Written by Jerred Ziegler.
The advent of electronic health records (EHRs) revolutionized the medical world by digitizing patient charts and information. What EHRs did not change, however, is the need for out-of-date communications between doctors and patients – paper slips for billing, phone calls for appointments, even faxes for health records. Updox, based in Columbus, Ohio, hopes to eliminate these clunky, out-of-date systems by aggregating all of this communication into one central, secure, web-based location to create a seamless, electronic flow of information between doctors and patients.
At the core of Updox is a universal inbox that enables patients to interact with their physicians via the web. Using this tool, patients can send and receive messages, access their clinical information, receive alerts about their health, schedule their appointments and pay their bills online. The biggest advantage Updox offers, however, is connecting patients to other providers in the care process, allowing for a collaborative, web-based care team network.
“It’s not enough to just digitize a health record. You have to connect everybody and allow them to share the information,” said Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox. “We enable our physicians and their patients to use electronic information to make better decisions.”
Updox essentially takes customer relationship management (CRM) systems that help companies organize their interactions with consumers, and applies them to the healthcare industry. It encourages doctors to view their patients as customers and enables them to make everything from appointment scheduling to billing more efficient. Before Updox, traditional CRM tools were not available to the 350,000 independent physicians in the US due to price. Now these physicians can sign up for a monthly Updox subscription and access these tools.
“Updox helps physicians better manage their patient relationships,” said Morgan. “Our system allows them to do it in a cost effective manner, and allows them to treat their patients like customers and provide a better quality of care.”
Rev1 Ventures, the central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, was instrumental in Updox’s development. Rev1 provided the first outside capital and allowed the Updox team to take their idea and build the first generation of the technology platform. Since then, Updox has been one of the fastest growing SaaS (software as a service) companies in healthcare IT, and has doubled in size every year.
To date, Updox has partnered with 45 electronic health record vendors, serving over 150,000 physicians. This provides 22 million patients with access to the Updox system. The company started with four employees and has grown to 31, with the hope of expanding to 50 employees by the end of 2015. Updox was also featured in Becker’s 2015 “150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” list.
“We were very pleased being named to Becker’s list,” said Aisling Babbitt, director of marketing at Updox. “There weren’t many technology companies on the list. I think our focus on customer relationship management leads to satisfaction not just for our customers, but also our employees here in Columbus, creating a good culture.”
The Updox team credits much of its success to the talent it’s found in central Ohio and the great network in the area, which allows them to build such a strong management team.
“Our people work really, really hard,” said Babbitt. “They know the work they’re doing every day fits into the bigger picture. We are changing healthcare, and our employees are furthering that mission.”