Former Allscripts CEO onto new venture

'We did a lot of work studying what people want'
By Eric Wicklund
09:44 AM
Glen Tullman

Glen Tullman, who once propelled Allscripts to the forefront of the EMR market, is now setting his sights on mHealth.

Tullman, who spent 15 years at the Chicago-based health IT company before stepping down in 2012 amid a company shakeup, has announced plans to launch Zest Health. The company's opening salvo will be a mobile application that allows consumers to identify and communicate with the nearest and most cost-effective healthcare providers, schedule an appointment, find trusted information on medical issues, and store and access their personal health information.

[See also: Web First: Q&A with Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman.]

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In an exclusive interview with mHealth News, Tullman said Zest Health's target audience is the "intelligent, connected health consumer" who is focused on staying healthy and making smart decisions about using healthcare services when they're needed. "We want to treat people as consumers … who want instant access (to information and resources) that will help them make intelligent decisions."

Zest Health is the product of a collaboration between two of Chicago's leading entrepreneurs and investment groups. Tullman and former Allscripts president and COO Lee Shapiro are the founders of 7Wire Ventures, which targets growth-stage healthcare businesses and communications-related startups and recently sold its successful SoCore Energy solar business to California-based Edison International. In this venture, they're joining forces with Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky of Lightbank, the creative forces behind Groupon.

[See also: Tullman out at Allscripts, Black in.]

According to reports, the two groups have invested millions in Zest Health and hired a chief executive officer, Karen Ferrell, the former CEO of Apollo Health Street. Tullman said Ferrell "is amazing" and "brings so much experience to the job."

Tullman said Zest Health is being marketed this fall to large, self-insured businesses who can buy the app and offer it to their employees. With that in mind, the back end of the company's platform will enable employers to review available healthcare services and costs to better map out their insurance needs.

"We want to make that information transparent to the consumer as well as the employer," Tullman said.

But at the heart of Zest Health, Tullman said, lies the consumer. "We did a lot of work studying what people want," he said. They want convenience and instant access at their fingertips – or, more accurately, on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. They want to be able to find out in a moment's notice if a medical concern really does require a doctor's attention, and if so, to make an appointment.

Tullman said their studies focused time and again on the concept of concierge healthcare, and determined that timely, personalized healthcare services shouldn't be limited to those who can pay extra for them. Anyone should be able to do research on and compare all available healthcare resources, he said, and to pick and do business with those who are convenient, cost-effective and focused on quality.

"Consumers have access to all of this information, but now they can use it to make care better," he said. "We're giving them one place where they can go to make all of those decisions."

This article is based on original reporting at mHealth News.