eClinicalWorks goes global, announces first UK customer, plans to grow big time

With $100M of new business abroad, company is poised to grow at home and around the world
By Bernie Monegain
06:38 AM
Girish Navani

Ambulatory EHR company eClinicalWorks is entering the European market with an office in London and expansion of its global footprint with Specsavers, its first United Kingdom-based customer.

There are more to come, says eClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani, and growth is near for the U.S. market too, where eClinicalWorks plans to grow in the acute care market

He declined to give details – yet.

"We will be in this market next year," he said.  "We have a planned approach to it."

For, today, Navani is focused on the company's international announcement.

Specsavers represents a new type of business for eClinicalWorks, which from its launch in 1980 has focused tightly on physician offices.

Specsavers is an eye-care service provider that offers its services in more than 1,700 stores across 10 countries. The business will employ eClinicalWorks' international private cloud to streamline its operations from vision and hearing tests, to point-of-sale, inventory management, spectacle and contact lens data, as well as EHRs.

A move into the international market has been a long time coming for the Massachusetts-based company. whose CEO, Girish Navani, explains: "We wanted to do international expansion when we felt the company was going to be successful and be able to execute in a way that would support our long- term vision, not jump at every opportunity."

More announcements of new business, both abroad and in the U.S., are coming soon.

"You should expect to see continued accelerated growth of customers, and not just in Europe, but other parts of the world because we've already signed some new agreements and contracts," Navani said.

[See also: Homeland Security taps eClinicalWorks.]

On the international market there are different discussions there, such as employer health, centered around like deploying a system for an entire organization that sees 35 million customers every year.

"At Specsavers, we have over 1,700 stores in 10 countries," Phil Pavitt, CIO at Specsavers, said in a news release.

"Our previous system varied between stores and had multiple versions, so we wanted a single, modern platform to streamline our operations worldwide and support our further growth," he added.

The eClinicalWorks platform was easy to implement, Plavitt said, "In our first store, we had planned to run eClinicalWorks alongside our old system for four weeks as a back-up, but after only three days we switched to eClinicalWorks entirely."

Specsavers will use the eClinicalWorks cloud-based platform to hold customers' optical records, while linking into Specsavers' product data, CRM, finance and store ordering systems. The single database will streamline operations by connecting the EHR with lens and frame data, inventory and point of sale. The system provides an international private cloud with multi-language capabilities and will be used globally in all Specsavers stores.

[See also: eClinicalWorks rechristens flagship cloud service: 'Don't call it an EHR'.]

The technology is currently being implemented in New Zealand, before rolling out in European markets, including the UK and Australia during the next year.

eClinicalWorks is not only growing its footprint abroad. It also recently announced a $50 million expansion of its headquarters in Westborough, Mass, where it plans to add 1,000 new employees over the next three years. The company also opened an office in Austin, Texas, in September 2015 to focus on serving customers in surrounding areas. It has six offices across the country.

While the company has yet to enter the acute care market in the U.S., it already has a contract in Asia, Navani said, but he declined to name the 2,000-bed hospital system for now.

"The needs are different from those in the U.S.," he said. "The goals of the organizations are to run a hospital management information system. "That's different from what U.S. hospitals have in use today in terms of electronic medical records."

Navani sees a budding market in the world for hospital management systems, and he views eClinicalWorks as well positioned to fill the need.

"The systems will be much more Web centric, than IT centric," he said.

eClinicalWorks has an established customer base of more than 115,000 providers worldwide. It's a privately held company that recently invested $75 million into its patient engagement subsidiary, healow and reported revenue of $333 million in 2014, up from $270 million in 2013.

"We're ready to invest in our growth, Navani said. "That's the best part. This company has never borrowed money. It's been debt free. It gives us a lot of flexibility. It also gives us what we call 'independence' so we don't have to justify why we need investments."

"We will change the status quo," Navani told Healthcare IT News. "We're not trying to be the Epic or Cerner of the UK market. We're trying to say to the world, in the UK, you don't need to focus on hospital-centric solutions; you want to focus on patient-centric solutions."

"If you do, we'll be the better provider of technology because we think that way," he added.  "We focus on the patient being the customer, we tie them into an eco-system, we then put in the provider into the equation, and obviously we integrate with acute care settings. It's a mindset of changing the market. We've have a very powerful impact. We've seen that in places like New York City, we've seen it in thousands of other places in the United States."