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The Role of an Analyst Firm

by John Moore | May 17, 2012

The 2012 HIE Report was released last week and sales have been brisk – thank you. But in spite of those brisk sales and even during the process of creating that seminal report on the Health Information Exchange market, there are times when it seems that a significant proportion of the market does not understand the role of an analyst firm.

For example, prior to publishing the report, we allowed vendors to review their profile for fact checking. They could also refute some of our findings but we were under no obligation to comply. One vendor profiled in the HIE Market Report tried to have us completely change their profile write-up (actually they rewrote their profile for us and submitted it). Their write-up was an abomination – it sounded more like something in a conference brochure under list of sponsors than an objective review. Needless to say we rejected their request outright and threatened to throw them out of the report altogether. They quickly complied to our original request. Then there was another vendor who after purchasing the report, could not believe that we did not accept all the changes they asked for and demanded that we “correct” their profile. We politely declined.

The reminders below hope to set the record straight.

An analyst firm strives to provide an objective, informed analysis of the market(s) it studies.
We are not a Public Relations firm, we are not a magazine or trade journal. We are a research firm that conducts in-depth research to determine how a market will develop, how well vendors within a given market are serving current and future market needs and what may be some challenges as well as successes in the adoption of a given technology and best practices for adoption. We strive not to play favorites with Any Stakeholders in a given market, be they users of technology, providers of such or even regulators/government agencies. To us, all are fair game for fame and shame.

So vendors, when we do a report such as the recent HIE Market Report and we ask you to fact check your profile for factual accuracy, please try to keep your comments limited to such. And when you do believe it necessary to refute one of our findings, rest assured, we will take it under advisement but we are under no obligation to agree with you.

An analyst firm is a business- this is what we do for a living.
We are like any other business, we work hard and for that hard work, we expect and receive compensation. So why is it that some organizations approach us thinking that we’ll just give them a report for free? Seriously folks, do you have any idea what kind of work goes into producing a 100+ page report such as the HIE report? That report took months of work, countless interviews, a lot of hard thinking. One could liken it to doing a graduate level thesis – many have said as much. So it is insulting when an organization comes to us, typically with far, far greater resources than this small analyst firm, and asks for a free copy. You put me in a bad mood when you do that and that is not a good thing.

Then there are those that we may interview as part of the primary research stage of a report who come back and say: Aren’t we going to get a free copy – to which we typically answer; No.

Trust me, we really really do appreciate your input during the interview or your response to our questionnaire. Your thoughts and experiences are invaluable to us. In turn, hopefully over the course of the interview we were able to provide you with some valuable feedback that we may have picked up from interviews previous to yours – in a sense, that is our payment back to you. But please remember, that interview we had took maybe 30-45 minutes out of your day. For a report we will interview many more just like you, we’ll also do a significant amount of secondary research and then digest it all and ultimately produce a cogent report. For a small report, we’ll invest 100 or more hours of hard work by highly skilled, extremely talented analysts. As mentioned before, a large report is many times that amount. So please, if you want us to succeed, help us to stay afloat and allow us to make a living at this by ponying up the modest fees we charge for what are some of the best research reports being produced for this market.

In closing, just want all to know that we here at Chilmark Research are extremely passionate about wanting to help the healthcare industry move forward by successfully adopting and using healthcare IT. Every one of us believes that there is a huge untapped potential to truly improve the quality of care delivered through the effective use of IT. It is our hope that through our published research reports, subscription, and consulting services, we will provide objective analysis of what is a very critical market for the health of our nation and others.

9 responses to “The Role of an Analyst Firm”

  1. Paul Sonnier says:

    Kudos, John! Love your honesty and integrity. Keep up the great work.
    Cora and I connected this past week and we discussed this report, which I can imagine is incredible.


    • John says:

      Hi Paul,
      Good to hear from you and thank you for the positive feedback. Glad you were able to connect with Cora – a very thoughtful, hard working analyst.

  2. Dottie Howe says:

    Thanks for your commentary and explanation on what you do. The problem is that you give access to your concepts to reporters (or do they pay for the report?), and then we watch all of the news go by without the resources of $4,500 to read your report, which we can neither support nor refute.. The implications are that statewide HIEs such as ours in Ohio will fail, and I can assure you, we are successful in EHR adoption and have hit the ground running with HIE . Dottie Howe Communications Director, Ohio Health Information Partnership

    • John says:

      Hello Dottie,
      Thanks for taking the time to chime in.

      Yes, though our reports are not free, we do get vey high praise for their quality, content and value. That being said, the cost may still be out of reach for some, thus the reason why we continue to write posts about various industry topics – it’s our way of giving back.

      When we do release a report, we typically get asked by a number of reporters for interviews which we are happy to oblige. It is during those interviews that we provide more “color” to that initial press release including further background as to some of the conclusions in the report.

      To date, our research has not uncovered much the way of success among statewide HIEs. Sure there are a couple that have been successful, but their numbers pale in comparison to those that have not been successful. Seeing as it is our tax dollars at work, we would love nothing more than to see statewide initiatives succeed. Unfortunately, most are playing against a stacked deck and we will continue to place our bets on the enterprise HIEs coupled to strong federal policy to get this data liquid beyond the confines of a single healthcare organization. Thankfully, Stage 2 MU requirements are headed in the right direction.


  3. Nice explanation.

    BTW What would it cost to have something included that looked exactly like you’d see in a conference brochure under list of sponsors? 😉

    • John says:

      I’m sure the cost of being listed in a conference brochure far exceeds the cost of buying one of our reports.

      Thanks for the kind words and glad to hear we brought some clarity.


  4. Anand Shroff says:


    Objectivity is the foundation upon which your credibility rests. Back at Axolotl/Optum, I enjoyed reading your last HIE report and it was an input into our product strategy.

    Keep on trucking. Be controversial, opinionated and insightful. Your readers and clients expect nothing less.


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