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Care Coordination: Innovating from Experience

by David Harvey,

Today, we finalized our acquisition of Proxsys, LLC, a cloud-based care coordination service based in Birmingham, Ala. This move enables us to launch our newest service offering, athenaCoordinator. To understand why athenahealth has taken this step, you need to know the story of the Proxsys founder George Salem.

In 2004, George found himself in need of medical care.  His primary care provider wrote orders for George to get some lab work and visit a specialist. Eventually he was admitted to a local hospital.

And so began George’s first-hand, labyrinthine journey through today’s fragmented health care system…

His primary care doctor, the lab, the specialist and the hospital were all on different practice management and EHR systems.  Each time he arrived at a new facility, he was an unknown quantity.  No one had advance knowledge of his identity, his medical history, his demographic information or even the reason for his visit.  He was lost in a care coordination maze.

George had to keep retelling his health story, filling out forms, having redundant blood work and vitals recorded. He was shuffled from waiting room to waiting room and facility to facility.  He had to fight the battle of getting his key documents faxed from one place to another. He had to help coordinate his own care between his providers, his insurance company and the facilities he visited.  The pre-authorization process with his insurance carrier proved to be particularly vexing. 

To top it off, George had no idea what was wrong with his body or what he could expect to pay in medical bills. As he explains today, he literally walked into the hospital with no idea how much he would be spending on his procedure.  The anxiety only added to the stress he was feeling about his health condition. 

Thankfully George ended up getting the right care despite all the frustrations, and he’s doing well today. And while athenahealth is fueled by a relentless passion to find flaws in the health care system and fix them, we recognize that there is excellent care available, provided by committed professionals. 

After George’s 2004 ordeal, he set out to fix care coordination and created Proxsys to do just that.  At athenahealth, we are in the business of finding and fixing the things that don’t work the way that they should in health care.  And when we find kindred spirits like George Salem and his team, we just get closer to the vision of creating a national health information backbone that helps make health care work as it should.

Our website provides more information about our acquisition of Proxsys and the launch of athenaCoordinator.  We believe we’re on track to significantly improve care coordination within health care communities. We think we can eliminate much of the frustration and anxiety that patients like George and so many others have known. Let us know what you think!

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