Judy Faulkner has crushed the dreams of many EHR CEOs over the years. How did she do it? What makes her distinct? What is the one mistake that she is making right now?
📍 Today in health it, Judy Faulkner in her own words.
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All right. I came across this article in Becker's Hospital Review. Laura Deirdra wrote this, epic CEOs Business Gems. I think she pulled this. Oh, she did. , pulled it from Judy's blog. And this is some of her advice and stories to cover business strategies, team culture, and more. And here are five takeaways from the blog posts in the last 12.
, I'm, I'm gonna share some of this stuff with you and then I'm gonna give you my, , 2 cents on, , Judy's leadership at Epic, if you care. So there you go. number one, on motivation with pain versus pleasure when you want to change someone's behavior. what works better, pain or pleasure? Most people say pleasure, but most studies show that's not accurate. Pain is usually more powerful. Ms. Faulkner wrote, she noted that Epic team insurers customer understands pain points will occur if the implementation process doesn't go well.
Ms. Faulkner also shared an example. From Carl, president of Epic who needed a C I O to move faster with the Epic implementation After multiple attempts at persuading him, Carl finally suggested the c I o get his resume in order. She wrote, That worked pain. and that is absolutely true. Well, it's been true in my life anyway. When I encounter pain, I move very quickly to alleviate that pain. , it could be personal, professional, could be any kind of pain. , we don't like living there, so we move pretty quickly, whereas pleasure. Yeah, I, I mean it has positive reinforcement, but not nearly as much.
So, , absolutely some wisdom there. Number two, setting prices. We don't have cost centers or profit centers. I can't tell you if training, for example, makes or loses money, and I don't wanna find out. We set our prices at what is sensible and fair. It's the overall that matters, not the components Ms.
Faulkner wrote. That's an interesting approach and not one that's follow. All that often, and I'll get back to that when I talk about my, , my comments a little later. , number three, organic versus inorganic growth. Ms. Faulkner receives emails asking Epic to invest in companies on a daily basis, which she turns down , Clearly is not interested in growing through acquisition.
We have never invested in other company's products and don't intend to. It would be a distraction. Ms. Faulkner wrote Epic Is written by internal team members with the patient in mind. If Epic acquired a new company, it would have different code and design. Users would know they left one world and are in another.
Wrote Ms. Faulkner acquisitions of key products might be. , but in the end they are not what is best for the user. And again, I love that it, it might be quick, it might be a quick way to get somewhere, but in the end, it's not best for the user. And there's two phrases in that. I'm gonna come back to it at the end.
, number four, office space. Ms. Faulkner intentionally designed the Epicc campus with productivity in mind. Team members have individual offices with food nearby and easy travel between buildings, individual offices, no cubes, huge boosts in productivity. Ms. Faulkner wrote, we keep building new buildings so staff can have their own offices without doubling up.
About 15% want to be double. Around 350 to 400 people have offices in each building to keep a sense of community. And there is a three story limit to encourage more in-person meetings. Absolutely. And number five, titles epic intentionally. Voice titles for employees internally or with visitors. When someone introduces themselves, they'll mention their department or projects they're working.
We have noticed that a visitor will direct most comments to the person with the highest level title, and by not giving titles, the visitor directs comments to the person who knows the most about the topic Ms. Faulkner wrote. As a result, more people participate and the conversations are more meaningful.
That's a great, , response to that. I, I've tried in this company. To get without titles, and it's amazing how much people want a title , sort of to identify themselves. And it's not an external thing as much as it is an internal thing. People want a title and giving them the, the reason around not having that , I think is pretty powerful.
All right, so, you know what's my so what on this? Why do I talk about this? Judy Faulkner is a distinct individual. , really amazing business leader and she has grown this company through what I call caring. She cares. She cares about the clients, she cares about the individuals at the clients. She cares more than any other C E O I've ever met.
And we've all seen her, , responding individually to emails of people, and she's responded to my emails individually. And I am not even an Epic client. I've sat, I sat next to her in a meeting and it was a large meeting. It was a conference type meeting, and the whole time we were there, she was on her email and she was literally responding to emails.
Now, my guess is she has. Billion emails that she gets and she was responding to them and each one was well thought out and , you know, I think she communicates better than any CEO how much she cares about the success of her clients. Personally and professionally. I'll give you another story about that caring aspect.
, I was interviewing, , people, somebody came up to me and, sessions were actually going on. Judy was standing outside the session, so there wasn't a lot of people there. And this woman saw Judy and she goes, oh, I would love to meet Judy Faulkner.
And I'm like, You know what? I'll introduce you because Judy would like to meet you. And she go, oh, no, no, she wouldn't want to meet me. I'm like, you don't know Judy. She wants to meet you. And so I walked over, I introduced her to Judy and Ju and, and Judy ended up talking to her for like a half hour.
And that's the kind of person she. Whoever she's in front of, she devotes her time. That's who she's focused on. That's who she's talking to. And I'm not the only one with those stories. Everybody has those stories. She's a unique individual, which is gonna get, again, more to the, the point of where I am going.
I wanna point out a couple things that are distinct about Judy as ceo, which I think leads to my main point and that is, , so number one, setting prices. We set prices at what is sensible and fair. , it's the overall that matters, not the components. That is not typical for a ceo. A cfo, will drive a CEO to understand where the money is being made and how to optimize the places where the money is being made.
And there's a constant focus on how can we optimize profits. Okay. Epic is privately held. That is one of the things that is distinct about them. Second thing that's distinct about them is Judy doesn't run it necessarily as a business. . It's a platform for her to change healthcare and to care for people.
All right? So that's distinct about them. This non. Profit centric. Anyone who, who will come to me and say, look, they are trying to do something out of a money motivation, they don't understand. Judy, that is not her, her approach, and I don't believe it's their, , way of, of doing business.
And it's one of the things I think that is distinct about Judy. I'm gonna keep saying that. All right. Organic versus inorganic growth. They end with, , users would know they left one world and went into another, wrote Ms. Faulkner Acquisitions of key products might be. But in the end, they are not what's best for the user.
Judy cares about what's best for the user, and she's not about what's quick, right? So building your own code from the ground up has, , in some cases allowed them to go faster, but in many cases caused them to go slower. But people trust them. People trust Epic. People trust Judy. And so when they have a roadmap, And, and when Epic gives them a roadmap and they're thinking, well, we're thinking of doing X, Y, or Z, they look at the Epic roadmap first and say, you know what?
I know Epic's developing this. I'm gonna wait for that. Knowing full well that their first iteration is not gonna be that good. And it's just, historically, it's the first iteration of any software is not that good. But the first iteration out of Epic has generally not been that good, but it has gotten better over.
and . It goes from not that good to good, to really good to fully integrated and really delivers what people need from the health system and from the software that they're using. And so it's really interesting to me that that approach. Is again, distinct to Epic, distinct to Judy.
The office spaces. Another example, the approach is distinct to Epic, distinct to Judy what is in the best interest of her employees. , even the title conversation. Why do I have this? , because I think there's one mistake that Judy is making and it is, she is not young. And at some point, epic will be run by somebody else.
and I know she's taken a lot of time to think about this and think about the epic hundred year plan and what it's going to be a hundred years from now, but I'm more worried about what it's gonna be 10 years from now. I'm more worried about what it's gonna be 10 years after Judy's not running the company.
That's what I'm worried about because Epic has a significant influence on healthcare today. Their software runs. I don't know, a significant portion of healthcare today. Definitely most of the academic medical centers, it's just an integral part of how we run healthcare. And 10 years after Judy's gone without her leadership and she is a distinct individual, she leads through caring, through love and caring,
, it's an amazing business model. It has worked and I'm a huge fan of Judy and what she's been able to do. With that being said, somebody else is gonna run it 10 years after she's gone, and if they've come through Harvard Business School, if they've come through any of the business schools, , they will not likely not lead from the same perspective that Judy leads.
Their lens will be very different. Their approach will be very different. They will have the opportunity to maximize profits, to grow, to increase their influence in the industry. All the things that become that shiny object over there in the corner will draw them.
They have not drawn. , but they will draw the next leader. And so the next leader is really important. So the mistake that Judy is making at this point is who, what is the succession plan? I think it's something that people should care about. And yes, I don't think the day after Judy is gone and somebody is running epic that it's going to all of a sudden spiral.
I think it will take some time after Judy is gone and it could be five to 10. , but I think the succession plan matters. The individual that runs epic next matters and their perspective will matter and. , I think waiting until Judy is gone to figure out who that is is a business risk. Again, not an immediate business risk, but a business risk nonetheless.
Again, huge fan of Judy. And these are just some examples of the, , the wisdom that has gotten her and Epic to where they are today. , I'm not sure all the influence that they have, that they have used for the. Of the industry and the best of me, the patient, , but I believe that their, her intentions have been good all along the way.
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