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Kearney-based Phynd onboards major customers and seeks competition

Last November, SPN profiled Phynd Technologies, a healthcare data management startup based in Dallas and Kearney, Nebraska. We recently had a conversation with Founder and CEO Tom White following the announcement of two new major customers, Prime Healthcare based in California and the University of Michigan Health System.

“Our market is really the large, urban academic centers so we cover the whole state,” he said. “We want the biggest buys first, if you will.”

The two newest customers will use the Phynd Enterprise Provider Data Management (EPDM) solution to manage data from nearly 100,000 providers across 50 hospitals in 15 states.

“Provider data sits at the core of all hospital operations,” White said. “The Phynd EPDM solution enables our clients to improve care coordination, revenue cycle, and provider search for marketing purposes.”

Phynd EPDM addresses a fundamental challenge faced by hospitals: their provider communities are constantly changing. It is estimated that 2.4% of all providers change addresses or other contact information every month, and 30% change their hospital or practice group affiliation every year (Melinda Beck, “Health Insurers to Face Fines for Not Correcting Doctor Directories,” Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2015).

“The system allows clients to manage all of their providers like physicians, physician assistants, and other licensed professionals,” White said. “The Phynd database is directly integrated into financial and marketing systems.”

The reason for this challenge is a change in the industry from a hospital location-centric model to decentralized networks of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

“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.”

Last quarter, Phynd launched a consumer-facing module called Phynd a Doc that leverages the integrated provider database with search functionality.

“A good use case is the provider search on Duke Health’s web site,” White said. “All the data is from their Phynd database. We’re looking at what else they can do with it for marketing and web sites. It’s better quality data.”

What does the competitive landscape look like?

“The market we’re building is our own category of software,” White said. “The competition from the start has been do-it-yourself, trying to manage the problems themselves.”

White said he’s seen at least one direct competitor emerge on the east coast and he thinks that’s good.

“We want to seek out competition, that means there’s a healthy ecosystem,” he said. “If you’re the only one, you have to explain why they need the product. They realize they need it through our competitors’ marketing, and now it’s a bake-off.”

White is in Dallas and the Phynd sales team is distributed and works remotely, but ties to Nebraska remain strong. The technical team, developed through a partnership with custom software company Xpanxion, is headquartered in Kearney. The company is also part of the Invest Nebraska portfolio of companies.

“Kearney is our brain trust,” he said. “That’s where the smart engineers work, building all our software.”

Phynd continues to enjoy a strong internship arrangement with the University of Nebraska-Kearney that supplies a pipeline of technical talent.

“We have expanded our partnership with UNK,” White said. “We bring on two interns a year and just hired a recent graduate for a data analysis position, a good-paying job.”

The College World Series in Omaha has provided another avenue for Phynd to bring people into the state.

“We talk a lot about doing our first user group meeting in Omaha during the CWS,” White said. “We have a lot of help in Nebraska that makes it unique. We’re working on it again for 2018.”

“We want to do local and bring people into the state,” he added.

Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.

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