iSalus sees business boom as docs chase stimulus cash

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

iSalus fact boxThese are heady days at tiny iSalus Healthcare.

The company is seeing a rush of new sales for its Web-based electronic medical record system from doctors, who all stand to receive bonus payments from the federal stimulus act for computerizing their patient records.

iSalus, based at the Stutz Building in downtown Indianapolis, expects to more than triple its work force by year’s end, ramping up to 50 employees.

The company already has doubled its base of health care providers, to 6,500, since Congress passed the stimulus bill in February 2009. It expects that total to grow another 50 percent in the next year.

The stimulus bill calls for the federal Medicare program, the massive insurance plan for seniors, to pay bonuses to doctors that use electronic medical records. Those payments could top $40,000 per physician during the years 2011 to 2014.

But after that, Medicare will start docking physician payments if doctors are not using electronic medical records.

“It’s definitely created a lot of energy and excitement around it,” said iSalus’ Michael Hall of the stimulus. He founded the company 10 years ago as Most LLC.

To manage this rapid growth, Hall brought in a new CEO this month. Richard Noe was previously CEO of Colorado-based Managed Business Solutions, an information technology consulting firm.

Noe’s arrival will allow Hall to focus on improving iSalus’ software, which can generate and swap patient records, schedule visits, and handle billing and collections.

iSalus was selected as one of three approved vendors by Purdue University, which has been given federal funds to help small physician practices through the complexities of switching to an electronic medical record system.

Purdue’s initiative, called the Indiana Health Information Technology Extension Center, chose its vendors from an initial pool of 200. The other two were MDLand, a small vendor based in New York City, and Boston-based Athenahealth Inc., a large public company with $189 million in annual sales.

Hall would not disclose iSalus’ sales. It charges an annual rental fee of $7,200 per physician for medical practices to use its software.

iSalus has agreed to discount its fee for doctors working with Purdue to $4,800 per physician per year.

Since Purdue announced iSalus as one of the vendors it will work with on July 30, Hall said, iSalus’ lead calls have “skyrocketed.”

iSalus is by no means the only seller of electronic medical record systems in Indiana. Others include Fort Wayne-based Medical Informatics Engineering which makes a Web-based record system, as well as Bradley-Scott Data Corp. and RANAC Corp., Indianapolis-based resellers of systems made by out-of-state companies.

All are enjoying boosts from the stimulus bill.

But Hall said iSalus’ decision 10 years ago to build a web-based system is now helping it compete for business against far larger companies, such as Cerner, GE Healthcare, McKesson and Siemens.

Those companies built up their business in electronic record systems in older-model client-server systems, which were expensive and laborious to install. Only in recent years have they shifted to web-based models.

“It was a David and Goliath environment,” Hall recalled of his company’s founding in 2000. “Flash forward to 2010 and it is almost the exact opposite. We are the emerging Goliath.”

At least he hopes.

Most of iSalus’ sales have been made out of state through 12 regional resellers. But its local clients—including the St. Francis Heart Center and Indiana Health group—are some of its biggest fans.

Dr. Chris Bojrab, a psychiatrist at Carmel-based Indiana Health Group, chose iSalus four years ago for the seven-doctor practice.

“The problem, especially back then, almost all of the systems were infrastructure-type systems, with servers and drives,” Bojrab said. “The costs were pretty prohibitive.”

Indeed, startup costs for the old systems were about $33,000 per physician, according to the Medical Group Management Association. Maintenance costs ran about $1,500 per month.

That’s why fewer than one in three doctors had such systems in 2006.

But iSalus’ nominal startup costs—which other web-based systems offer, too—make it more accessible to doctors, Bojrab said.

“The scalability of it, it really made it accessible to individual practitioners,” Bojrab said of iSalus’ electronic medical record.

Affordability and ease of implementation were the key factors that led Purdue to choose iSalus and the two other vendors, according to a statement by Monica Arrowsmith, director of Purdue’s extension service to doctors.

“Together, we will bring understandable, implementable and affordable EMR solutions to Indiana’s health care community,” she said.•


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.