Why Meditech's transition to Google Cloud is the 'beginning of a bigger movement:' CEO Howard Messing

Howard Messing, CEO at Westwood, Mass.-based Meditech, shares how the EHR vendor's partnership with Google Cloud will help advance interoperability and support broader digital health analytics.

Meditech announced Oct. 2 that it is poised to become one of the first EHRs available through Google Cloud, a move that will help enhance patient data access as well as cybersecurity measures for Meditech clients. The EHR vendor will also develop native cloud products and application programming interfaces to use on Google Cloud Platform, which will be a "key driver" to expanding Meditech's application development, Mr. Messing said.

Having joined Meditech as a programmer in 1974, Mr. Messing brings more than four decades of EHR experience to his role as CEO. Prior to assuming the position in 2010, Mr. Messing held various other leadership roles in the company, including president and COO.

Here, Mr. Messing discusses the strategy behind Meditech's partnership with Google Cloud and how he expects it to grow in the future.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What sparked Meditech's partnership with Google Cloud?

Howard Messing: We have been using Google business solutions for several years now, and quite successfully. Many of our own systems are hosted by Google today. We saw the need emerging for customers to have choice in this new era, of having an on-premise solution or being in a public cloud for all the reasons and value that it provides. Meditech is particularly proud to be one of the first EHR vendors offering its customers Google Cloud Platform.

Q: How will Meditech's move to the cloud affect clients? 

HM: This is the beginning of a bigger movement. Meditech will offer more cloud-hosted service offerings that will fundamentally enhance the capabilities we deliver to the market. Our collaboration with GCP solidifies our commitment to our customers on securely delivering greater access to patient data, facilitating interoperability, enhancing scalability and setting the stage for the future of broader digital healthcare analytics.

GCP will provide additional options aligned with the Meditech as a Service subscription model, further advancing cost-effective, rapid and easy implementation of cutting-edge EHR technologies. Public cloud also plays a role in allowing facilities to expand security efforts and help combat ransomware attacks, which have become all too prevalent today.

We also see this collaboration as a key driver for Meditech extending our application development with native cloud products as well as application programming interfaces.

Q: What is one of the most important factors you consider when evaluating new vendor partnerships?

HM: I'll give you two related factors: commitment and culture. We of course do a full assessment on the technology and fit, but these are some of the key areas we analyze: how well will we work together; can the partner deliver on the requirements for our customers; are both organizations able to engage and excite each other on the project; and do we see a future path toward new and exciting projects.

Q: Meditech also recently announced a partnership with Apple Health. How did this collaboration come about?

HM: Through the strong realization that a consumer movement has arrived in healthcare. As an industry, we are in a transition, but there is a growing culture of awakening regarding wellness and stronger engagement in condition management. We see patients and healthcare consumers more engaged than ever.

The other obvious change is that healthcare consumers expect, and rightfully so, that their data can be shared and exchanged as it relates to their healthcare encounters as well as data about their activities of daily living. Research is starting to show that engaged patients have better outcomes. Blending their EHR-driven data with their personal health data can assist in managing a chronic condition more effectively and promote wellness. We believe this can alter the trajectory of their healthcare experience. There is so much opportunity for our industry to progress in delivering more convenience and a better overall patient experience with tools and technology. We see this being important for Meditech and the future of the industry. It is one of the more exciting aspects relative to new innovations happening in the market.

Q: How do you expect your partnerships with Google and Apple to grow in the future?

HM: We have been talking openly over these past three years about the evolution of Meditech, while at the same time celebrating a prideful past of great influence on this industry. We are very much leaning into the change of the evolving healthcare paradigm, embracing new technologies like cloud and APIs.

We want to drive the transition of the EHR space, lead with new ideas, innovations and meaningful changes that are in alignment with the market. Working with Apple and Google is a natural progression in that regard. We see great opportunity to continue to advance the narrative in the EHR market while embracing a new era of app development, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources and API standards, and a strong desire to enhance the consumer experience. These are all critical factors for future success.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at jdrees@beckershealthcare.com.

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