One of the fastest-growing companies servicing the vast health care industry isn’t exactly a household name for the general public. But while you won’t see any commercial spots for this firm airing during the Super Bowl, Kno2 has been scoring points among the many thousands of end-users who have quickly embraced its cloud-based clinical document exchange platform.
How does a 30-employee organization based in Boise, ID, gain such tremendous traction in an industry that is one-sixth of the nation’s GDP? Quite simply, there are no other technology providers who offer the complete scale of the Kno2 solution. Kno2’s simple approach effectively consolidates the process of sending and receiving electronic medical records (EMR) between providers spanning the entire health care ecosystem.
But the lack of direct competition offers no source of comfort for Kno2 CEO Jon Elwell. His approach to business and technology is to continually push forward the development and enhancements to the Kno2 solution as if there were a pack of competitors nipping at their heels. Kno2 has built the perfect EMR exchange machine, and Elwell knows the competition will come, sooner than later.
For now, Elwell is amazed at the constant positive feedback Kno2 has received from the health care community, which in and of itself, has validated the firm’s reputation. Not to mention name recognition.
“The last 12 months have seen this holistic engagement in health care where a very small company has created a significant name in interoperability,” he said. “We’re viewed as a leader, people come to us for insight, advice, and understanding of how to use our technology to solve that vexing problem in health care. It’s been this massive realization of who Kno2 is in the marketplace, on a very lean marketing budget. That’s been a huge accomplishment and all of the employees here take great pride in that.”
While Kno2 has a staggering wealth of experience pertaining to the health care vertical, it also proudly boasts roots in the information technology, document management, and professional services industry spaces. Elwell formerly served as the vice president of health care at the Technology Services Industry Association. Prior to that, he spent 17 years with IKON Office Solutions, then Ricoh, following its acquisition of IKON.
The Kno2 organization, originally called Osmosis and then Inofile, was founded in 2009 by Therasa Bell and Dane Meuler. Elwell later worked with the company in an advisory role, intrigued by the thought of taking its technology at that time—hardware-based, unstructured to structured conversion—and moving it to the cloud in an exchange configuration. It was all about the movement of a clinical document, and not just the consumption of it.
“I made a strong recommendation to the board that it would require a significant capital infusion to bring what would ultimately become Kno2 to market, and what that opportunity looked like in that space,” he said. “In 2013, we made significant capital investment to take the internal technology to the cloud and emerge with what we have today. I was asked at the same time, given my view of the opportunity, if I would join the company as CEO. It was a simple decision for me, because I knew what we were sitting on.”
The Kno2 platform is disseminated through two channels: the integration of its API via health technology vendors or subscription through its website portal. Users are assured of HIPAA compliance, as each network that is integrated into the Kno2 solution, such as OpenText’s file infrastructure, already meets HIPAA standards. Any content that travels across the Kno2 network is encrypted and secure from the point of creation to the point of submission. Kno2 also employs an authentication certification (LOA3) process for identification proofing that all customers must meet, with third-party partner Equifax providing the verification.
Kno2’s technology serves virtually every subset of the health care universe, with partners in the post-acute space (skilled nursing, long-term care, behavioral health, etc.), emergency medical services (EMS, patient ground and air transportation), referral management, release of information, accountable care organizations and numerous others. On the hardware side, Kno2 has three vehicles to exchange interoperable content: OpenText RightFax and MFPs manufactured by Konica Minolta and Xerox.
Konica Minolta and Xerox have a user interface in the form of a “Share Patient Information” button on their health care MFPs to enable the transmission of a document to a recipient in EMR form as opposed to a fax. The document can be associated with a patient record because of the metadata attached to the transmission, Elwell noted. Every MFP device comes with a Kno2 subscription that, when activated, provides full cloud functionality for sending and receiving from the cloud and desktop, as well as the MFP. The end user is then added to an aggregated directory of more than 2 million providers, and many providers have noted they are able to protect their referral volume or grow it because of the ability to receive electronic submissions.
The upside for dealers who sell these vertically-integrated MFPs is obvious in that the Kno2 solution is a formidable value-add and point of differentiation in the market.
Kno2 would like to do business with other device OEMs for potential integration with manufacturers that are organized for health care and have an infrastructure for execution. “We know what works and what doesn’t work,” Elwell observed. “It’s a simple and cost-effective solution that doesn’t require heavy lifting, specialists, or a complex model, allowing partners to quickly implement nationwide. Leading companies like Canon, Ricoh, Lexmark, and HP would be attractive potential partners, assuming they share our vision of increased interoperability in health care.”
Elwell also pointed out the correlation between Kno2’s platform and the office technology sector’s push toward managed print services. “On the topic of workflow and the reduction of devices, you’re looking at the ability to reduce paper,” he said. “Kno2 plays a critical component because we take paper out of the process, improve the workflow, and change the dynamic of the exchange significantly, differently than any other MPS program in health care. We continue to work with Konica Minolta and Xerox to implement Kno2 into their MPS thought process. It adds significant differentiation for them.”
The beauty of working with OpenText, Konica Minolta, and Xerox is in the sales and marketing firepower they bring to an organization such as Kno2. This enables Kno2 to rely on its partnerships as a tool for expansion and to reach deep into the health care market.
Looking ahead, Kno2 will continue to focus on reaching further into those subset markets where it has a dominant presence, such as long-term care, EMS, referral management and release of information. Elwell is confident that the company’s hardware partners will continue to differentiate themselves and gain market share.
“I’ve lived in that industry for 20 years, and it’s very seldom that you have true differentiation at the point of sale on hardware—but that is exactly what we deliver with the uniqueness of Kno2’s patented technology,” he said. “After all, why would I, as a health care provider, want to buy an MFP that doesn’t allow me to securely exchange protected health information? Our passion over the next 12 months is to enable these office technology partners to dominate the health care space.”
Elwell noted that two of his primary tasks involve finding personnel with specialized experience within the health care space, while looking to further lock down the segments of the market in which Kno2 has established a foothold.
“We continue to stay focused on attracting talented people to our organization, like Erica Neher, our senior vice president of partner success,” he said. “We will continue to staff for the growth we’re experiencing. Our other top priority is to expand ownership of the spaces in which we’ve made significant strides. We’re excited about the future.”