Athenahealth CEO: Hospital Leaders Should Attack Status Quo

Scott Mace, May 13, 2014

HIT leader and now author, Jonathan Bush, doesn't mince words. Hospital chiefs are almost all "facing in exactly the wrong direction," he says, when they should be in "assault mode" against "that which is bigger and more sclerotic" than themselves.

It's National Hospital Week, and while many hospital and health system leaders and staff may be celebrating, healthcare IT leader and presidential cousin Jonathan Bush is lobbing a bombshell of a new book into the lobby.

"Where Does It Hurt? An Entrepreneur's Guide to Fixing Health Care" rolls hits the street Thursday, May 15. I will have a full review next week, but this week, the CEO and co-founder of the ambulatory EHR software maker Athenahealth tells me why he co-wrote the book, and why hospitals as we know them, due to technology and other factors, are as endangered as the traditional department store. This is an edited transcript of my conversation with Bush.

HLM: My readers are hospital executives primarily, and large healthcare systems and large practices and payers. What's your biggest piece of advice for them?

Bush: You have to be on a path to disrupting that which is bigger and more sclerotic than you, and you have to do it in a way that is ultimately going to be viewed as on society's side. And as you get bigger and more established and get more pricing power as a hospital executive, that becomes a more momentous task. But for every institution in the United States, it is possible, because you can take out the health plans.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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