PriorityOne Group, which builds and services IT systems for medical facilities, is on a healthy growth trajectory with a good prognosis.
One big reason? Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act's goal of lowering health care spending is prompting small physicians' practices to consider mergers to control their overhead expenses. And when practices join forces, they need firms such as the Rutherford-based PriorityOne to deliver the IT solutions that get all the doctors behaving like a single business — not isolated silos with their own medical records and billing systems.
Once PriorityOne gets a system up and running, the company provides ongoing tech support for a flat fee — creating an incentive to avoid costly IT glitches.
And when problems do arise, the price is right.
"If it takes one hour to fix or 100 hours, it's on me," company founder and Chief Executive Nelson Gomes said. "So I tell the doctors: 'I don't want you to call, and I don't want to go there.' Is that realistic? No, but it's what we strive for. And we do a lot of work in the background to make sure problems don't happen."
Gomes studied IT at DeVry University, then learned the intricacies of health care IT as a senior systems engineer at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood from 2000 to 2004.
"I really gained a lot of experience in health care IT (at Valley)," Gomes said. "I had an opportunity to see how the big guys work."
Gomes started his own part-time IT consulting business in 1997. Soon after, physicians affiliated with Valley began asking him to sort out the IT problems in their own offices. That led Gomes to leave Valley to devote himself full-time to PriorityOne.
The company provides IT services for 60 medical facilities, including ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), which are freestanding facilities where doctors perform surgical procedures that don't require an overnight stay.
There, PriorityOne's setup process, like the surgeries, requires a clean environment.
Gomes said when PriorityOne designs an IT system for a new ASC, the company has to wait until all the construction work is done before bringing on the hardware: the computers, servers, tablets, audio/visual, TV screens, electronic patient records and practice management system. That's because all this sensitive equipment demands a dust-free environment.
So while the ASC is under construction, PriorityOne assembles the IT system at its office in Rutherford, gets it up and running — and then moves it into the ASC once the construction work is done.
Gomes said his company may only have one week to install the IT and get it up and running smoothly once the ASC gives PriorityOne the "dust-free" signal.
The company has 17 employees and expects to add three more by year end. And while Gomes doesn't disclose revenue, he said he expects it will grow 44 percent this year.
Several national companies that manage ASCs have hired PriorityOne to handle their IT. PriorityOne has clients in New Jersey and New York and is expecting to take on more jobs around the country.
"I would say 90 percent of our business comes from referrals," Gomes said. A typical ASC may have 30 doctors using the facility, "and the doctors see that we do a good job and they want us to help them in their practice."
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