Government stimulus boosts health firm

Count Tee Green among the seemingly small group of CEOs who support the federal government’s economic stimulus plan.

Tee Green

Tee Green

Of course, there’s good reason. Government money helped put his business — electronic health records — on steroids.

To be fair, Green’s Carrollton-based company, Greenway Medical Technologies, would be growing anyway. More doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals are stepping into the 21st century when it comes to paper vs. electronic recordkeeping.

The stimulus, however, has made the transition a no-brainer. The government is providing $50 billion over five years for the medical profession to go electronic, which will improve efficiency, accuracy and speed, as well as reduce costs.

That adds up to $44,000 per eligible Medicare provider — considerably more than the $12,500 his firm charges a doctor for the software, Green said. There are, however, related costs incurred by the provider than can average another $15,000 to $20,000.

Still, Green said, “it’s a great ROI [return on investment].”

Within five years, he predicted, more than half of the nation’s providers will be using electronic records — up from less than 10 percent. Without the stimulus, he said, it likely would take a decade to get most providers to switch from paper.

The move also is being driven by what needs to become a more consumer-friendly industry, Green said. That’s largely because patients are paying more of the overall freight through higher insurance premiums and deductibles.

“The first $7,000 comes out of my checkbook,” said Green, 38, whose wife and four kids are on his insurance plan.

As consumers make more deliberate medical decisions, Green expects many to choose providers who use sophisticated software to rapidly exchange information with other providers — with patients’ permission.

That will boost business. Privately held Greenway’s revenue is expected to continue on a steep trajectory, he said. Revenue for the last fiscal year, which ended in June, hit about $64 million, he said. This fiscal year, Green expects revenue of about $85 million, increasing to more than $100 million next year. The firm is adding to its employee base of 450 workers.

Over the next several years, Green predicts annual revenue could rocket to $300 million, with the help of acquisitions the company is mulling over. It also will be considering an IPO to help finance its growth.

While Greenway is the largest player that’s headquartered in Georgia, it’s competing on the national stage against a handful of bigger companies, including units of GE and McKesson.

Asked if Greenway could be acquired by one of the big boys, Green replied, “I don’t think that would be the logical choice for us.”

One logical choice, Green said, is for Greenway to step up its marketing of a software that plays matchmaker between researchers and the patients they need to conduct clinical trials. It can be difficult to find such patients. But this software can cull large databases, find appropriate patients and inform their doctors. The physicians then can ask their patients if they want to participate.

“That’s the beginning of a smarter health care system,” Green said.

A more effective one, too.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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4 comments Add your comment

Shadow7071

February 22nd, 2011
8:33 am

I know that all this sounds warm and fuzzy but quite frankly I really don’t like the idea of my health information being rapidly and ubiquitously shared with who-knows-who both within and outside of the healthcare industry. Already we hear stories of people being turned down for jobs because of their credit score. Will these health record systems evolve to a point where we each will have a health score? (Don’t scorn this remark because already there is a move to determine everyone’s BMI score). And will this health score become a factor in employment? The internet and computing technology is great stuff but when it comes to personal privacy it has put all of us on a slippery slope.

TnGelding

February 22nd, 2011
10:16 am

The overall health of the nation is more important than any one persons privacy. But none of it should be used against you.

I’d guess it’s about 50-50 among CEOs as far as the stimulus is concerned. It had to help and was really very modest. Some of it still hasn’t even been spent.

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