-Welcome to The Future Adjustment: Chiropractic Economics Podcast series on what’s new and notable in the world of chiropractic. I’m Daniel Sosnoski, the editor-in-chief of Chiropractic Economics and our guests today are George Ahn, he’s the CEO of ChiroTouch. One of the foremost names in EHR software.
And he stepped into the role in the latter half of 2017. He’s got a wealth of experience as a software industry executive and nearly 30 years of experience, including leadership positions at PeopleSoft and IBM. And we also have with us, Robert Moberg. He’s the current President of ChiroTouch and he has overseen large-scale transitions and developments at the company for the last several years.
So, gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to have you with us today. I understand there’ve been some major changes afoot at ChiroTouch. And seeing as a lot of the things that your company does have a broad impact on the EHR industry as a whole, I thought it would be great to get you guys together and just kind of walk us through what some of the big-ticket items are from that 30,000-foot level.
So, George, thanks for joining us today. I understand you took on the role of Chief Executive at ChiroTouch when Waud Capital out of Chicago formed an investment partnership with ChiroTouch. Is that right?
-That’s correct, Daniel. And by the way, thank you so much for having me because it’s an honor for me to be here today. And that’s exactly right. When Waud Capital made an investment in ChiroTouch. And this is back in the middle of 2017. But what’s so exciting to me about this is it’s great for the profession, it’s wonderful for ChiroTouch.
When you have a major provider, like ChiroTouch, in the profession to be validated by a outside private equity firm and the significant investment they make, It’s such a great statement for the profession. And really, what I mean by that is as you think about it, you know, the reason one would invest in a company like ChiroTouch is because ChiroTouch has great customers, great clients.
It has an incredible product. And if you think about the product for a minute, one in three or more than that, one and three chiropractors is using the product. And it talks about the profession that we’re serving. We’re so committed to this profession. So, I’m excited to be a part of this. And it’s very unique because when you think of the investment and you think of a company coming into the profession to do this, they’re coming in to make an investment to make a difference.
And that’s really where I come into play. I’m honored also to be working with this great team here at ChiroTouch and you talk about our President here, Robert Moberg. I think he’s been with the company for 10 plus years and he knows the profession so well and very committed and I’m delighted to be working with him and many of the other members of the ChiroTouch team as I get to know more and more of our DC clients and I get to know more and more of our clinics out there.
It’s been very exciting to me to get to know them. And just is proving out our thesis which is this is a great profession. We’re excited about the clients we have, we want to continue to do a better and better job of serving them and doing everything we can.
– Yeah. And George, I understand you’re no stranger to the healthcare software industry. I believe when you were at IBM, International Business Machines, you were involved with migrating hospital infrastructure, the cloud-based analytics, aggregation, the Internet of Things. That kind of milieu?
– Yes. I was, Daniel. You know, one of the things I was very involved with was the Internet of Things there. And one thing that you know IBM does so well, and I learned so much from with IBM and my career at IBM which was been a part of my career. But IBM understands data. And I’ll tell you what’s really interesting about data is I think data in every profession and in every industry is going to become more and more important.
I mean, the chiropractic profession is no exception to that. It’s going to become more important. Think about it for a second. Just the reliability, and consistency, and purpose of the data to help a clinic, to help doctors to help them do their jobs. Being able to harness that data so, so important.
As a matter of fact, you know, Rob and I were talking about this. Robert was just on stage at CalJam, and this is one of the things that he was talking about. And maybe Robert, you want to spend a minute on this topic.
– Oh yeah, we’d like to hear it. What did you have to say at CalJam? – [Robert] It puts things back 20 years. Most all data was captured on a travel card, it went into a manila folder and stayed in somebody’s file cabinet. Opportunity for us to really be able to commingle or to coalesce that data into something that was going to be meaningful that we could report on was virtually impossible.
If not anything else it was cost prohibitive. So, what we’re really beginning to see is this opportunity for doctors that are moving and modernizing their practices and beginning to put every single patient visit that they have, every outcome that they create, and every treatment that they deliver into an Electronic Health Records where we have the better opportunity of getting the structured data back out.
And as George said, helping the doctor refine his practice and his deliverables. We’re also beginning to stand in the precipice of the opportunity and begin to speak more broadly for the profession and then enlighten a much broader audience of not just patients but also folks establishing policy and those making health care decisions, and chiropractic is something that can be and should be considered as part of their mainstream health.
– Absolutely. There’s been a broad movement now towards putting together wellness programs and corporate health programs. And those things really, when you look under the hood of what people are talking about, they’re talking about data. Today the stock market is down quite a bit because the whole healthcare industry took a pretty hard clip on the chin when the three big players: Amazon, Google, and Warren Buffett got together and said,”We’re going to try to bankroll a private health care system,” for their employees to try to get the big insurers out of there so they could get their costs lowered.
And when you talk about those people joining forces, you’re talking data. Big data, analytics. And it’s pretty clear that the doctor of the future is going to have to be very comfortable working with that kind of technology. And I know that’s a lot of what you guys have been hard at work on.
– And Daniel, to your point there. You know, one of the key things about the investment that everybody makes is you know, when you have a leading software platform and to invest in it with standards, integration, and to integrate the data, you know, one of the things we’ve recently done and made a significant investment was our policy certification.
And this is a really big thing for us. I think we’re the first in the industry but much more important than being the first is the fact that we’ve done it well and been very committed to this for so long. And it goes back to data points that we’re talking about, right? You and Robert were talking about this.
– And the EHR industry is a fast-moving one. You know, it almost felt like you guys only had a year to make a conversion from ICD-9 coding to ICD-10. That’s really remarkable. What are some immediate challenges that you both see ChiroTouch facing as a company?
– You know, most immediately what I see is just continuing to modernize and push the envelope for the doctors and providing them with stronger tools that are going to help them to manage the efficiency of their practice even better than we have done it in the past. So it’s really important for us to continue to also look at new technology, which is why it’s so important to have a firm like Waud coming in and invest to help keep us looking towards the future and where really is software going, where is this concept of interoperability and patients who are going to be able to understand what their healthcare was like both at the chiropractor, at the physician, at the oncologist and wherever they’re going to receive care so the systems can begin to communicate with each other.
The ability for most other software platforms to be able to maintain the investment necessary just to stay on really the leading edge of what technology is going to look like as you’ve talked about a couple of transformations we’re beginning to see, in next three to five years is going to be very very difficult. We stand really well positioned at ChiroTouch to be able to continue to not only deliver but define how some of that’s going to be done.
– Yeah. In the past two to three years I’ve seen a number of the smaller EHR players have sort of quietly left the scene or they’ve merged or taken some kind of defensive action. It’s a very hard industry to be in. One of the main newsworthy items that I saw happen recently at ChiroTouch was your announcement that you were moving away from a sort of a user owns the software and it runs on a server more towards a fully cloud-based subscription service.
How is the process of migrating the new infrastructure? How is that moving along?
– Well, it’s going along very well Daniel, thanks for the question because one of the things that as we move to a subscription-based service, if we take a step back on this for a second, we think about the profession, right?
For us, it’s all about the profession. We think about the doctors. It’s all about the doctors. It’s all about the clinics having an integrated system. It’s all about enabling them. And what we want to do is we want to give the doctors more time back. And the time could be to reinvest in their business or patient care or revenue growth where the time could be to spend more time with their families.
And one of the challenges that we had previously was…as you think about this, it was a very significant upfront investment required in order to use ChiroTouch. And we made a decision to make an investment in the profession to completely redo that and to eliminate, basically, that upfront investment.
Completely eliminated that. And we’re at a very simple, $249 a month. It’s available to everybody. And this was our goal which was to make the best software in the industry, in the profession to be available to everybody. And so that we can help them come back to investing the time back again into their families or into growing their system, they get a value, they get an integrated system and you know, if they’re a biller, they get this great system.
It’s even integrated to a clearinghouse and it can outpost for you. Right? If you’re a client coming in, it has self-check-in. If you’re the doctor, again the purpose of what you do and to be able to run this entire integrated system.
We just wanted to make this available to everyone. So it’s going very, very well. We’re excited about it. But to be honest with you, we also want to make sure that our goal here is to support this profession and the doctors. And so we’re not going to take our eye off the ball of continuing to do a better job of building great software and of supporting them better and better because that is the key to us, helping the profession and also for us being successful.
– Yeah. You mentioned an integrated system. I think yours is quite notable in that you do have a kind of like three packages in one. You’ve got the billing component, you’ve got the EHR, you’ve got practice management components. And so that’s a lot of bang for the buck. Chiropractic Economics is going to be attending the Parker seminars just about a month from now.
And anybody who’s attending that show I would recommend they go over to the ChiroTouch booth and just take a look at the software. I’ve had multiple demonstrations of it and I’ve used it myself, and it’s highly intuitive and quite easy to use. Always impressed by it, especially when I see the newer iterations and see the latest bells and whistles that you built into it.
Speaking of which, I know that that you’ve over at ChiroTouch HQ you’ve brought in a lot of new staff and engineers. Can you tell me about some of the things that they’re helping you accomplish now that you’re getting more manpower?
– You bet. This is one of the big investments we’ve done and we’re blending our new team with our established team. And the established team with such great skills and understanding of the profession and some new team that has great knowledge of software and of new ideas and things we can do. And it’s all along the line of the investment theme. And, you know, we’d love to see everybody at Parker because they could see this live.
One of the things that we’ve done very recently has been to invest in a significant upgrade in the software for ease of use and made a major improvement in our user interface. And you can see it and we get just rave reviews from our users where the users are the doctors or the CAs, and they so love for people to come by and see us there.
And, Daniel, we’d love you to swing by, we would love to show you that as well.
– But I think, as we think about is a significant investment. And the investment we’ve made…and I’ll give you just one one data point but it’s much more than this. You know, we’ve more than doubled our development organization over the last six months. We were already you know, again, probably the largest development organization in terms of our commitment to software. Commitment to the profession in terms of keeping up with standards, keeping up with all the integrations, keeping up with new things, keeping up with new technology.
And we’ve more than doubled that over the last six months as we grow and we want to provide more and more value for the profession. So that to us is key. And you know, you laugh about this a little bit, but systems and software can never be easy enough to use. And we’re going to continue down this path of making it easier and easier to use so that our doctors, they spend their time with their patients and the software or you know, hopefully, eventually, just can run itself.
And that that’s our goal.
– Yeah. I’ve had a chance to work in software program management myself and we have always had the saying ‘easy is hard.’ When you have software that’s very difficult to use you know that the engineers made it easy for themselves but not easy for the end user. And it’s nice when people like yourself take the opposite approach.
– Thank you.
– All right. I’d like to just close off with not necessarily pitching your own product, but just looking at EHR in general. If a doctor was just on the fence going like, “Well, you know I like my paper records. I don’t want to get involved with all this software, and training, and on, What would you tell them to help them make a buying decision?
– There’s, Robert – There’s probably a few things that are going to be more liberating to a practice that’s still on paper and doing things in the ways of the past than putting in an EHR that can help to bring the efficiency, that can help to bring more time. And it’s really been documented exceptionally well with our ChiroTouch users once they get started they really find that they find a great deal more time to go back and spend time with patients, liberate their practice to find new patients, and create real efficiency.
It’s something that you don’t really realize until you’re in the middle of it. And it’s really been proven true in ChiroTouch just time and time again. The other thing I would tell them is that the opportunity for them to have access to this data, the data we’re talking about that’s modernizing practices, modernizing the course of care, and making their data become part of a much larger picture about chiropractic is critical.
And if they are not part of it and they’re not part of an EHR, then they’re not really getting the full advantage. And you mentioned something too, Daniel. It’s also an EHR that’s kind of a full end to end solution at ChiroTouch. Where we do all the scheduling, we do the billing, we do the [inaudible] management, we do all of the claims adjudications. We’ve really become inculcated deeply inside of the practice to create really the true efficiency.
So it’s really powerful. And as you’ve stated, with the opportunity now, with Waud here to open that up and no longer is it an $8,000 or $10,000 software, it’s now $249 a month software. The reason’s to avoid are really becoming significantly diminished. And the opportunity for the gain that comes from it is just really revealing.
– Well, great. Well, this is a topic that we as a media company continue to return to again and again. It’s important and it’s complicated. And it’s always a pleasure to have experts like yourself kind of come in and you know, give us the real managerial overview and a deeper understanding of the subject as a whole.
George Ahm, and Robert Moberg, I want to thank you both for spending this time with us today. It’s’s been fascinating to look behind the scenes of one of the driving forces in chiropractic software. You’ve given us a technological look. At The Future Adjustment</i>, I’m Daniel Sosnoski and we’ll see you next time.