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Web-based Simple Admit aims to streamline pre-admission process

By Eric Reinhardt

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BALDWINSVILLE — Daniel Coholan recalls it was a simple conversation that led to what is now Simple Admit, LLC, a company he co-owns in Baldwinsville.

For much of his career, 26 years, Coholan had been the sole owner of De-Tec, Inc., a distributor of medical equipment.

The idea for Simple Admit resulted from a quick conversation between Coholan and one of his previous customers, who indicated one of the biggest problem she was having as a surgery-center director “was getting patients in the door,” according to Coholan.

Coholan then began to wonder how his company could make sense of that problem or what it could do to solve it.

“And when we found out the amount of time being spent on that [gathering patient information], we thought that was a real good avenue to pursue to see if we could come up with some sort of fix,” he says.

Simple Admit, LLC, which does business as Simple Admit Management, is a web-based admission system that Coholan started in 2009.

The firm operates in a 4,000-square-foot space at 45 Oswego St. in Baldwinsville in a building that Coholan owns, he says.

De-Tec, Inc. had operated in the same space that Simple Admit now occupies.

Coholan is the majority owner of Simple Admit and business partner, Michael Horning, who had worked in sales for De-Tec, Inc., is a minority owner, according to Coholan.

 

How it works

When a health-care provider, such as a surgery center or physical therapist, is ready to schedule a patient for a medical procedure, that office will direct the patient to log on to Simple Admit’s website.

The patient will then enter his or her preoperative-health history, providing answers to questions that would have taken a nurse several phone calls and several minutes to gather.

“We’ve now alleviated that part of the process,” Coholan says.

At the patient’s convenience, he says, that person can submit their information online, including medical history and any medications the patient is taking at the time.

“Usually a patient will do that [part] weeks ahead of their scheduled procedure, which gives the facility the ability to contact that patient if any changes need to be made,” Coholan says.

When patients prepare for a physical-therapy procedure, for example, they spend half of their first office visit filling out paperwork before the therapy even begins, he says.

An average surgery center schedules about 500 procedures per month, according to Coholan, who contends Simple Admit saves those centers about 20 minutes per patient.

“You can let your nurses be nurses, not have them chasing patient information,” he says.

As of July 11, 120 facilities in 32 states, including surgery centers, physical therapists, and hospitals, are using the Simple Admit technology, and a few million patients have used the system, Coholan says.

In Central New York, Upstate Orthopedics, LLP and Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists, both located in DeWitt, are among the company’s clients, he says.

Simple Admit clients pay a monthly subscription fee for the web-based service.

“It depends on the size of the facility [and] number of patients; there’s a lot of variables in there,” he adds.

Coholan says the fee ranges from $500 per month to higher figures depending on the services a client is buying, which could include an automated-call service for contacting patients, along with patient follow-up, patient-satisfaction surveys, and patient-educational videos that the firm can stream to clients.

Simple Admit is working to boost its sales and marketing staff, but is spreading the word about its product in other ways.

“Most of our business comes from just contacts through trade shows,” Coholan says.

He’s also generated business from contacts he’d made in his earlier days as the owner of De-Tec, Inc., Coholan says.

“We’re too thin as far as staff is concerned to accomplish a lot of things we’d like to, but we’re getting there,” he says.

 

Hiring plans

Simple Admit employs nine full-time people, including four people who serve in a programming role for the software. Coholan wants to add eight additional full-time employees before the end of 2013.

The company would like to hire three new employees for programming duties, three employees to serve in sales and marketing roles, one to oversee bookkeeping, and another to focus on customer-service duties, he says.

“I expect that we’ll … add about that many people again in the first half of next year,” Coholan says.

CenterState CEO on May 31 announced an award of $150,000 for Simple Admit in the Grants for Growth program. The company will use the grant funding to hire the new employees, Coholan says.

In developing the Simple Admit product, Coholan initially sought help from First Consulting, Inc. of Rochester, a firm operated by Art Roberts, a classmate of Coholan when they attended Westhill High School.

He asked Roberts if his firm could build software that would help health-care facilities become more efficient at getting patients in the door.

A year-and-a half later, Coholan says the thought process evolved from a software package to “a web-based application, a secured, HIPAA-regulated, web-based application that could be continually dynamic, continue to be built, continue to be reviewed as to what the next level of things we wanted to add to it,” he says.

Simple Admit decided to have its own employees continue the work in early 2012, Coholan says.

HIPAA is short for the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, part of which protects the privacy of information contained in an electronic personal-health record, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Coholan declined to disclose the amount of revenue that Simple Admit generated in 2012 and the amount projected for 2013.

The market that Simple Admit serves has “significant opportunity” because less than 10 percent of the facilities in the market are “doing anything electronically,” he says.

Out of the 6,000 accredited surgery centers nationwide, only about 500 or 600 are using electronic technology. Simple Admit could have contracts with up to 1,000 clients in the next few years, depending on its level of technology, Coholan says.

 

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

 

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