Planting a Seed: How Planned Parenthood Built a Technology Services Practice from the Ground Up

Laura Jantos, ECG Management Consultants

A national IT management services organization was born when four community health centers collaborated on an electronic health record system.

December 2012

After receiving a planning grant from the California Networks for Electronic Health Record Adoption (CNEA), four California-based Planned Parenthood affiliates formed an organization to help lead implementation of a joint electronic health record (EHR) system. The new organization, Voxent, grew to become the national IT management services organization for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Some lessons from the Voxent success story:

  • Ensure customer investment. Board participation by Planned Parenthood affiliate representatives helped to ensure Voxent customers were invested in the success of the organization.
  • Enlist a champion. Planned Parenthood affiliate leaders worked with their peers at other affiliates to ensure broad buy-in.
  • Establish long-term customer commitment. The initial membership agreement for Voxent required a three-year commitment from participating affiliates; this consistency helped Voxent to create a long-term plan.
  • Have a solid understanding of the customer's business requirements. Voxent was initially staffed by Planned Parenthood employees who had deep understanding of their affiliates' specific needs.
  • Keep the customer's goals in mind. All of Voxent's work took place in concert with Planned Parenthood's goal of continuous quality improvement. This overarching goal drove the creation of Planned Parenthood–specific products and services.
  • Start small and keep the scope manageable. Voxent defined a core set of services and delivered on them successfully before attempting expansion.

The report, which describes Voxent's beginnings and lessons learned in its expansion, is available under Document Downloads.