Allscripts recently announced the appointment of four new senior executives. These are all professionals with impressive experience and certainly ready for the top roles they've assumed. But what struck me was that they all came from outside Allscripts.

Three of the hires filled existing leadership positions--executive vice president for solutions development, executive vice president of sales and senior vice president and general counsel. The fourth position, chief information officer, is new, and I certainly understand why a company the size of Allscripts would create that role.

And that's the rub. Allscripts has become one of the top pure-play companies in health information technology. It's a $1.3 billion firm with 5,800 employees serving 180,000 physicians, 50,000 practices, 1,500 hospitals and 10,000 post acute care organizations.

I could see having four open senior positions and going outside the firm for one, maybe two, "perfect" candidates. But all four openings? There was no one in the 5,800-employee workforce just as good for at least one or two of those positions?

What do these hires say about Allscripts' views on the capabilities and potential of its own employees? What do they say about its internal training and career development initiatives? What's morale like as some employees who have risen fairly high in the organization now see that they've run out of steps on their corporate ladder, while others below them wonder if their ladder also will be short a few steps?

I told an Allscripts spokesperson I was going to write this blog and would include comments from the company if it wished, but got no reply. Maybe they thought I was overreacting and maybe they're right. But I'm betting that a bunch of others who learned that Allscripts announced four top execs at the same time and they all came from outside the company also wondered, "What's wrong with their own people, the ones who built the $1.3 billion company?"

So, am I overreacting, or do I have a point?



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