By Phil Yacuboski
Tech developers in northeastern Pennsylvania are on the forefront of many healthcare related tech trends, which they argue are lowering cost and boosting efficiency.
Scranton-based Signallamp Health is an IT enabled care management company that began in 2015 thanks in part to an economic development program from the state.
“We bring top-line revenue to doctor’s offices and they don’t have to do anything,” said Drew Kearney, Signallamp Health’s CEO and co-founder. “They don’t have to change their workflow or make investments upfront in technology.”
Kearney said Signallamp Health, which has offices in Bank Towers Building in Scranton, partners with physician’s offices by hiring nurses for them who work remotely from the practice. The company then bills insurance companies. Kearney calls it the ‘closely embedded nurse model.’
“If it’s bigger practice, there may be five or six nurses,” he said. “If it’s a smaller one, there may be one, but the nurse’s work with the practice exclusively. They become part of their workflow day to day,” adding that Signallamp Health’s technology allows them to access data at a physical distance.
Kearney said it’s most difficult to connect with a patient outside of the office. He said one of the key features of the software’s algorithms track existing connections with a patient so they know the best time to reach them.
“It also develops care plans for people who have specific diseases and health concerns,” said Kearney. The software allows for planning a course of action around existing health problems through socio-economic data, education, background and living conditions. “That makes it very simple and very specific to them.”
Signallamp operates in six states, including Pennsylvania, servicing more than 300 practices. They have 19 employees; 13 of which are nurses.
Connecting low-income Americans with the care they need can often be a challenge, but an East Stroudsburg tech firm is steering people in the right direction.
“Our technology allows anybody within a given target community to screen navigate and plan care for any individual,” said Ed Connors, CEO of Heudia Health of East Stroudsburg.
He cited their work with the Carolina Healthcare System.
“Anyone could help, let’s say, a pregnant woman to a clinic or an internal case management program. Our software would also help with housing and if there are substance abuse problems,” he said.
Connors said the technology helps community based organizations.
“Think about it as a virtual social worker,” he said. “Those organizations can come onto our platform, find what their needs are and find news and resources in that community.” Connors said that includes primary care physicians as well as disease specific care such as asthma and diabetes. “It aligns health care with the social determinates of health,” he said.
Connors said income inequality and lack of access to healthcare are the primary reasons for poor health. He also believes that below the surface of those problems for people is understanding insurance, transportation to a physician and cultural health beliefs. He believes his software platform achieves people reaching those goals.
“By establishing intermediaries within a community who are in a position of trust with these people, they can then help those people to live a healthier life,” he said.
Howell Benefit Technologies LLC
When Roger Howell first read the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he believed smaller companies with fewer than 100 employees would need help using more healthcare technology. He also felt that caregivers were struggling with distribution.
“I felt that this was a niche market,” said Howell, who has offices on Baltimore Drive in Wilkes-Barre. “We created a digital way to collect and assemble insurance data to prospective customers. Our software has created a paradigm shift in the group insurance industry by converting a 3 to 5 week process into an hour or even less.”
He said the proprietary software RateCentric, which is currently being used by two of the top ten group insurance carriers in the country, puts all of the information into a web-based application and creates a hub of that information by distributing it electronically through the carriers a buyer selects. Employers and producers can instantly get rates, get plans and provider networks, make changes and even sort out group information all in one web platform.
“We also submit the census data to the actuarial firms and they then get it back to us within a few minutes,” Howell said.
Howell said the company is doing business in all 50 states.
“The only thing the carriers are doing is issuing the policies and paying claims. We are doing everything in between. It’s really a paradigm shift in the way I’ve done business my whole career,” he said.
Howell said his company is bracing for whatever changes happen with the ACA in Congress.
“We spend a lot of time keeping people in step to make sure they are in compliance with all of the regulations,” he said.