Get Real Health President and Founding Partner Robin Wiener spoke about the company’s work during the White House Roundtable on Health IT and Exports held June 24, 2013, in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The four-hour event brought approximately 40 invitation-only participants together to focus on “Exploring Opportunities and Challenges in the International Trade and Export of U.S. Health Information Technology Products and Services.”
Wiener was a panelist for the session on “Small/Medium Sized Companies: Target Markets, Priorities and Partnership Opportunities,” which was moderated by William Rowland, Export Finance Officer, Global Business Development Division, Export-Import Bank. Her fellow panelist was Justin Barnes, Vice President, Industry and Government Affairs, Greenway Medical. The panel was designed to feature companies with more limited experience in exporting that have recently reached out to the International Trade Administration (ITA) for assistance. Panelists discussed examples of Health IT subsectors and countries/regions of interest for possible export opportunities. The Export-Import Bank provided some background on financing options available to companies interested in exporting.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Wiener. “We were in the room with really heavy hitters from the Obama administration that shows how important HIT is as a valuable commodity that can be exported. We were there alongside executives from Intel, Oracle, Dell, and NextGen, so it was both a great opportunity to share our story with, and learn a lot from, these major players.”
Wiener was accompanied to the Roundtable by Kristin Webb, Marketing Director, and Kelly Padgett, Project Manager for multiple TELUS Health projects (Canada) and Southampton (UK). Webb explained that the ITA is trying to help HIT vendors wherever they can in order to generate exports and create jobs.
“Robin was a total rock star,” said Padgett. “She gave a five-minute introduction about Get Real Health and the international successes we’ve already had. During the question-and-answer part of the program there were a lot of questions directed to Robin. Many participants were amazed at the amount of international success we’ve already had, given our small size.”
While the purpose of the event was to talk about how HIT can be exported, Webb said that many speakers spoke about the importance of patient engagement — which was exciting since Get Real Health has the tools to make that happen. Driven by the discussion about the importance of patient engagement, Wiener edited her opening remarks to suggest the HHS and ONC representatives should consider developing a public education campaign on the importance of patient engagement and encourage patients to use care management tools like InstantPHR.
“We had confirmation that what we’re doing is innovative and delivers what the market is demanding,” said Webb. “For example, one participant raised the importance of capturing the total patient experience – including patient-generated data. InstantPHR is already doing this – one of our major differentiators is that our product captures patient-reported data in a structured and sourced format. To be at the table with HIT and government leaders and watch Robin ‘get real’ about these issues and explain how our work is helping healthcare organizations and patients was very exciting.”
Wiener generated a lot of conversation after revealing that Get Real Health has about 60 employees. Bigger companies in the room were surprised that a small company had made such an impact in HIT.
“I spoke as a small company and people were blown away by our size,” said Wiener. “My fellow panelist was Justin Barnes, Vice President, Industry and Government Affairs for Greenway Medical — and they have 900 people. People wanted to know how we have been able to do this with so few employees. We were well received, and a lot of people came up to me afterwards. Immediately following the meeting we had 2 large vendors ask us to help respond to an RFP they’re doing in England, so we’re seeing some possible new collaborations with big companies.”
In addition to international trade specialists from the Administration, other panels featured Claudia Williams, Health IT Liaison, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; David Muntz, Principle Deputy National Coordinator, Office of National Coordinator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Carla Smith, NCNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS; Marc Perlman, Global Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences Oracle; Alice Borrelli, Director of Global Health and Workforce Policy, Intel; and Tim Lindeman, Vice President, President and CEO, Dimensional Insight.
Wiener said the Roundtable helped Get Real Health learn a lot as a company about how the ITA can help us with its services. Next steps will include getting involved in committees and traveling overseas to meet with embassies and trade offices.
“We need to get to know prospective customers in-country and learn their culture, then get the right people in the room to help address issues and solve problems,” she said. “Knowing that our government has our backs, and that we have a place to go for support, is very empowering.”