By: Charles Elmore
Put down the clipboard, Doc. Pick up an iPad.
That’s not quite how Modernizing Medicine Inc. puts it. But a venture that began with a tech entreprenuer visting a skin doctor and discussing medicine’s woeful paperwork inefficiencies four years ago now employs 145 people in Palm Beach County with revenues approaching $18 million.
“It needed to happen,” Cane said. “Technology hadn’t changed health care in the way it needed to.”
These days, Modernizing Medicine often stands atop lists of the area’s fastest-growing companies in business publications. Focusing on particular medical specialty practices, it puts technology in the hands of doctors in a way that streamlines documentation of medical notes, billing and patient records.
That can save hours per week in paperwork time for doctor’s offices, Cane says — and leave more time for dealing with patients face to face.
A customer in Georgia, Gwinnett Dermatology, has eliminated many of its paper records and no longer has to pay three people to transcribe notes recorded on dictation devices from its five doctors, practice manager Randy Haviland said.
“We’re definitely not going back” to the old way of doing things, Haviland said.
From the start, privately held Modernizing Medicine has collaborated with medical professionals including Yale-educated dermatologist Michael Sherling, a co-founder and chief medical officer.
“We have 18 percent of the U.S. dermatologists using our platform,” Cane said.
An iPad is a common choice for users, though it can work in a web-based version on other computers, he said. Market penetration in other specialities, such as eye doctors, is in single digits and growing, he said. Practices targeted for future growth include plastic surgery, orthopedics, ear nose and throat, rheumatology and gastrointestinal care.
Cane, 37, attended Lake Worth High School and Cornell and returned to South Florida to become what he calls a serial entrepreneur. He was one of three co-founders who launched Blackboard, a big hit in the business of managing online class material for universities.
The offices of Modernizing Medicine, located in Florida Atlantic University’s Research Park in Boca Raton, feature lots of open space, low dividers between desks, the occasional video arcade game and a room with exercise treadmills topped by flat desk surfaces.
The CEO’s office has a big glass wall facing the rest of the work space. That leaves Cane’s work, including scribbled notations on a white board, transparent to all, he said.
Married with three children who attend public schools, Cane said he’s a believer in what the region can offer in K-12 and higher education, though that’s sometimes perceived as a question mark for tech firms considering South Florida. In September, Gov. Rick Scott named Cane to FAU’s board of trustees. Though Cane is under 40, FAU Interim President Dennis Crudele noted he brings to the board “a vast amount of experience.”
Cane says the company’s software lets doctors see a patient’s history at their fingertips. They can call up a detailed map of the human anatomy and use the touch screen to indicate what they’re seeing and doing. The system quickly creates a record of an office visit, automatically preparing billing codes and prescription information.
If they wish, doctors or their assistants can simply point their hand-held computer at, say, a biopsy area, and take a picture with the camera inside the device to help document what they’re seeing.
With a “grand rounds” feature, they can compare, for example, what kinds of medications other doctors in the system are choosing for a particular ailment.
After set-up fees, the monthly cost is $650 per provider.
By design, the company isn’t yet profitable but is plowing its money into growth and development, Cane said.
“It’s cool tech,” he said. “More importantly, it saves time for doctors and I really believe it can help them find better solutions faster for patients.”
In revenue and employees, Modernizing Medicine Inc. of Boca Raton has been expanding rapidly.
Year/ Revenue / Employees
2010 $350,000 8
2011 $1.9 million 47
2012 $9.3 million 112
2013* $17.7 million 145
Source: Modernizing Medicine Inc.