Health IT Thought Leader Highlight: Brent Lang, CEO, Vocera
Brent D. Lang has served as the president and chief executive officer, and a board member, of Vocera since June 2013. Since joining the company in 2001, Lang has played a role in transforming Vocera from a startup to a publicly traded corporation with more than 380 employees and revenues exceeding $100 million.
Prior to being named CEO, he was the company’s president and chief operating officer and a member of the team that led Vocera’s successful IPO in March 2012. During his tenure with Vocera, he also has served as the company’s vice president of marketing and business development for more than five years, spearheading the initial business plan and the development of product and go-to market strategies.
Before joining Vocera, Lang was the senior director of marketing at 3Com Corporation, and was a strategy consultant for Monitor Company, advising Fortune 500 companies. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and operational engineering before earning an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. While at the University of Michigan, he was a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Swimming Team and won a Gold Medal in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Here, he discusses Vocera’s mission; how the company serves the healthcare market; how health reforms are impacting businesses; making healthcare communications more efficient; and his vision for the future.
Describe how your background gave you the tools to start/run a communications technology company like Vocera.
In retrospect, my background is a perfect fit for Vocera. First, my industrial engineering degree helped me understand process workflows and how to apply the right technologies to human collaboration and communication challenges, which was a natural link to the problems Vocera looks to address. My technology background helps me understand what we’d need to do with the Vocera products, and the workflow aspect helps me understand our customers’ challenges.
I (worked) at Monitor Company, a strategy consulting firm, which provided me with formal training in understanding customer requirements and defining markets and product strategy. After that, I attended Stanford University to get my MBA, which was focused on entrepreneurship and strategy. I then worked at 3Com, which provided solid knowledge of the networking and wireless space – all of which has proved immensely valuable in helping to grow Vocera.
My athletic background as an Olympic swimmer has also played a big role in my development. Growing and running a company takes hard work and determination – most startups are not primed for immediate success – and as a competitive athlete you learn that there are no shortcuts to the top; you have to put in time and effort over many years to reach your peak. Many professionals focus on the end point of where they will take their business, but the thousands of hours you put in are what drive you to that point – so there is a strong correlation between competing in sports and succeeding in business.
Tell me about Vocera. What does it do and who does it serve, specifically?
Vocera delivers integrated, intelligent, secure communication solutions that enable the flow of information from one care provider to another in real-time, and allows them to act on that information at the point of care, throughout their entire healthcare experience. Our range of solutions allows care professionals to instantly connect patients with the care and resources they need, helping prevent treatment delays and increasing operational efficiency throughout the hospital.