When I worked as an IT consultant, you had two clear choices – an enterprise system (e.g., SAP) or a best-of-breed (BOB) strategy. People liked the simplicity of an enterprise system, but you may have sub-optimized reporting or some flexibility in your solution. On the other hand, the BOB strategy required more maintenance, effort, and coordination to pull it off in a coordinated fashion.
In today’s healthcare world, I look at and meet with a ton of technology companies. The struggle is how to keep up with all the change in the industry and be nimble enough to engage the new start-up, but flexible enough to evolve with the market without impacting the consumer experience.
Maybe it draws on my training as an architect, but I was describing my technology vision as one of a general contractor. The buyer (client) wants a BOB solution. They want everything optimized – data, reporting, workflow, content, mobile, clinical algorithms, etc. At the same time, they often underestimate what it takes to manage all of these vendors, integrate the data on the backend, and create an integrated consumer experience across multiple vendors and technology platforms.
That’s where I see some real value add as a “technology curator”. I see one of my roles in helping manage an evolving ecosystem of healthcare companies and working with a flexible technology platform that can quickly plug and play with different solutions. This also allows me to have pre-built integrations with certain solutions, but I can also offer consumers the ability to choose their device (for example) and with the right API set up just be device agnostic in my solution.
Over time, this offers clients a lot of flexibility. The get the BOB approach within an enterprise system environment. They don’t have to keep issuing RFPs and evaluating vendors (since we’re doing that). They don’t have to stitch together multiple data sets to create the integrated, longitudinal view of the consumer (since we’re doing that). They don’t have to pretend that they’re offering a cohesive consumer experience (since we’re doing that). And, most importantly, they are flexible over time to jump from solution to solution within the architecture without disrupting everyone since it’s behind the “presentation layer” that the consumer experiences.