you feel meaningful use will affect the health care industry, and do you feel can it improve quality of care provided to patients?

Girish: I think that it will create the awareness required for some level of consistency regarding to the use of health information technology. That consistency will lead to interoperability, which should result in better decision making and a reduction in errors and could take us one step closer to reducing the overall cost of healthcare delivery.

MU Team: In what ways do you feel the EHR market will be impacted by meaningful use?

Girish: Meaningful use on its own will probably create a "measuring stick" that every EHR will have to comply with, however that is not going to be the most difficult part of the change. Meaningful use will require every end user to become educated on and proficient with the details of meaningful use, which in the end will be the responsibility of the EHR vendor. Meaningful use will raise the bar for every vendor to provide more service, more education and more training.

MU Team: What is eCW doing to ensure that each product meets meaningful use for each phase (2011, 2013, 2015)?

Girish: There are two parts to this answer: Primarily, we're doing what is required by the letter of the law, which is to make sure our product and our training covers each and every aspect as defined in the final ruling. In addition, we're going above and beyond what is required to what we believe is our responsibility, which is to provide free educational webinars, free online assessment tools and resources to come on-site if customers so desire to help facilitate our physicians and end user to meet the criteria for meaningful use.

MU Team: Do you feel that eClinicalWorks products are ready for Meaningful Use?

Girish: The answer is yes, but that’s a much shorter question that is looking at a much simpler problem. Meaningful use extends far beyond just products. It’s going to reach to the processes and the company. So, the better question to answer is, “Is eClinicalWorks - the company - ready to prepare and guide its customers to meaningful use?” That answer is yes.

We have lived through this type of implementation before in many nationally visible projects such as PCIP (Primary Care Information Project) in New York City. In that example, we successfully demonstrated that over the last two years, we have been able to deploy 2000 doctors while using the product that would currently meet the guidelines of meaningful use. And there are many more examples.

We also spent a lot of time last year preparing ourselves to be ready so that all 950-plus employees of eCW can and will help our customers with the questions that come up as a result of this initiative in healthcare technology. We are not just prepared; we are ready make meaningful use a core part of our strategy over the next five years.

MU Team: How do think meaningful use will affect the sales and growth of eClinicalWorks?

Girish: eClinicalWorks and its management team have demonstrated exponential growth over the last 10 years, and eCW has been a successful, profitable private company. We are confident that we can continue this success for the next 10 years with or without the stimulus funds.

We do believe that the stimulus will create an additional catalyst for growth, and companies that are prepared will end up doing well in this market. However, it requires a decade-long commitment and a proven track record of successful implementations, a product ready for rapid implementation and a company agile and nimble enough to turn on a dime to meet the ever-changing criteria of healthcare information technology. We believe that we are better positioned than any other to meet that challenge.

MU Team: With the anticipation that many physicians are in the market to possibly purchase an EMR, what are you doing to ensure that our customers will be implemented and trained within a timely manner?

Girish: The business plan for eCW has always a requirement to grow exponentially year after year, both in terms of its customer care departments and its customer implementation departments. We’ve grown from a five-person company in 1999 to being one of the larger companies in healthcare IT with 950 employees today. Seventy percent of that staff works in areas such as training, implementation and support. We’ve invested in the departments that are required to meet the increasing demand that we have to manage.

We have been proactively studying the impact of the potential increase in the volume of business. So, combining the company’s resources with a product suited for rapid deployment, we expect to actually lower the bar it takes to implement a customer. We currently recommend 12 weeks as a standard implementation process; however, we are prepared as a company to take customers from contract signing to go-live in an even shorter period of time.

MU Team: Do you plan to offer specialized training for practices to ensure that they meet meaningful use?

Girish: eClinicalWorks and every other vendor must take on the responsibility of preparing their customers to meet the requirements of meaningful use. Meaningful use cannot be achieved unless various different outlets such as training, webinars, user forums and user conferences are orchestrated. By merely developing software, you cannot expect that users will meet meaningful use on their own. They will need the support and staffing from eClinicalWorks to help them through the process.

MU Team: If readers were to take away one piece of information from this interview, what would you want them to remember?

Girish: We have been implementing customers at a very rapid rate and we have a 99% success rate with EMR adoption. These are our core competencies. This "new world" of meaningful use is actually going to allow us to shine because we’ve spent the last decade perfecting a successful EHR system that begins with a rapid deployment.