Despite turmoil, software startup banking on ACA

Go team: The future of healthcare is in improved patient-provider collaboration, according to EcoSoft Health, which has the software to help make it happen.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Wholesale changes to the Affordable Care Act may loom, but a Long Island software startup has gone all-in on a potentially enormous healthcare vertical that hinges on Obamacare’s basic principles.

Not only that, but EcoSoft Health PRM – an artificially intelligent partner relationship-management platform exclusively for healthcare providers, published by Wantagh-based EcoSoft Health and Florida-based DSHI Systems – doubles down on the three main tenets of the national healthcare law.

Besides providing affordable health insurance for the uninsured, the ACA is dedicated to greater patient satisfaction, improved provider-patient engagement and better outcomes – and EcoSoft Health PRM shares those same ambitions.

Jay Fruin: Efficiency expert.

Officially formed in 2016, EcoSoft Health is a subsidiary of Gorilla Toolz Inc., which launched in 2008 and in 2015 began transforming its partner relationship-management platform – a system of methodologies and software providing logistics solutions for vendors with multiple partners – into a PRM platform specific to healthcare providers.

Gorilla Toolz still services IT and manufacturing clients directly, according to founder and CEO Jay Fruin, but the EcoSoft Health subsidiary was formed to maximize the platform’s healthcare-efficiency protocols.

The idea, Fruin said, is that U.S. healthcare demand – already a $3.6 trillion industry – will “probably double in the next 20 years,” and since doubling the amount of current healthcare providers isn’t possible, improving provider efficiency is the best bet.

“If the needs are going to double, you need systems working behind the scenes to augment everything the healthcare professionals are doing,” Fruin noted.

DSHI Services, a healthcare provider-managed tech firm, added a slew of physician-written and peer-reviewed clinical content to the mix – precisely the data EcoSoft Health PRM’s artificial intelligence needs to improve hospital discharge services, chronic-care management and a host of preventative protocols.

Stephen Schueler: In the workflow.

DSHI Services President Stephen Schueler said the platform meets the key requirements of chronic-disease management and successful post-hospitalization transitions, starting with improved patient-provider engagement.

“The traditional problem facing chronic-care management has been discovering a way to engage providers without compromising their workflow,” Schueler noted. “Working with EcoSoft Health, we have created a solution that provides actionable data in the form of a status report that can be quickly reviewed by the provider.

“The real breakthrough was combining the power of a CRM application with physician-authored medical intelligence,” he added. “This allows our customers to escape the pain of generating their own content to evaluate and manage poly-chronic patients.”

To supplement that professionally created medical intelligence, EcoSoft Health PRM focuses heavily on patient assessments, which can provide a range of critical services, from quickly determining the need for immediate care to slowly developing a long-term wellness plan.

Specifically, EcoSoft PRM is designed to guide a medical assistant or even a patient to perform a comprehensive analysis, scoring such categories as readmission risk and patient adherence. The platform can also send intervention notifications to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, record a patient’s medical history (using proper medical terminology) and store patient data in a structured format, in addition to providing real-time dashboards to visualize current status and developing trends.

The patient assessments can be performed in a clinical setting or in the field, through e-mail-based Q&As between patients and providers and real-time videoconferencing using tablets and other mobile devices.

EcoSoft PRM can also provide real-time dashboards visualizing the health of entire populations, providing an unprecedented predictive-analytics tool and a unique method for engaging patients remotely.

“It does all of the things you can imagine in a PRM platform,” Fruin said. “A workflow engine, the ability to manage patient relationships and, in addition to that, the ability to offer real-time assessments and surveys.”

The AI, in this case, is a form of “rule-based intelligence,” according to Fruin, who said the more cases are entered into the platform, the smarter it gets with its subsequent diagnoses and ability to spot predictive red flags. DSHI Systems programmers gave the system a running start by logging “50 million patient encounters,” Fruin noted, largely through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Florida firm’s largest customer.

“They’ve been able to augment ever-evolving physician-developed assessments,” he said. “The AI gets better and better as time goes on.”

It’s all flowing toward the “pay for value” mindset championed by Obamacare, as opposed to “pay for service,” and whatever else happens to the Affordable Care Act under the Trump administration, that new way of looking at healthcare is not likely to change, according to Fruin.

“Just about everyone believes that’s staying in place in some way, shape or form,” he told Innovate LI.

The collaboration with DSHI Systems is just the beginning of EcoSoft Health’s AI odyssey, according to the Gorilla Toolz founder, who referenced emerging partnerships with other companies “way further out in the AI spectrum.” EcoSoft Health tech is also getting a workout as the backbone of the nation’s first “111 system,” a sort of 911 for non-acute healthcare situations, currently undergoing a closed test run in a California community.

That’s where healthcare is going, according to Fruin, whether the Affordable Care Act survives or not – the ever-evolving blurring of provider and patient lines, with improved real-time analytics front and center.

And that’s where EcoSoft Health wants to get first.

“Healthcare is so broken right now,” Fruin said. “We’re leaders in patient-relationship management. We’re laying the foundation that will ultimately enable healthcare professionals to deal with the huge growth in healthcare need over the next two decades.”


1 Comment on "Despite turmoil, software startup banking on ACA"

  1. Patient Jones | January 31, 2017 at 11:06 PM |

    Machines have little role in diagnostic care. This will continue to fail.

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