ATA Start-Up Zone showcases new concepts

The Exhibit Hall pavilion promises to show off the latest in telemedicine, telehealth and mHealth concepts
By Jeff Rowe
01:38 PM

AUSTIN TX – One way or another, the entrepreneurial impulse plays a role in pretty much any economic sector. But few sectors can claim to be a "work-in-progress" to the same degree as the telemedicine space in healthcare.

At the 2013 Annual ATA International Meeting & Trade Show, attendees will get a chance to see just how the entrepreneurial impulse in telemedicine is impacting healthcare at the first-ever ATA Start-Up Zone in the Exhibit Hall.  

According to Sandy Hung, the ATA's director of corporate relations, more than a dozen new companies will be showing their products and services in the Start-Up Zone. As she sees it, there's a direct relationship between the growing number of telemedicine users and the number of entrepreneurs who are willing to take a chance on making a contribution to, and a profit from, the rapidly expanding market.

While there's no particular definition of the term "start-up." one of the exhibitors in the Start-Up Zone that qualifies is Bozeman, Mont.-based CrossTx. According to Cynthia Lencioni, director of marketing and business development for the company, CrossTX "just recently came out of beta, and we got our first paying customers last month."

As with most start-ups, the age of the company doesn't mirror the experience of the stakeholders. Lencioni, for example, was a healthcare attorney back in the early to mid-1990s, "when there wasn't a whole lot of law out there guiding people," and after a stint on the leadership team at the Stanford University Medical Center, she joined CrossTX.  

The company provides cloud-based software via which, Lencioni said, "a tremendous amount of information can be shared" between providers who might need to collaborate with other providers but don't have the means to afford the latest EHRs.

"We provide a bridge between providers," Lencioni said, "which can be used for anything from treatment planning to second opinions to care coordination."

Given that her experience in telemedicine extends back, with interruptions, well over a dozen years, Lencioni can offer some perspective on where telemedicine has been and where it may be going.

"I think it's really fascinating," she said. "There have been a lot of entrants to the field, but I think there's going to be a little bit of a shake-up. There are a lot of overlapping value propositions, (and) companies are going to need to demonstrate why limited dollars should be spent on any given solution."

She suggested that change will come as some companies leverage their resources effectively while others "may fall by the wayside" due to a lack of backing.

With that challenge in mind, Lencioni said CrossTX hopes to take the opportunity provided by the ATA Start-Up Zone to talk to potential partners, get new evaluations of the company's service, and learn about best practices from others who have just arrived on the telemedicine scene.

Other companies slated for the Start-Up Zone range from Forefront TeleCare, which focuses on delivering psychiatric and clinical psychology services to smaller providers, to iRxReminder, which offers a mobile app designed to facilitate the exchange of medication data for continuing care and research purposes.

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