#IAmGalen: Jason Carmichael, Co-Founder, Chief of Staff

#IAmGalen: Jason Carmichael, Co-Founder, Chief of Staff

JasonCarmichaelWhat was your background prior to co-founding Galen? What inspired you to take the leap and start a company?

My professional career has been solely focused on the healthcare industry, specifically within Electronic Health Record adoption and optimization.  Prior to Galen, I worked for Allscripts and focused on all aspects of the implementation process.  My desire to fully understand the EHR and its capabilities led me to work as a Technical Consultant, Implementation Consultant, Interface Engineer and Project Manager.  During my tenure there, I worked with a number of large organizations and continually saw them failing on their side of the implementation.  The groups that identified this quickly attempted to bring in help from outside consulting firms, but since EHRs were so new, there weren’t many people that had the experience or skillsets to help them.  My partners and I felt that we could better help the industry by focusing on this issue and providing expert help directly to clients.  While it was a risky leap and we all loved working at Allscripts, we truly believed we could make a larger impact by doing this.

You’ve had several roles since the start of Galen, from COO to CEO, and now COS. How has each transition helped you become better in tune with the industry and how to best position Galen as a company?

My focus at Galen has always been what makes the most sense at the time.  Over the years, we’ve hired smart employees that have grown with us and have taken over major roles in the organization.  We always felt that, to grow, we’d need to bring in people with broader experience to help us continue to be viable and sustainable.  Early in my career the focus was on growing teams that allowed us as an organization to be experts in all areas of the EHR platform.  Having the ability to understand technical, clinical, and human challenges allows us to provide unique solutions to complex problems and separates us as an organization.  From the beginning we strived to build a culture that has made Galen what it is today.  We wanted to be a company that people enjoyed working for while also being much more than a consulting firm—that was a term I never gravitated to.  I always felt like a consulting firm was a body shop that focused on billing and ensuring resources were profitable.  We focused on hiring full time employees that were willing to work outside of their client responsibilities to build a better Galen.  This allowed us to do things like the Galen Wiki and create a family environment where everyone is willing to help each other.  I think we’ve done a great job of redefining what a consulting firm should be and showing organizations what it should be like when you hire people to help with your projects.  While this continues to be a main focus of the organization as a whole, I’ve turned my focus to the culture.

Over the past year my main focus has been the company’s culture. We’ve established a Culture Club to review employee suggestions and thoughts on what we can do to make Galen even better.  We’ve had a great track record with employee retention and happiness, but we know we can always be better. The Culture Club has already made some organization changes and we continue to review and consider more.

What was your vision when the company first started? Has it met/exceeded your expectations? Did you ever think it would be what it is today? What does the future look like?

We always laugh when we think back to our original business plan.  We did take the time to build out a detailed plan of our first 3-5 years and how we could be successful.  I think within six months we were on year four, so it definitely grew much faster than we had anticipated.  We honestly could have grown even faster, but we always did it in a wise fashion, in our opinion, we’ve never had layoffs or had to let people go because we grew too fast for our needs.  Overall, I always felt we would be successful, but it has certainly outpaced my vision.

I feel like the future is bright and we have a lot of areas that will grow over the next 2-5 years.  The biggest challenge we face is keeping the culture consistent as we grow.  That’s a huge part of the reason we developed the Culture Club and my focus has been, and will remain, on that aspect of the business.

Company culture is a big thing at Galen, everyone refers to it as a family, how have you worked to inspire this/why has it been so important from the start?

When we started Galen, we really wanted to create an environment that we would want to work in.  When we were at Allscripts, there was a lot we liked about the culture, but we thought we could make it even better.  We developed the 5 Main Things early on and I believe that’s been a foundation of everything we’ve done since.   We wanted everyone in the organization to feel supported by each other and be able to go to anyone for help if there was a need.  We’ve always wanted our clients to feel that when they hire Galen, they have the support of the entire company.  We’ve continued to be challenged on this front, but we believe it’s fundamental to employee retention and happiness, so we’re happy to continue focusing on it and will continue adopting new changes to improve Galen as a whole.

What’s one thing that not a lot of people know about Galen that they should?

The one thing I want to make sure everyone knows is the breadth of our expertise.  We have experts in all areas including: clinical, technical, integration, software development and project management.  This gives our organization the unique ability to consider all aspects of a challenge when developing a solution.  It also allows a client organization to work with us for most solutions without having the need to bring in other vendors, this makes projects easier to complete and much more efficient.

Caught the Galen culture bug? Meet some other awesome Galeneers here.

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  1. 2
    Benetta Greene-Nealy

    I must say Jason and I go back to pre implementation days. I met him at HealthCare Partners he was a joy to work with and I am so proud of him.

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