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Inside Innovation: Meeting with the CEOs of iTriage and Aidin

by Michelle Mangino, Social Media Manager

I spent some time up in Maine last month with attendees of the 3rd annual MDP conference. I listened along as 60 CEOs from health care IT companies across the country shared their struggles, successes and passions for disruptive technology. This rare opportunity to get in front of some of the most innovative minds in the industry came at the hands of More Disruption Please (MDP), our innovation and partnership program aimed at like-minded entrepreneurs, health care IT companies, investors and thought leaders.

During the event I was fortunate enough to grab time with the winner of this year’s MDP CEO Pitch Contest, Russ Graney, CEO and Co-founder of referral management system Aidin. Also, I had the pleasure of connecting with the 2012 winner Peter Hudson, MD, the CEO and Co-founder of consumer health care technology apps iTriage. Each explains what winning the CEO Pitch Award has meant for their startups and how it has—or will—impact their future. (Learn more about the MDP CEO Pitch Contest and judging criteria.)

Peter Hudson, MD shaking hands with Russ Graney after Russ won the CEO Pitch Contest

athenahealth: Tell us about your pitch to the judges and attendees at the 2013 MDP Conference.

Russ Graney: Whenever I have the opportunity to share our work with health care experts, I try to emphasize how Aidin addresses the requirement that hospitals reduce readmissions from post-acute care, while fitting into and optimizing a workflow already in place in hospitals today. Having gone through the experience of choosing post-acute care for a loved one, I also explain how Aidin benefits patients directly, and provides insights to post-acute providers that allow them to improve their overall quality of care. Ultimately, Aidin is about creating transparency in the post-acute provider selection process and aligning all the parties' interests around the patient—so we attempted to quickly and clearly explain that in the pitch.

athenahealth: What business problem do you think your technology will help solve?

RG: Aidin directly helps hospitals reduce their readmission rates, avoid delayed discharges, and improve patient satisfaction. Over time, Aidin also incentivizes post-acute providers to improve the quality of care they offer their patients, meaning better patient outcomes across the continuum

athenahealth: How will you use your accomplishment as the 2013 CEO Pitch Contest winner to fuel your growth into the next year?

RG: I am incredibly excited to work with the MDP team at athenahealth to identify the appropriate integration into your cloud-based network and pilot opportunities. We hope to have the chance to deploy our services to athenahealth clients and demonstrate the impact our shared work can have in the enterprise space.

We get calls and emails from hospital social workers, patients and their families every day asking if we are available in their neighborhood. We hope that with athenahealth as a partner, we will be able to expand more quickly and help more people move through their post-acute selection process.

athenahealth: What has been your experience since becoming integrated onto the athenahealth network as an MDP partner?

Peter Hudson, MD: Since winning the Pitch Contest and becoming an MDP partner, the iTriage team has worked collaboratively, side by side, with the athenahealth team to develop an integrated Physicians Appointment Booking interface that is currently approaching general availability. The teams have worked together seamlessly to deliver additional value to athenahealth clients, and we both believe the relationship is a model for future partnerships.

athenahealth: What has the last year taught you about your business strategy?

PH: The health care industry is quickly moving toward a value-based, patient-centric model, yet costs are still too high. The past year has taught us that it’s more critical than ever to continue to reach and engage patients and consumers to help them control their costs, and make better, more informed decisions about their care.

athenahealth: What advice do you have for Russ based on what you’ve accomplished since winning in 2012?

PH: There isn’t an owner’s manual for making a great idea come to life. But using your experiences to find your passion can help you understand where you can make a difference. Look for passion in your work, be persistent, chase after the big problems and do something meaningful. As the leader of a health IT organization, you are in a position to disrupt and advance positive change in an industry whose traditional approaches simply aren’t working. I would encourage Russ to “Do what you can’t not do."

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