We always understood that North America was a very large market and that we couldn't be all things to all people and needed to focus. We also understood that our integration technology was our key differentiator, and that was critically important.

The President's Perspective

What strategies did you implement to build Orion Health into one of North America's leading providers of population health management solutions?

While we could have been sidetracked along the way, our initial success in this market was due in large part to sticking to a simple strategy of building out a niche market around integration.

What are some of the most pressing issues in healthcare that Orion Health is addressing?

Healthcare systems across the continent are dealing with an explosion of information and trying to figure out how to best acquire, aggregate, and analyse that data and make it actionable so that we can garner insights that will enable better population health management and ultimately reduce costs.

As the U.S. moves toward value-based models of care, the healthcare system needs to understand how to get providers and payers to work together to share data and reduce costs, and no one is better than Orion Health at integrating real-time claims with clinical data from a wide range of systems for metrics-driven insight and knowledge.

In my global role, I get to speak with a lot of healthcare experts around the world and always find it enlightening that while countries have many differences in how they deliver healthcare, they are facing a lot of the same issues—we are all dealing with an aging population with long-term chronic conditions, escalating healthcare costs and challenges related to managing and analyzing big data.

What are Orion Health's differentiators today?

I believe we have the best vision of what healthcare IT needs to do to improve outcomes from both a cost and a delivery perspective. We have spent a lot of time and effort working with our partners and clients to design solutions that the industry needs both today and in the future.

We also have extensive global experience building intuitive software that clinicians want to use to better coordinate care and improve outcomes. We work closely with our clients to better understand their needs and apply that understanding to further develop our population health management solutions to meet the Triple Aim.

What were some of Orion Health's challenges in the early days?

When we first started out in the U.S in early 2000, our main challenge was lack of awareness of Orion Health—people didn't understand who we were or what we were trying to do. At the beginning, we had to spend a lot of time networking to get our name out there.

For our initial business development, we targeted rural hospitals, who were very underserved in the market at the time. Slowly we made some initial sales which helped to build our credibility. We leveraged these first few deals and used them as references to sell into larger hospitals.

What were some of the company's early milestones?

In 2000 we secured a significant win for a regional health information exchange (HIE), then named Capital Health in Edmonton, which was rolled out to the entire province of Alberta, Canada. At the time, this was the most successful deployment Orion Health had completed. Now, almost 15 years later, they are still a client of ours and we continue to provide them with new technology, most recently implementing our eReferrals solution.

This HIE project was an extremely successful deployment and gave Orion Health broad experience in undertaking large, complex projects. We applied those early learnings to become experts at what it takes to make HIEs work in the U.S., and are leveraging this experience with HIEs across the continent to develop the first of its kind Open Platform, which is now deployed at Cal INDEX, one of the largest exchanges in the country.