Hats off to the “K” in KLAS

I remember 15 years ago when my father told me he was quitting his job at Sunquest and jumping headfirst into a new, crazy endeavor. Many were skeptical, including me. But Kent was committed. He was passionate about creating more accountability and transparency in the industry, and was willing to step into the unknown to do so.

When he created this start-up called KLAS, he didn’t know if it would work. In fact, many—including prominent members of the HIT community—said it wouldn’t work. But he forged ahead anyway, doing all along what he felt to be the right thing to do.

Thanks to those 65 CIOs (you know who you are) that took a chance and participated in KLAS’ first official research—which, coincidentally, kicked off at HIMSS in 1997 —the first KLAS study was published.

So what?  This week Kent was recognized with many other leaders like Neil Patterson, John Glaser, Judy Faulkner, Steve Lieber and good friend and CIO Dennis L’Heureux as part of the “HIMSS 50”. Fifty individuals that have left their HIT mark in the last 50 years. Not bad for a guy that was hoping for a little honesty and a little accountability, working out of his basement.

Certainly the endeavor was not without challenges. In fact, on Kent’s office wall, hangs a framed letter he received 15 years ago from another member of the “HIMSS 50”, saying why KLAS would never work. That letter became great motivation on the days when it seemed its author might be right. It now serves as a reminder that amazing things can happen—despite what others say—when you’re doing what you passionately believe to be right.

Anyway lest you think Kent’s head may be getting a bit too big from the HIMSS 50 recognition, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. His noggin will likely be resting tonight on a flattened pillow in a small apartment in Lisbon, Portugal, where he’s helping people find work, and find their way in this small country across the sea. And while he may be faraway, and completely removed from the HIT world, he’s the same old Kent…just working on his latest “right thing to do”.

Hats off to you dad.

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