Hacker with Former Slashdot Ties and Tech Entrepreneur Tackle Home Health Hurdles With Web-Based Eldersync

6/7/10

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2.58 million by 2018.

That means many potential users for Eldersync. The company expects to begin marketing its system to home health firms in July, Bernick says. At least for now, the plan is for agencies to pay a nominal monthly fee for each employee who uses the system on a regular basis. The company’s software will be delivered over the Internet as a service, as opposed to software that requires users to install and manage it on their own servers. Bernick says that the agencies would pay less for Eldersync than for traditional software.

Still, the startup’s product is a work in progress. Bernick is gathering feedback from beta users and making changes to Eldersync to suit their needs. Meanwhile, the two-man outfit is being funded out of the founders’ own pockets. (Bernick says Eldersync is open to receiving outside investment, but is not actively pursuing new investors at this time.) Though Bernick sometimes serves as an IT and network security consultant (full disclosure: he’s done some pro-bono work for Xconomy), he says that he’s been dedicating a lot of his time to Eldersync since January. Aresty joined Eldersync last month, after leaving Merrill, where he had served in the company’s legal software unit after the Lextranet buyout.

As Eldersync ramps up its efforts, it’s keeping its eye other Web startups focused on the home healthcare market, Bernick says. RemCare is one such competitor with Boston roots. Ben Albert, RemCare’s co-founder and CEO, was previously an executive at the Newton, MA-based physician software firm PatientKeeper. (Albert didn’t return my call, so I’m not sure where his startup is headquartered, but his LinkedIn profile says he’s in the Chicago area.) Another startup on Bernick’s radar with Boston ties is Baltimore-based Ankota, which unveiled its Web-based software that supports logistics for home health agencies in July 2009. Ankota’s chief technology officer, Ken Accardi, is based in the Boston area, Bernick says. Accardi was previously a technology executive at GE Healthcare.

Eldersync and its counterparts are trying to elbow in on established players in the market such as San Diego-based HomeTrak and Santrax, headquartered in Port Washington, NY. Bernick points out that both these firms sell software that home health agencies have to install and manage themselves. HomeTrak also requires that its customers run its software on Windows servers, which can add further costs.

While Aresty and Bernick are new to the healthcare arena, Bernick, says that they encountered some similar regulatory and security challenges at Lextranet. Lextranet provides Web-based software to support electronic discovery and case management for law firms.

“We came from a legal document market where security, ease of use, searching, and aggregating are all key,” Bernick said in an e-mail, “so [Eldersync] was a natural transition.”

For sure, there appears to be a gold rush to the healthcare industry among software entrepreneurs nowadays. Yet Bernick says that Eldersync is staying clear of business areas such ambulatory electronic health records—which the government is subsidizing to the tune of about $19 billion over the next several years—where markets are crowded with competitors.

Bernick also seems to recognize the makings of tech market bubbles, having experienced them about a decade ago. He was an early programmer and employee at Question Exchange, a short-lived dot-com in the Boston area that had an online marketplace where people paid experts to answer their questions. In 1999, VA Linux (now Geeknet) … Next Page »

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