Healthcare technology veteran Russell Ricci, M.D., has left his job as general manager for healthcare at IBM Corp. to become CMO and strategy officer of healthcare marketing services company HealthSTAR Communications, Ricci confirms.
Ricci remains chair of the eHealth Initiative, a not-for-profit group that advocates the use of information technology to improve the quality of care.
Ricci joined Woodbridge, N.J.-based HealthSTAR Aug. 1, to help organizations and consumers find ways to take advantage of information technology in healthcare. He will work largely with US Wellness, a HealthSTAR company in Gaithersburg, Md., which markets health screening, laboratory testing and patient education services, Ricci says.
Rhode Island resident Ricci says he is working out of the Boston headquarters of HealthSTAR subsidiary LehmanMillet, a medical device marketing company, though he will travel extensively, as he did while with IBM.
Ricci says the landscape was markedly different when he joined IBM in 1996 to help the data-processing giant develop a strategy in healthcare.
"Seven years ago, people didn't know they needed information technology," Ricci says. "It was a paper-based world" in clinical settings.
Today, healthcare organizations have accepted the notion of IT as a powerful means of collecting and analyzing clinical data to promote quality, safety and efficiency, so it has become a matter of convincing physicians to make the switch, according to Ricci.
"Assuming you have this (clinical) information, how do you use it to change physician behavior and change patient and consumer behavior?" Ricci asks. "The challenge is to come out with products" that clinicians and patients will embrace, he says.