After a tough year, eHealth Technologies is on track for accelerated growth, says CEO Jeff Markin.
“Toward the end of the summer, into the fall, organizations started opening up again, and patients felt comfortable actually going in to get care,” he says. “So, as we came into the third quarter last year, we had largely rebounded (from) effects of COVID in the business.”
The Rochester-based provider of medical record retrieval and organization and image-enabled health information exchanges recently hit a milestone: 2 million patient requests. In other words, cancer and cardiac patients as well as those who were receiving organ transplant were able to receive diagnosis and treatment promptly, without delay in medical record collection, sorting, summarizing and review time.
“The work we do is pivotal for getting them on the path to their care plan,” Markin says. “And our customers work with us because with the work we do they’re able to get those patients in much quicker. You know, that’s a win for everybody. It’s really all about the patient at the end of the day.”
It took eHealth 12 years to reach its first 1 million patient requests; the firm needed only three and a half years to add the second million. Markin says the shorter time to reach the 2 million milestone reflects the expansion of its client base. The company has 93 clients who use its record retrieval expertise across 30 states, up from 11 when it first launched in 2006. It has 15 image-enabled health information exchange clients. Health care organizations that work with eHealth include big names such as MD Anderson Cancer Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
eHealth Connect helps hospitals organize referred patient medical records—facilitating providers’ access to clinical information for patient treatment plans. The company’s image exchange assists health information exchanges with the same goal by providing access to imaging studies. Easy access to organized medical information is a boon to clinicians, Markin observes.
In 2019, eHealth found a new owner in Aldrich Capital Partners, a Virginia-based investor. At that time Markin said eHealth would use ACP funds—$41 million—to ramp up growth and research and development. The slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed eHealth to focus on investing for the long term.
“While the pandemic hit us, impacted our business, we chose to take advantage of it in terms of investing for the future,” Markin says. “And so as we’re coming out of pandemic now, we see ourselves are very well positioned going forward to accelerate our growth. … We’re looking to take our sort of foothold in many of these large organizations, these prominent health care institutions, and adding additional services that complement the services that we’re doing today.”
He expects double-digit revenue growth at the private company, which added to its staff during the pandemic in sales and in an offshore location in Hyderabad, India, where technology and back-office teams are located. eHealth added a site in southwest Viriginia as well, bringing total employment to roughly 400 people. In Monroe County, the firm employs 267. In July 2017, Empire State Development gave eHealth up to $2 million in performance-based Excelsior tax credits in return for job retention and creation. The firm committed to retaining 215 positions and adding up to 160 new full-time jobs over the next 10 years. Officials say eHealth is on track to meet that goal.
eHealth aims to grow by adding services for existing clients. Its technology roadmap includes a foray into clinical trials management, which Markin views as an unmet need, and deploying artificial intelligence tools.
“Clinical trials is an area looking at, along with how we use natural language processing and AI, to provide some decision support to the clinicians that are using the information that we’re providing,” Markin says. “So that work is going on now on our roadmap, and we look forward to bringing it out later this year (or) early next year… which should accelerate our growth.”
COVID has pushed health care organizations into the digital age, in turn helping companies like eHealth. For example, remote work has resulted in an acceptance of secure transmission of information. Organizations that were once closed to the idea of telemedicine or data access off-site are now more open to those possibilities.
“In the post-COVID environment, people have gotten comfortable with it as long as the appropriate security measures are in place,” Markin says.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.