A Product Strategy That Makes Sense

Written by Frank Fortner, President of Iatric Systems

Iatric Systems Analytics on DemandSome companies’ products seem like they were always meant to be, making perfect sense. One such example is Apple’s iPhone, which, like its iPod predecessor, is essentially a small computer made up of hardware running an OS with various applications. These are the things Apple was always good at. Technically, the actual “phone” is just another software application that accesses specific hardware for cellular (or WiFi) communication. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a leading computer company found success making a small, handheld computer that runs communication software as one of its many applications. It was a very natural extension of something they already did well.

On the other hand, some companies’ products don’t seem to make a lot of sense. For example, were you aware that Pfizer once released a Ben-Gay aspirin line or that Coors once sold spring water — both in the 90s? It’s true. Even worse, back in 1982, the Colgate toothpaste brand launched a line of frozen dinners. Well, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that each of these failed because (pardon the pun) consumers just weren’t "buying" it. Likely, they couldn’t get past the pre-conceived images and emotions that these existing brands conjured up. Gee, I wonder if anybody thought mint-flavored stir fry sounded appetizing? But I digress...

At Iatric Systems, when we consider a new product line, we go through a structured process that includes, among many other criteria, whether or not the offering itself is a “fit” with our mission, our strategy, and our distinctive competency (i.e. what makes us different). For us, that translates to our diversity (people, products, and strategic partners) along with our deep experience in solving complex healthcare challenges. For more than 25 years, this powerful combination has provided us with a comprehensive understanding of healthcare data, EHR technology, interoperability, patient privacy/HIPAA, and various quality reporting measures — often fueled by regulatory requirements. Given what we do well, some products (say…toothpaste) wouldn’t make any sense for us to bring to market. Others, just like Apple with its iPhone, make perfect sense because they are a natural extension of the things we already do well. 

One such product, to be released in early 2016, is a new analytics platform called Analytics on Demand™. In many ways, Analytics On Demand is a logical evolution of what Iatric Systems has been doing for more than 25 years: from data extraction and reporting, to interactive, intelligent dashboards. As the healthcare industry continues its journey to value-based care, the tracking, managing, and reporting of quality metrics and key performance indicators will become mission critical to proving quality outcomes and receiving maximum reimbursement. In order to quickly deliver value, Analytics On Demand will include pre-built modules for Clinical Quality Measures (inpatient, outpatient, physician quality reporting), Meaningful Use, and Value-based Purchasing. Other modules will help with the tracking and management of sepsis, HACs, and 30-day Readmissions. From there, we will continually add new modules along with the option to build custom, user-defined modules — I think of these as “DIY Dashboards."

So while I might personally enjoy the challenge of developing an exciting new line of microwave dinners, aspirin, or spring water, we’re going to take a play from Apple’s playbook and stick to the things we do best, which, in our case, means delivering solutions that enhance existing investments in healthcare IT. 

I hope you can stop by booth #7730 at HIMSS next month in Las Vegas, NV for a quick look at Analytics on Demand!

Topics: Value-based Care, Regulatory Compliance, Analytics, Quality Management

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