A cure for the complexities of healthcare administration

FJD & Associates founder Fred Dunwoody.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Now entering its sixth year, FJD & Associates has made a name leveraging founder Fred Dunwoody’s long experience in the sales divisions of major-league imaging firms like Canon, Minolta and Konica.

Now the company is taking its proprietary Software As A Service, including its tablet-based data-capture and the Digital Writing Capture-to-Process solutions, into the world of healthcare.

It’s a potential quantum forward leap – though the company’s first healthcare-industry deal, a two-year contract with Smithtown-based home-healthcare provider Community Care Companions, is actually only “a moderate step forward,” Dunwoody told Innovate LI.

FJD & Associates still butters its bread primarily as the top U.S. distributor of digital Penvision products, a line of handwriting-to-digital-content tools produced by Sweden’s Anoto Group. And Community Care Companions is hardly the Westbury’s company’s largest customer – that honor remains with NYC-based beverage company Manhattan Beer Distributors, which uses FJD & Associates’ digital-writing protocols at five different locations.

But the Community Care Companions contract, which authorizes Community Care employees to access the cloud-based Digital Writing C2P solution, may be the key that unlocks the full potential of a lucrative new vertical, according to Dunwoody.

“This is a validation that the solution is going to help [healthcare] companies, in term of increasing their business workflow, reducing costs and streamlining documentation,” he said.

Community Care Companies, a circa-1986 provider of skilled nursing companions and home-health aides, will not be making extensive use of FJD Associates’ handwriting-to-data protocols. Instead, according to Vice President Mark Gatien, the Smithtown provider will lean heavily on FJD’s tablet-based auto-fill software to streamline new-employee processing – no mean feat, the VP noted, when you have a 23-page new-employee form with many repetitive fields.

“The home-healthcare business is very paper-driven,” Gatien noted. “There are many documents that have to have certain signatures – permission to do background checks, attestations that they received handbooks, stuff like that – and there’s a lot of repetition of data. Name and address-type stuff.

“This software allows us to enter that data once, at the point of application,” he added. “It’s making our application process more efficient.”

Field personnel, including visiting nurses, have also been running the Digital Writing C2P solution through the patient-information paces in an extended field test. In addition to more accurately and easily recording patient data, these tests have sped up Community Care Companions’ billing processes, according to Gatien.

“It would normally take a week to nine days to get this paperwork from the nurse, so it would basically take two weeks before we could bill for a visit,” he said. “Now we’re billing within 24 hours of a visit.”

Community Care Companions will simply download the tablet-based Digital Writing C2P application – it works on iPads and Android-powered devices – and there’s no limit to the number of employees who can join in, according to the initial two-year agreement, which is based on a monthly subscription-per-device model.

From new-employee orientation to billing, Community Care Companions’ projected use are prime examples of how the digital-writing solution can positively affect the business of being a healthcare provider, Dunwoody said. The plan now is to push hard into that new vertical, with Community Care serving as that “moderate” first step.

In November, shortly after FJD & Associates began providing digital-writing solutions for administrators at Nassau BOCES, Dunwoody noted his startup had “re-engineered our focus” to reflect a new healthcare-market vertical and referenced some big deals in the works – including “an 800-pound-gorilla-type” contract with a major healthcare-sector player.

“We’re looking to really expand within the healthcare system,” he said. “This technology has definite advantages for the home-healthcare market, in terms of streamlining their operations.

“And it does the same for physical locations,” Dunwoody added. “Hospitals, urgent-care units, all of them can take advantage of this technology to streamline the collection and processing of patient information.”