Up and Comers 2016: Ingenious Med: Mobile Data Solutions at the Point of Care

May 31, 2016
Not every company highlighted in Healthcare Informatics’ Up & Comers is a recent startup. A case in point is Ingenious Med, which Steve Liu founded way back in 1999.

Each year, to accompany our Healthcare Informatics 100 list of the largest companies in U.S. health information technology, we pick six fast-growing companies that we think could have a significant impact on the industry in the years ahead. Indeed, some of our picks have gone on to much bigger and better things. A 2013 pick, Health Catalyst, is having a major impact in the data warehouse and analytics space. Another from that year, Explorys, is now part of IBM Watson Health. One of the companies we chose in 2014, Evolent Health, is now publicly traded. This year, promising approaches include applying machine learning algorithms to clinical variation and the move to web services to address interoperability.

Not every company highlighted in Healthcare Informatics’ Up & Comers is a recent startup. A case in point is Ingenious Med, which Steve Liu founded way back in 1999 when he was starting a career in hospital medicine in the days of the Palm Pilot.

The Atlanta-based company started with a focus on mobile tools for charge capture in hospitalist medicine at a time when both “hospitalist” and mobile tools were new concepts. “It was the right time, right place, right market, and we grew pretty quickly,” Liu says. “We focused on adoption and physician workflow.”

Steve Liu

But what started as a one-man company has grown gradually to more than 200 employees and the focus has broadened. What began as a coding tool to help with billing has evolved into a wider platform that enables care coordination and logistics. With its One by Ingenious Med (IM1) platform, charges are captured and bills are submitted at the point-of-care via a mobile app. Revenue cycles are then managed via back-office revenue cycle tools designed for billers and coders.

“We started with a focus on data capture at the point of care embedded in physician workflow,” Liu explains. “About five years ago we came out with Coordinate, which is highly focused on getting clinicians and people supporting them on the same page about patient logistics.” The mobile app provides care teams with real-time messaging, customizable flags to identify at-risk patients and patient-sorting capabilities. The tools are all cohesive and oriented toward things you don’t do in an EHR. They help with things that physicians could spend five extra minutes thinking about, but often do not, he adds.

One turning point for the company came seven years ago when it brought in Hart Williford as president and CEO, with Liu remaining as chief medical officer. “It allowed me to focus on product and strategy and him to scale the company,” Liu says.

Williford felt strongly about focusing on the data warehouse and analytics offerings. “We are capturing something like 2 million individual encounters with claims information on a monthly basis,” Liu says. “One in six hospitalization discharges goes through our system, so we are capturing an incredible amount of data. From that, we can get granular metrics to help practices and individual physicians improve.”

Ingenious Med, which won a 2015/2016 KLAS Category Leader for Mobile Data Systems, has grown to serve 42,000 multispecialty users across the U.S., including eight of the 10 largest hospitalist management companies as well as nine of the top 10 national healthcare systems. Last year it received additional venture funding from Ascension Ventures, Heritage Group, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and North Bridge Growth Equity.

Although the company has expanded its scope to multi-specialists and enterprise-wide deployments, Ingenious Med’s presence in the hospitalist space remains key in the era of accountable care. “They take care of 80 percent of all hospital admissions and the highest risk and highest cost patients,” says Liu, who continues to work as a hospitalist at Scripps Health in San Diego. So although hospitalists are the minority of the company’s users these days, they represent a powerful client base that can move the dial on national costs.

“One in three hospitalists is on our platform, so if we can get them to change a behavior to lower cost or improve quality, we can move the dial,” Liu says. “That is exciting.”