Sage Cuts Staff, Starts New Account Management Strategy

By Neil Versel, contributing editor

July 15, 2008 | Sage Software Healthcare has cut about 235 employees, or 14 percent of its U.S. workforce as it consolidates its internal electronic data interchange (EDI) staff in an effort to streamline customer relationship management, the Tampa, Fla.-based health IT vendor says.

The bulk of the reductions are among redundant cross-functional EDI positions, including for customer support and clearinghouse development. The company says the job cuts are part of a new account-management strategy, implemented in April, in which customers now have a single point of contact for non-technical needs.

“Our focus is on providing more emphasis on our customers,” according to Sharon Howard, Sage Healthcare’s senior vice president for sales and marketing. “This restructure allowed us to consolidate under a single leader,” she says. Howard reports a “resounding validation” of the strategy by customers.

She says the so-called “relationship manager” assigned to each account does not take the place of traditional technical support, but rather serves as a customer advocate of sorts. Howard says the moves do not affect any product-evolution plans, but the company itself has been going through a lot of changes in the past year and a half.

British parent company Sage Group purchased the Intergy line of ambulatory electronic health records (EHR), practice management software, radiology information systems, and picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) in December 2006 from Emdeon Corp., then the parent of WebMD. (See “Sage Becomes Major Player With Purchase of Emdeon Services.”) WebMD later spun off the Emdeon name to its former business-services division. (See “WebMD’s Parent Reinvents Itself … Again.”)

Andy Corbin resigned as president and chief executive of Sage Health one year ago this week. John Lopiano is acting head of the health care division, though Howard says a search for a permanent CEO is ongoing.

Last year, Sage Healthcare unveiled an application service provider (ASP) version of its EHR and practice management system called Intergy on Demand. “It hasn’t taken off as aggressively as our client-server product,” Howard says, but indicates that there is “increasing interest” in the ASP, particularly among smaller physician practices that do not have full-time IT staff.

Early in 2008, Sage announced the general availability of a physician portal, developed in partnership with secure communications systems vendor Kryptiq (Hillsboro, Ore.)



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