Effective April 1, Janet Dillone will be resigning her post as CEO for Health Solutions at Siemens Medical Solutions, Malvern, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, executives at HIT vendors come and go on a regular basis, with long-term players like Neil Pappalardo at Meditech (40 years) and Neal Patterson at Cerner (30 years) being rare exceptions. For example QuadraMed has had three CEOs in as many years, and McKesson has had a rapidly revolving door in its C-suite since acquiring HBOC 10 years ago.

 What’s sad in this case is the fact that Janet was doing a dynamite job, by many accounts from both clients and employees, steering the ship at Siemens during some rather turbulent waters. In particular, Soarian has been quite a challenge over the 10 years since its inception, and Janet showed amazing courage and tenacity in standing by this product during its early teething problems, to where by today, Soarian clinicals are finally living up to the promises made during its 100-plus sales. During the early and mid-2000s, Soarian faced many challenges living up to expectations, and some execs may have been tempted to dump it, blame prior administrations for the problems and launch some new product/direction. Hats off to Janet for sticking by this product and its “workflow engine” design, and seeing it through birthing and early childhood.

Inside word is that Tom Miller will take over from Janet. Tom was her predecessor as CEO back in the early 2000s and has responsibility over other Siemens health care subsidiaries, which are far too complicated for something as short as a blog to ever explain. We worked with Tom for one client in the early 2000s and found him a pleasure to work with, so we hope he will take the reins from Janet and keep both Soarian and Siemens' many other products on track.

What's sad is that Janet probably represents one the last of the original “Malvernians,” that is, employees of the old Shared Medical Systems (SMS), who now seem to have been almost gone by free will or forced into early retirement. When planning the SMS 40th reunion last November, we first heard of a wave of retirements of the original team of “King of Prussains” who made SMS so great, and Janet, although not quite that old, had about 20 years of irreplacable experience with the original firm and it culture.

SMS had been the No. 1 vendor in the industry for about two decades prior to its acquisition by Siemens in 2000, and has since slipped to third behind McKesson and Cerner (in terms of annual revenue). It was the original, hard-working employees like Janet who built the firm through the sweat of their brows, and the new generation of Siemens executives and many new hires have completely replaced these old veterans who gave SMS its original spark and made it an amazingly successful vendor. I wish Tom well in picking up the reins again. Janet was just named executive vice president and general manager of the health care business unit of Nuance Communications, a vendor of speech recognition software for multiple industries. Nuance picked up a real gem!

 

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