New site, new organization

I have not had much time to update this blog recently.  Work has been busy.  I have also been working on a new way of organizing my blogging entries.

One of the things I am doing is migrating off wordpress.com to a hosted wordpress.org instance.  There might be hitches and problems as I get going with this.  As of today, you can see the old postings on health IT or healthcare IT under http://svfruitstand.com/healthit. I hope to add more posts to it soon.

I also have not abandoned commenting on what’s new in IT and trends in social media and software.  Those blogs have been migrated over to http://svfruitstand.com/swblog.

The future of CCHIT

During the year of 2009, when the HITECH act allocated stimulus funds and assigned the responsibility for specifying the criteria for physicians to qualify for these funds, people in the Healthcare IT business have been wondering what would happen to CCHIT (The Certification Commission for Health IT) which is a non-profit consortium made up of among others the traditional large EMR vendors.  If the government wanted to make HIT easier, cheaper and more effective, it could not just adopt the CCHIT methodology which hadn’t been very effective in promoting EMR adoption.

From the start, it was clear that the requirement for Meaningful Use would not fit neatly into the CCHIT requirements, so the relevance of the organization was in doubt.  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on January 13, 2010 made it clear that the government wanted to be vendor neutral in its requirements.  Thus, CCHIT had to do something to play a role in this new development in the EHR marketplace.

This article from InformationWeek reports the first steps being taken by CCHIT since the January 13 rules (which were actually released on Dec 30, 2009).  Basically they have introduced a scaled down version of their “Comprehensive” certification program called the “Modular” program.  They also offer to certify for ARRA stimulus those vendors who have already spent a huge amount of money to pass their Comprehensive program.  Of course, such certification program does not really exist yet because the rules for certification have not yet been finalized.

To make this situation even more interesting is the perspective from Practice Fusion.  You probably already realize that nobody speaks without self-interest in this muddy puddle we call Healthcare IT.   As an upstart in the EMR/EHR space, Practice Fusion obviously enjoys watching the established vendors in the CCHIT organization squirm.  The fact that the National Institute of Standards and Technology has contracted with Booz Allen Hamilton to develop testing methods and process of certification of EHR will keep the squirming going a while longer.

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Yodlee, a shrewd platform strategy or missed opportunities?

For those not in the business of financial software, Yodlee might not be a familiar name.  However, if you use online bill pay or one of the popular online personal financial management software, you probably have been using Yodlee without knowing it.  The issue I want to explore in this post is whether Yodlee has missed a great opportunity to provide vertically integrated solutions that end users use or that they have been smart to stay away from the trench warfare in the end consumer products space.

Yodlee has spent over over 10 years to build out its business relationships, technological capability and dominance in the financial data aggregation space.  It makes little sense now for anybody building personal financial software to go sign individual agreements with each of the likes of Citibank, Fidelity and Chase.  As the go-to platform, Yodlee now earns a platform tax from every Personal Financial Management software provider that needs to integrate with banks, credit card companies and investment firms.

At the same time, one cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Yodlee’s end user facing business was a lot more successful and most people actually subscribe to Yodlee to do their bill and financial management, as opposed to doing it through their banks or using services like Mint.com.  Given the number of new product launch and M&A activities across the US, UK and India in the news, Mint.com, Artha Money, Kublax and MoneyDashboard, DebtGoal are just a few of them, there must be significant opportunities to be realized.  However, it appears that Yodlee will not become a dominant player for end users.

Yodlee is in every one of these Personal Financial Management software but it is staying in the background.  That might well be a very comfortable commercial position.  However,  this article from bankingtech.com, Where’s the money in Personal Finance? indicates that Microsoft (after killing its MS Money software) is teaming up with Citi to build a vertically integrated solution to rival Mint/Intuit called Bundle.  If they are successful, they will have a platform that competes with Yodlee as well.  I said earlier that it made little sense for anybody to replicate Yodlee, but then Microsoft is not anybody.  It has cash and it needs growth stories.

This just goes to show no matter where you are, you cannot stay still with a successful product.  What do you think?

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