Med-tech firm lands its first software deal [Orlando Sentinel]
(Orlando Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 09--A company led by by two veteran Central Florida high-tech entrepreneurs recently secured its first contract for Internet-based medical software designed to streamline the complicated process of qualifying a patient's care for Medicare or Medicaid coverage.
Automated Clinical Guidelines LLC, with offices in Heathrow and Palm Coast, said it closed a deal last month to provide Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine with "cloud-based" software apps that help doctors apply Medicare guidelines in real time from diagnosis through treatment and discharge.
The company says the system can save hospitals millions of dollars by cutting through red tape and complying with coverage guidelines from the very start. It also improves the quality of patients' care, company officials say, by enabling doctors to use "best practices" during each step of the process.
The initial value of the Flagler deal is modest -- $30,000 in 2013 -- and covers seven orthopedic and cardiac procedures only. The full system has 700 applications, with a potential industry-wide market worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the company says.
ACG's software operates on any desktop computer, smartphone or tablet and links caregivers to a health-care system's back-office work flow, said Frank J. Thomas, ACG's Heathrow-based president.
Instant-accces health care Thomas said the new system gives health-care professionals instant access to a wealth of knowledge for helping patients and keeping up with the paperwork.
"We believe ACG will be just as 'positively disruptive' for patients and quality health care as the iPhone was for cellphone users and wireless services," said Thomas, a former Martin Marietta laser scientist turned high-tech executive and financial adviser.
Thomas and ACG's chief executive, Dr. Douglas K. Dew, founded the company more than five years ago, based on Dew's medical-software concept. After years of research, development and test-site trials, the co-founders began marketing full-scale products earlier this year.
Dew, a Palm Coast orthopedic surgeon and Flagler Hospital's chief of staff, grew up in the Orlando area and graduated from Winter Park High School, the University of Central Florida and the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. For nearly two decades, he was an entrepreneur, inventor and medical-technology business adviser in the Orlando area.
He was recently elected president of the Florida Orthopedic Society and is an entrepreneur-in-residence for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Devices and Radiologic Health.
10-fold returns Between cost savings and added reimbursements, hospitals can generate a 10-fold return on their investment in ACG's software, Thomas said. Flagler Hospital is expected to recover its entire investment in a matter of months.
The system enables Flagler "to generate a structured clinical documentation compliance package with the ability to conduct automated in-house audits" for compliance with Medicare/Medicaid rules, the company said.
"Documentation is key to ascertaining and ensuring accuracy of coverage determinations -- and continues to become increasingly complex," said Jason Barrett, Flagler Hospital's chief operating officer. "ACG's product streamlines documentation compliance and supports our ability to focus on achieving the best possible clinical outcomes for our patients." ACG said it has a number of pilot tests under way and is talking with hospitals and health-care vendors across the U.S. regarding sales of its software.
"We are finding users everyday who tell us how they will apply our products to solve their needs," Thomas said. "That speaks to how broad the appeal has been to our design strategy." [email protected] or 407-420-5256 ___ (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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