OneMedRadio: Alliance Health Fund Revolutionizing Communication

cellphoneA healthcare technology start-up is helping hospitals ensure that clinicians are present at the right time, in the right location, in a more efficient, cost-effective way. IntelliBlast, developed by healthcare technology start-up Targeted Instant Communications (TIC), is the first patented, bi-directional communications software that simplifies staff communications and the shift fulfillment process.

The IntelliBlast system, the first-of-its-kind healthcare staffing allocation software, allows hospitals to substantially reduce costs while ensuring better utilization of clinical professionals. Clinician’s benefit by being able to decide where, when and how often they want to work.

Already in use by some U.S. hospitals, TIC is working toward expanded market adoption of the software and announced today it has received funding from Alliance Healthcare Fund, an angel investment group helping innovative companies transform healthcare delivery. Alliance Healthcare Fund believes targeted resource allocation is the future of healthcare staffing and shift fulfillment

Bill McKeever: This is Bill McKeever with OneMedPlace. Welcome to our monthly call with companies that are doing exciting things. Today we are very excited to have Joe Mayernick with the Alliance Health Fund as well as Matthew Browning. He is the CEO of Targeted Instant communications. We will be talking about that company and some of the exciting things they are doing. As a way to introduce the company we have on the line Joe Mayernick from Alliance Healthcare Fund. He is going to talk about his fund and what they do. Joe could you give us a quick introduction to your fund.

Joe Mayernick: Thanks Bill. Alliance Healthcare Partners is a Fund that was started a little over a year ago, specifically targeted toward early to mid state startups, strictly in the healthcare industry. Our charter focus is in three areas: true cost reduction, employee-patient safety, and environmental regulatory exposure and mitigation. We look at generally anything between a low of $150,000 and a high of $2.5 million. We are very active in our involvement with the companies to the point of not only an active board membership, but more importantly the penetration of these early to mid state startups into healthcare. We have relationships with 6 of the largest 20 IBM’s in healthcare that will pilot these programs. When implemented properly, they will move them throughout their entire systems so we can look at revenue and keep it up from the early stages and then move them along the healthcare area. Our concern with most early stage startups is that they don’t have the ramp way financially to move into healthcare or don’t have the relationships to be integrated quickly.

BM: That’s great and with that, I think it’s a good segue to talk with Matthew Browning, CEO of Targeted Instant Communications. Matthew welcome to OneMedPlace. Could you give us a brief introduction to yourself, your company, and the services of Targeted Instant Communications?

Matthew Browning: Hi Bill thanks for having us. Targeted Instant Communications kind of describes what we do. That is the formal name of our company but we are operating as IntelliBlast Health right now. In IntelliBlast Health, we received in May the patent for the IntelliBlast Health communication system. IntelliBlast Health is designed to do what Joe really focused on there. We are looking to improve employee-patient safety, especially in patient outcomes. We are absolutely looking to reduce costs for hospitals and healthcare providers. And for compliance, to be able to create reports for the communications we do. IntelliBlast Health does real time, two-way, multi channel communications for the workforce. What does that mean? We do two-way phone, text message, email, mobile, and Internet communications so hospitals and staffing agencies in healthcare systems can reach out to the workforce instantly. By using two-way phone, text message, and internet to get them where they are needed, when they are needed, so they can provide the right level of care to their patients, improve their outcomes, decrease their labor cost, overtime expenses, agency expenses, and improve those readmission rates by making sure the right providers are in the right place at the right time to provide the care and teaching those patients need, before they go home.

BM: You mention that you use text and Internet. Do the people in the hospital need special equipment? How do they communicate on your platform?

MB: Having worked in the industry forever, I was a nurse supervisor for 12 years and I always make a joke that I was on the phone for 4 of those years trying to find staff to come in and go to work. Coming from that background, we found that we really needed a solution that could reach across all different devices, all different communication methods, and be accessible very easily. We used software as a service model. Anyone can log into our system from anywhere; a mobile device, a desktop, a phone, it really doesn’t matter. They can enter our system or use our API to go directly to the regular HR system and be able to generate a list of who it is they are looking for and when they are needed. So, who is qualified and who is available. Then our system goes from the web and sends out these via phone, text, email, Internet, and other mobile communications in real time. They are bi-directional and they are two-way. When we send out this information to the people who are qualified and available, for instance; we need a nurse in the emergency room for Thursday evening. Press 1 if you want to accept this position, press 2 to decline it, and you can even press 3 for some other neat options. You then get the information back in real time instead of spending time on the phone for hours with 15-20 people per hour calling people off of some list, often with inaccurate names and numbers. Our system uses up to date information and contacts the workforce in a way they want to be communicated with, phone, text, Internet, mobile, doesn’t matter if they are home or out in the hospital. Wherever they are located, you will be able to get their responses in real time and put those responses into your HR system, payroll, and etc. so everyone knows what’s going on. This process takes seconds now instead of hours.

BM: Wow, I can see the efficiency that is coming out of that. I would assume there would be no peer to peer communications i.e. the doctor wouldn’t necessarily communicate with a nurse in terms of the flow of information, the system is able to direct these providers with where they need to be at the right time to save money. Do I have that right?

MB: Absolutely. So what we’ve done historically can move capital very easily and can even move the equipment very easily. The move in labor has been very difficult; we’ve made it fluid now. You can move labor in moments. For small assignments like home care use, if I need a CNA to go grandma X’s house for one hour or two hours. Or you need someone to work a double in a long term care facility on the weekend, it really doesn’t matter what you are trying to fill and accomplish, we can help you fill and accomplish that task much quicker by utilizing these real time communications. It’s like a genie. We have made a genie for healthcare that allows you to communicate with really a blink or a wiggle of your nose if you will. And send this information out to the people that are qualified and available and want to be communicated with who replies, and you have not disturbed the rest of your workforce or organization that wasn’t necessarily qualified to be available for what you are looking for. Then we put an API on it, which in effect makes it your genie. Anybody with an HR program or a need for this type of solution can plug right in now and our technology will do the same thing for them.

BM: In terms of the competition, is there anyone doing something similar to what you guys have at the moment?

MB: There have been a couple that have been chasing us for a couple of years. Most of what you find will be a one-way blast message technology. There are some folks, starting to dabble in the two-way especially when they heard us presenting it at the Alliance Health 2.0 and some of the attraction we have gotten from healthcare providers around the country. But it is a very difficult process to do and with us just having to been granted the patent protection on the entire process from the beginning to the end, where we select, go through, generate those smart lists, handle the multichannel bidirectional communications, and do things with the responses that we receive, it will be very difficult for companies to get the freedom to operate in my opinion in that area. There are a couple that are playing with some technology right now that are trying to approach what we do. It seems to be less efficient, a little more cludgy, and not quite there.

BM: Changing gears, where do you stand on the financing front? How is the funding for that been coming along?

MB: Its quite spectacular. So every startup you go through there are ups and downs. I love that graph you see out on the social media sites. Success is not a straight line upward; it’s a crazy wiggle and squiggle in between. So anyone that has done the startup from a napkin to a product with commercialization understands that the process is not linear. We spend a lot of time looking for investment partners. We spend a lot of time looking for a good fit. People who understood an early company, the healthcare industry that technology needs to iterate and advance over time, especially with the piece and being able to pilot and name recognize healthcare leaders around the country. So as we were doing that, I like to tell my team, I went out and kissed a hundred frogs before we found Joe, Rick, and Arthur over at Alliance and found our princes. Good guys with a good system that do severe due diligence. These guys really run you through the stuff. Alliance came in and helped us with our seed fund. We are at a raised of $1.25 million seed fund right now. They came in with an initial $390 thousand launch, we have exceeded our miles, they are coming in with a second round of that investment, along with some third parties who are coming in as well. We are raising about $530 thousand before the years end. If any of the listeners are qualified investors and want to contact us, feel free.

BM: Okay, that’s good to know, there are still opportunities to be involved with the company. In terms of some of the milestones, that you have coming up. Could you share a couple things you are looking to do?

MB: Sure, the biggest is the finalization of our API. It has been released to production and is going through some severe testing and real lift testing with current clients who pay us for our product. We have done some manual pilots with some of the largest names in healthcare. We had actually run two separate systems in two different databases. Basically, we would do an excel upload of their employees and the results with those folks were so extraordinary that they are rolling into big pilots now with API to API system communication. We are doing those for the 4th quarter and expect to be able to announce some nationwide rollouts with some of the biggest names in healthcare in the first and second quarter of 2014.

BM: Okay, great. In terms of some of the customers you are dealing with. I don’t know if you are at liberty to talk about whom you are working with. Do you have some pilot projects underway? Maybe you could talk about what the next steps are in terms of market adoption.

MB: Sure, so our current paying clients are some local nursing agencies. Bright Star Care has been a strong fan of ours. We are actually working on implementation and nationalization with them. HCA has a primary staffing company that we are working with. They are one of the largest hospital systems with primary staffing organization. The second largest per-diem staffing organization in the United States, AMN is in discussion with us, on being able to use your product in multiple work force solution groups and not just one service line. Also, some of the biggest hospital systems, HCA, Tizer we are in discussion with and we have also helped mapped their union workflow for them, in which I think this is the first time this have ever occurred. To be able to help them with labor compliance, labor action, and legal costs, in addition to patient outcomes and worker safety.

BM: Okay. That is an impressive list of companies that you are working with, congratulations on that. In terms of the big picture, with Obama Care implemented here obviously in 2014, where do you see the staffing solutions industry progressing from here and how do you see IntelliBlast faring in this new world order we have under Obama Care?

MB: Well that’s amazing right. There are a few macro trends that are all converging simultaneously and really create an unprecedented area of possibility in the healthcare industry. We have a healthcare work force that is aging, the average age of nurses is 48 years old in the United States, primary care providers you can expect at 50-51 years old. So what you have is a group of people are aging as providers and running into an aging population of Americans where 8,000 people a day are turning 65+ and the care they are going to require has historically increased as you approach your 70’s and 80’s. Then you have the accessibility, the Accountable Care Act that provides accessibility to the healthcare system. So at the same time, you are decreasing your provider population and it’s aging and struggling even with some of the new technology, you have this huge increase in demographic need for healthcare because of the aging population and accessibility. So there are only three ways you are really going to bend this cost curve: one is to make a whole bunch of Americans extremely healthy very quickly and it’s just not the most plausible scenario, the second is to create a huge supply of providers and we see the professional organizations pushing for higher levels of certain certifications just as basic entry, for example; the nursing industry wants the bachelor’s degree to become the standard entry level degree. So we are not making it easier where you go to the local 7-11 and 8 weeks later you are a CNA or a year later you are a LPM for instance. The third way to do this is to efficiently utilize the healthcare provider resources we do have to affect those outcomes, to improve their patient outcomes, and decrease things like readmission rates. The only way to do it is with a system like ours and with a patent protection, I think we are going from being a competitive advantage to an absolute necessity for survival for these healthcare organizations. If they can’t move their labor force in real time they are in danger.

BM: Some of these new developments, the kind of care organizations that are able to take responsibility for the care for example if they have poor readmission rates they are going to be penalized, these ACO’s and care organizations, do you see yourself working with these new entities.

MB: Absolutely. As the iterations and evolutions of our products start to become reality, some of the things that we envisioned with our future, with the ACO’s taking over the healthcare and you’ll have the patient centers at home which will be some hospital which will also provide the community level care now, so the home health aids will be coming from a hospital either directly or their subsidy area organizations. What you start to increase. there is the problems with how do you mobilize the correct people to the correct locations very efficiently. We see it to the point of going to censor based homes. There will be censors in say grandma X’s home, that will indicate that maybe she went to bed late, didn’t take her pills, or a chemical in the toilet that indicates dehydration. There is a number of ways we can track indications now in the homes, impulses will be sent back to a central data center. It’s going to say, somebody needs to look at Grandma X’s home for instance. There is no reason our system couldn’t ping the two siblings or two neighbors that are closest to Grandma and take a peek. We can then escalate out their geo-location to say these 20-30 home health aids are proximate to this location, can we get eyeballs on Grandma X to see what is going on. If not, we can continue that escalation or domino communications effect all the way to the RN supervisors or local emergency services if needed. They can show up and see, oh no she is okay, she spilt an extra pill in the morning and took it off the counter, she did sleep, she slept on the couch, whatever is going on we have eyeballs to de-escalate the situation or provide the same level of care that she would have had if she was in the hospital, which is part of the mandate of the ACO’s.

BM: Okay. Just to wrap up here, any last thoughts for IntelliBlast and the company and what you think some of they keys are here.

JB: We have one this to 6 very large IBM in their human resource and CFO office. They are extremely interested based on all the functionality, especially access to labor and cutting costs. They see this as a real benefit and we will be taking them in there in the next 60 days to make formal presentations.

BM: I see, so there could be some very exciting developments here as we go into 2014.

JB: Absolutely.

MB: Its quite amazing Bill, you go in and talk to 20 and 30 year old veterans of the healthcare industry. These folks have been pitched everyday with the next thing that is going to change the world. They are frankly jaded. They lean forward with huge amounts of interest, you can see it in their brain, the gears start turning, the smokes coming out the ears, they think can it do this, could it help with this, could we use it for this, and the answer is yes absolutely. Communications bottleneck is kind of like that pressure point in a keto, if we can relieve this place, the amount of good that can happen in being able to fluidly communicate and allocate our healthcare resources where they need to be, it changes everything. It changes cost structure, work schedules, changes outcomes, changes expense lines, all of those get changed because you have made it easy for us to do what we need to do and gotten rid of that inefficiency. Frankly, we are communications reinvented.

JB: One last thing I would like to mention, building this model with empirical data to give guaranteed cost savings to large systems. If your cost last year for example was $20 million dollars. We will look at that and come up with a metric and come in and say this year you will not spend over $16 million. We’ll show them the savings; if they don’t reach that savings we’ll write them a check. That’s the area we are working towards.

BM: To follow up with that Joe, how does IntelliBlast get paid? Do you take a fee for the installation of the system or how does that work? In other words, how are the revenues to IntelliBlast?

MB: We currently have two models, the most common is the per person per month model. So we take the organization size, extrapolate their usage and come up with the dollars per person per month and we adjust those numbers quarterly based on a fluctuation of their employees. We are also in licensing agreements not only for healthcare industry but for other industries as well. There is a possibility that the IntelliBlast communication system has license capability as well. Its also, if we go to a premium model one day, the potential for advertising is huge. This is hospital X calling for an opportunity to work at said location brought to you by this drug company press 1 to accept, 2 to decline. It starts to hit that holy grail of micro advertising. Can you put it in their hand without upsetting them? There is number of ways we can raise revenue with this, but we focus on per person per month currently, which is most of our implementations.

BM: Okay, and I will throw a question out there for both of you guys. How do you frame the size of the market? I know there is a staffing market itself, which is obviously different. But, how big is your opportunity here?

MB: In healthcare alone, the bureau of labor statistics predict there about 16 million healthcare workers. With the ancillary and support staff at a very reasonable ratio of 2:1 we are looking at another 32 million people that are part of the game. So when we start running out to 48 million people, pick a number lets say $5 per person per month based on what we have shown you for our ROI, you start realizing, wait a minute, this is a serious company with a serious market size. So we are a billion dollar plus market really just in the healthcare industry. But we are not limited to that either by our patent or by our platform. We expect this to wherever real time multi-channel communications would be a benefit. It can be turned back to towards the patient to fill waiting lists for doctors immediately or handle things such as censor-based communications. You could have a dam overflowing somewhere and it could notify emergency services, here’s what’s happening, here’s what the response are, you can actually initiate actions, you can press a button to close the valve 25% or to move 200 pounds of fish. Anything you think that in real time, immediate, right now, needs to happen, this is the most efficient communication system probably created in the history of man. It’s a big statement but it seems to be what the tests are indicating.

BM: Okay, we are coming up to about a half hour; this has been very instructive and very informative about the company. Any last comments that either of you would like to make?

JB: We are very passionate about this and we like how the structure has been put together and the overwhelming initial acceptance of the large IBM’s we presented it to. And we are very supportive of all their efforts.

MB: I would like to add that the market validation from the industry is just amazing. I mean its unanimous interest; people who understand and recognize that this solves a problem that has been entrenched in the healthcare industry. I would also like to say, thanks to you Bill and OneMedPlace for interviewing us and taking the time to explore these new technologies in healthcare, these transformational paradigm shifting, revolutions that are happening on a daily basis and are starting from companies that have been in the works for 5-10 years or companies like ours that has been around for 5 years and are changing the scene right now. I have to thank Alliance, you guys have done it before, and you have revolutionized the transplant and surgical packaging industry. Now, you are doing it again with an entry line of investments in companies that are changing the world, it’s stunning. We are in the right place in the right time with the right partners. We are getting the right amount of attention from the biggest names in healthcare. Again, folks like your self, Bill, OneMedPlace, I thank you for your time.

JB: Thank you Bill.

BM: You are very welcome and gentlemen its been a pleasure having you both on OneMedPlace radio today and having your comments today on IntelliBlast and the company. I want to thank you both again and want to remind our guests we have been listening to Joe Mayernick of the Alliance Healthcare Fund and Matthew Browning CEO of Targeted Instant Communications, which has the IntelliBlast service offering. Thank you both again for being on our call today. Best of luck in the future, we look forward to these developments.

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