When things go sideways in healthcare and someone’s life is on the line, nobody runs to the closet where the policy binders are stored to flip through pages checking for best practices and an approved course of action. Because of the difficulties locating this vital information, doctors, nurses and other well-meaning clinicians must sometimes just follow their training and do what they think is best at the time, which could open them and their employers up to lawsuits if something goes terribly wrong and their patients don’t recover.

PolicyStat, a Carmel, Ind.-based software-as-a-service provider, has solved this problem for hospitals and other healthcare organizations. PolicyStat’s software manages and disseminates “the playbook” of policies, procedures, and other vital information, making it as easy to access as a Google search. It’s also device agnostic so health workers can access what they need from any computer, tablet or smartphone.

PolicyStat’s software-as-a-service makes it as easy as a Google search to find policies, procedures and other vital information from any device.

Steve Ehrlich

Steve EhrlichPresident of PolicyStat

“It is incredibly gratifying to help improve the state of healthcare delivery – an area of the economy that has historically lagged in embracing IT solutions. We are having a positive impact on people’s lives even though we aren’t touching the protected healthcare information in medical records,” Steve Ehrlich, president of PolicyStat said.

“We now live in a post-document world where it is critically important to get information into clinicians’ hands quickly and easily, enabling them to do their jobs more effectively.”

In addition to making vital information easily accessible and reducing the risk of lawsuits, PolicyStat streamlines the licensing and accreditation process for healthcare organizations with built-in policy development workflows, review and approval notifications, collaboration tools and reports. Use of the software also helps to standardize and increase the quality of care by shortening the distance between caregivers and the information they need.

Not every situation is life or death. However, overall quality of care can be improved by using the PolicyStat offering to push out “best practices,” and ensure consistency from department to department or facility to facility. Quality can also be adversely affected by job place frustrations like spending precious time searching for a specific policy using an antiquated or poorly designed system and still not finding what you’re looking for; PolicyStat effectively eliminates such frustrations.

With close to 1,000 hospitals, surgery centers, labs and other healthcare organizations now using PolicyStat’s software nationwide, the company has proven its value in the healthcare space with a remarkable 99 percent renewal rate among existing customers.

PolicyStat was a very early adopter of cloud-based operations for its software-as-a-service offering. While other software companies were resisting or reluctantly dipping a toe in the water, PolicyStat had already live-tested its platform with Amazon Web Services, and ultimately moved its entire operations to the AWS cloud in 2008. It’s a decision that has helped the company achieve unbelievable reliability recording just one single minute of down time for all of 2014.

PolicyStat has focused on serving primarily hospitals for 10 years — and there still are significant opportunities across the healthcare spectrum, including ambulatory surgery centers, home healthcare agencies, hospices, and other organizations in all segments of the post-acute market. According to Ehrlich, despite PolicyStat’s focus on healthcare several organizations in other regulated industries have also adopted the PolicyStat solution to manage their policies and procedures; for example, the company’s customer base includes universities, manufacturers, food processors, real estate agencies, government agencies, credit unions, data security companies, and community action agencies, among others.

Mark Boxberger (left) and Wes Winham accept the 2014 Mira Award for excellence and innovation in health technology.
Mark Boxberger (left) and Wes Winham accept the 2014 Mira Award for excellence and innovation in health technology.

Originally founded in 2006 during a consulting engagement with an Indiana-based hospital, PolicyStat got serious about building the business when Ehrlich and Wes Winham, a brand new Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate at the time, were both persuaded to join the team in 2007.

Ehrlich, whose experience included management positions at Software Artistry and Aprimo, had just exited Autobase following an acquisition. Winham was “a real student of startups,” Ehrlich said. “Even as a student, Wes was already a serial entrepreneur working on a venture (a virtual asset exchange for World of Warcraft Gold) when we were introduced and everything came together like clockwork.”

That would be the last bit of good luck and good timing PolicyStat would experience for a while. Two weeks after Ehrlich joined the Great Recession hit, and the following year in the midst of raising initial angel investments Lehman Brothers collapsed, venture capital dried up, and pinching pennies became more necessity than style.

In 2009, however, a new customer agreement with St. Vincent Health opened doors to investments from HALO Investor Group and the 21st Century Fund (now Elevate Ventures). Mark Boxberger, vice president of client services, and Rob Vaughan, vice president of business development, joined the same year, and PolicyStat started on a growth trajectory that included double- and triple-digit growth for consecutive years.

After 7 years of bootstrapping and moderate influxes of capital, PolicyStat crossed the cash-flow positive barrier in 2013, and the company started collecting accolades for innovation like the 2014 TechPoint Mira Award for health technology, the 2014, 2015 and 2016 “Best Places to Work in Indiana” award from the Indiana Chamber, and a spot on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in 2015.

The Indiana Chamber has recognized PolicyStat with a “Best Places to Work in Indiana” award for consecutive years in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Today, PolicyStat employs 67 people in total including 26 full-time staff, 10 permanent part-time employees, and a large roster of part-timers and interns who continue to work a few hours here and there from home or from their respective college campuses. Every quarter, as many PolicyStat team members as possible also come together to give back to the community for some kind of volunteerism or community involvement project. The company has supported several non-profit organizations in the community, paying particular attention to those causes important to PolicyStat team members.

“We’re very happy to be providing employment to that many people,” Ehrlich said. “We’re proud of building a business that has fiercely loyal customers and employees who rate their work experience so highly. We really take nothing for granted by making gratitude a way of life at PolicyStat, seeking to give back to our community in every possible way.”

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