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CakeHealth – Mint for Healthcare Expenses

Posted on September 27, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

For those of you that don’t keep your eye on the Silicon Valley tech scene, you might have missed the launch of a company called Cake Health at TechCrunch Disrupt. From what I can tell, they were one of the most exciting companies coming out of the popular TechCrunch Disrupt event. Here’s a short description of what Cake Health offers:

…with Cake Health, you’ll never lose track of your healthcare expenses again. Our analytics monitor your out-of-pocket cost, and what services you should be getting now. With our recommendations, your health benefits are optimized based on you actual needs and usage, so your costs are reduced.

I think the best (and most popular) phrase I’ve seen to describe Cake Health is that it’s like Mint.com for healthcare. If you’ve never used Mint.com you should check it out (although, I’ve been considering switching to Wave since Mint was bought by Intuit). They figured out a simple way to get all your financial transactions into Mint and then provided some interesting aggregate information along with ways for you to save (that’s the Mint business model).

Obviously, Cake Health is still new, but you can see a lot of these same elements in their product offering. They have easy ways for you to import your claims data. Now we’ll see how well they can help you on figuring out ways to save on your healthcare expenses. That will be their biggest challenge. The easy part for them will be monetizing their users if they get enough of them.

Although, you can see the power of what they’ve created. In 48 hours after they launched, they had over $8M in claims imported. That’s a lot of interesting healthcare data. I’ll be interested to see in what ways they can leverage that data to improve healthcare.

Best Description of the CareCloud EHR Platform

Posted on August 31, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In a post on EMR and EHR about Social Media and EMRs, Andre Vovan, MD MBA from Mitochon Systems offered an interesting insight into the comparison between EMR and social media.

Social media and EMR are a natural fit. Think about what social media really enables. The ablity to stay connected, following different strings of info/story weaved by connected people. Say for instance you and your friends went to the Grand Canyon, one person took pictures while the other did the cooking, planning, and was responsible for entertainment during the trip. When they try to retell the story to their friends, each will be able to add different aspect of the story and with social network platforms such as facebook, this is possible.

Now take the story above, and insert 2 doctors and change the trip taken to be a patient going from a diagnosis to a surgery and afterwards trying to tell other physician providers on went on. If we design the EHR with this capability, then medicine will be improved.
A social media version of electronic medical records would have EMHR, HIE and PHR as one product not as separate.

I know that this was actually Andre’s initial vision for Mitochon Systems EHR. He wanted to create an EHR that could bring a healthcare community together in this way. I’m sure he’ll keep grinding away until he can achieve that vision. I haven’t looked at the Mitochon Systems EHR recently, so I can’t say how close they are to achieving that dream, but when I read Andre’s description I couldn’t help but remember the demo of the CareCloud EHR platform.

Many of you might remember my previous (some might call scathing) post about the CareCloud EHR and an opposing view by David about the CareCloud EHR. That post and a recent trip to San Francisco made it possible for me to see the CareCloud EHR first hand.

I had a great time meeting with Albert Santalo and Mike Cuesta from CareCloud. That was good considering my previous devil’s advocate post about CareCloud. One thing is absolutely certain, Albert has a vision of what he wants CareCloud to be and he’s dead set on achieving that vision. I like that in a CEO and founder of a company.

When it comes to their EHR, I must admit that it kind of reminded me of a lot of other EHR out there. There were a few EMR subtleties that I noticed in the demo, but I can’t say I saw any real wow features that made it a must have EHR. Maybe a full demo and experience with the EHR would create a rainbow of EMR subtleties that would change my mind, but it was a relatively short demo.

Instead, the wow factor wasn’t in the EHR software, but was instead in the CareCloud platform that powers the EHR, PMS and CareCloud Community of users. The description above about an almost “social network of doctors” and the health stream of a patient seems like an apt description of what CareCloud has created. In fact, the social elements of the platform are integrated throughout all of the CareCloud software which makes for some really interesting possibilities.

The challenge that CareCloud has is that a social network or Care Platform if you prefer is only as good as the people and organizations that use that platform. If two doctors are seeing a patient, then both doctors need to be on the same platform to really see a lot of the benefits of a patient’s health stream.

I imagine this is part of the reason why CareCloud has to provide a solid PMS and EHR solution on top of the CareCloud platform. Doing so will seed the platform with users so that with each PMS/EHR sold the platform becomes that much more valuable.

It’s hard to predict the future. Maybe CareCloud won’t get outside of its Miami base and maybe they won’t reach their vision of a CareCloud platform (Maybe Andre and Mitochon Systems or some other HIT vendor will do it instead). However, I’m willing to predict that whether CareCloud wins the healthcare platform war or not, some company will create a healthcare platform like what CareCloud has started to create that will be too valuable not to participate.

Full Disclosure: Mitochon Systems is an advertiser on this site, but they didn’t know I was going to post Andre’s comment.

New EHR Company Ready to Launch – Carecloud

Posted on July 26, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Aaron Blackledge M.D., founder of Care Practice clinic in San Francisco, sent me a link to a post he did back in April about a new EMR company called Carecloud. The irony of this is that Carecloud had just reached out to me for information about advertising their EMR on my sites since they are getting ready to launch their product. Their impending launch was why Aaron decided to share his post with me.

I think Dr. Blackledge’s post about Carecloud is summarized in his final paragraph:

My recommendation is if you are about to give up and lay down some hard earned cash on an EMR that is just good enough I would urge you to wait a few more months and compare CareCloud’s first iteration with other emerging platforms now gaining a foothold in the marketplace.

Since Carecloud is about to launch, you won’t have to wait a few months to check it out, but if you read the rest of the post, you see that Dr. Blackledge is high on Carecloud and its potential.

The hard thing for me is that I’ve seen this same EMR high from people over and over. You know the EMR employee (particularly the EMR sales people) “high.” (Although, Dr. Blackledge is not a Carecloud sales person and calls himself a “wayward disgruntled platform evangelist waiting for the future to arrive.”) The one where you can tell that the EMR employee has drunk the Kool-aid they’ve been fed by the company. They’ve likely not looked at many other competing systems and only know the stuff they’ve read in their email from the company highlighting how they’re better than everyone else in the industry.

This “high” is especially potent before a product is actually released. Why? Because it’s easy to get excited about an ideal and see the potential of the ideal. What’s much harder is when the customers start using your product and telling you what’s wrong and trust me that customers will find something wrong. No product is ever perfect.

This pre-product launch “high” is not unique to the EMR industry. It’s found throughout the tech industry (and likely many others). Funny thing is that Dr. Blackledge probably knows this pre-launch hype better than most doctors since he practices medicine in in the internet startup mecca: silicon valley. Ironically he traveled to an EMR company in Miami to find his EMR “high.”

Funny thing is that as I read Dr. Blackledge’s post on Carecloud, a number of comments he made popped out to me as potential red flags. Here are a few:

“First off, they have a really impressive group of people with ambitious plans for building something robust and elegant.”
How many big ambitious plans by companies have fallen apart? Many! I’m not saying that companies shouldn’t think big. I am saying that a group of impressive people with ambitious plans often leads to a momentous flop. At least the startup company numbers seem to spell this out.

“What I like most about CareCloud is that when asked about a timeline for release they will only say that they won’t release it until they get it right. They simply don’t know when it will be ready.”
Some might say that this sounds like a company that’s too afraid to release a product. That the company won’t ever find out what’s right until they launch the product and get customer feedback on what needs to be improved. I guess they don’t follow the release early and often approach to software development.

“Another thing I like is they are worried about not just becoming a very successful billing company, but they want to achieve much more by building something that really resonates with users and transforms the space.”
I applaud this ambition since I’ve been preaching that current EMR software are often just expensive billing machines for a long time. If they solve that problem I’ll be quite happy. Let’s just hope they didn’t forget the billing part though. Sadly, it’s still very important.

“I would guess CareCloud’s calm steady course is because they just don’t feel that anyone else is on the same path they are on so why hurry when you have time to get your vision done right.”
This is possible. Although, it’s also possible that they spent so much time waiting to release that it’s too late for them to capture the EHR market.

“If you hear an EMR company offer you 20 hours of free training with your purchase you can stop right there because any software that needs 20 hours of free onsite training forgot about the user long ago during the building and won’t be doing much in 5 years.”
Of course, in this comment it’s assumed that Carecloud’s focus on a great UI will limit the number of hours needed for EMR training. I love the irony of this being said right after he describes it as a “very complex and difficult to develop product.” I guess you could say it’s making a complex process simple is what’s so difficult. No doubt I agree that many EHR vendors over charge for their EHR training services. Problem with Carecloud is that we don’t know if they’ll charge, how much they’ll charge, and how many hours of training is needed since they haven’t launched.

“Even the office space at CareCloud is beautiful and reflects this attention to aesthetic and experience of the individual, in this case the employee experience.”
That’s one way to look at it. Another is that they overspent on office space and you’re going to pay for that overspending when you buy the software.

Ok, I won’t go through and nit pick the whole post. I think you get the basic idea. Dr. Blackledge describes Carecloud as the best thing since sliced bread. In this post, I’ve played devil’s advocate and described how maybe it’s an over funded, slow to release software company that’s trying to bite off more than it can chew. The reality is that Carecloud is probably somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

The fact of the matter is that I really don’t have any clue if Carecloud is a good EMR system or not. They haven’t even launched their product, so I’m not sure that anyone knows. However, after creating this post, I have to admit that I’m excited to see it in action in a real doctor’s office. Plus, I think the founder, Albert Santalo, and Dr. Blackledge are going to be at a healthcare IT conference I’m hoping to go to in SF in a couple weeks. I’m looking forward to learning more and talking with them in person.

If nothing else, I love the audacity that it takes for someone to launch an EHR company now. I’ll be interested to see if their product is compelling enough to be “heard above all the EMR noise.”