2011 Start-Up of the Year Starts 2012 on a Roll
It isn’t necessary to look through a crystal ball to see that big things are ahead for technology startup Healthcare Productivity Automation (HPA), an innovative company that has earned a place on the leading edge of healthcare technology by successfully using “virtual” robots to automate repetitious payment tasks.
In December, HPA collected its second prestigious award from the Nashville Technology Council, which recognized the company as 2011 “Start-Up of the Year.” In 2009, the local organization honored HPA as the “Innovator of the Year.”
Commenting on the second annual award for a company in only its third year of existence, HPA CEO Sal Novin remarked, “It is such an honor to be recognized once again by the NTC.” Referring to NTC’s iconic guitar-shaped trophy, he quipped, “This new award will look fantastic alongside the 2009 trophy!”
Novin continued, “Most people think of Nashville as the country music capital of the world, but there is also an incredible, thriving high-tech industry here. It’s a thrill for me personally, and for our company, to be part of such a talented group of individuals who are shaping the future of our region and our economy.”
Tech Council president and CEO Liza Lowery Massey said, “We are thrilled to once again recognize HPA for its novel technology and unique approach to solving one of the most complex challenges of our time — the rising cost of healthcare.”
The growing number of healthcare companies signed up to work with Franklin-based HPA’s signature Health Mason platform understand the advantages to using robotic automation tools for increased efficiency in processing billing and claims.
The company uses virtual robots able to handle huge amounts of healthcare data and process claims quickly and accurately. Unlike human ‘data processors,’ robots don’t key in numbers incorrectly or come to work tired or cranky. Using robotic solutions enables HPA to scan, sort, and verify myriad medical claims from clients around the country more accurately and faster than they had previously been able to do with human hands and eyes.
HPA’s cloud-based platform dramatically reduces administrative expenses, speeds payment flow and reduces processing errors as it gathers useful data.
The robotic payment processing solution recognizes the tiniest of blips in processing huge amounts of “big data” and identifies a pattern of microscopic errors.
Novin, who grew up in Canada and abroad, came to Nashville to work for HCA after earning an undergraduate degree in biophysics with an emphasis on statistics. Always fascinated by automation and process, order and logic, he brought a creative vision and imaginative solutions to tame billions of bits of information into a manageable, accurate and timely process.
His new company has made a big splash quickly by creating a platform to automatically and continuously analyze huge amounts of claims data in real time while it is being processed. In this economy, every company, industry and organization is looking for ways to control costs, and nowhere more intently than in the healthcare sector. Amid the ongoing debate about healthcare reform, there is little dispute that making healthcare more affordable has to be at the center of the solution.
“But, in searching for ways to cut costs without compromising care,” Novin observed, “many in the industry overlook billing errors as ‘small potatoes’ … thinking of these mistakes are just an inherent part of the system. A $5 error here or $15 mistake there may not seem like much of a problem, and frankly, often costs more to fix than to overlook.”
Novin continued, “But when the same $5 or $15 error is repeated thousands of times a week, it really starts to add up.”
Human error is responsible for most of the billing mistakes, usually resulting from processing slip-ups that can occur when rules are not followed correctly or consistently.
Automating the process can eliminate “people” errors from the equation, but Novin noted, “In cases where the process itself is flawed, massive data sets will show up the inaccuracies. Our solutions can analyze the process itself and correct it to actually improve it to make payments consistently accurate.”
Novin recalled, “One thing that really interested me in school was a statistics course in industrial quality control. At the time, the healthcare industry was more concerned with revenue and increasing utilization than in cutting costs. The search for savings hadn’t really hit the industry.”
He added, “My life’s work is in improving productivity through technology —automating the work that people do with machines, essentially robotizing a workforce. The fundamentals are technology, automation, productivity.”
However, he continued, “It’s not about replacing someone; it’s about taking away the enormity of redundant work.”
Instead, Novin said, “Automation improves quality tremendously and allows a company’s employees to work on what they should be doing to begin with —handling more complex tasks.”
He concluded, “Remember the old television program, The Jetsons? We can see life where you can push a button to let machines improve the quality of repetitive work, and people can handle more complex tasks.”