PRESIDENT & CEO
Combining Passion and Purpose to Engineer New Ways to Provide Care When—and Where—Patients Need It
Vinay Deshpande is an engineer by craft. But what makes him an inspirational leader and innovative software developer is the passion he has for using his talents to improve the delivery of healthcare in the United States.
As chief executive officer of Bizmatics, a leading electronic medical record and telehealth provider headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, Vinay’s 35-year career in the field has been driven by passion and purpose.
“You get great satisfaction from doing something you care deeply about,” he says. “When you get into healthcare, you’re doing it for reasons beyond that it’s a profitable market. You must find that passion; otherwise, you will always be looking and never really be satisfied with what you’re doing. You need passion to maintain your curiosity to move forward.” Watch Full Video Here ▶️
Technology Ready-Made for the Coronavirus Crisis
When he started the company in 2002 with his friend and business partner Rajiv Apte, Vinay, who holds a master’s degree in computer science and electronics engineering, knew that their solution needed to be web-based and “omnipresent.” It needed to be flexible enough to work on the different types of hardware and devices that you find in a typical medical clinic, from desktops to laptops to mobile devices. This forward-thinking approach has helped the company make a name for itself in an industry crowded with medical record solutions.
And, this innovative spirit has proven to be useful as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Because tens of thousands of patients can’t see—or are too afraid to see—their physicians in person, many are forgoing medical care altogether. This has the potential to exacerbate current medical issues while delaying preventive and diagnostic care. The flip side is that healthcare professionals can’t schedule appointments the way they once could, affecting the bottom line and threatening their viability. Telemedicine is revolutionizing the way patients see their healthcare providers and how clinicians practice medicine.
“When the first COVID-19 spike happened, we were ready for it. We were able to provide telemedicine solutions quickly,” explains Vinay, who previously founded two other successful business ventures. “In just two weeks, we deployed telemedicine solutions for 450 customers, providing 30,000 patients with a way to communicate with their providers and get potentially life-saving medical treatment.”
By being nimble during a challenging time, Bizmatics helped patients maintain a secure lifeline to their physicians and created more treatment avenues for those suspected of having COVID-19. Concurrently, physicians were empowered to continue running their practices at a time of uncertainty—and get paid by insurance companies for those patient encounters.
The Beginning of Bizmatics
Of course, the digital healthcare movement didn’t start with the COVID-19 crisis. Companies like Bizmatics have been improving the delivery of healthcare for more than 20 years. What once seemed like something out of a science fiction novel is now commonplace. Today, patients can go online, review their medical histories, renew their prescriptions, make appointments with their providers, and even video conference with physicians—all on a secure, encrypted connection. And, with the advent of wearable devices like Fitbit and Apple Watch, they can send vital information to their care team 24 hours a day.
But it wasn’t always like this. In 2001 shortly after 9/11, Vinay was visiting his cousin, a physician in New York City. He noticed that the hospital’s computer terminals and software were sorely outdated.
“It seemed clear that healthcare was lagging behind when it came to technology,” Vinay remembers. “Finance, utilities, and telecommunications all had cutting-edge, sophisticated systems, while healthcare was still in the stone age from a technology standpoint.”
Seeing an Opportunity to Meet a Need
Looking for a new professional adventure, Vinay did some research and saw a significant gap in the technology available in the healthcare industry—and an opportunity to develop a product to fill it. There was an immediate need for more robust, easy to use, and accessible tech solutions for healthcare workers. He turned to Apte, “the technology guy,” to help build the software that became the company’s flagship product: PrognoCIS.
For about seven years, the team talked with physicians to get input about what features the solution should include. They built their product to be easy for everyone to use, including physicians, nurses, billing clerks, and front-desk schedulers.
“We intentionally focused first on ease of use because it would have the biggest impact for healthcare workers,” Vinay explains. “We wanted to develop a solution that would help clinical staff be more efficient, not create a barrier that would hinder their productivity. Physicians gave us ideas that jumped started our design process and provided direction about what the healthcare industry needed most.”
Partnering with Other Experts to Deliver a World-Class Solution
In addition to talking to clinicians, they also partnered with revenue cycle management, e-prescription, and payment processing companies to learn how their solution could automate the many moving parts of a clinic. They looked at work processes at the front desk to the middle office (which handles scheduling appointments and processing payments) to the back office (which is tasked with billing) to the clinical team to the pharmacy. These collaborative partnerships enabled Vinay and Apte to create customized solutions for their clients. This has included building an interface to connect with a company’s preferred billing software and combining existing front-office products with Bizmatics’ technology.
“Understanding a client’s problem and analyzing the issues calmly is important,” Vinay explains. “Once we understand the scope of the problem, we collaborate with the right people—whether it be customers, IT staff, support staff, or engineers—to solve it. Working as a single team to provide the client with the right tools is critical, and it’s what sets us apart from our competitors.”
To market the solution, Vinay and his team set their sights on medical practices instead of hospitals, which typically have longer sales cycles. While the company’s main focus is the continental United States, it’s open to working with customers across the globe. In fact, Bizmatics Inc serves more than 150 practices in the Caribbean, including primary care, pediatrics, urgent care, plastic surgery, podiatry, and veterans’ health practices in Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Jamaica.
Technology That Is Changing Healthcare
Thousands of healthcare professionals now use PrognoCIS to keep their offices running efficiently and to ensure their patients get the best care possible. The solution is used by ambulatory practices of all sizes and specialties throughout the United States, including those delivering pain management, occupational medicine, internal medicine, family practice, and OB/GYN care.
The comprehensive clinic automation solution includes an electronic health record (EHR) system, a billing and practice management system, and a fully integrated telehealth system. In short, it serves as a complete IT solution for practices and clinics. Using PrognoCIS, practitioners can screen patients, update records, view test and imaging results, handle billing, and take payments—all from one secure, digital solution. The software frees up medical staff to focus on their most important task—caring for their patients.
“I’m driven by the idea of providing software solutions to physicians that enable them to work effectively and efficiently without them even noticing the underlying software or needing to divert attention away from patients,” Vinay says. “Seeing such solutions work flawlessly in a clinical setting gives us immense satisfaction.”
Telemedicine Is the Key for More Efficient, Responsive Care
As for finding ways to apply telemedicine technology to the practice of medicine, Vinay is just getting started.
“COVID-19 amplified the need for telemedicine. There are still disparities in certain regions of the United States where Americans don’t have access to healthcare. Telemedicine opens up possibilities for what might otherwise be underserved communities,” he explains.
Physicians who typically see 35 patients a day through traditional office visits might see 45 patients when incorporating telemedicine solutions into their practice. They no longer must go in and out of exam rooms all day. They can see patients one after another through the telemedicine interface, increasing their productivity and efficiency. Telemedicine also can improve medication compliance.
Further, today’s telemedicine solutions are more than just a video-conferencing interface. They now include features that make it easier to complete the administrative tasks that go along with practicing medicine, including patient registration, scheduling, e-prescribing, refill authorization, and reviewing labs and radiology reports.
Chronically Ill and Children Can Benefit from Remote Healthcare
Chronic care management is another area that is poised to improve with telemedicine. Most experts agree that people with chronic medical conditions like COPD, heart problems, or diabetes aren’t managing their disease well right now. The new technology that makes remote monitoring possible can save lives and reduce the number of untimely deaths, according to Vinay. A technology-enabled solution can monitor these patients and send alerts to their care providers when patients are not compliant or have an emergent medical issue that may otherwise go undetected.
In another example, Vinay envisions a world where a school nurse examines a child and then uses telemedicine at the school to connect with the child’s provider. “Remote monitoring has the potential to extend patients’ lifespans,” says Vinay. “That is a powerful proposition.”
The Future of Healthcare
Regarding the future of American healthcare, Vinay thinks there’s ample room for improvement.
“Because the healthcare industry comprises such a large part of the country’s annual GDP, it’s the subject of ongoing political debate,” he says. “However, our healthcare system isn’t as advanced as other developed countries. We have a long way to go.”
In addition to an increase in the use of remote monitoring, Vinay also predicts that personalized medicine will be an area for growth. The biopharma market is creating medications for individual patients based on their specific genetic markers, an advancement that is changing the way we treat certain cancers. While the R&D process for biologics is still expensive, he thinks technology will improve the process—and reduce costs—in the next 10 years.
Physician use of artificial intelligence (AI) also will increase, says Vinay. Physicians can determine a diagnosis based on symptoms obtained using artificial intelligence as a screening tool. However, software and peripheral technologies will need to work together to improve the accuracy of AI, and the industry will need to collaborate on a set of standards.
“I think remote monitoring, personalized medications, and artificial intelligence will be key elements in changing how healthcare is delivered,” explains Vinay. “We’re already starting to see some evidence of that, but in 10 or 20 years their impact will be much more prevalent.”
An Unwavering Mission and Vision
For Vinay, his mission is clear: To enable providers to deliver the best healthcare to the population at affordable prices using the latest technologies. His vision to build an easy-to-use, configurable technology platform that can be customized to meet the needs of clinicians and patients has been realized.
As for the future of Bizmatics and PrognoCIS, the company is always looking to expand its product based on feedback from customers. They’re watching the market, too, to see what innovations are needed. The company is working on adding voice commands to PrognoCIS so clinical staff can focus more on the patient and less on typing up their notes on a laptop in the exam room. With EXEC interface block (EIB) technology, which drives commands in an application, and voice recognition, healthcare providers will be able to add information to the electronic health record without stopping what they are doing—an enhancement that will improve the patient experience.
“Sometimes technology gets in the way of a smooth-running practice. We were committed to developing a product that wouldn’t hinder the operation, and we’ve seen that pay off for our customers,” Vinay says. “We continue to enhance and expand our features to meet the changing needs of modern medical practices.”
Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence
Another goal is to simplify how clinical data is collected, stored, and viewed in the medical record. Currently, each patient has reams of documentation from third-party sources like lab results and notes from other physicians. Those documents are typically scanned into the record, which makes reviewing every part of the medical history before a patient encounter arduous. Bizmatics plans to use AI to filter information through various disparate sources of patient data and extract only the information that’s relevant. Physicians will receive a comprehensive summary of critical clinical information for each patient without physically going through every screen and scanned document.
With this technology, for example, a physician could see what medications a patient has taken over the last 10 years and pinpoint any potential sensitivities or interactions. Physicians could see what medical issues patients have had throughout their lifespans and look for specific conditions in the past that might lead to a diagnosis in the present. For instance, did a patient have rheumatic fever as a child? Could that explain a cardiac problem they are having as an adult?
“Engineered properly, AI will bubble important information up to the surface where physicians need it, so they can go into a visit well-informed about a patient or even uncover patient trends,” Vinay explains. “Better access to clinical data can—and will—improve outcomes.”
His ultimate goal is to use his passion to make healthcare more accessible, more affordable, and more precise.
“My hope for the future of this country is affordable healthcare,” Vinay says. “That’s still a big problem here, and I think providing affordability is what we do. By creating remote solutions—telemedicine solutions—we will bring down the price of visits because patients don’t need an office to visit for healthcare. Patients get access to medical care where they need it when they need it. We’re building bridges while breaking down walls.”