Erkan Akyuz was named president of McKesson Technology Solutions' Imaging & Workflow Solutions in May, 2014. Well known in imaging circles, Akyuz previously served as president and CEO of Vital Images, Inc, as well as executive vice president and chief technology officer at Agfa Healthcare. Akyuz brings extensive industry experience, strong leadership and a focus on customer success, and he is well prepared to further McKesson’s mission to break down information silos and improve the quality and cost effectiveness of care delivery. Health IT Executive Forum recently spoke with Akyuz about his perspectives on the current market, new opportunities and where he will take McKesson’s Imaging & Workflow Solutions division.
Health IT Executive Forum: You began your journey in health IT at Mitra in Waterloo Canada. How will your technical and engineering background influence your leadership of McKesson's Imaging & Workflow Solutions (IWS)?
Akyuz: As a software engineering graduate, I believed that healthcare IT was on the leading edge of research and development and it remains an exciting field. Starting as a developer, then moving into the business side provides me with good visibility and understanding of technical, clinical and the business side of the industry. My varied experiences will help us to continue advance our customers’ strategic initiatives, as we continue to advance this successful business.
As president of the business group, I will continue to support McKesson’s already strong commitment to our customers and reinforce that we must continue to be committed to them and their success. My role is to continue to support our teams and our customers in their initiatives and reinforce the longstanding customer commitment.
Health IT Executive Forum: What do you see as the major challenges facing hospitals and health systems today regarding imaging technology solutions?
Akyuz: I remember when simply windowing/leveling and arranging CT images on the monitor was considered “value-add” to the radiologist, when the physician was happy to have a dictated report one week later and when radiologists had sole purchasing decisions.
That is not our world today. Our customers face more challenges than ever, and I believe that my time in the industry will help me to guide IWS to continue to develop solutions and services that not only add value to our customers bottom line but help them as they transition to value-added care.
Radiologists face key challenges and opportunities related to the evolution to value-based care, and must respond to reimbursement pressures with enterprise solutions that help enable interoperability and data consolidation. It is no longer enough to deliver siloed radiology or cardiology solutions.
Health IT Executive Forum: Which of these issues represents the best opportunity for new technology solutions to influence change?
Akyuz: By providing the interoperability required to drive down cost and realize the true value of enterprise imaging and delivering flexible, interoperable products and services that meet those needs, we will help our customers to deliver better patient care. Professional services will provide the peace of mind and expertise to help customers mitigate uncertainty.
Health IT Executive Forum: What are the immediate opportunities and challenges for developers of best-of-breed imaging technology in the health-care enterprise?
Akyuz: Improving the quality and cost effectiveness of care delivery by consolidating information and breaking down data silos helps to bring users the right images and the relevant data at when they need it and where they need it. We can help by empowering the providers with information, analytics and services to quantify their contribution to the value chain.
Health IT Executive Forum: Healthcare IT functionality lags the performance of technology in consumer marketplaces. How do you envision McKesson closing that gap in medical imaging?
Akyuz: Our IT and workflow solutions provide the interoperability and flexibility required to drive down cost and realize the true value of enterprise imaging, in part by taking advantage of technology lessons learned in parallel markets.
By helping to connect imaging into the healthcare ecosystem—through integrations and data standard—is key to taking imaging from the dark reading rooms to the referring physicians' offices, to the bedside during rounds, to emergency departments, operating rooms and finally to the
Claudette Lew is associate editor of Health IT Executive Forum.