Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hewlett Packard and the Disease Management Care Blog Part Company

Most DMCB friends, colleagues and enemies are aware that it had a half-time job at HP as a Medical Director of Analytics.  Two days ago, as part of reduction in force involving over a 100 individuals, its position was eliminated.

First and foremost, the DMCB is very grateful for having gotten to know so many smart and dedicated information technology professionals. They are a credit to HP and are the very definition of high worth human capital.  They also taught the DMCB about the value of relationships underlying countless emails and conference calls that form the living fabric of a world class IT company. 

Some of the very smart ones even read this blog.  The DMCB hopes they stay in touch.

Working for HP was also a DMCB eye-opening educational experience.  Among the more important lessons learned:

The Cultural Crosswalk: While many of the DMCB physician colleagues work in small business settings, our health care culture - despite its imperfections - is imbued with a commitment to social mission and patient service. That contrasts with HP's culture of maximizing shareholder value and the customer always being right.  That mix of non and for profit incentives accounts for much of what is both very good and not so good about the U.S. health care system.  That being said, some health care providers could learn a lot from from HP's approach to "customer facing" interactions.

The Gold Rush: The DMCB has come to believe that, just like and mortgages, there is a health care bubble underway. While that's been obscured by a moribund economy, a perfect storm of boomer demographics, consumer demand and government largess continue to fuel increasing employment and capital investment in the health care sector. When that kind of gold rush builds, success has less to do with "prospecting" and more to do with selling shovels.  While ACOs are taking considerable risk and medical home advocates think $3 per patient per month is a good deal, companies like HP are selling network architecture and servers at a very tidy profit.

Sales: There is no underestimating the days of strategizing, worry and planning that go into a seemingly innocuous customer sales meeting.  In the past, when the DMCB was on the "buy-side," it thought of vendor meetings as a one hour pitch.  It has since learned that the "sell-side" is an expertly crafted event designed to define the problems, present the solutions, forge relationships and land a maximally profitable contract. The DMCB will never underestimate a sales representative again.

The Social Contract? While the DMCB grew up in an era of employment being a lifelong commitment to a company that ended in a gold watch and a retirement party, those days are long gone. Employment is now a mutual agreement to exchange a work product for compensation. The DMCB witnessed the transaction being unilaterlly cancelled by co-workers as well as by the company many times. While the DMCB was on the receiving end this time, it knows that its exit from HP is just business.



GlassHospital said...

This is a great post. After reading the first line, I was expecting a 'sayonara' post a la Greg Smith @ Goldman.

DCMB way too much of a pro for that.

One disconnect though: if HP sells so many servers and network architecture, why let the DCMB go? certainly he's worth his weight plus about 10 lbs of value...

Gary M. Levin said...

DMCB I agree, "as Bob Dyan sang a while back "The times they are a changin" Good luck with new HIT adventures.