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Indiana's Potential as a Leader in Healthcare Tech

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
 

Across Northern Indiana, healthcare companies and job opportunities are growing rapidly—in many places, faster than any other sector. From new hospitals under construction to new assisted living campuses, it’s easy to find examples of how healthcare is growing. But this growth creates demand beyond more nurses and doctors; there’s also a growing and as-yet largely untapped opportunity for the healthcare tech industry that supports healthcare facilities’ operations. Chris Byers, CEO of Indianapolis-based Formstack, thinks Indiana can seize that opportunity. We will continue our update on this industry.

The explosive success and high-profile acquisitions of local businesses such as ExactTarget and Interactive Intelligence have put Indiana on the map as a rising hotspot in the technology industry. Thanks to a growing talent base, software-as-a-service innovations and a healthy desire to solve problems, our collection of marketing tech businesses stack up against any state in the Union. Add to that the headquarters of one of the largest health insurance providers in the country (Anthem), the nation's largest medical school (IU School of Medicine) and a globally recognized hospital system (IU Health) - not to mention a not-so-healthy population (we're the 11th-fattest state in the U.S.) - and you’ll start to see why Indiana is becoming a leader in the healthcare technology industry as well.

Local companies such as Formstack, Healthx and Springbuk - among others - are at the forefront of innovation and growth in the healthcare tech space. Consumers are demanding more from healthcare, and the system is slowly beginning to bend toward their requests. Historically, healthcare has been strictly reactive: you get sick, you go to a doctor, and you receive treatment. Thanks to the numerous ways technology has infiltrated our everyday lives, that’s beginning to change. Healthcare is becoming more proactive and on-demand. Millennials, in particular, have welcomed the abundance of new technology into their lives, and they expect technology such as electronic medical records, mobile apps and online data to give them an easily accessible, complete picture of their health - any time, anywhere. Indiana’s healthcare tech companies (TechPoint currently lists 43 of them, and the number is growing) are working to make that vision a reality. We’re moving from the idea of taking care of health issues as they arise to the constant optimization of a patient’s healthcare.

Obviously, there are some big problems to address before we get there. Security is a major concern for the general public, as there’s a new data breach seemingly every week. For all of the worries about cloud security, though, the greatest threat to healthcare data security is still human error. Paper forms are the number one cause of breaches. Within healthcare facilities, each paper form is handled by an average of four different people - exposing patient data to risk of human error or outright theft. HIPAA compliant online forms are not only more efficient and more convenient for modern patients and healthcare providers, they’re also more secure.

Another serious issue is data quality and consistency. Over the years, health records have been collected and organized so haphazardly that even when tech firms receive access to data, it’s often such a mess that synthesizing it into useful formats is extremely difficult and time consuming. This obstacle will fade with time: the human race has created more electronic data in the last ten years than in all of history before it. HIPAA compliant online forms help in this matter, too. Data quality and consistency is improving every day, which is good news for future generations. In the meantime, healthcare tech companies will be required to collaborate freely in order to develop useful, convenient solutions for customers. This teamwork has already begun within the Indiana healthcare tech scene, but in order to truly take the lead on a national stage, transparency and openness amongst firms will be essential to our progress.

Currently, there is much debate within our country about the future of our healthcare system. The government will not solve the issue of pulling healthcare into the modern age; the task of transformation will be left to the private sector. Traditional models will be challenged and newer avenues, such as telemedicine and mobile healthcare, will need to be explored. Indiana already has a strong lead, thanks to its robust community of innovative healthcare technology businesses. Continued growth and collaboration across the state will help us evolve as leaders in an emerging industry with enormous global impact.

Chris Byers, CEO

Formstack

www.formstack.com