Curaspan Undergoes Big Expansion as Demand for Patient-Transition Software Grows
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coordination among various healthcare providers as a leading cause of the problem.)
Ferry got the original idea behind his firm’s technology after his family found it difficult to manage the transition of his wife’s grandmother, Edna May Dodd, from a hospital to an appropriate nursing home after she had suffered a broken hip. For instance, his family had a hard time finding a nursing home that was well suited to the grandmother’s specific needs. Now, his company’s software features algorithms that steer patients to the best nursing home or other care facility, based on their geographic preferences and level of care needed, among other variables.
Initially, Ferry envisioned a “Travelocity for healthcare” to make it easy to plot a patient’s travels among places where he or she receives care, he says. In his research, the Harvard Business School graduate learned that the greatest area of need was for a patient discharge application. The company he formed to tackle this problem first released such a program 10 years ago. And he’s managed to build the company primarily with investments from family members, friends, and angels.
Ten years later, Ferry says, about 10 percent to 15 percent of U.S. hospitals are using some form of patient discharge software. This low percentage means Curaspan has the opportunity to sell its software to thousands of hospitals. And though the CEO says that there is no other software vendor whose products provide the same features as his firm’s, it appears that Curaspan might bump into others that address certain parts of patient transitions such as Alpharetta, GA-based Patient Placement Systems.
In a way, Curaspan’s greatest competition might come from the major hospital IT system providers. Ferry says such companies (he didn’t name names) will sometimes tell their hospital customers that they can use applications in their existing systems or add something such as a fax server to improve patient discharges and transfers, he said. Yet those fixes to the discharge and patient transfer processes fall short of the results that Curaspan’s applications provide, he says.
Curaspan has been around long enough to see how its software stacks up against what Ferry called “stop gaps” offered by competitors. “Eventually we’re going to be able to go in and say that we’ve reduced your readmissions by 2 to 3 percent, which may have saved you $3 million to $5 million. Were you able to achieve those same results with your [existing technology]? I don’t think so.”
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