As invaluable a resource as the Healthcare Informatics 100 compendium is, the “100” list encompasses only a small percentage of the total number of healthcare IT vendor companies active in the U.S. A much broader universe of smaller, dynamic vendor firms is always making inroads, and among that group are dozens of interesting companies worth knowing about. Over the next few days, we’re going to feature eight vendor organizations that we at HCI believe you should keep on your radar screen.
Like many entrepreneurial efforts in healthcare, the inspiration for Care Team Connect grew out of a personal experience. CEO Benjamin Albert had worked at PatientKeeper Inc., a company that was doing some impressive work in acute-care settings. “Then my grandfather had a stroke, and I watched as the post-acute-care world failed around him,” Albert says. He saw firsthand the challenges that clinicians, home care workers, and family members face in providing in-home care for a stroke victim.
In response, Albert and Jim Wills launched Evanston, Ill.-based Care Team Connect (CTC) in 2008, to focus on incorporating information from the home into care plans. The company’s solution has gradually evolved with the market to allow hospitals and community providers from multiple organizations as well as family members to collaborate on a shared plan of care for each patient. Through a Web-based platform, CTC unites all of those involved in the continuum of care and seeks to break down data silos between them. Care managers get workflow tools to turn data and protocols into coordinated care.
One of the first breakthrough deals for CTC was a 2010 partnership with Integrated Health Partners, a care management collaborative in Battle Creek, Mich. “That relationship helped pushed us to where the market is going,” Albert says. “We are also proud to be working with the Mission Point ACO in Nashville on several innovations around population management.”
Indeed, CTC’s platform is proving particularly valuable for startup ACOs. For example, Michigan Pioneer ACO uses CTC so that case managers can track home care and sub-acute care to create a community-based electronic record. “It helps us do that medication reconciliation at the point of care,” said Joan Valentine, R.N., corporate director of transitions in care at the Michigan Pioneer ACO, in a recent interview with HCI. “It gives case managers a wonderful mechanism to track episodic treatment. It also helps us track re-hospitalizations and get automated alerts when patients return to the hospital,” she said.
The privately held CTC has grown to 35 employees and has seen revenue growth of 430 percent in the last year.
Although Albert doesn’t see a lot of direct competitors with care management platforms, he calls the market “noisy.”
“As customers look to scale population health initiatives, we see HIEs and analytics firms pivoting to reinvent themselves in this space,” he adds. “The difference is that we are purpose-built for it.”
Besides differentiating the company in the market, Albert sees hiring a talented team and scaling up services to meet growth as among his key challenges. One step was hiring Greg Kuhnen as chief technology officer. Kuhnen joined CTC from Optum, where he was director of product architecture for its HIE business.
“You have to make sure you have the right resources and are adding talented people as you grow,” Albert says. “We’ve all seen companies stumble at this point. You have to make that pivot well as you grow. It takes a lot of care and feeding to maintain your service levels.”
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