As Chief Product Officer, Mike Pritts leads product development across the Surescripts portfolio, which allows him to tap into his passions: fostering talent and cultures of creativity. Mike's also a keen believer in the power of collaboration, which the Surescripts Network Alliance embodies.
1. How would you talk about the Surescripts Network Alliance at a cocktail party?
I would describe the Surescripts Network Alliance as a unique arrangement of partners and competitors whose shared interests behoove them to find ways to work together. Our Alliance creates the environment where our customers come to the table and commit to innovation and action. When that occurs, awesome things happen in the market and patients benefit. Is there any better outcome than that? Not in my mind.
2. When you sit down to have a coffee with members of the Surescripts Network Alliance, what trends or advances are you talking about lately?
There are a growing number of healthcare “alliances”. They tend to align around one kind of business or customer. They’re more market-oriented, more about purchasing power and influencing policy. The Surescripts Network Alliance crosses many healthcare segments. Our members may compete against one another within their industries, but the Network Alliance creates opportunities for them to come out of their silos. We bring them together to collaborate within and across segments to address the big healthcare challenges of the day. That’s what makes our Alliance different—and more impactful.
3. Not counting colleagues at Surescripts, who do you consider influencers, innovators or leaders?
I don’t have ‘go-tos’ such as specific people, a particular blog or think tank. For me, it's more macro, such as watching general industry trends and key competitive actions. What is the public point of view? What’s the government’s? What are consumers demanding? I do follow Google, Apple and Amazon closely. They’re the game changers. They've made access to most everything easier. We’ll have to see if they can do the same for healthcare.
4. Who or what inspires you?
My father is a master builder, a carpenter. So you know when you’re a Kindergartener and they ask you what you want to be when you grow up? For me, it was a carpenter—100 percent.
And at my high school, you had to choose either the vocational or academic track. I chose vocational. Being a carpenter was all I thought I could, would and needed to do. By my junior year, after a year of woodworking, I had second thoughts. My father never said, "You’ve got to come to the family business." In fact, he said, "There are easier ways to make a living than what I'm doing. This is hard." He said, "Use your brain; you’ve got one. I’m not going to choose for you, but if I were, I want you to choose differently.”
So senior year, everybody is applying to schools and I'm nowhere. I made an appointment with our guidance counselor. I still remember his name, Mr. Ortman. I sit down with him and said, "I need some help." He started talking about different professions, lawyer, doctor...
I said, "Look. What is the degree that when I graduate four years from now will qualify me for a job that’s easy to get and pays the best?"
He said, "That's easy. It's software engineering, computer science."
I said, "What is that?"
He said, "It's writing code. It's creating software. It's going to be big."
I said, "I'm done. Sign me up."
This was 1983. I’d never touched a computer and didn’t own any video games. My cousins had Pong, but let’s just say that my parents had no interest in Pong finding its way into our house!
I walked out of that meeting, and I applied to only one school, which I had never once visited. Thankfully, I was accepted, and when they said, "Do you have a major or not?" I said, “Computer Science.” I just happened to like it and I just happened to do well at it. That's how this carpenter’s son became a software engineer.
5. It’s 2028. What are you most proud of having helped accomplish in healthcare?
Have I done work that helps keep patients engaged? I think the work we do takes some of the friction and frustration out of the patient experience. In 10 years, I’d also love to see that the people whom I've coached are doing fantastic, impactful work. I look forward to seeing their LinkedIn profiles and their successes. That will be hugely satisfying.
To learn more about how Surescripts has helped convene industry partners and competitors to solve some of healthcare’s biggest challenges—or to hear how we’re bringing innovative solutions to market, subscribe to Intelligence in Action. And check out our video on the power of collaboration: "Convening the Industry: The Surescripts Network Alliance", showcased above.