Monday, November 21, 2011


I really enjoy watching soccer – though I am a relative newbie to the sport, over the past year I have learned a lot about the rules and strategy from my boys.  One of my favorite things to watch is when the players are driving the ball down the field towards the goal.  It’s amazing how they kick it to a seemingly empty space and out of nowhere one of their teammates will appear.  My oldest tells me this is called “leading”.   He explained “If you kick the ball directly to your teammate – where they are – then you will never make it where you want to go.”  What a powerful statement for everything we are doing…..

As I watched the MLS cup last night, and read through some information on a few middleware companies – I wondered – who is “leading” hospitals and who is merely kicking the ball directly to them. 

I will submit that if I am truly honest with you all – I think most are trying to figure out where to kick the ball.  Many of them know there is more that can be done than what they are doing currently, but can’t really seem to identify the open space so that their teammate can kick the ball into the goal. 

There are two things in that statement if you are paying attention.  The first is identifying the open space – the second is so their teammate can make the goal.   

They cannot identify the open space because they are too busy worrying if they have a “trail” someone trying to come up and steal the ball from behind them.  (If they are playing Chance Meyers – they should worry)   This watch your back mentality has stifled their ability to take a really good concept – middleware – and leverage it into a really powerful platform.   Old data models and proprietary mindsets are crippling that industry. 

The open space is not in your hardware or even some of your proprietary software….it’s the data, and your ability to understand it and to model it is at the root of the future. 

The second part of that statement is “so their teammate can make the goal”.  Have you noticed how few real teammates there are in health IT?  I think it would be interesting if Middleware could accept their role on the field.  They are the midfielder – the person enabling the end point device to make the goal.  The midfielder is an interesting position – probably the most interesting position on the team because they play both offense and defense.  They run more than anyone else and frankly their ability can decide the game.  The midfielder positions the ball – leads – to the open space so the forward can send it in.  The forward may get the glory of the goal – just like the end point device that the clinician’s use or patients touch is visible.  The midfielder enabled that goal.

Just some food for thought on a Monday morning -  compliments to the LA Galaxy on the win - thank you for beating the Dynamo.