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Healthcare IT: Making Good Progress

Posted on Monday, Aug 26th 2013

The cost of healthcare administration is a hot issue in America. According to the Center for American progress, in the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $361 billion annually goes to cover administrative costs. That number is a 14 percent of total healthcare expenditure nationwide.

Improvements in IT are expected to reduce these expenditures dramatically. The New England Journal of Medicine, citing the Harvard University Department of Economics, states that “The average U.S. physician spends 43 minutes a day interacting with health plans about payment, dealing with formularies, and obtaining authorizations for procedures.” In the report released by the Center for American Progress in June 2012, experts estimate that adoption of electronic transactions, or adoption of IT, can lead to a potential $26.1 billion in annual savings.

Here are some entrepreneurs who are making strong progress in the healthcare IT domain.

eClinicalWorks

In early 1999, Girish Navani attended a wireless technology conference in Geneva. There, he heard a speaker present his vision for the integration of wireless tech in the healthcare sphere, allowing doctors to interact more meaningfully with patients. Inspired, Girish lent his background in software development to a new venture with two colleagues, one of whom is a physician himself. Their project, eClinicalWorks, was intended to digitize the communication and workflow between a doctor’s office and the rest of the healthcare sphere.

eClinicalWorks is built entirely with its users in mind, using Girish’s cofounder Dr. Raj as a reference point. The end result electronically mirrors a physician’s workflow on paper and allows for multiple means of data entry to accommodate diverse work styles. Today eClinicalWorks continues to be highly profitable and has over 220,000 providers spanning all 50 states. The company makes well over $100 million in annual revenue.

Imprivata

Serial entrepreneur Omar Hussain was drawn to Imprivata’s blueprint for finger biometric authentication in 2002. After a few iterations, Imprivata launched their solution mid-2004 as a standalone appliance with an application profile generator that creates a single sign-on. In 2009, Omar noted that their swiftest growing vertical was healthcare.

Imprivata was a strategic purchase for physicians and hospitals in the midst of transitioning to an electronic system. With hundreds of personal records to protect, millions of dollars were spent on EMR (electronic medical records) systems that only increased inefficiency. Like Girish before him, Omar kept doctors in mind as he refocused to eliminate barriers to EMR adoption in 2010. “We had the opportunity to create and own a new market. That market is healthcare IT security,” he says.

A second product line launched in 2012 under the name Cortext. Operating on a per-user subscription model, it offers secure HIPPA-compliant texting for healthcare. Cortex proved as successful as its predecessor, with 40 hospitals signed up prior to launch. Omar intends to continue his campaign to improve healthcare’s problem areassecure printing and electronic prescription authentication are just a few. Omar says, “My biggest problem is not a shortage of ideas, it is doing it fast enough to keep our client hospitals happy.” In 2012, Imprivata hit $54M in revnenue, 80 percent of which came from the healthcare vertical.

MMIS

A 1M/1M Million Dollar Club member, Michaeline Daboul, spent nearly 25 years working in pharmaceuticals and the life sciences industry. After work with several of the industry’s biggest names, Michaeline noted a glaring deficiency in current industry knowledge of new developments. She transitioned to a friend’s medical education and marketing services firm, informing practicing physicians of new drugs and treatments to enhance patient care.

In 1999, Michaeline took this work a step further in the creation of MMIS, the first continuing medical education (CME) company based entirely online. Business growth and industry interactions over the years eventually shifted Michaeline’s focus to technology. Today MMIS develops and markets software products for secure collaboration and compliance in the healthcare industry.

MMIS is the creator of three competitive central technology platforms to date. NetworkFortress is a collaboration suite allowing colleagues to

access and share sensitive information with one another anywhere in the world. Aggregate spend tracking system MediSpend is primarily used by pharmaceutical and medical device companies. It was first launched as an SaaS platform in January 2011, and has since been integrated with the Physicians Professional Network. This final MMIS release is a free online portal offering a number of collaboration and compliance reporting tools.

Perhaps the strongest affirmation of company value is the continued alignment of industry expectation with MMIS solutions. The recently-approved Sunshine Act, effective February 1 of this year, allows consumers and interested parties access to a comprehensive database of transactions made by medical device companies to physicians. While intended to increase transparency between physicians and pharmaceutical firms, an MMIS survey on the subject reveals that over 50 percent of physician respondents were unaware of the act’s terms.

The survey, released February 4, further showed that a majority of physicians receive various industry benefits in the workplace in the form of food or samples, and approximately half participate in industry-sponsored programs. If covered by any federal healthcare program, these payments and gifts now require reporting. A shocking 43percent of physicians admit that these regulations will affect their ongoing relationship to the industry. MMIS makes compliance smoother, and has crossed the $1 million mark in annual revenue.

Modernizing Medicine

Despite the complications encountered through the Sunshine Act’s new provisions, healthcare tech continues to progress. Florida-based Modernizing Medicine is introducing disruptive technology to change the way information is created and consumed.

Modernizing Medicine’s iPad app is a specialty-specific, touch-based adaptive learning system. The solution is applicable to specialty disciplines, such as dermatology and orthopedics, which are diagnosed primarily through description of a visible area.

President and CEO Daniel Cane aspired to be an entrepreneur from a young age, and went on to co-found two separate companies, the first while attending Cornell University for his undergraduate degree. His interest in healthcare developed in 2009, when he realized that the foundational technology present in other verticals simply did not exist in the domain. In Modernizing Medicine, Daniel has brought the power of cloud and mobile technologies to dramatically improve the diagnostic process. The company makes over $20 million in revenue.

Patient-Help

Healthcare IT entrepreneurs are active in other parts of the world as well. Bangalore-based Adarsh Patil, a 1M/1M member, offers a solution for the Medical Tourism industry. His venture, Patient-Help, provides leads of patients looking for specialized surgery and other kinds of treatment in areas like neurology.

As the medical profession continues to evolve, both patients and physicians find themselves adopting new workflows. Entrepreneurs are facilitating this evolution, and over this decade, will dramatically alter the industry.

I look forward to it!

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