The document transfer and management process in the healthcare industry is archaic and full of holes.
John discusses innovation and opportunities.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the beginning and have you introduce yourself as well as Concord.
John Harrison: I’m the Chief Commercial Officer for Concord Technologies. I grew up in South Africa and started my career there by founding a technology business focused on document-centric communication back in the early 90’s. I’ve spent many years in Europe and now I’m here in the US.
I’ve worked for some large document-centric technology companies, significantly, OpenText for many years. I joined Concord Technologies about seven years ago. Here, I am responsible for the sales and marketing organization, as well as product strategy and direction.
Sramana Mitra: What is Concord’s business?
John Harrison: We’ve been around for over 20 years already. The business started as an internet fax company delivering what we now consider SaaS for fax-based communication. It has evolved a long way over the years.
Today, we are a significantly dominant provider for fax-based communication in the healthcare industry, and carry a fairly significant volume of unstructured content. We’ve also evolved the business to provide document-centric workflow automation solutions for healthcare, basically taking the pain out of working with documents in a healthcare setting.
More recently, we began to leverage some AI technologies to take some of the heartache out of interpreting the data that is contained, and somewhat locked up, inside documents. We use automated services to surface the valid content out of document repositories or documents that are flowing through our platform.
Sramana Mitra: Can you back up for one second and give me a sense of what is the role of fax in healthcare IT today?
John Harrison: What a great question and one that I get asked many times. There’s a lot more fax in healthcare today than many people realize. The primary reason for it is a fundamental lack of interoperability between providers and platforms that those providers are utilizing.
Far too few of these various systems exist in healthcare that are able to digitally communicate with each other and exchange structured data. As a result of that, fax becomes a lowest-common-denominator mechanism for exchanging patient information or payment information between various providers.
In many cases, the participants in that process don’t even particularly realize that they’re sending a fax. There’s not much use of people printing paper out, but there’s a lot of communication that’s taking place between different software applications that, in the background, is using faxes.
What somebody is receiving on the other side is a PDF or an image of a document. There are many billions of documents exchanged by fax in healthcare today. One recent study that we ran estimated that volume at about 64 billion documents in the US alone every year.