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Medsphere looks forward with new CEO, must also look back to fix past

Medsphere has a bright future ahead of it. But first it needs to correct its past.

Medsphere has been quiet for some time, yet it has always been one of the most interesting open-source stories in the market (both for good and bad reasons, though predominately good, at least prospectively). On the negative side, the company has chewed through management and has had a year-old corporate governance lawsuit dragging it down.

In a sign that the company is finally moving forward, Medsphere announced today that it has brought in a new CEO, Michael J. Doyle. Doyle brings over 20 years of experience in the healthcare/IT industry, most recently as president and CEO of Advantedge Healthcare Solutions, a New York-based software as a service (SaaS) outsourced physician-billing company. I'm guessing he's the sort of guy who would have gotten along well the the Shreeves, the brothers who founded the company.

He's saying the right things, at least, emphasizing open source (which is something the company has not done to the extent that it should, oddly enough):

What attracted me to Medsphere was the opportunity to revolutionize healthcare IT using an open-source platform. Adapting the Vista platform to create OpenVista allows the nation's community and teaching hospitals to possess an affordable, world-class, proven clinical information system that eliminates paper records, improves patient outcomes and allows clinicians to treat patients in a more holistic and informed manner.

Equally important, OpenVista allows hospitals and clinics to escape vendor lock and choose IT vendors that deliver value to the institution. There is no doubt in my mind that Medsphere will reduce the cost of healthcare in the U.S. while improving the quality of care and reducing medical errors.

For what it's worth, I agree. Medsphere is poised to be a truly disruptive company. I just wish that the founders and the Medsphere board could work out their differences to move forward.

For an open-source company doing multimillion dollar sales as Medsphere does, there is too much opportunity for all to fritter it away in the angst of past mistakes. It's great that the company has a new CEO ready to build the company's future. To be whole, I believe the company first needs to remediate its past.

This means reconciliation with the Shreeves, and that is as much (perhaps more) of an issue for the Shreeves as it is for the board. Both sides need to swallow some pride and shelve some demands. Given how much is riding on this, I'm hopeful they'll do so.