Trish’s Comment: Ever since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law to promote the adoption and meaningful use of Health Information Technology (HIT), HIT firms have experienced significant growth.
Particularly, this has been the case for Electronic Health Record (EHR) Companies thanks to the EHR Incentive Programs, which specifies that each physician within a practice can qualify for $44,000 in Medicare Incentives or $63,750 in Medicaid Incentives for adopting a Certified EHR.
This is the main reason behind the explosive growth experienced by innovative small startups in this area, such as DrChrono and Practice Fusion. What is DrChrono and why has it caught my attention?
DrChrono is a freemium SaaS solution for doctors that is built on top of Apple’s iOS platform. It offers an online service and iPad app that doctors can use to schedule patient appointments, write or dictate notes via audio, take pictures, write prescriptions, enable reminders, access lab results or input health records. It is experiencing strong growth going from 5,000 users during the summer of 2011, to 15,000 at the beginning of 2012 to around 23,000 this month. The best way to get a feel for DrChrono is to review the following short video.
- Michael Nusimow, DrChrono’s CEO, says: ‘We’re a non-health care company in health care … A tech company looking for tech solutions.’ And thus, when defining their business and revenue models, they studied and analyzed other tech companies. Although they are a big data company, they, at least so far, have not gone down the same path as PatientsLikeMe where aggregate patient information is used – and sold – to look for trends in drug performance, disease evolution or geographical distribution. This is the revenue model favored by other EHR companies such as Practice Fusion.
In the case of DrChrono, it has chosen a freemium model, with many features offered for free while others, such as speech-to-text, medical billing and insurance checks, are available as in-app purchases. And it seems that its users are behaving much like users of other freemium-based technology companies, such as DropBox or Evernote, regarding the split between free and paid customers.
- Although the company launched its product on the iPad first, it initially had plans to port their software to other platforms, most notably Android. As of late, it has decided to focus 100% on iPad and other Apple products, betting its future in the iPad being the best suited for doctor’s use. This is a bold bet!
- As far as I know, it is the first EHR company to include Square-based mobile payments into its processing flow – directly connected to its billing system. It makes perfect sense since DrChrono is targeting the smaller scale doctors’ practices (up to ten doctors), where traditional POS systems can prove to be an expensive solution.
According to Nusimow, it not only makes sense but it is also something doctors really want to use because it is ‘something sexy … It makes them feel modern’. Well, no harm in that!
- Finally, it keeps adding very innovative features, the latest being real-time medical insurance checks, available through an iPad app for the very first time. It allows doctors to easily find out details of a patients’ current coverage and provides patients with details regarding co-pay, deductibles and procedures covered.
DrChrono is a platform and, as such, the possibilities for new features and solutions to be added are limited only by imagination.
DrChrono has already raised over $4 million from the likes of Yuri Milner, Matt Cutts, Paul Buchheit and Charles River Ventures. It is sure to continue to raise interest as it adds new features and services. I will keep you updated!