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With a 150 percent increase in revenue over last year, eHealth Global Technologies Inc. plans to increase its employment from 70 to 80 in 2011 and double that by the end of next year.
The electronic medical record retrieval company has tripled its employment since 2009, and revenue has increased 300 percent, said Ken Rosenfeld, president and chief technology officer. To keep up with that pace, the company continues to expand its headquarters at Allens Creek Office Park.
In 2007, when the firm had a handful of employees, eHealth occupied 1,500 square feet. It expanded from 3,600 square feet in 2009 and to 11,000 square feet this year.
"We're going to continue to have to add additional space this year," Rosenfeld said. "At a minimum this year we're going to need 3,600, but we want to get more because we have so much more growth and we don't want to have to keep adding one chunk at a time."
The company is hitting its stride as the U.S. government puts more emphasis on electronic medical records and health care providers look for savings and better efficiency.
Without a technology system such as eHealth's, hospitals often rely on patients to bring their lab tests, imaging scans and other results with them to appointments. Otherwise, administrators file requests with other medical organizations to transfer the relevant documents before a patient's appointment.
The problem, Rosenfeld said, is that administrators are busy. If they do not follow up on each request they file, patients can arrive for appointments without results available. That can delay diagnoses, interrupt the flow of appointments and cause duplication of tests already performed.
"It just adds stress to an already stressful time for patients," Rosenfeld said.
More than $10 billion a year is spent on duplicative imaging procedures in the United States, he said.
For a health care practitioner, eHealth's record retrieval services and diagnostic exchange services can reduce standard costs by 20 percent to 30 percent, Rosenfeld said. They also enable patients to get more complete care faster.
A convergence of factors has fed the surge in business at the firm, said Rosenfeld and CEO Michael Margiotta.
"We are seeing in Philadelphia or in New York City, for example, once one of the major institutions starts using us and marketing that they're able to provide these efficiencies for patients, we do see their competitors open their doors for presentations. But part of the expansion is in our sales team. We doubled the size of our inside and outside sales team just this year and plan to double again next year," Margiotta said.
The company has no competition in its field, he said, outside of hospitals and other health care providers that try to provide the service themselves. But as the amount of data and the need for more efficiency and security increase, so does the interest in eHealth.
"As we're starting to gain momentum in having these marquee customers-almost 50 percent of the top 100 hospitals are our customers-different departments find there is a better way, and that validates our services," he added.
And there is wider adoption among the clients eHealth already serves in addition to the expanded services eHealth now provides.
"We've evolved from providing just record retrieval to now imaging pathology," he said. That extension will lead to other service extensions.
"As we evolve our service, our offering and use of technology and IT development, it opens up additional markets and opportunities for us. Now our market is the top 500 hospitals in the country. By the end of next year, we expect to have an offering that is applicable to every single hospital in the country," Margiotta said.
But outside factors too are influencing the adoption of eHealth's technology.
"Certainly, the emphasis on government initiatives played a role: stimulus funding that put a few billion dollars into health care IT and the focus on electronic medical records, as well as HIPAA and privacy standards," Rosenfeld said.
The firm's technology collects images and pathology reports from multiple locations, and it deals with the security regulations dictated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which encouraged the use of electronic data interchange in health care.
The need for eHealth is growing, Rosenfeld said.
The firm retrieves records from more than 14,000 locations every month in its record retrieval business. The company currently has 75 customers, which is expected to grow to 90 by year's end.
"Both of our primary business lines are growing significantly," he said.
The eHealth Access Record retrieval service is what the company started with in 2004. Its eHealth Connect Diagnostic Image Exchange business is seeing explosive growth too, he said.
When patients transfer from one place to another, their information needs to follow them, Rosenfeld said. That is the basis on which eHealth's technology was developed.
"We certainly haven't exhausted the opportunities to fix many problems that exist with these transitions of care and making sure (transitions) happen smoothly and the right information gets to where the patient is going to get the best care," Margiotta said. "Our focus is to make sure that we continue to focus because there are so many areas for improvement out there."
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