Interview with Dell’s New Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nick van Terheyden

Long time readers will know that we’ve regularly done videos with Dr. Nick (@DrNic1). He’s one of my favorite people to sit down with and talk healthcare IT. I first met Dr. Nick when he was CMO of MModal, but our relationship really flourished when he was CMO at Nuance and we shared a cab together to the airport at one of the healthcare IT conferences. Ever since then I’ve counted him a good friend and someone I enjoyed talking about anything healthcare IT related. The beauty with Dr. Nick is that you can go pretty deep with him on any science and technology topic.

With this in mind, I was excited to hear that Dr. Nick was just announced as Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences new Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Dell has a really large healthcare practice thanks to their acquisition of Perot Systems and a number of other acquisitions. Dell will be lucky to have Dr. Nick on their team.

As part of the announcement, I did a short interview with Dr. Nick (see below) to talk about what excited him about the opportunity to work at Dell and the place social media played in his hire. We’ll let Dr. Nick get a few months under his belt at Dell and then I’m sure I’ll have him on for another live G+ video hangout as well.
Dr Nick - CMO at Dell Healthcare
What excited you about Dell that inspired you to switch jobs and become CMO of Dell?
This was such an exciting opportunity with a dynamic company that has a big focus on healthcare that starts at the top with Michael Dell and traverses all the way through the organization that has assembled an outstanding collection of technology, resources but above all talented people that are dedicated to solving the issues we face in healthcare. When I looked at the breadth of what Dell could offer its customers, paired with amazing talent, it felt like a perfect match and one that offered me personally an incredible opportunity to have a positive impact on healthcare delivery systems around the world.

You’re only a few days on the job, but as you’ve gone through the process are their misconceptions about Dell that you now realize that aren’t true?
Yes. Of course the first thought everyone has is that Dell is a PC and hardware company and while this remains a major part of the organization, they have also received the ranking of number one provider of healthcare services in the world by Gartner! That position was achieved by assembling a first class talented team that have a wide range of skills and deep industry knowledge that is broader than healthcare and taps into the success and knowledgeable from many other vertical markets and industries. As one of the healthcare interoperability experts shared with me “I’ve been making systems talk to each other that aren’t supposed to for 20+ years”. His passion is achieving that goal to free data from the confines of individual systems and is typical of the skills and passion of the people working here. Interoperability is a major focus area for healthcare systems and rightly subject to significant scrutiny and pressure form regulatory bodies – working side by side people who come from other industries and bring new ideas and an urgency to solving problems is exhilarating for me. Tie that to a Unified Clinical Cloud archive that has over 9 Billion images today stored for customers designed to allow frictionless sharing of images and you can see this is an organization that can offer solutions to some of the most fundamental and pressing issues we face today

As Michael Dell puts it: Technology has always been about enabling human potential

And this is especially true in medicine where we have struggled to maintain the physician patient interaction that is the central tenet of good care. Clinicians want to focus on the patient and not the technology and that’s what the patients want too – they like the technology but not when it intrudes on their personal relationship with the doctor. This is one of the key drivers at Dell throughout their business and I’m excited to be bringing this to healthcare

You and Dell have both been doing a lot more work with healthcare internationally. What excites you about healthcare IT internationally?
Healthcare is personal for all of us and this is true worldwide. The problems and success we have here in the US are similar to those in other countries but colored by local customs, historical differences in building out healthcare in the country and varying levels of resources. We stand to learn so much from each other, learning from mistakes and benefiting from each other’s successes. I have had the privilege and fortune of working in many countries and am always amazed at the ingenuity and resourcefulness applied with pragmatic solutions that offer useful insights that can be applied elsewhere. Dell has huge presence in so many countries and markets that is combined with a brand name recognition that offers remarkable scope to share our knowledge and experiences around the world and for me personally the opportunity to learn from them and gather market insights from the widest stet of stake holders to guide our future direction.

It seems like Dell has hired some real social media rockstars starting with @MandiBPro and now you.  How do you think your social presence impacted your hire for good or bad?
Dell has been a stand out for me in Social Media – so much so I called them out in my presentation at HIMSS15: MasterChef in Healthcare – Integrating Social Media as a company demonstrating the value of social media engagement and showing others how to effectively capitalize on this untapped resource.

My social media activity has opened so many doors for me and was an important factor in landing the job at Dell and a positive aspect that attracted me to working at the company. Social media has allowed me to stay connected to people, learn a ton from others and build a community online that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

I could not be more excited to be joining an incredible pioneer, mentor and innovator in healthcare social media @MandiBPro. I’m excited to be here at Dell to see how they do it and learn from the experts and at the same time share my own thoughts and ideas around the value and contribution I think this medium can have to doctors, health systems and patients.

Are you excited to be working with someone as passionate as Mandi Bishop (@MandiBPro)?
Who wouldn’t be – Mandi is such an inspiration and so much fun to be around online and IRL. Now I get to hang out with her more often and with more learning opportunities. Her drive, insights and positive energy is infectious. In fact it was one of her many posts talking about how excited she was working at Dell that were instrumental in steering me towards the company and this role.

How would you describe your job duties as CMO at Dell?  Will we still see you around at all the major conferences?
You bet – I will be present at many of the major conferences sharing the Dell vision and strategy and helping get the message out that Dell is the partner to be working with helping you navigate the challenging waters in healthcare. I will be responsible for providing strategic insight to help Dell advance its support of healthcare organizations, medical professionals and patients through information-enabled healthcare and working with our clients gathering insights and direction and helping them navigate clinical issues and applying innovative solutions in an increasingly complex healthcare industry.

What would you describes as Dell’s top healthcare initiatives?
Dell has a wide range of services that span EHR Application Services, Strategy Consulting, Integration/Interoperability, Imaging, Revenue Cycle, Cloud Based secure storage and Business Intelligence and Analytics

But it extends to new and emerging areas that include Patient Engagement, social media and mobility and includes the FDA-approved personalized medicine clinical trial for pediatric cancer and work on a genomics cloud storage and analysis system.

The wow for me was that Dell already has a vast amount of products, solutions and data along with insights that they are already integrating across multiple platforms. I can’t wait to share more on some of the projects the Dell team are working on soon.

Assuming I’m invited back to another Dell Healthcare Think Tank, describe what it will be like having Mandi, you, and me on the same panel. #DoMoreHIT
It’s like plutonium – separately plutonium is interesting, produces some interesting and exciting results and has some fascinating properties….but when you put enough of it together you get something huge and impressive. Sharing the stage and building on each other’s strengths, insights, energy and enthusiasm will be an electrifying session.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.