7 quotes from Jonathan Bush on athenahealth's 'painful' quarter

The EHR company’s CEO says the layoffs stung but admitted the presence of an activist investor has led the vendor to scrutinize its performance.
By Bernie Monegain
10:49 AM
7 quotes from Jonathan Bush on athenahealth’s 'painful' quarter

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush last week announced the company would cut 9 percent of its workforce and reduce spending by $115 million to put the recently besieged cloud-based company back on track. In the company’s earnings call, Bush detailed the changes and gave some perspective on the road ahead for the vendor.

Here are seven of his most salient quotes:

On the company’s layoffs 

“I've used the term metamorphosis for a couple of calls now. Q3 contained the most painful stage of our metamorphosis. Parting ways with 9 percent of our employees is parting ways with 100 percent of the employees that we attracted and retained and trained and employed for the first decade of athenahealth's existence.”

On the promise of EHRs

"There is a thesis that as medical records become more connected, duplicate procedures and tests decline. We can't point to a smoking gun there. These are just the macro ideas. But right now, we can't point to numbers that say – that prove – those theories."

On the future

“We are in a really interesting sort of period as a nation and as a healthcare system, we still don’t really know what the law of the land will be. We are coming off a giant sugar hangover from the Meaningful Use Program, but the idea that maybe this Internet thing is not going to be so big after all is an absurdity.”

On the effect of Elliott Associates

“I think this process – and I’ll say including the arrival of our activist investor – has really caused all of us, all of us, not just all of the management team, to look at the company through different eyes.”

On the good news

“So the customer service team has done an extraordinary job this year. Satisfaction with calls, answer time on calls, first call resolution of the calls, are at all time Athena highs and we're extremely proud of that.”

On interoperability

“Fundamentally, every hospital in the country in order to prosper must be able to interoperate with really nationally – at least super regionally – with entities that they don't control. We are by far the leader in that, even with our own warts, which frustrate us, and so we think that history is on our side there.”

On remaining staff

“My primary concern in this process was one of cultural impact. Would this demoralize? Would this de-motivate or would this inspire? And I am extremely pleased and confident that the answer is the latter. We have an extraordinary collection of colleagues who are in this for the mission and they want that mission even at the expense of hard decisions.”

Healthcare IT News Editor-in-Chief Tom Sullivan contributed to this report.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com