A Look Back at HIMSS 2016

March 10, 2016

By Norman Volsky, Director of Mobile Healthcare IT

As an executive search consultant in the Healthcare IT space, it is my job to be able to identify emerging technology companies that are poised for significant growth. I do research daily and during my discussions with industry thought leaders, I make it a point to ask them what companies in the space they find intriguing and unique. I feel it is my job as a member of this industry to share this knowledge/information with my network so that you could be exposed to these companies too. Below are companies I have had my eye on all year that I met up with in person at HIMSS to learn more about their story and vision.

Kurbo Health- Mobile health coaching app focused on helping obese children ages 6-18 to lose weight. Being that 1 in 3 kids are obese, this is a crucial tool to reduce risk for health plans and employers. The app coaches adolescents to make healthier eating decision by giving a color corresponding to types of foods (green for healthy, yellow for foods to be eaten in moderation, red for unhealthy) and allowing kids a certain number of each per day. The solution includes video chats with health coaches, some of which are Olympic athletes in training. Kurbo allows families to be happier and healthier by taking the role of “food police” from a child’s parents. Not only did this app help the kids decrease their BMI 88% of the time, but 55% of their parents decreased theirs too!

Omada Health- Chronic Disease Prevention company initially focused on preventing type 2 diabetes. 1 in 3 American adults (86 Million) are pre-diabetes and of that group, 9 out of 10 are unaware they are at risk. This lifestyle intervention mobile application helped patients reduce their A1C Blood Sugar from 6.0 to 5.6 on average. After 1 year, participants lost 4.6% of their BMI and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%. Omada is leveraging their success in diabetes prevention and branching out into hypertension and heart disease. Preventing diabetes saves a risk bearing organization $10K on average per year for the patient’s entire life.

Lyra Health- Behavioral Health technology enabled services vendor helping screen for mental health diseases. Each patient is assigned a care manager and all of the visits are done leveraging telemedicine. 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mental health condition and this solution identifies patients that need care and connects them to the right form of care. Lyra closed a $35M Series A investment in fall of 2015. Lyra’s CEO David Ebersman is the former CFO of Facebook.

Alignment Healthcare- Hybrid organization that can function as both a payer and/or provider that is helping the healthcare market move towards value based care. Their solutions help providers make better decisions by giving them better data on their populations. Alignment mixes IT, Care Management and Chronic Disease Management to influence change by providing daily clinical interventions. This is designed to take burden off of a patient’s family members and give them better care. Alignment uses Vivify Health’s chronic disease management platform to monitor their high risk patients’ vital signs and biometric data remotely resulting in better outcomes at a lower cost.

Care Thread- Mobile Care Coordination solution that improves the way clinicians communicate with each other in real time. Their patient-centered messaging threads can eliminate gaps in clinical communication and improve clinical workflow and efficiency. Care Thread has seamless integration with all EMR systems (including Epic), and their secure VPN-less integration technology allows customers to be up and running in minutes. Care Thread helps customers such as Partners Healthcare in Boston improve productivity and increase patient safety.

VisualDx- Unique clinical decision support tool that leverages medical images to help their customers get the diagnosis correct as efficiently and quickly as possible. Although the company originated in the dermatology market (followed by ophthalmology and oral medicine), recently the company launched an innovative solution to address general medicine. VisualDx for the 5th year in a row won a Best in KLAS award. At HIMSS the VisualDx solution was exhibited integrated into Cerner using FHIR and is a part of their new app gallery. This solution is the most used diagnostic clinical decision support tool in healthcare. This solution helps physicians save an average of 26 minutes per day and increases diagnostic accuracy 120%.

Sentrian- Remote Patient Intelligence vendor focused on using data and analytics to avoid preventable hospitalizations (estimated $17B of Medicare’s annual readmission costs are avoidable). Using its analytics platform, Sentrian can help its customers identify which of its patients are deteriorating at 80% accuracy. In 2015, Sentrian won the ATA award for Innovation in Remote Healthcare and the Frost & Sullivan RPM Innovation Award.

Jellyfish Health– Patient Experience platform designed to reduce wait times and improve patient satisfaction. Their mobile app allows patients to see available appointments and estimated wait times then schedule and confirm – all from the convenience of their mobile device.   By increasing patient satisfaction, the provider groups are able to keep their patients (on average, practices turn over 25% of their patients per year). It is 6 times more expensive (around $19,000) to acquire a new patient than to keep an existing one.  The tool helps drive revenue by increasing patient traffic, reducing staff interruptions, streamlining physician schedules, and improving patient throughput.

Propeller Health– FDA-cleared asthma and COPD management vendor that helps patients and physicians better manage chronic respiratory conditions. Digital products that have therapeutic benefit. Propeller Health recently announced a Development Agreement and R&D Collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline. They also partnered with Aptar Pharma for development of a next generation, integrated, connect metered dose inhaler. Propeller was named one of the “Fierce 15” Med Tech companies of 2015 and also mentioned in the following Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/reenitadas/2016/02/04/the-internet-of-medical-things-digitalization-revolutionizes-respiratory-care-management/#55ead82c319d

Atigeo– Healthcare Analytics vendor that cut its teeth in predictive and prescriptive cybersecurity. Atigeo’s xPatterns currently protects and serves over 180 hospitals, and expects to double its workforce to 200 employees by the end of 2016. Cybersecurity and Fraud Prevention has been a key issue in healthcare and Atigeo helps its customers spot breaches before they happen.

healthfinch- Practice Automation solution that helps a provider automate, delegate, and simplify routine busywork so its clinicians can spend more time treating patients. It saves physicians, on average, 30 minutes per day. It helps increase staff efficiency at least 3x and reduces turnaround on patient prescription re-fill requests under 24 hours.

Qlik- Business Intelligence vendor that can analyze Clinical, Financial, Supply Chain or Operational data from any source. The end user not only gets the insights that they want but even for the ones they didn’t ask for but need to know. Qlik has strong relationships with Epic and Health Catalyst as well as some prominent consulting partners. Qlik allows its customers to qualify for Meaningful Use quicker. Implementation for an enterprise deal could only take weeks or at most several months. Qlik has over 1,500 customers relying on their technology, including Texas Children’s Hospital that achieved a tremendous ROI.

Caremerge- Care Coordination platform designed to bring the entire care team (families, clinicians, and patients) to communicate better resulting in better outcomes. Caremerge Improves the patient’s and their family’s satisfaction with the healthcare provider. Caremerge does a great job in independent living, skilled nursing, and assisted living markets.

Canary Health- Focused on tackling early stage chronic disease. Whether it be diabetes, COPD, arthritis or depression, Canary looks to identify populations that are at risk and make sure their condition does not get worse. They allow patients to self-manage themselves to reduce their risk of long term health problems.

Livongo- New approach to diabetes management. Having diabetes is a heavy burden, Livongo makes the patient’s life easier by allowing them to do less while receiving better outcomes. Livongo’s user spend less time managing their disease by leveraging technology. Run by the former CEO of Allscripts Glenn Tullman, Livongo has received investment from General Catalyst Partners, KPCB and DFJ. Customers include Lowe’s, Office Depot, Iron Mountain, Optima Health and Mount Sinai. Livongo was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 20 Best Entrepreneurial Stories of 2015.

Airstrip- Mobile Interoperability platform that allows its customers to connect in real time to any data source. This innovative tool enables care collaboration and single workflow visualization to improve decision making. Their new intelligence and analytics tools allow them to notify clinicians when a high acuity event may occur. Airstrip’s goal is to provide clinicians with less overall data to quiet the “noise” but more actionable data to help treat patients effectively. For one of Apple’s recent iOS releases, Airstrip was one of 3 companies to present on stage using the iWatch.

PatientPing- Backed by Google Ventures, First Round Capital and Fidelity Investments, PatientPing enables care teams to be informed regardless of where the patient is being treated. This simple, light weight, clean technology sends real time admissions and discharge notifications to providers to enable seamless care transitions. With over 15,000 providers using PatientPing, critical information can be shared and patient safety is improved.

PokitDok– API platform that helps enable mHealth apps to function better. This solution allows its customers to do transactions easier and have access to powerful data. McKesson recently made a strategic investment in the company with a total series B of $34M. PokitDok anables organizations to get connectivity to health plans.

Healthloop -“Patient Experience” company in regards to its high touch cloud-based patient engagement platform. The goal was to develop technology that had the ability to feel empathy. Healthloop sends educational content to the patient to not only answer any questions that the patient currently has but more importantly answers question he or she might have in the future. This takes a lot of stress away from the patient and makes him or her confident with what to expect in the future. They have a staggering 86% patient satisfaction rate, 11% increase in HCAHPS scores and 25% reduction in readmissions.

Catalyze.io- HIPAA compliant cloud computing vendor that enables innovative mHealth partners to scale appropriately. Its hosting and managed services encourage interoperability and allows its customers to save significant dollars. Catalyze.io is a “Last Mile Provider” that enables many companies to thrive affordably.

Avizia- End-to-end Telemedicine provider. Spun off from Cisco with the goal in bridging gaps in care. Recently launched a direct to consumer product to allow a patient to interact with their personal doctor. They provide 5,000 remote visits per month and are live in 36 countries. They have 7 of the top 10 IDN’s using Avizia.

Persivia- An Alere spinoff focused on Chronic Disease Management. They have a clinical decision support platform that focuses on bundled payment, care management, and quality management. Persivia recently partnered with Aprima Medical Software.

Opisoft- Clinical, Financial and Operational Business Intelligence tool. Opisoft was founded in Israel and recently launched in the US market. Predictive analytics at the point of care enabled by NLP tool. In Israel, they went head to head on deals against dbMotion (also an Israeli company later acquired by Allscripts). Opisoft owns 90% of the hospital market share in Israel which is ranked #4 in the world for healthcare quality.

iVEDiX– Mobile Business Intelligence platform that enables the flow of bidirectional data. iVEDiX secured business with the United Nations and has gotten some significant traction with healthcare providers. It saves one of its customers 1 hour per physician per day. iVEDiX received a Series A investment of $10M.

Lightbeam Health Solutions- Population Health Management vendor that is fully integrated, requires zero IT footprint, and is cloud hosted. Lightbeam Health Solutions can aggregate both clinical and claims data and analyze it to identify at risk patients. Software suite includes: Data Warehouse, Risk Stratification, Physician and Patient Engagement, Quality Measure Optimization and Care Management. Lightbeam Health Solutions has over 70 ACO customers.

Validic- Digital Health Platform that allows accessibility and integration to patient recorded data from mHealth apps, devices and wearables. Validic is getting a lot of traction recently into the pharma and clinical trials market along with international markets. Validic recently came out with innovative VitalSnap solution that enables real time data transfer from non-connected devices.

CareSync- Chronic Disease Management/Care Coordination solution with over 100,000 patients using their solution/service. Their goal is to allow collaboration between every stakeholder in the care continuum and help get the right information to the right care team member at the right time. In helping their patients navigate their way through the Health System, they improve the quality of care and patient experience drastically. CareSync members avoided duplicate tests 64%, 33% found errors in their medical records and 84% better followed their post visit care plans. Recently announced partnership with NextGen Healthcare.

Glooko- Diabetes Remote Monitoring solution to help a patient manage their chronic condition. This mobile solution addresses both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Glooko is significantly helping its patients reduce their A1C using its patient engagement and education tools. They recently announced an EPIC integration. Their CEO Rick Altinger was recently invited to speak at the Vator Splash Health conference in San Francisco.

Vivify Health- Remote Patient Care Platform helping move the industry toward value based care. Vivify is one of the leaders in mobile population health management. Their customers typically accomplish a >50% reduction in acute utilization, by engaging patients on any device and connecting caregivers at any interval. Vivify recently not only signed UPMC as a customer but the health system also participated in their recent $17M Series B investment round.

This was my fourth HIMSS show and I always come back amazed at how passionate and innovative this industry is as a whole. All of the companies above are helping drive change towards value based care and I feel so lucky to be able work in this industry every day.

The next trade show I am planning on attending is ATA in Minneapolis…if you are interested in having your company highlighted in my next blog, please let me know.

Dan Charney and Cherie Shepard Interview Brian Cohen, Chief Executive of Hanel Storage Systems

Dan Charney, President & CEO of Direct Recruiters (DRI), and Cherie Shepard, Director of Packaging & Material Handling, DRI, interview Brian Cohen, Chief Executive of Hanel Storage Systems

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Brian Cohen, and I am the Chief Executive of Hänel Storage Systems. I have been in the automation field my entire professional life and have been fortunate enough to learn the technology from the ground up. My career began in sales, focusing on sensors and automatic identification, followed by robotics and machine vision and for the last fifteen years AS/RS. Throughout my life I have been interested in and intrigued by technology. My father was a plant manager for a bedding manufacturer in the early 1970’s and I have a favorite childhood memory of visiting the bedding manufacturing plant and being mesmerized by the automated machinery.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Managing growth is currently the most challenging part of my job. Throughout the last fifteen years we have experienced what I refer to as self-sustained incremental growth. We have grown each year at a steady and manageable rate and reinvested profits into the business to fuel additional growth. The challenge is when to hire, how to expand facilities, and which new markets to pursue. I am very grateful that our thoughtful planning has prevented lay-offs, debt and failed marketing initiatives.

How do you retain top industry talent?

First and foremost, it is important to hire carefully and have the correct recruiting partners. Next, it is important that the position I am hoping to fill represents an awesome opportunity for the candidate. Potential candidates must be passionate about an opportunity to work with our organization and the position must represent an order of magnitude career progression. Once on board, it is part of our strategy to partner with our employees and develop mutually agreeable milestones and goals that the employee can own. My style is quite contrary to micromanagement. Once expectations are developed, I prefer to act as a resource. It is important to recognize with my management style that communication and transparency are absolutely critical.

What soft skills do you look for when hiring new talent?

Cultural fit is perhaps the single most important requirement for a new employee. I like to learn about what the candidate really liked or disliked about past positions. After we have determined that a candidate has the required skills and experience to perform the job we are looking to fill, we schedule a series of casual interviews with staff members to discuss what it’s like day to day within the company’s culture. The feedback we have received from these casual interviews has been really useful for both the company and the candidate. It is very important to me that candidates are presented the full picture of what it is like to be part of this team.

You have over 25 years of experience in the Material Handling world. What or who do you attribute your success to? Did you have a mentor(s)?

Yes, I had both mentors and managers that were willing to take a risk on someone with the right attitude. The mentor that had the most profound impact on me was Martin Eichenberg. Martin was the CEO of Menziken Automation and was a truly impressive leader. In addition to Martin’s experience, he had a way of telling difficult truths eloquently. His ability to tell a customer something that they did not want to hear, but absolutely should, was inspiring. I have translated what I have learned from Martin in this regard into the following axiom: “Tell me the truth always. The harder the truth is to tell, the more I will respect you for it.” Martin was also the first leader that took the phrase “our employees are our greatest asset” and turned it into absolute practice. My strong commitment to our employees’ well-being was most certainly shaped by Martin’s example.

What are the most important characteristics a Material Handling leader needs to be successful?

The material handling industry benefits greatly from MHI. Throughout my career I have participated in the material handling community and MHI organization in various ways. Currently I serve on the Board of Governors and the Educational Work Group. I have found working with MHI to be rewarding in many ways; most importantly for me are the development of standards and education. The secondary benefit of working with MHI is the networking. Never before in my career have I had the opportunity to work so closely with competitors.

Dan Charney President & CEO dcharney@directrecruiters.com 440-996-0589

Cherie Shepard Director of Packaging & Material Handling cshepard@directrecruiters.com 440-9960582

Top 10 Reasons Why Good People Quit

February 3, 2016

According to the US Department of Labor and Statistics, turnover can cost an organization 33% of an employee’s total compensation including both salary and benefits. But the impact is not only financial it also affects employee morale. Therefore, it would be prudent for hiring managers to focus on reducing turnover rates but in order to do that they must first understand the reasons why employees quit.

There have been many studies and articles written on why good employees leave their current positions. There’s an infinite number of reasons. However, from our experience, these are “Top Ten” reasons why good employees quit:

1) The job was not as expected. All too often the job changes from the original description and what was promised during the interviewing stages. It becomes painfully clear to the new hire that their new company played the bait and switch game which ultimately leads to mistrust. The new hire is now thinking, “What else are they lying about?”

2) Work/Life imbalance. There are times when management demands that one person do the jobs of two or more people. This is especially true when a company merges, downsizes, or restructures resulting in longer hours and possible weekend work. Employees are often forced to choose between a personal life and a career.

3) Mismatch between job and new hire. No matter how much you love the candidate, don’t hire them unless they are truly qualified for the job and they mesh with your company culture. Too many times, hiring managers try to fit a square peg into a round hole especially when it comes to a sales position.

4) Management freezes raises and promotions. Money isn’t usually the first reason why people leave an organization but it does rank especially when an employee can find a job earning 20-25% more somewhere else. Make sure your wages are competitive and your benefits package is attractive. Resources like www.salary.com can provide accurate and appropriate information.

5) Feeling undervalued. It’s human nature to want to be recognized and praised for a job well done. And in business, recognizing employees is not simply a nice thing to do but an effective way to communicate your appreciation for their efforts and successes while also reinforcing those actions and behaviors that make a difference in your organization.

6) Lack of decision-making power. Too many managers micromanage down to the finest detail. Empower your employees and allow them the freedom make suggestions and decisions. Often, the word “Empowerment” is a ‘catch-all’ term for many ideas on employee authority and responsibility; but as a broad definition it means giving employees latitude to do their jobs and placing trust in them.

7) Too little coaching & feedback. Many managers have no clue on how to help employees improve their performance. In addition, many managers put off giving feedback to employees even though they instinctively know that giving and getting honest feedback is essential for growth and in building successful teams and organizations. Your role as a manager is to help your people find the right behavior, not just tell them what to do.

8) Management lacks people skills. Remember that many managers were promoted because they did their first job well, but that doesn’t mean they know how to lead others. People skills can be learned and developed but it really helps if a manager has the natural ability to get along with people and motivate them.

9) Too few growth opportunities. One of the most common reasons employees express for leaving their jobs is lack of challenge and potential for career growth. The most successful employers find ways to help employees develop new skills and responsibilities in their current positions.

10) Loss of faith and confidence in corporate leaders. With employees being asked to do more and more, they see less evidence that they will share in the fruits of their successes. More often than not, when revenues and profits are up, employers are still thinking competitive wages but employees are thinking bonuses, stock options and creative development opportunities.

Interview With Michael Senske, President & CEO of Pearson Packaging Systems

December 3, 2015

Jason Herbert, DRI Practice Leader Packaging & Material Handling, had the opportunity to interview Michael Senske, President & CEO of Pearson Packaging Systems last month. 

The following interview was also posted on PackagingStrategies.com (formerly Food & Beverage Packaging Magazine).

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Spokane, WA and moved to Seattle, WA to attend the University of Washington, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Upon graduation I worked at Microsoft Corporation in the Product Support Services division of the Consumer Division Unit. I left Microsoft in 1998 to join Pearson Packaging Systems and moved back to Spokane with my wife Jennifer.

During my time at Pearson, I have served in a wide variety of positions, including Director of Business Development and Vice President Sales & Marketing. I assumed the role of President & CEO in 2003 and have helped build a team that has transformed the company from a manufacturer of discrete packaging machinery to a provider of complete end-of-line systems comprised of case erectors/tray formers, case packers, case/tray sealers, and palletizers.
In addition to my responsibilities at Pearson, I am very active in our community and serve on the Board of Trustees for Greater Spokane Incorporated and the Association of Washington Business. I also serve on the Board of Directors for Colmac Holding Company, a capital equipment manufacturing company located in our region. My wife and I have been married for 20 years and have two daughters, Lauren and Olivia. We enjoy golfing, skiing, boating and pretty much all outdoor activities.

What fascinating projects are you currently working on? 

I think the most interesting project that we are working on at Pearson Packaging Systems is our User Centric Design (UCD) initiative. For years, our industry has received feedback from customers that our machines/systems need to be easier to use and more intuitive, however, that feedback has largely been ignored by extremely technical design engineers. These engineers have designed machines/systems as if they were going to be run and maintained by people with similar engineering and technical backgrounds, which is generally not the case. As such, we have embarked on an initiative to simplify the mechanical design of the machines and integrate this design more seamlessly with a touch screen interface similar to that of a smartphone or tablet. It’s a very visual and intuitive system that allows machine operators to more quickly learn how to operate a machine/system and increase their efficiency and throughput.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

The most challenging aspect of my job is ensuring that we never lose focus on what is most important, and that is helping our customers achieve increased growth and profitability. Our only purpose as an organization is to help our customers be more efficient and better serve their customers. My experience is that companies often become somewhat inwardly focused on their own operations as opposed to focusing on the continually changing needs of their customers. As such it is a constant struggle to make sure that our customers are ALWAYS top of mind.

What do you see as your biggest challenges and opportunities in the next few years? 

Our biggest challenge is ensuring that we keep our pulse on the needs of customers and truly understand how we can provide value to them going forward. Our customers’ businesses are changing at an increasing pace, and we need to remain nimble as an organization to change with them. Perhaps our biggest opportunity is to continue to develop the capability to provide integrated complete end-of-line solutions to our customers. Historically, Pearson Packaging Systems has provided customers with discrete machines as well as small systems or cells comprised mainly of our equipment. For Pearson Packaging Systems to remain relevant in the marketplace, we are going to need to continue to develop our ability to provide fully integrated complete end-of-line systems that include equipment from 3rd party OEMs in addition to our own. Ultimately, what customers want to source from Pearson is the systems engineering expertise that will help them achieve a specific level of output at a specific cost per unit. They are depending on us to design a system that is capable of meeting their needs, not just a piece of equipment.

What soft skills do you look for when hiring new talent? 

Above all else, I’m trying to discern a candidate’s work ethic. I would rather have an employee of average ability with a strong work ethic, than an employee with tremendous capability with an average work ethic. Our customers depend on us to deliver machines/systems on very tight timelines with very high performance requirements. I want to know that every single employee that is working on a customer’s project is willing to do whatever is necessary and work whatever hours are required to design, manufacture, assemble, install, and service this equipment so that we meet or exceed our customers’ expectations. In addition to work ethic, I’m always looking for people that operate well in a constantly changing and ambiguous environment. If there’s one thing that typifies the modern business environment it is constant change. If an employee isn’t able to deal with change or a dynamic working environment, they aren’t a good fit in our organization.

Based on your LinkedIn profile it appears that you have a special interest in succession planning. Why is succession planning so vital to every company’s strategic plan? Can you share any insight on best practices for succession planning? 

Our customers are looking to develop long-term partnerships and working relationships with their suppliers. When they purchase a piece of machinery or a complete end-of-line system they are relying on us to not only design and install/commission this machinery or system, but to help them maintain it and adapt it to their changing needs for many years into the future. They are buying equipment from Pearson not only because of our current capabilities, but also because of our ability to support them in the future. In order for a business to achieve long term sustainability, it is imperative that each functional area of the organization have a deep talent pool of individuals that are on clear career paths and that are capable of assuming greater responsibility within the organization. At Pearson Packaging Systems, we require the members of our leadership team to not only deliver strong results, but to also build depth within their departments so that they have multiple employees that are capable of stepping up into the position above them in the event that we need them to do so. It is a very conscious effort on our part to retain, recruit, and advance people who have the skill sets we need now and in the future. We are committed to providing existing employees with ongoing professional development and training so that they are able to develop skills that are aligned with the changing needs of our customers and our business. Additionally, we recruit candidates from outside of our industry that, although lacking industry experience, possess the skills and abilities that we will need in the future as our organization continues to grow.

BLN468_JASON HERBERT_F 4X5Jason Herbert
Practice Leader Packaging & Material Handling

mHealth Summit Recap

November 18, 2015

By Norm Volsky, Director of Mobile Healthcare IT Practice

Last week, I attended the mHealth Summit in Washington D.C. for the third consecutive year. There is always a lot of excitement leading up to the show with emerging companies eager to show off their innovative technology. This year there were mostly young, high growth companies in attendance although large companies like Qualcomm Life and IBM had a strong presence at the show (which is a good sign for the industry as a whole). Of the many companies that were in attendance, the following caught my eye:

  • Edamam- A unique platform to help any person eat healthier. With over 1 Million recipes in their database, it allows someone to customize their meal choices depending on their goals/needs. Not only does it help people with food allergies, it also helps people trying to fight a chronic condition or even someone who is simply trying to eat healthier. Edamam has had significant traction and has grown its user base 15X in the past year.
  • CareSync- Chronic Disease Management/Care Coordination solution with over 100,000 patients using their solution/service. Their goal is to allow collaboration between every stakeholder in the care continuum and help get the right information to the right care team member at the right time. In helping their patients navigate their way through the Health System, they improve the quality of care and patient experience drastically. In 2015, the White House recognized CareSync’s chief operating officer, Amy Gleason RN, as one of nine “Champions of Change” for its national precision medicine initiative.
  • io- HIPAA compliant cloud computing vendor that enables innovative mHealth partners to scale appropriately. Its hosting and managed services encourage interoperability and allows its customers to save significant dollars. A “Last Mile Provider” that enables many companies to thrive affordably.
  • CareClix- Healthcare specific Telemedicine platform with over 3.5 Million members that is geared towards both primary and specialty care. This software connects with devices and shares biometric patient data, enabling patients in remote/rural markets to get high quality care while keeping costs low.
  • rimidi- Diabetes management platform to help patients manage their chronic condition. Allows patients to meet their glucose targets and create a more efficient cycle of care by encouraging communication. Tracks glucose, weight, exercise, etc. and using this data predicts glucose readings.
  • VisualDx- The name of the game is reducing errors in diagnosis. Using their unique clinical decision support tools that leverages medical images, they help their customers get the diagnosis correct. Although the company originated in the dermatology market (followed by ophthalmology and oral medicine), recently the company launched an innovative solution to address general medicine. VisualDx is also making a strong push into the international market.
  • PokitDok- API platform that helps enable mHealth apps to function better. This solution allows its customers to do transactions easier and have access to powerful data.
  • MDLIVE- Announced an expansion of their virtual care collaboration with Walgreens to an additional 20 states. The Telemedicine vendor has also have been making waves in the behavioral health market recently.
  • Doc Halo- Mobile Health Platform that enables HIPAA compliant communication, clinical alarms management, nurse call, scheduling, care coordination and more. Company has been expanding its footprint drastically in some prominent accounts.
  • Science 37- Groundbreaking vendor simplifying the process of participating in clinical trials and giving patients access to the world’s best scientists. Their mobile platform allows a clinical trial to reach rural/underprivileged participants (which has huge advantages for rare disease research). Shifts the care setting from the hospital to the patient’s home which improves patient experience while reducing cost significantly. Increases speed of the trial and results are the highest data quality.
  • Validic- Digital Health Platform that allows accessibility and integration to patient recorded data from mHealth apps, devices and wearables. Getting a lot of traction recently into the pharma and clinical trials market along with international markets. They doubled in size last year.
  • iVEDiX- Mobile Business Intelligence platform that enables the flow of bidirectional data. Secured business with the United Nations and has gotten some significant traction with healthcare providers.
  • Saturn Care- Chronic Disease Management program that enables providers to care for their patients remotely and get reimbursed for it. This program allows the care team to be in control and educate patients properly.

Overall, I came back from the mHealth Summit energized to get back to work in this great industry. Based on the impressive technology I saw last week, I am confident the mobile HIT space is thriving and poised for more growth. I feel so lucky to be able to work in a space where people are so passionate about improving patient care and hospital efficiency.

The next trade show I am planning on attending is HIMSS in Las Vegas…if you are interested in having your company highlighted in my next blog, please let me know.

All the Best


Importance of Cross Training in the Workplace

While cross training is popular in sports and a great way of developing fitness, there’s another type of cross training that has become popular in business that is beneficial to the fitness and overall health of both companies and employees.

Businesses should think of cross training as a disaster recovery plan.  Implemented correctly, it will help a business to run smoothly in the event there is an absence of one or more key players.  Whereas, employees should think of cross training as a way to become more valuable to the company.

Let’s look closer at the cross training benefits for employers as well as employees:

For Employers:

Mitigate risk.  With cross training, organizations are better equipped to recover quickly from disruptions and handle transitions gracefully.  To be specific, employees will be able to easily step into other roles to make sure the job gets done especially in the event that a key employee leaves.

Discover leaders.  Cross training can uncover some people’s hidden talents.  Companies may see an employee not only be able to learn and perform new duties but emerge as a leader and motivator to others.

Enhance teamwork & boost morale.  Cross training helps employees to appreciate each other’s jobs and recognize all the duties of their co-workers that they may have overlooked before.

Higher efficiency & productivity. Cross training forces teams to refine processes by making them take a hard look at the way they do things as they train others.

Recruiting tool. Today's young workers want greater satisfaction from their work. They are geared toward seeking employment that allows them to learn new skills. Therefore, employers are more likely to attract and keep good employees.

Derive Cost Savings.  Depending upon the business, once employees have been cross trained, a company may not need to hire as many workers.  Additionally, employees hone and increase skills enabling them to work in multiple areas. The business should see costs go down and efficiency go up.

For Employees:

Growth opportunity.  Cross trained employees may be considered for a promotion faster than others.  Employers may find that an employee has a special talent in a different role.

Increase employee satisfaction.  Employers that cross train have noticed a decrease in employee boredom and stagnation and an increase in productivity and value.

Develop new skills. Cross training allows your employees to build their professional, technical, and soft skills. By building their skill sets they feel more confident and valuable to the organization.

Build teams & relationships.  Cross training gives employees a chance to build new relationships with people they might otherwise never have contact with. These relationships will help with teamwork and gain a better understanding of the bigger picture.

Higher motivation.  Recognition in the form of training and development works wonders for employee motivation because it’s proof the company is investing the necessary time and resources for employees to acquire new skills. An employee who believes their employer is genuinely concerned about their career development, is likely to exhibit an increased level of job satisfaction and motivation.

Cross training can be used in almost any position in almost any industry.  If you have cross training experience or story, please comment below.

Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Career Goals

Have you been passed up for a promotion lately? Are you not where you thought you would be in career by now? You’re smart, hard-working, and creative. So what’s the problem?

There are a number of very real reasons that could be holding you back from reaching your potential including fears you may have or false-thinking patterns. No matter what the reason, once you recognize the issue, you have the power to change it.

From my experience and vantage point, here are the 10 biggest reasons why you’re not where you should be in your career:

Fear of Success. Many people feel they don’t deserve success in life or fear their own greatness. Just as the fear of achieving a personal worst can motivate personal growth, the fear of achieving a personal best can also hinder achievement. You need to believe in yourself and that you deserve to succeed. Have you heard of “Fake it till you make it?” It means if you don’t feel confident, pretend you are until you gain the confidence needed.

Fear of Failure. Fearing failure can damage everything at work and in life. It ruins your productivity, destroys your dreams, and keeps you from building the professional success you’re trying to build. Don’t fear failure but expect it. Your mistakes will teach you and show you a better way to get what you want and remember there’s no reward without risk.

Thinking Way Too Small. You may be looking at the future one day at a time or even one week at a time. You don’t have vision for the long-term. You see the trees and not the forest. Transformational leaders have one thing in common…their vision is bigger than average. Just like them, you need to open up your mind’s eye to continually seek new opportunities.

Lack of Soft Skills to do the Job. Your hard skills might have landed you the job but the lack of the right soft skills will hold you back from moving forward within the organization. According to Careerealism, the critical soft skills employers most desire in their employees today are honesty and integrity, strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, self-motivation, high energy, and being a team player. The good news is that soft skills can be learned. Take the initiative and get trained on those you need.

Preoccupied with Social Media. If you waste valuable work hours and productivity time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media platforms (unless your job is in social media), you’re not going to get anywhere. Employers will see you working on “not working.” Your chance for a promotion is gone and soon you’ll be gone.

Feeling Entitled. Entitled, comfortable and security are words that you should never utter or experience. These are words that justify complacency, certain privileges, and low performance on the job. Being “entitled” to be treated differently than you are being treated can absolutely ruin your career. The reality is that coworkers don’t appreciate others leaving more work for them and bosses don’t reward bare minimum performance.

Paralysis by Analysis. Wiki defines Paralysis by Analysis as the state of over-thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. There’s a great cost to an organization if the decision making process overwhelms you and therefore prevents you from making any decision at all.

Negative Thinking. Negative workplace attitudes have an effect on every person in the organization and negative attitudes effects employee morale, productivity, and team building abilities. It also has an effect on the overall workplace environment or culture. Get rid of your toxic thinking and beliefs before they send you into a downward spiral and ruin your career altogether.

Lack of Goals. If you don’t plan anything, play it by ear, and just hope things will fall into place, you are not being realistic. What you need is a clear understanding of the company mission and create a number of professional and personal goals that relate to the company’s mission and success. Put your goals in writing. This makes them more real. By not setting goals, you look lazy and management will perceive you as having a lack of ambition or initiative.

Thinking Like an Employee and Not a Leader. Today, companies are in dire need of future leaders. If you’re giving them the impression you’re only showing up for a paycheck, it’s not likely that you’ll be high on their list of those ready for a promotion or leadership position. Therefore, to get ahead, it’s a good idea to demonstrate that you have leading edge ideas and the ability to implement them for the continued success of the company.

Is there something that’s keeping you back from reaching success in your career? If so, please share your story or comment below.

A Look Back at HIMSS 2015 by Norman Volsky, Director of Mobile IT Practice, DRI

Last week I attended the annual HIMSS conference in Chicago. It was an exceptional event with world class speakers, the latest in HIT products and services and great networking opportunities.

While there, I met with executives at numerous Healthcare IT companies. Below are specific companies I met with that were doing some very unique and innovative things that I felt were noteworthy:


Mobile platform designed to help patients follow their customized care plan. Healarium has 15 ready-to-use condition based care plans (30,000 completed by patients).


Patient Engagement solution specifically geared towards Surgery. The platform delivers customized clinical programs for pre-op and post-op patient engagement, data collection and monitoring across surgical episodes of care.


Cloud-based system that is an open ecosystem for medical devices and applications, enabling end-to-end wireless connectivity allowing medical device users and their   physicians/caregivers to easily access biometric data. This platform is a turnkey solution to monitor high risk patients in a home setting. During the Keynote address, Walgreens announced their partnership with Qualcomm Life. Qualcomm also recently announced a strategic relationship with Cerner.


Visual Clinical Decision Support tool that allows physicians to enter a patient’s symptoms and information to help them diagnose rare diseases. VisualDx has been getting a lot of interest from EMR vendors from an integration standpoint due to new Smart on FHIR API Integration capabilities. Here is a great article that was written about the company recently: http://www.wired.com/2015/04/visualdx/


“Automates Fantastic” is the company’s slogan in regards to its high touch cloud-based Patient Engagement platform. Healthloop strives to help Health Systems, IDN’s and Practices provide quality care to its patients and improve the overall patient experience. Healthloop has recently earned a Net Promoter score as good or better than Apple which shows how much its users like and adopt its second-to-none design.


Focused on Prescriptive Digital Health by providing access to over 100,000 apps and helping Providers, Employers and Payers prescribe the appropriate apps to the consumer based on their condition. Helps facilitate communication between consumers and their healthcare sponsors at the point of care. SocialWellth announced a new “Wellth Chips” program at HIMSS to incentivize consumers to use its platform.


Behavior based software solution that detects and eliminates prescription errors. Similar to fraud detection in the credit card industry, MedAware takes EMR data, builds a mathematical model which represents real-world treatment patterns and detects when a prescription largely deviates from the standard treatment spectrum.


Nurse Call system that does not need middleware to be able to function. Combines Secure Messaging, RTLS, Real Time Dashboards and Reporting and Clinical Workflow Escalations to allow hospitals to improve patient satisfaction, enhance outcomes and drive down costs.


Communication platform that allows two-way message, call and video chat (both patient-to-physician and physician-to-physician). PingMD helps build a “professional dynamic network” so that physicians can give effective referrals. PingMD helps care teams manage a patient’s treatment.


Alarm Management vendor that has built a next generation mobile platform that has been getting significant traction recently. Its open architecture allows seamless interoperability. Extension manages alarms, alerts and secure texting all under one umbrella to reduce alarm and interruption fatigue to improve workflow, response time and patient satisfaction.


mHealth prescribing platform trying to make sense of over 125K health apps and 1000’s of wearables and clinical devices. IMS’s goal is to help doctors know which apps will provide the best clinical outcomes for specific conditions allowing Providers and Health Plans to better manage their populations.


Mobile Interoperability platform that allows live remote monitoring enabling clinicians to access critical patient data whether they are inside or outside of the hospital. This innovative tool enables care collaboration and single workflow visualization to improve decision making. Airstrip’s goal is to provide clinicians with less overall data to quiet the “noise” but more actionable data to help treat patients effectively.


Real-Time Operational Intelligence vendor that focuses on RTLS/RFID, Asset Management, Workflow Management, Environmental Monitoring, Patient Safety and Infection Control. Having both a mobile and desktop platform, Intelligent InSites provides its customers with second to none analytics and dashboards to improve financial and operational efficiency, quality, regulatory compliance and patient satisfaction.

Overall the conference displayed state-of-the-art healthcare technology. The emerging solutions that the companies I met with have developed will undoubtedly change the way healthcare is provided. Most impressive, was the incredible passion of the people I met with for what their companies are doing to improve healthcare delivery. I feel so lucky to work in an industry where people are so passionate for what they are doing and truthfully, it is what drives me to wake up and come to work to talk to so many interesting people every day!

For more information about HIMSS 2015, contact Norman Volsky 440-996-0059 or nvolsky@directrecruiters.com

Matthew Cohen Interview Michael Best, VP of Software Operations at SClengery

Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader with DRI, intervbest-michael-smiews Michael Best, VP of Software Operations at SCIenergy, who shares his insights on how best to overcome the many obstacles in the energy analytics space.

The following interview was also featured on EnergyManagerToday.com. Click here to see the original article.

Overcoming Obstacles in the Energy Analytics Industry

The energy management software industry has transformed itself from a novelty to a necessity for building owners and managers in the last few years. The energy management software industry is thriving. It is moving quickly to adapt to a market that is experiencing exponential growth and building owners whose need for performance data has increased tenfold. I asked Michael Best, vice president of software operations for SCIenergy to share his insights on how best to overcome the many obstacles in the energy analytics space.

Matthew Cohen: How can an energy analytics company differentiate itself from its competitors in the current market?

Michael Best: Energy analytics on their own don’t actually change anything; they only give the information to change. End users that pay the fees to get analytics installed and configured need to be committed to make change. Energy analytics companies get the best results when they become the active energy managers for the end users and guide their customers with the help of the analytics to fix the most important things first and hold them accountable with constant communication and reports of their efforts. Once they see the success of their actions, they are much more likely to make policy change from that point forward. The value of an energy analytics company is its outcome, not just its software.

Matthew Cohen: What type of buildings are being underserved by energy intelligence software, and what can the industry do to change that?

Michael Best:
There are probably 80 percent of commercial real estate buildings in the market that do not have energy intelligence in them. The reasons could be…

  • There is no building management system (BMS) installed.
  • The value of the results of energy intelligence does not get acted upon.
  • There is no budget to do energy intelligence, fixes or retrofitting.

All of these problems can be overcome.

There are many ways to collect data from a building, such as a simple BMS system that provides scheduling, data collection and control. There are impressive documented savings for a building with a BMS versus those without a BMS.

The value in currency and in kWh from the data is vitally important to prioritize fixes, to show improvement and to measure and verify results.

If real-time miles per gallon is displayed in our vehicles, we change how aggressively we drive because we know it is hurting us in our pocket. This takes behavioral change and accountability. Likewise, if results are shown from energy intelligence and we do nothing, we will save nothing. Results need to be acted upon.

Matthew Cohen: As VP and a team leader, how do you attract and retain top-performing talent in the energy analytics space?

Michael Best:
HVAC is moving from being an old-school, manual industry to a “cool” big data industry and is starting to attract younger more technology driven industry.

The younger generation see energy big data analytics as a game changer for the environment, and that is driving the hiring process. The data side is also driving salaries a little higher, which helps retain talent. The sustainability side of buildings is attracting women to a traditionally male career, which is exciting as well.

Matthew Cohen:
What do you see as the next frontier for energy analytics?

Michael Best:
Integration to preventative maintenance or other CMMS systems via software application programming interfaces (API’s) is imperative and can bring additional checks and balances to help drive the behavioral changes needed.

The addition of the “Internet of Things” excites me immensely. Having the ability to add extra sensor data to analytics brings even more value. Being able to bring lighting, occupancy, plug loads, data center data, security, elevators, audio visual, parking, water management and irrigation, look up pricing, ADR and the smart grid using dashboards and digital signage to display the results in a meaningful non-confusing manner is the next frontier.

Doing all of this and not exposing the building to a security risk is of utmost importance, and one-way communication for the data outbound only is important. There should be no need to reach into a building to get the data, the building needs to send the data only; the rest is done in secure servers.

Matthew Cohen: As a leader in the industry, what is your biggest challenge in keeping pace with changes in technology?

Michael Best: We have only begun the big data analytics revolution, especially with all the additional potential sensors. I believe energy analytics companies can give time back to people running buildings by using technology, analytics and insight to drive savings and be their trusted technology advisors.

There are so many new technologies, new sensors, and communication protocols that they have no time to start to understand it. Let your analytics company do that for you and stay abreast with the growth explosion.

There are multiple barriers to adoption of new technologies — trust, privacy, security, protocols, value propositions and standards — but the opportunities for solutions and outcome services are endless.

matthew-cohen-square-web-shotMatthew Cohen
Energy Management Practice Leader
Direct Recruiters, Inc.

What Today’s Employers Expect From Employees

These days, employers look for skills beyond the ‘academic qualifications’ of candidates. Many of them believe that academic qualifications and experience are something that can easily be found but the right combination of characteristics that help a company make money or save money, are hard to find.

With that in mind, here are 6 of the most desirable characteristics that employers expect from employees:

Taking Initiative. Initiative is all about taking charge. It’s having the motivation to accomplish tasks on your own. If you want to be great at what you do and be considered for a leadership position, you need to show that you are ready, able, and willing to get things done without being asked.

Positive Attitude. Many employers believe that having a positive attitude is more important than the knowledge an employee brings to the table. A positive attitude is infectious. It spreads to all others in the workplace. Also, if you’re a positive person, you tend to be more curious about things. As a result, your job performance is usually better than a negative person because you are always looking for new ideas that yield higher productivity levels.

Entrepreneurial Spirit. Entrepreneurs are innovators. They are always trying to figure out new ways to accomplish tasks. Entrepreneurs like change because change often brings a plethora of opportunities. The essence of the entrepreneurial attitude is that you are able to anticipate change and formulate innovative responses to change that will result in success.

Results-Oriented. Results-oriented individuals are focused on making things happen no matter the challenges or road blocks. This means you dig through projects and figure out how to obtain the desired result(s). In addition, you stay resolute and focused on each project, meet deadlines, and deliver value to the organization.

Team Player. Employers know that their employees are more productive and tend to be more loyal and committed to the organization when they see themselves as an integral part of a team.  Team players show a willingness to collaborate with others in order to execute work assignments and accomplish goals.

Dependable and Responsible. Being dependable means that you do what you say you will do. Employers value employees who come to work on time and take responsibility for their actions and behaviors. In addition, employers know that dependable and responsible employees value their job, job expectations, and their performance level.

Desire for Continued Learning. Continual learning enables employees to increase the contribution they make to the company. If you show a willingness to take advantage of training programs offered at work, attend seminars, read relevant books etc. you become more valuable to every assignment and ultimately the organization. Also, don’t forget to ask for advice from your team and manager on things you need to learn in order to progress.

If you are a hiring manager, are there any other characteristics that you consider to be "must haves" in your workplace?  Please share your comments below.