BY ROY MOORE
NASHVILLE BUSINESS JOURNAL
When a doctor wants to become credentialed by a managed care organization
or update his certification, the paper work can take hours and cause hand
cramps. And that’s just for one doctor for one credentialing application.
Imagine practices with dozens of physicians that need credentialing for
several MCOs and the demand for Sy.Med Development Inc.’s OneApp software
program becomes clear. The difference for one physician is“seconds versus
hours by hand” and “days to minutes” for large physician practices, says
Jim Aylward, Sy.Med president and CEO.
Since Aylward helped cement Sy.Med’s path on the software licensing model,
the company has grown each year, passing the $1.5 million revenue mark
last year. That translates into 350 practices with 80,000 physicians in
43 states. Last December, the company declared its first shareholder
dividend. His company’s growth, expected to take it to
$2.2 million in revenue this year, helped secure its repeat performance as a
winner in the 1-25 employees category of the Best in Business Awards.
“Their concept is timely because information is the coinage of our
realm right now and they’re helping people with that process,” says Steven
Curnutte, managing partner of Fin- Worth Partners and one of the judges for
this category with Germain Böer of Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of
Primarily financed by State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Co., Sy.Med has
caught the attention of some of the nation’s biggest health care providers,
including Community Health Systems, United Surgical Partners International,
Radiologix and Century Business Services.
For Sy.Med’s clients, OneApp is replacing bodies and pens, says Aylward, a
28-percent-owner in the company that last year became a certified Microsoft
partner. The company licenses its automatic credentialing software to health
care providers for a fee.
The licensing idea has been the differentiator for Sy.Med, which filled out
the forms by hand in an earlier incarnation. It’s a model Microsoft rode
to dominance in the operating system market.
“It was labor-intensive and I don’t know if we’d be here today (if we still
followed that model),” Aylward says.
Instead, the company’s OneApp allows physicians to fill their forms quickly
using an auto-populating program. Because its product is Web-based, Sy.Med
can keep costs down, says Curnutte. “They can keep overhead low because
delivering their product is simply ones and zeros,” Curnutte says. “That’s
how you grow a company. You keep your overhead down and your potential
market place high.”
Sy.Med collects an annual technical support fee on all software
installations, typically 20 percent of the original license fee.
In the first quarter, the company added a privileging module to
its product for physicians seeking or renewing hospital privileges. In
addition, the company provides three to four upgrades each year.
Ideas for upgrades generally come from clients who want more
functionality in their product. In April, the company hosted more than
50 clients at a training and user conference where physicians offered
feedback and ideas for the product. If an idea surfacing in such meetings
makes sense, it could be added to an upgraded version of OneApp.
One module planned for the fall is a human resource tool that could cover
I-9s, 401(k) and other HR functions.
In recent years, physician groups have become more familiar and accepting
of automated physician credentialing. Within five years, Aylward expects
automation to comprise most of the market.
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