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prescription drug information, and the case of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center provides an example: Working with the hospital’s physicians, Anvita developed a software package that would help them choose the most appropriate imaging procedure (x-ray, CAT scan, MRI, etc…) for any given patient. The software provided guidance regarding radiation doses, and identified which patients were likely to experience adverse reactions to contrast dye agents. Anvita says its software, which was integrated into the hospital’s electronic medical record system, decreased inappropriate imaging and reduced costs, in part because physicians had the information they needed to help them select the correct test for individual patients at the outset.
Ghouri says the greatest challenge for Anvita was not so much integrating the information but writing an algorithm that could process the data and provide a patient-specific response in real time. “No one is going to wait three minutes for an answer. The computer must have an answer in less than a second for it to be practical and usable by the doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. It took many years, and we had to rewrite our engine four times, to meet this performance,” he said.
Anvita started marketing its product in 2008, but lately, with the stimulus money as an incentive, the field is heating up. CEO Rich Noffsinger says the company is pursuing an “Intel Inside” strategy in which it markets its software to customers for use within existing electronic data management systems. Licensing fees are charged on a per patient (physicians) per member (insurers) or per bed (hospitals) basis.
The company has more than doubled the size of its workforce in the last two years, as it has added sales reps, computer programmers, medical informaticists and software installers. On a quarterly basis, Anvita either breaks even or comes close to doing so, Noffsinger says. He declines to say how much money the company has raised since inception or to predict when Anvita might become profitable. “It’s a matter of how fast we want to grow,” he says. “A matter of trying to balance our opportunities and the proper level of growth.”
Noffsinger says that for the next 18 months, the company will focus on insurers and prescription benefits managers that can use analytical software to control costs and also understand how they can provide better care to members. As the stimulus funds become available, Noffsinger says Anvita will focus on physicians and hospitals.
“The solution exists. The issue is distribution,” said Ghouri, drawing an analogy to autos. “The air bag has been invented. Now we have to get them in cars.”