Shortly prior to the Parker Seminars 2015 convention held January 29–31 at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, software makers ChiroTouch and Future Health released news of a merger between the two firms. As Chiropractic Economics was attending the convention as the official media sponsor, we took a moment to sit down with Robert Moberg, CEO of ChiroTouch, and Steven Kraus, DC, founder and CEO of Future Health, to learn more about this critical development.
First of all, we wondered about the thinking that led these two former competitors to join forces. “We’d crossed paths numerous times at major events and we both started thinking that this was a good idea,” Kraus says. “So I’d call it a mutual desire that made logical sense, that we should focus our energies together rather than expending competitive effort.”
Moberg agrees, seeing this as a natural outcome: “There was a time early in our existence when we walked away from each other; then we learned to walk by each other, but we found ourselves beginning to walk toward each other. And we asked ourselves the question: If we did this together, would we potentially serve the profession better?”
People with an eye on these firms might have noticed a spirit of cooperation emerging between them, but the official announcement was still unexpected.
“To put together an initiative like this, to take the two leading providers of a software platform and get them to see eye to eye does take time,” Moberg says. “But once we decided we were fully committed to go ahead, this was completed early this year.”
You might wonder if the risks of this kind of collaboration would outweigh the benefits. Kraus is unequivocal: “As a matter of fact, it was difficult to find any negatives. With any merger there is a consolidation of resources, so because of that there was some merging of similar positions, so that was really the only downside—otherwise it was all positive.”
So what will the new company look like? “We decided that the one company together would now be known as ChiroTouch,” Kraus says. “Because ChiroTouch has one of the strongest brand names in all of chiropractic and we didn’t want to lose that reputation.”
As a result, Future Health brought its SmartCloud product into the ChiroTouch family, and the headquarters will remain in San Diego with Moberg as the CEO and Kraus taking on the role of chief marketing strategy officer, with the majority of the operations being based in California.
With respect to customer service, as far as the two companies’ customers are concerned, the merger should have no discernable effect. “We’ll make every effort we possibly can so they’ll see no interruption in performance or service,” Moberg says. “In fact, they’ll probably experience a heightened level of service.”
Going forward, the new company will have powerful resources at its command. “One thing that was part of both companies’ visions was to utilize the data contained within each of the respective products,” Kraus says. “And with ChiroTouch’s new CT Quantify product coming out, individual doctors will be able to analyze the metrics within their own practice and compare themselves to others within their state and to make better business decisions and better clinical decisions.”
Moberg sees this in terms of a larger picture: “I think you’re beginning to see a paradigm shift in all of healthcare and this will certainly be the case in chiropractic. The opportunity for us to go back into our systems, and bring life to the data that’s been cataloged, is going to be a really powerful opportunity in the future.”
The territory ahead won’t be simple to navigate. “There are still deep issues in running a chiropractic practice,” Moberg says. “It’s become much more challenging—it’s not simply a patient coming in looking for an adjustment. New programs like ICD-10 coding, meaningful use, HIPAA concerns, interoperability demands, and others, it’s going to be up to companies that have the capacity to address these in the future to represent the profession’s needs.”
Kraus also notes that the two companies, now joined, are listening to their users: “We’re bringing experts in from all areas of practice management, so that we can bring better workflow features and technology to improve the efficiencies within a doctor’s practice.”