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Headliner: athenahealth, Inc., Watertown, Mass.

April 13, 2007
by root
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athenahealth has been in the business of helping doctors handle their business processes since 1997. The 440-employee company provides revenue cycle management services on what it terms a business services provider basis, making its applications available to doctors through the Internet.

Under this model — that of a Web-native practice management information system — users need no software, and thus, automatically receive the benefits of any changes to the core application (athenanet) anytime they access it from the one core location of servers where it resides. The Web-native model is what sets the company apart from others, according to Jonathan Bush, president, CEO and co-founder.

"When we find out about a new rule about a payer behavior every single client in the country gets the insight that night," he says.

One of the company's core missions is to decipher those often unwritten rules governing the acceptance of claims.

"We have as many analysts as we have programmers doing nothing but sifting through claims denials looking for themes that might have behind them the payer business rules that are undocumented or unknown that are affecting payment patterns," Bush says.

athenahealth is a company in good health, he claims, citing $29 million in new, recurring business being written in the past year. To continue that success, Bush says one of his main goals for the remainder of 2006 is to continue promoting awareness of the company to "the largest but least attended segment of the physician sector — the one or two doc practice."

To attract those small physician groups, athenahealth will hit the phones — executing sales, contracting, and training all over the telephone. "That will bring down the cost of getting online for small practices by over 50 percent," Bush says.

athenahealth is a private, venture-capital backed company, but that may not be the case forever. Bush says his vision is to take the company public someday. As to timing, he was unclear, adding, "no wine before its time."