Friday, August 14, 2009

Year-old Columbus IT firm helps doctors organize their paperwork.

CENTRAL OHIO SOURCE - The Daily Reporter, Inc.

Daily Reporter Staff Writer

Keeping track of paperwork at a doctor's office is no easy task, but a Columbus-based information technology company has developed a system it says helps keeps medical records better organized.

Using a Web-based system, Updox's application provides physicians a single platform on which they can store and share documents.

"A health-care practice deals with a lot of documents that go to labs, pharmacists, patients. Lots of information changes hands and we help with all of those tasks," said Mark Shary, founder and chief executive officer of Updox.

The company was formed a year ago and has since grown to serve 50 doctors' practices, including ones in Canada and the Caribbean.

"It's not very difficult. You log in, there's a trial available and then you can sign on," said Shary.

He said there's little training involved and there are no software installations or records conversions.

Using a Web site rather than software makes the process easier for all parties, he said.

"It's an easier way to deliver systems to the masses. It's far more effective than trying to deliver software to everyone," Shary said.

A Web-based system also helps eliminate the use of phones, faxes and e-mail by relying on one delivery system, he said.

"Physicians deal with a lot of paperwork that takes up a lot of their time and it can be frustrating. This makes it easier for them," said Shary. "It's kind of an amalgamation of technologies. In one place all of this information is managed. That right now all happens in a lot of different ways. This is all in one place."

He said the system is not truly an electronic medical records system and that it actually helps incorporate those electronic records into the system.

"We're helping electronic records do their job," said Shary.

Items on the Web site can simply be "dragged and dropped" when moving them and recurring tasks can be streamlined.

The system also makes it easier to communicate with physicians' contacts.

"It also helps when they cross borders, when the office needs to communicate with patients, nursing homes, other offices," said Shary.

The company relies on its existing clients to spread the word about Updox but it also uses other software companies to drum up new business.

The physicians, however, are the main target and Shary said it's to their own benefit to get their partners using Updox so they're all on the same system.

"They think if they want to share information it's easier with this, so they have an incentive to (encourage) others to use it," Shary said.

The cost for the system ranges from $49 to $99 per month.

The new company, which recently received funding from TechColumbus, is hardly Shary's first time on the ground floor of a business.

In the 1990s, he helped start HUBLink, a software company that sold applications to hospitals and has annual revenues of about $5 million. The company eventually merged with an Atlanta firm.

Before starting Updox, which now has five employees, Shary worked for several years helping new companies get started. He also previously served as chief strategy officer for, a successor to HUBLink.

Though much of his career has been spent around the IT industry, he studied accounting at the University of Notre Dame. He landed in Columbus in the early 1990s when he came to the city to work for Ernst & Young.

Along the way he's always had a yearning for the entrepreneurial life.

"I enjoy building things, helping them grow," said Shary. "I've been doing this kind of stuff for about 17 or 18 years."


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