In 2001, after 10 years working for others, David Williams left the healthcare practice of the Boston Consulting Group to form David E. Williams Enterprises, a solo consulting operation dedicated to providing strategy consulting for entrepreneurial healthcare organizations. The first client was Healinx (later renamed RelayHealth), where he helped the company develop a successful business model for its webVisits and ultimately sell the company to McKesson.
In 2002 Karen Donovan –who had worked with David at LEK 10 years earlier—joined the practice, bringing her knowledge in healthcare technology and services and experience in primary data collection and analysis.
In 2003, Williams and Donovan combined forces with Patrick Kager, a former colleague of David’s from Boston Consulting Group and most recently a life sciences partner at Deloitte, to form a consulting practice spanning healthcare and life sciences. The practice was named MedPharma Partners, which represented its equal devotion to the medical/healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Over the next few years they brought on board other experienced consultants to build out the team.
In 2005, Williams launched the Health Business Blog. It was the first weblog focused on the business of healthcare and has been published every business day since its founding. As of early 2013, RSS readership exceeds 17,000 subscribers.
In 2006, John Seus, a partner at A.T. Kearney joined us to lead the medical device practice.
Over the next five years we grew the firm, working with great clients in nearly every sector of healthcare and life sciences. We developed business models for new product lines, performed due diligence for acquisitions, wrote business plans for non-profits, supported companies through post-merger integration, and helped clients of all kinds navigate through the consequences of technological change and healthcare reform.
Our value proposition –based on staffing projects with highly experienced professionals rather than leveraging junior talent—was proved in the marketplace as we maintained and grew our relationships with long-term clients. In some cases our role as trusted advisors matured to the point where we joined our clients’ boards of directors. We don’t like to boast, but we are proud that so many of our clients are willing to endorse us publicly.
As healthcare policy took center stage after the 2008 election, we increasingly focused our work on supporting healthcare reform and system transformation. After the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, David Williams served as a committee member and chairman for the Office of National Coordinator of Health IT to review applications for and progress of the Regional Extension Centers, Beacon Communities, and statewide Health Information Exchanges.
As health reform was debated and passed at the national level, we began to increase our focus on helping regional health improvement organizations increase their impact and develop sustainable business models. We also increased our efforts with private equity investors to identify and perform commercial diligence on companies that were poised to benefit from federal reform and the ongoing transformation of the healthcare system.
Over time the Health Business Blog continued to gain prominence and build its reputation. What had started as a hobby (at a time when blogs were looked upon with suspicion) grew into an important source for business leads, professional networking and idea generation. At the same time we started to get questions from certain clients –mostly in the healthcare services and non-profit sectors– about the name MedPharma, and were encouraged to change our brand identity to something that sounded less pharma-centric.
In 2012 we created the Health Business Group to encompass the Health Business Blog and all of our consulting work outside of the medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing space. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies continue to be served under the MedPharma Partners name, and we share staff and expertise between the two groups.