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Executive corner

Trailblazing through health IT

By Patricia Rutherford

Blog    Trailblazing through health IT

Twenty-eight years ago, I began my adventure in healthcare software sales, when practice management (PM) was undergoing standardization, and most practices were still manually billing on paper. I started with a small local software company that sold “turn-key systems” to the Tri-State area.

These very humble beginnings led to a long career, during which I have observed the ever-evolving tide of change in my career and the industry—EHR adoption, quality incentives, regulation changes, and interoperability among many other developments.

During most of these years, I was the only female in a sales leadership role, and I faced many uphill battles to have a seat at the table. I’ve experienced many inequalities and faced many challenges. Fortunately, I was born with fierce determination and a positive attitude. These qualities helped me overcome the odds and stay strong along the way. I was also lucky to work with two supportive leaders who listened to me and guided me to my leadership role in Sales.

Ten years ago, I joined NextGen Healthcare and became the Small Practice (1 to 10 providers) Sales VP. It fits who I am, as my expertise has been with medical small practices, and I am very empathetic to the 10 hats small practice staff and providers wear daily. Understanding the battle for small practices to have their voices heard and to survive the changes in healthcare has become a passion for me.

The health IT world is a complicated and costly investment to all ambulatory practices; however, it is especially difficult for our small practice clients to tackle the rigors of healthcare reform while keeping their practices solvent and independent. Our small practice clients inspire new ideas to simplify and modify the way we approach the continual changes in health IT.

Over the years, I have become a full-fledged advocate for small practices. I have been able to collaborate with our executive leadership to develop and address the small practice needs with newer inclusive pricing models, service packages, and a sales team solely focused on their specific needs. Our small practice clients can tailor their NextGen® solutions to their own practice workflow, and use the Background Business processor to automate daily, weekly, and monthly reports. Physicians can also use My Phrases and Quick Visits to streamline their office visits. The outcome is a robust solution that is usable for a one-provider practice and can build to a very large enterprise practice.

The most rewarding part of my career has been to succeed in a challenging industry, help build the next generation of sales leaders dedicated to small practices and have a voice within NextGen Healthcare that affects positive changes for both employees and clients. Today, I’m proud to be the champion of the NextGen Healthcare Women in Technology employee resource group (ERG) and continue to promote women’s issues and small practice needs.


Patricia Rutherford

Vice President, Inside Sales

Get in touch with Patricia