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eClinicalWorks To Sell PM/EMR Package Through Sam’s Club – Girish Kumar Interview

March 11, 2009 News 3 Comments

eClinicalWorks will sell its PM/EMR package in a pre-configured hardware, software, and services package through Sam’s Club. The offering will offer a fixed price package of Dell hardware (desktop PC or tablet), implementation, training, and maintenance.

Sam’s Club owner Wal-Mart will begin selling the package this spring, with prices starting at $25,000 for the first physician and $10,000 for each additional doctor in the practice. Maintenance fees will be $4,000 to $6,500 per year.

Wal-Mart said it approached eClinicalWorks after using its software in its own in-store clinics.

We interviewed Girish Kumar Navani, president of eCW.

If a physician buys from Sam’s Club, will it be the same product, implementation services, and support that eCW offers directly?

Absolutely. We’re trying to make it simple. Everybody says EMRs are hard and implementing change is hard. We realize that. We’ve been doing SaaS since 2003 and have invested a ton on a data center. We wanted system that is ready out of the box, configured, with content, although it will still require on-site implementation and services. It’s the same in terms of product, services, training, but faster and easier to deploy.

Why would a customer buy from Sam’s? Do they save any money? Can they choose a no-services option?

Wal-Mart used its Sam’s Club division because it has a lot of small business customers as corporate members. They buy ongoing stuff every month, not just simple things like gloves and bandages, but have a corporate account and buy copiers, payroll software, etc. They don’t have to go into Sam’s. You call a corporate number, get an assigned representative, talk to them about what you need, and the item is shipped.

eCW salespeople will still show the product and talk to the customer. There are packages we want to give them that are pre-configured. The customer will not pick blindly – they will still consult with an eCW person.

Will Wal-Mart do its own advertising and marketing?

There will definitely be a significant campaign. They have 200,000 healthcare professionals today as members, mostly as doctors.

Any projections on volumes?

I have to keep that confidential, but there was a lot of planning on the eCW side. Investments have increased, made the company even more ready. This can have a significant impact on how physicians look at, evaluate, and purchase EMRs.

We would like to see taking it away from being a niche sales process, where sometimes we confuse the customer, to make it a very streamlined process so that a customer can make an educated decision. They know how many days to go live, how many days training, cost, etc. eCW does 30 Webinars every week that every customer has access to with a live attendant and all Sam’s members will be able to avail themselves of that.

We believe we are the largest SaaS EMR in the country with 4,000 physicians. If we include hospital customers hosting affiliated physicians and RHIOs, that’s another 4,000. That’s 8,000 today of our 25,000 physicians. We’re trying to leverage that scale to make it easier and cheaper to deploy.

Do you anticipate any product changes?

For primary care, we spent two years working with New York City. We put into the product all the content needed to run a primary care practice – templates, order sets, clinical decision support. That is years of content that we jointly developed. That is all pre-packaged with the product – it’s not just the software any more. On the specialty care, we have about 50 specialty databases.

All of that will be available pre-configured when they sign up. When the trainer shows up, all the content will be there and if we want to change it, we can change it together. We will go live with a comprehensive data repository with clinical decision support at no extra cost for the content.

A primary care doctor can go live with the system as it is, with rich content.

What does this to do the competitive landscape?

We’ve always taken tremendous pride on our leadership on price and functionality. 97% of eCW customers surveyed said their total costs met their expectations when they bought and implemented eCW. 93% of physicians said the EMR met or exceeded expectations. I still have to worry about the 7% and I lose sleep about it more than I take advantage of the 93%, but if a package with those numbers is readily available, people will ask the question: if I’m able to get a comprehensive product that people are happy with at this price point with content and support, why should I spend more?

Price visibility will be black and white. No longer will you see those quotes saying an EMR will cost $300,000. You will see more informed questions, pricing pressure, and frankly, higher expectations if content is provided. I don’t want to take six months to implement PM and another six months for an EMR.

This is a unified product we’re offering, by the way, both EMR and PM. We’re offering five days of implementation on site with the Sam’s Club package and they can buy more for $750 a day plus travel, but our track record is that we can do it in five days.

What are the benefits to eClinicalWorks?

There are many benefits. We want to be a company with 100,000 physicians using our product and 100 million patients whose lives are positively affected by it. There’s a lot more work to be done, but this platform gives us more opportunity.

Comments 3
  • I like how he dodged most of the second question — “Do they save any money? Can they choose a no-services option? ” I wonder what the answers would have been had he bothered to answer?

  • What’s really going on with this Wal-Mart EMR package rollout?

    Most physicians will look at this deal with purely a customer’s perspective, and that’s to be expected. What do you see when you step back and look at the big picture though?

    You see a global marketing giant with an enormous physician customer base, a global leader in IT products and remote IT support, and a credible EMR/PM vendor with a working product and a nimble and cutting edge software company (unlike, say a GE). The marking component (Wal-Mart) is also rolling out it’s own emergency clinics in all of it’s locations that will be using this product and technology, and by the way, they also already have a major piece of the prescription pie.

    When I look at this at the macro level, (forgetting even for a moment the so called “stimulus money, which will be like throwing gasoline on a fire) I see a potential health care juggernaut that will quickly have the potential to influence national policy at the de-facto – if not at the legislative level.

    People (individual physicians) don’t have to like it. Frankly, it doesn’t even have to be a great product offering. (Everyone forgets how bad Microsoft was when it started out, and how they actually became the O/S and Application standard they are today.) All it has to do is work. And it will work. Coupled with an HIE solution, this could make Eclinicalworks an unofficial EMR standard. And Wal-Mart could create the infrastructure to become the largest Health Care Network in they country. This alliance could be a uniquely disruptive event in the marketplace with far reaching consequences for all industry stakeholders, including patients, physicians, payors, and vendors and the government.

  • Can anyone explain why a Saas (software-as -a service) product would require a $25K expense on server and other hardware?

    Is there some ‘smoke, string and mirrors’ type play going on??

    I am reasonably comfy with technical architecture like SOA and Virtualization and think that for a web-based EHR/EMR, the costs should be for maintaining the access/subscriptions for updated applications, virus prevention and regular backups -this should be only $2K or so, per my experience.

    Any thoughts?

    Open to correction, as always.

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