Building a High-Tech Business in a Traditional Manufacturing Town
For almost 100 years, Flint’s economy has been dependent on the auto industry. During the past 30 years Flint has lost more than 50% of its workforce. Since the 1970’s, “the good ‘ole days” of financial prosperity has slowly transitioned to financial despair. During the past five years, however, community leaders have discussed re-inventing the local workforce that encourages a more educated workforce in a high-tech industry. One company, Mobiusoft, LLC has taken on that challenge and opened their headquarters in downtown Flint.
The owners of Mobiusoft, LLC, Jerry VanHorn, Chris Mertz and Aaron Buck started their health care software development company in December 2009. Together, they have a combined 40 years of health care IT experience. In early 2009, VanHorn, President and CEO, understood the opportunities to reduce costs and improve quality in health care as a result of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act…which allocated $28 Billion to incentivize physicians and hospitals to install and use computerized patient health records, and decided it was time take a risk and become an entrepreneur.
During the next six months, VanHorn and company designed a unique “patient-centric” medical record solution that meets Federal requirements for the incentive program and would also create an electronic platform to coordinate patient care unlike any product on the market. “Our greatest opportunity to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality is to improve coordination of care between health care providers,” states VanHorn. The foundation of the product is that patients have one “complete” medical record, unlike the current solution of fragmented patient records for each physician or hospital. Taking the concept one step further, Mobiusoft LLC provide patients with full view access with security and privacy management of their medical record. “It is a proven fact that patients who “participate” in their health care are healthier,” notes VanHorn. So, if they have access to their medical information, they are more likely to become active, compliant patients. Mobiusoft’s product also allows for secure electronic communications between patients and their physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, health department and pharmacies to request appointments, schedule electronic medical visits and refill prescription requests.
The concept of “patient-centered” health care has been promoted and encouraged by the American Academy of Family Practice, Medicare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield for more than five years. Insurance companies offer incentives for physician practices to demonstrate patient centric care. The problem with achieving this status is that there are no “patient-centric” systems on the market. With the Mobiusoft, LLC solution, patient activities that require external coordination of care are tracked and if results or feedback is not returned alerts are sent to the ordering physician. The system also has built-in preventive care alerts by patient age, gender, disease, prescriptions and lab results that remind not only the physicians, but also sends the same alerts to the patient. Mobiusoft, LLC has also built-in patient support services that allow patients to participate in secure electronic support groups with common diseases.
Being an expert in the health care industry and information technology was enough to develop the electronic health record of the future, but starting a business from scratch is another story. In May 2010, VanHorn came across an advertisement from the SBTDC on training courses about starting small businesses. He attended the “Writing a Business Plan” and “Business Financing” classes at the Kettering University campus of MI-SBTDC Region 6. After these two classes, he was convinced that attendance in the “Fast-Trac” program was a must. “The information gathered during this seven week course on marketing, financing, leadership…was critical to getting us where we are today,” says VanHorn. He gives personal thanks and credit to the SBTDC staff (Marsha Lyttle, Harry Blecker), the Kettering’s “Tech-Venture” staff (Neil Sheridan) and the VetBiz staff (Ed Ronders, Matt Sherwood). VanHorn notes, “Without these local resources to assist small and veteran-owned small businesses, I am confident that we would not be where we are today”.
The Mobius–Health™ product is in its final stages of development and is scheduled for Federal certification in May 2011. Currently there are only 17 complete electronic health records companies nationally with this certification. At this time, Mobiusoft may be the first in Michigan. Currently Michigan has only 2% of the national market share of health care software development. Based on the Federal incentives and mandate to implement electronic health records, the health care software development industry is expected to grow by more than 300% during the next 3 – 5 years. “We are hopeful that the City of Flint and the State of Michigan are interested in obtaining a share of that sector growth and support our company’s entry into this market,” VanHorn noted. “Our business plan estimates obtaining 1.3% of the national market and the hiring of 125 professional and high-tech skilled people”.
VanHorn finished by stating that, “We are very excited about being on the leading edge of this technology growth and the ability to help our nation address the burden of high health care costs and quality of life for our citizens. We are also excited to contribute to our ‘home-town’ Flint’s re-birth as a new and exciting place to work and live.”