Axuall Wants to Speed Up Healthcare by Improving Credential Verification

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The Cleveland startup is accelerating onboarding by “putting the physician at the center of the universe”

In many industries, hiring is a challenging process. An organization needs to find the right candidates, conduct interviews, find a cultural fit and bring their new hire on board. But in some fields, those challenges are made exponentially more difficult by the many certifications, licenses and other official documentation that must be verified before a new team member can be hired. That’s where Axuall comes in. The startup, based in Cleveland, has developed software that creates a verified “credential wallet” that follows an individual, allowing an organization to trust that they know the background of who they’re hiring.

“We’re focused on making the process of verifying an individual’s credentials much faster and more accurate than it has been in the past,” said founder and CEO Charlie Lougheed. “Before you hire an individual, you want to know as much as possible, even beyond background checks. You want to understand whether they have all the skills, competencies and licenses required for them to do a great job in their role. We’ve built a global network that allows people to collect and manage their verified credentials and pass them along to employers who trust that the documentation is authentic and current.”

The process of onboarding is particularly time-consuming in the healthcare world, where Axuall has chosen to focus their early stages. Their software allows organizations to see everything from education and board certifications to disciplinary records and licenses, all pre-verified. The company is in the midst of pilot programs and partnerships with northeast Ohio providers like University Hospitals, aiming to help their hiring process and improve quality of life for patients, caregivers and administrators. Axuall isn’t just about good business sense, it’s about creating a more efficient world for important organizations.

“Physician burnout in the U.S. is close to an all-time high and paperwork is not something physicians want to spend time doing,” said Lougheed. “They want to see patients and actually practice, and unnecessary paperwork and waiting time hampers that. We say, ‘Let’s put the physician at the center of the universe, allow them to build up their own credential wallet and then share that with an employer.’”

For Axuall to be the standard, it will have to prove its worth to healthcare organizations. According to David Sylvan, President of UH Ventures, a University Hospitals program that works with innovators and entrepreneurs, Axuall’s mission is much needed in the healthcare world. He said his organization judges a new technology or startup on three questions: Is there a problem to be solved? Does it pose a significant challenge and opportunity to the system? Can the company execute and deliver? He said Axuall answers yes to all those questions.

“In this particular situation, the scale of the unmet need is substantial,” he said. “The current process to credential and permit new providers — doctors, advanced practitioners, nurses and aides — is time consuming and expensive. It severely delays the time it takes to activate physicians who will serve our communities, and that strains our system’s financial resources. The Axuall technology, which is currently in the third phase of pilot deployment with University Hospitals, will not only shorten the credentialing time-line, but will also dramatically enhance the providers’ experiences and efficiencies. We’re extremely excited about the impact that this technology could have on our efficiencies and finances.”

For Lougheed, who has founded four different startups, Cleveland has been the ideal place to start Axuall. In addition to working with resources like JumpStart Inc. and the North Coast Angel Fund for support, Axuall was also built alongside healthcare organizations with a solution in mind rather than creating software and trying to sell it. Lougheed sees that difference as a uniquely Midwest attribute, and said Ohio’s industry-leading healthcare organizations give Axuall the access to great healthcare that they need.

“We were able to raise $3 million in seed funding, almost entirely from the Midwest,” he said. “One thing I love about Ohio companies is that we don’t need to attract quite as much funding because we take a scrappy approach. Rather than trying to spend a bunch of money and come up with something we think the market may need, we work with anchor organizations in our region like University Hospitals to really understand the problem alongside them.”

Whenever we assess the viability and applicability of a new technology or startup concept, we’re laser focused on three elements: Is there a problem to be solved?; if so, does it pose a significant challenge and hence opportunity for our system?; and finally, can the company execute and deliver?

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