As the landscape of U.S. health care changes, startups are emerging around patient monitoring, nursing practices and managing information about licensed providers.
“The geography of providers is shifting away from hospital location-centric, said Tom White, CEO and Founder of Dallas and Kearney, Nebraska, startup Phynd. “It’s moving to a network that goes out and recruits a bunch of providers to be members of an ACO (accountable care organization).”
This creates a significant challenge in maintaining accurate, secure and accessible provider data for a network that increasingly relies on referral instead of on-staff providers.
“The provider networks are growing and shifting in ways that hospitals wouldn’t have thought about 15 years ago,” White said. “They need to integrate provider information into clinical, financial and marketing systems.”
Information about specialists at referral centers such as the University of Nebraska Medical Center needs to be integrated with systems across the state.
“Someone in Kearney with an acute condition may be referred to a specialist elsewhere,” White said. “The system needs to manage information about providers working in, around or referred to a health system.”
Phynd provides a cloud-based, highly secure platform to unify provider management across internal systems.
“As they add providers, or have new information on providers, they use our tools to update their database,” White said. “Then that updates all the others.”
The Kearney-Dallas connection
Why is Phynd’s headquarters in Kearney, Nebraska?
“The reason we’re in Kearney is a partnership with Xpanxion,” White said. “They built our platform for us.”
Community leadership was also a factor in the decision to open the Kearney location.
“They said, “Hey, you should come out and meet with the economic development folks, the mayor, the state,” White said. “We figured out it would be a great place to build our development team.”
It also provided an opportunity to get involved with rural sourcing, an area where Xpanxion has long been an industry leader. White recently spoke to executive leaders on the topic at the White House.
“We want to invest in and drive rural sourcing,” White said. “Leveraging smart people and a great work ethic with good jobs that pay $70,000 to $90,000.”
White said the higher expense and sheer magnitude of Dallas make it hard to recruit there.
“It’s a very expensive market and you have to set up your office in the middle of 5 million people,” he said. “It’s hard to recruit people to come into an office.”
Not such a big deal in central Nebraska where many people are used to driving some distance to work.
“It’s easier in Kearney,” White said. “People come to work there, collaborate, share. I’m always amazed how far people drive in Nebraska.”
Like many IT companies in the community, Phynd has forged a good relationship with the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
“We have two ongoing internships with computer science students at UNK,” White said. “We hire upon graduation, it’s a rolling internship.”
The nature of Phynd’s development process is such that they also look for people with aptitude who can be trained.
“We have a specialized process to find people we can train in our industry,” White said. “Frankly, we’ve hired a couple of guys that worked at Radio Shack.”
Phynd is White’s third software startup in the last three decades. The first two were sold off, and Phynd has raised $3.1 million to date through a seed round and Series A financing led by Dallas Venture Partners.
“What we’re doing is a new, novel concept,” White said. “There’s no competition. We’re in the forefront of health care IT right now.”
Update: An earlier version of this story stated that Phynd’s headquarters are in Dallas. Kearney serves as the company’s official headquarters (h/t Invest Nebraska)
Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.