The Omaha-based health tech company Phynd Technologies is digitally transforming care delivery networks with a consumer-centric provider information platform that promises to reduce health care system costs while increasing revenue.
We live in a digital age; thus, we expect that any data we seek should be readily available at our fingertips, and at most, no more than a few mouse clicks away. Unsurprisingly, this also includes information searches on healthcare providers and healthcare services.
Tom White, Phynd Founder
Patients are medical consumers. Clinical excellence is no longer the only criteria these consumers seek in a provider or in a healthcare system. Accessibility, convenience, and affordability of service are also very important determinants of patient choice. However, information of this kind about providers is can often be trapped in healthcare information silos as well as less reliable than most of the other medical material found online. Patients regularly struggle to find appropriate providers, information about their specialties and what qualifications they have, as well as determine their location and availability.
Tom White, an entrepreneur with extensive experience in the health tech arena, founded Phynd Technologies and launched a SaaS platform in 2013 as a solution to these major deficiencies in reliable healthcare provider information services.
Though originally from Texas, White was persuaded to incorporate his company in Nebraska where he began a partnership with venture capital firm, Invest Nebraska, an evergreen funding resource for state entrepreneurs. Phynd first established its offices in Kearney, leveraging already developed relationships with a local software developer, as well as with the computer science department at the University of Nebraska in Kearney. The company decided to centralize its operations at The Piano Building in midtown Omaha in 2018. Kearney remains a satellite site.
Phynd currently has two other offices – one in Dallas, Texas and the other in Atlanta, Georgia. According to White, having a presence in multiple markets is very helpful for recruiting necessary talent. Phynd has job placement offices in all three major cities. He considers Omaha to be, “a really good market for us to recruit from.” The company provides high-paying tech jobs and has worked with the state to promote Nebraska as burgeoning tech hub. In 2016, White represented Nebraska at the White House Roundtable to discuss solutions to the rapid transformation of the labor market in rural communities.
“We were all talking about how you turn farmers into coders,” commented White.
He has been involved in the rural sourcing initiatives that encourage businesses to outsource their technological services to rural locations with relatively low cost of living and operating expenses, a cost-competitive alternative to the negative consequences of off-shoring operations overseas.
“Part of our mission is to work on sourcing tech development in Nebraska, building a strong tech presence in the state and doing that in partnership with the state,” he further added.
White is proud of the IT job creation that Phynd has promoted in Nebraska. This partnership has led to substantial support from the state. To date, the company has raised $13 million in funding in which Nebraska investors factor in significantly.
At present, the company has 42 employees and 20 full-time contractors.
White and his brother, Peter White, fellow co-founder and current CPO of Phynd, have partnered on prior health tech initiatives. They have a knack for recognizing opportunities to improve communication channels in the healthcare space. Previously, they developed a critical test results communication platform for diagnosticians which was eventually acquired by Nuance Communications.
Phynd uses updated information for each active health care provider registered with the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES), that is the National Provider Identifier (NPI) registry, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) database. The Phynd platform combines it with data regarding health plans and networks and provider availability, plus 500 additional pertinent details into a single provider information management platform, Phynd 360°. Phynd 360° communicates all the decision-making information a consumer needs to select and book a provider in real time. Phynd’s National Provider Network now includes 4.6 million providers.
“The model of healthcare has historically been these large hospital campuses designed in the past with the idea that patients would drive up, park, and then look for the office that they are supposed to go to; this can be fairly difficult and is analogous to hunting around for parking and the right store at a shopping mall. Focus has previously been on new buildings and new machines. And just as Amazon has changed the game for shopping, we are looking to change the model for healthcare,” explains White, “Consumers expect a transactional system, and that is what we are delivering.”
White explained that just as in retail, consumers are also driving this transformation from a traditional physical footprint to a digital one in healthcare. There is increasing demand by patients for upfront control in the administration of their care. And this starts with provider selection.
White continues, “At Phynd, we help the hospitals change their system by offering a unique solution. Phynd collects all the information on their providers, their locations and the services they offer, build these really deep profiles, and develop a clinical taxonomy with a smart vocabulary that is consumer-friendly on top. We then serve that up through an API into their website. We also include an open-slot availability inventory, quite similar to an Amazon search experience. Our platform gives patients the ability to close a transaction, by actually booking an appointment in real time online. And that is unique!”
As stated on the company website, “Your providers are your product.” Phynd provides patients, healthcare professionals and staff the means to access the all the information they need to find the right professional, at the right location, at the right time.
The Baylor, Scott & White Health System, based in Dallas, Texas, is the 11th largest healthcare system in the country, with 50 hospital between Dallas and Austin. They were the first health system to use Phynd’s platform.
“If you search right now on their website homepage,” said White, “the latest MRI or CT machine or charity event that they are doing is not featured. It actually brings up a search page with a search box that asks what the consumer wants to do…and then that’s us. We are the engine and the data that enables that search experience to happen.”
Since implementing Phynd’s consumer centric model, Baylor, Scott & White Health has experienced an uptick in transactions. More appointments are made online and with greater accuracy due to Phynd’s taxonomy. This resulting greater patient activity manifests as revenue for the health system. Not only does Phynd customize the platform for their clients, but the company also helps is clients package up the search engine to present to any employer in their market. Phynd provides its clients with the tools to sell narrow-network employer-based health plans, which are becoming more common.
White explained the process. “Baylor, Scott & White Health can go to, for example, American Airlines, which is one of the largest employers in their market with twenty-five thousand employees, and offer to sell them a dedicated health care plan that is a Baylor Scott & White branded plan. They can plug the Phynd search engine directly into AA’s employee portal, giving employees an improved user experience when accessing health care information. We’re giving tools to the healthcare systems to go sell $100 million-dollar revenue opportunities to employers.”
Besides Baylor Scott & White Health, Phynd’s clients form a prestigious list that includes New York-Presbyterian, Yale New Haven Health System, Duke Health, Michigan Medicine, UNC Health Care, Orlando Health, Kettering Health, Mt. Sinai Health System and Cornell Health in New York, comprising over 300 hospitals and 20,000 care locations.
Phynd has also partnered with several leading entities in the healthcare and tech space to reinforce their transformative mission. This includes Amazon Web Services (AWS) that securely powers the Phynd 360° platform, American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to verify provider credentials, as well as Healthwise and the Drupal Association to enhance content development and management, respectively. Phynd also collaborates with leading Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendor Epic. Integration with Epic’s system provides Epic users in the various health care systems with access to Phynd’s provider network.
The consumer driven digital transformation of our healthcare data networks is happening. Phynd is leading the way.