HIStalk Mobile Interviews Paul Adkison

Paul Adkison is the Founder and CEO of IQMax.

Paul Adkison

First off, Paul, thanks for being an interview subject. You are the first one for HIStalk Mobile, so I appreciate that.

Happy to do it, and happy to be here.

Great. So, first question I have for you, can you tell us a little bit about the different partnerships that you have going on right now and what they mean for IQMax.

First of all, to give everyone an idea of how IQMax does business, and our business model – we are a middleware provider of mobile technology. We have several other offshoot technologies. We have decided that instead of building up a huge sales force, which causes products to increase in price, we have chosen to partner with other providers of technology and services that integrate well with our solutions.

We are focused on distributors and VARs to carry our products – that have a complimentary service or product to integrate with. Integration to our distributors and VARs needs to deliver a better value proposition to the customer than just our respective stand alone products. In doing that, we have actually gone out into the industry and looked at different partners that have a complimentary service or product offering that with the addition of our technology will create a better value proposition.

For example, we are happy to announce that we just recently executed a distribution agreement with Fast Chart, which is a division of Applied Medical Services. Fast Chart offers multiple services of which transcription is one of their core offerings. Our mobile dictation application on a Blackberry or iPhone integrates well with their transcription service and adds a much stronger value to both the companies and most importantly the customer.

In some cases, we will partner with a company such as Fast Chart to sell the IQMax product directly to end-customers. In other cases, we will actually OEM our product. We are very happy to announce today that we have executed an agreement with 3M. They will be OEM’ing our mobile suite of products to offer to their customer base, which is a huge opportunity for a company like IQMax and a huge win for mobility.

When working with one of these partners who are focused on specific functionality, how much opportunity, how much access do you have to the end-customer to promote or up-sell your full-suite of mobility offerings?

One of the advantages that we have is multiple applications within our suite, and if you look at our distribution partners, they tend to be very focused on some segment of healthcare. For example, in our recent deal with Fast Chart –their core product offering is transcription. As such, we are very focused on delivering our mobile dictation application to their customer base. And, so, the question is, how can we leverage that relationship that is very focused on one application and one segment in the healthcare spectrum, to now up-sell and fill out the full suite of applications. That is a unique and good challenge for IQMax.

The answer first comes with understanding our technology. When we install any single application, we have installed the majority of our platform technology. We are only missing additional applications. Simply, we walk in hand-in-hand with our distribution partner and actually assist them in making the presentation. In this case, let’s say we are going to add on charge capture. Having worked with our partner to understand the customer’s needs, we will present the value of the offering. If the customer is interested – because they have already installed the core technology – adding additional functionality is literally as easy as flipping a switch on our server. The next time the physician logs in, she will have the charge capture application on her device. We anticipate the customer will want additional applications and thus make it very simple for them to scale to any application. We also see a natural progression with most of our applications. So, as you can see, it’s relatively easy to scale. It just takes time.

It ends up being a very simple model. It gives us great access to customers. If a customer has dictation needs, we can simply drop our dictation application without having to go through all of the necessary steps of satisfying the system’s larger mobile strategy. By the way, a lot of facilities have not yet developed a clear mobile vision. When we walk in, we have already developed a relationship. We are a known entity. The providers are already using our applications. It’s relatively easy now to lead clients into our full suite of applications and to aide them in defining their mobile strategy.

In order to provide the type of solutions that you provide, you have clearly developed a core competency in systems integration. As such, you now have a very good opportunity to participate in health information exchange (HIE) discussions. You recently announced as much. Who is buying HIE and how do you differentiate yourself?

It’s a great opportunity for us to leverage our skills set. We have been a middleware provider of technology that mobilizes both acute care systems and ambulatory care systems since 1999. We have a tremendous competency interfacing to diverse back-end systems across the full healthcare continuum, including transcription systems, lab systems, large HIS systems, and various ambulatory systems. We really have built up a tremendous amount of interface and technology expertise focused entirely on integration of backend systems.

In delivering our mobile solutions over the last 10 years, we have developed a robust clinical data repository and interfacing technologies which I mentioned earlier. If you think about this, we can take information from disparate clinical information systems – let’s say an HIS interface feed from McKesson and an ambulatory feed from Allscripts, and we have combined that into our own clinical data repository that we mobilize using our platform. This disparate data is now presented in a provider view on their mobile device of choice that is patient centric to their individual workflow. We have taken data from the hospital system McKesson and the clinic system AllScripts and allow any provider access to their patients and their workflow on their iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile device. So very simply put, we are acting as a health information exchange by de facto and have been doing this for over 10 years

Our HIE product offering has a strategic advantage in the fact we are patient-centric. This gives us the ability to get patient data down to the point of care and have that data aide providers in the efficient delivery that will execute real meaningful use. Everybody’s talking about how to get disparate information into a common database to be shared. I think the real problem is not getting information or sharing the information. The real problem is getting information to the appropriate provider or providers at the time he or she is seeing the patient to effectively treat the patient. It’s a simple business principal – the more information you know the more informed a decision you will make. No difference in that of a physician. If the HIE can deliver as much relevant information to the physician at the point of care and, here is the critical piece, within the physicans workflow, so he doesn’t have to go find it, the better the decision will be and the better the outcome will be. That’s what I mean by real meaningful use and that is exactly what the IQMax solution does.

What we have done through our mobile technology and understanding of each providers workflow – we can actually take each providers specific patient information across multiple disparate systems and we can relate that right down to the individual physician who, by the way, has a schedule or census list on his mobile device or any internet enabled device with not only information about this particular patient at that particular institution, but now has all the HIE information about that patient from all of their visits in that environment. It’s easier for the physician and seamlessly delivered into their current workflow. Why should any provider have to enter into another system and look up a patient by typing in multiple lines of patient information? It just wastes time and effort and providers won’t do it and at that point meaningful use becomes just another buzz word that doesn’t work.

It’s a very simple and straight forward solution to what I call “the last mile” of HIE, which is to get the proper information to the proper provider at the proper time so that he can have the best information to provide the best care. At the end of the day, that is what the health information exchange has to be. This is what meaningful use is at its essence.

Now the business model – we believe that physicians want the type of information we can provide, and they want it everywhere including on their mobile device. We also believe that they will want all types of applications, such as charge capture and dictation, on their mobile devices as well. There are multiple applications that will support a fee-based model where physicians will pay a small monthly fee to get features and functions that they would not normally get. We believe this is a far better model than other HIE solutions which require physicians to jump through multiple hoops to get that HIE information.

You cannot require a physician to stop what they are doing, interrupt their current workflow to go log into a separate terminal, type in a patient’s name, a medical record number, or a social security number, date of birth, last known address to get health information exchange. It’s just not going to work like that.

IQMax is providing an easy, straight-forward workflow solution that delivers that HIE information within the physician’s schedule or census. He will use it. Then we provide ancillary applications, so that he can capture a dictation, capture a quick charge and then move about his business. It’s a simple solution that bridges the last mile, and it address some of the key challenges of HIE, including financial sustainability and being able to deliver on meaningful use.

This sounds like a great model, particularly for getting physician participation. Ultimately you’re going to need the buy-in of the various large institutions, such as medical centers, within a regional setting who essentially act as gatekeepers for the HIE. How do you get their support?

First of all, we are relying on our customer base. We currently have 150+ installs in 33 states. In the coming months, I think you’ll see additional VARs and distributors coming on board. Some of them will be more specifically focused on the HIE space, including integration consultants. I think the relationship with 3M could provide additional opportunities to extend our position into HIE. In addition to our partnerships which create both opportunities and credibility within the HIS market, I think more and more institutions and HIE organizations will understand our message – that patient-centric, mobile information will drive physician adoption and ultimately meaningful use.

Finally, given the economy and then the uncertainty created by ARRA/HITECH, things have been pretty slow-going for most over the past 18 months or so. How is deal-flow looking today? Are things picking up?

Yes. We are seeing a definite pick-up in activity, which we expect to result in several closed deals in the coming months.

Any big deals to announce?

Probably within the next two to four weeks. We are looking forward to announcing them. We have recently successfully completed the pilot phase with two prominent healthcare organizations and we expect to add several hundred new physicians at these respective facilities over the next several weeks.

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