2013 Bioscience Innovation of the Year Winner:
eMerge Health Solutions

Rory Glynn, Courier Contributor

You’re not a gastroenterologist. Just play one for this story.

Pretend your favorite part of the job is racking your brain to recall all the details of a procedure you just performed, then painstakingly dictating those notes for someone else to transcribe, all to add another report to the piles of paperwork your office produces. If that were the case, then Emerge Health Solutions might not be for you.

But what if someone had the technology that allowed you to document procedures in real time, using sophisticated voice software to record everything step by step, automatically generating more accurate reports, improving continuity of care, making billing easier and saving time and money?

Then Emerge, designed by GI specialists for GI specialists, is, well, just what the doctor ordered.

“We cover the full workflow from when a patient first walks into the building: pre-op, procedure, recovery,” said Trent McCracken, CEO of Mason-based Emerge. “We’re the first in this space doing this. We’re definitely way ahead of where the market is.”

The advantages of Emerge’s technology also benefit:

• Nurses, who can concentrate more on in-procedure patient care instead of note-taking;

• Pathologists, who get samples automatcally labeled clearly and accurately, and can transfer analysis back to patient records electronically;

• Administrators, who trade piles of paperwork for a secure, paperless, cloud-based work environment;

• And patients, whose confidence in the continuity of care is boosted by not having to answer repetitive questions at each stop along the way.

The streamlined process allows a complete report to be produced before the patient is even out of recovery.

“We’d get calls, referring physicians wondering if this was accurate because it was just 30 minutes ago,” McCracken said. “They’d tell us, ‘We’re not used to getting these reports until next week.’”

McCracken said the company’s catalyst was an elite group of GI physicians looking for a more efficient, comprehensive way to document procedures, in part because any part of a procedure that a doctor forgot to account for after the fact went uncompensated.

Emerge uses keywords to activate the system, so normal conversation between doctors and nurses doesn’t interfere.

Another advantage Emerge offers is that its cloud-based technology not only produces a 100 percent paper-free environment, it also drastically cuts upfront costs.

While there are some expenses related to training and implementation, they are a fraction of the acquisition and IT costs of a on-premise system, McCracken said. Once on board, clients pay only for monthly operating costs.

“We get good feedback on this. Our demos certainly have the wow factor,” McCracken said.

McCracken realizes “wow” isn’t for everyone, and not everyone always embraces new technology. “If you take a doctor who’s been practicing for 35 years and has two to go until retirement, that guy isn’t going to want to change,” he said.

For that segment, Emerge offers customization that can produce traditional, after-procedure reporting with more conventional drop-down menu-based selections, McCracken said. But he’s found that’s a relatively small segment of the marketplace.

“This company is still in its infancy, but we’re getting traction,” he said. “My competitors are companies still doing everything on paper. We’re essentially changing the paradigm of how medical procedures have been documented for the past century.”