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Leader has tech firm running fast

He is saving lives without a scalpel.

Ken Rosenfeld—CEO and president of eHealth Global Technologies Inc.—focuses on providing accurate information at the right time, to the right people and in the most user-friendly way to help patients, doctors and families support each other.

The company is improving continuity of care for patients by streamlining the patient referral process. The firm provides analytics, streamlines referring physician communication and keeps track of external medical records and images for clinicians.

“We’re making a difference,” Rosenfeld says. “We’ve had transplant patients where they call us up desperate because they need to get them in for review so that they can list the patient on the registry and they needed some critical information. We were able to get it to them the same day, and they got the patient listed. They found an organ the next day.”

EHealth Technologies employs 121 staffers with 115 based in Henrietta, where the company moved to from Brighton early last year. Remaining staff are remotely based throughout the country.

The firm ranked No. 28 on the 2014 Rochester Top 100 list of the fastest growing privately held companies. The firm expects to grow revenues by nearly 30 percent this year and plans to bring on at least 25 employees, bringing the total workforce to more than 140 staffers.

A native of Nashville, Tenn., Rosenfeld dreamed of being a doctor; however, he realized a degree in bioengineering would keep him in health care without having to make the long commitment needed for medical school.

Rosenfeld, 51, attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning a bachelor of science in engineering for bioengineering with a minor in computer science in 1985. He found himself drawn to health care as soon as he entered school.

“I went to Penn thinking pre-med,” Rosenfeld says. “(But then I) heard about this thing called bioengineering and that was a really good major if you were interested in going into medicine, and then I ended up liking the engineering.

“I don’t imagine myself ever being away from health care,” he adds.

Career path
After graduation he set out for California to begin working for ADAC Laboratories Inc. as a software engineer.

He remained there for 11 years before shifting to Cemax-Icon Inc., a medical image management software and systems company based in Fremont, Calif., where Rosenfeld started as a software manager.

“I didn’t like where that company (ADAC) was going,” Rosenfeld says. “This was an opportunity to join a small company with a couple of people that I knew. It was going to be more entrepreneurial.”

Cemax-Icon became a subsidiary of Imation Corp. in 1997. The firm grew from 50 employees to 250 during Rosenfeld’s tenure.

In 1998, Imation’s worldwide medical business was purchased by Eastman Kodak Co., and five years later Rosenfeld was transferred to Rochester.

“Through the stages of being part of Kodak and coming to Rochester there was definitely in the back of my head the radar up to say is there another way for me to get back into that entrepreneurial mode,” he says.

Rosenfeld moved to Monroe County under secretive circumstances, he says.

“They were going to announce the consolidation of these groups along with an acquisition that they were doing of another company in Israel, but that acquisition dragged on,” Rosenfeld says.

“But I said to them, ‘the only way you’re going to have me come to Rochester is if I get here before the school year starts,’ and they agreed. So, I came out here, but they couldn’t tell anyone. I felt a little bit like a CIA agent.”

As a worldwide business manager at Kodak he led the firm’s $80 million picture archiving and communication systems business to its largest market share at the time. He transitioned into leading Kodak’s health care information systems’ global research and development organization.

In the early 2000s, the technology was nowhere near what it has become, Rosenfeld says.

“We were in this environment where we took a washing-machine-size disk drive from IBM—it stored 600 megabytes—and converted it so that it would be faster. That was state-of-the-art,” Rosenfeld says.

In fall 2006 Rosenfeld and business partner Michael Margiotta decided to start eHealth Technologies with the goal of revolutionizing how health information related to a patient’s care was accessed. Starting from the ground up was harder than he anticipated.

“The original goal was try to make something work,” he says. “Startups are really hard. Everyone tells you they’re hard, but you really don’t realize how hard until you’re in the middle of it. I liken it to getting in a plane going up to 10,000 feet and jumping out and you’re not really sure if you have a parachute on your back or not.”

In February 2009 the company integrated embedded imaging, specifically the health information exchanges, into its offering with clients such as the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization. The company’s integrated imaging now is used in nearly all corners of the state. It is also used by customers in Idaho, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee and Michigan. The images support a variety of tests, including X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds and mammography.

Early last year, Rosenfeld succeeded Margiotta as CEO. Margiotta is no longer with the company.

Energetic leader
The firm’s leader brings an energetic passion to each day, his employees say.

“I really enjoy working with Ken,” says Scott Mulcahy, chief financial officer. “He’s very passionate about what he’s doing and there’s this great desire that comes from Ken—it’s kind of contagious.”

The pace of technology has swept across all industries, but the changes in health care have been particularly dynamic to witness, Rosenfeld says. Imaging in health care has evolved from using film to viewing individual X-rays on iPhones.

“Back in the early days, we were doing digital cardiology and they needed to capture the motion of the heart,” he says. “Basically, they’d be taking X-rays, but the X-rays would be exposed on film like a movie camera.

“Nowadays I can go into a record and view that same cardiac study on my iPhone in full 30 frames per second,” he adds.

The process of patient referral traditionally has been arduous for both doctors and patients. Patients have been responsible for compiling years of their own medical history to bring to each doctor’s visit.

“They basically say, ‘Go get your prior results, go talk to your doctors, go get your images and send them to us or bring them in to your appointment.’ Patients aren’t very good at it,” Rosenfeld says. “First of all, if I’ve been diagnosed with cancer I’m already going to be extraordinarily stressed, and (it is difficult) to try to now in the middle of all that figure out where I (had) my MRI done.”

Critical information is often left out the patient’s history, such as X-rays or scans, leaving the doctor to try to diagnose a problem without a holistic picture.

“When you’re referred into those facilities and they need your medical history, they need to know what was done before, they need the images, they need the reports (and) they need the doctor’s notes,” Rosenfeld says. “They need all this information so they can look at your history and make a decision about your care moving forward.”

Hospitals also are trying to keep up with the patient’s health records; however, that is not the best solution, Rosenfeld says.

“To be competitive in the marketplace a lot of hospitals took that on, but that’s not their core competency,” he said. “A lot of times these patients are showing up and the doctor is going onto the electronic system now, as opposed to typically opening a folder, and there’s no medical history.”

This “empty folder syndrome,” as eHealth Technologies calls it, creates a sluggish process where a patient’s health can be in jeopardy. Without the right information at the right time, patients can fall through the cracks.

“And so what do they do? They ask the patient a lot of the same questions that they’ve already answered for their other physicians, they send them for repeat tests, they do all these things that waste time and they can’t tell the patient what the treatment plan is going to be and how they’re going to get them better because they’re still waiting for all this information,” Rosenfeld says.

“So that first appointment is unproductive, frustrating to the patient, (and) it’s expensive to the system.”

EHealth Technologies has created eHealth Connect Referral Pathways, which is being used in more than 50 percent of the top 100 hospitals in the country. Customers include the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The team at eHealth Technologies collects and aggregates all patient data and gives doctors the ability to see all images or reports before the patient comes in for an appointment. The team currently is working to help referring physicians track the status of the patient that they referred to continue monitoring their care.

“Just in the U.S. right now we are approaching 10 million imaging exams annually, which represents 700 million images that are being shared by our system,” Rosenfeld says.

“The referral comes in and you get all the information, they have the first appointment, now you need to also get information back to the person that referred that patient,” Rosenfeld says. “The referring physician now can get updated status about their patient.”

The firm has evolved to become a vital tool for all departments in a hospital instead of just one specialty.

“We really moved from selling to a cancer center or a transplant department to where we’re talking at the highest levels of the organization,” Rosenfeld says. “We’re talking to their chief medical officer and they’re saying we have to have this.”

Rosenfeld’s leadership style gives his team room to develop and collaborate, peers say.

“Ken leads by building a strong team and working with them to evaluate options, after which he sets the course,” says Brian Model, a board member and investor in eHealth Technologies. “He feels very strongly about how important it is for everyone at the company to come together as a community.

“Ken has been successful because he has built a strong team and encouraged them all to work well together,” he adds.

On the run
When Rosenfeld has free time, he enjoys running and training for triathlons. He will be doing his second Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon this June. The race includes a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, an 18-mile bike ride out the Great Highway, and then an eight-mile run through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

“I try very hard to do a balance, and family is very important to me,” he says. “I do triathlons. It’s gotten to the point where you kind of depend on the exercise because it’s a great stress management tool.”

The Pittsford resident also spends as much time as he can with his family.

“I would describe Ken as very serious about his company and work, but he also has a great sense of humor,” wife Debby Rosenfeld says.  “He really likes to manage with a sense of camaraderie and people seem to respond fairly well to that.

“He has an amazing work ethic. He really cares about the people in his life and wants everyone around him to be successful.”

For Rosenfeld, the journey from startup to a full-fledged national company has been fulfilling. As a new business owner he had to learn some things the hard way, he says.

“I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Rosenfeld says.  “Being a new entrepreneur, I definitely fell into the trap of originally being overly optimistic and somewhat naive about how quickly you can scale something like this.

“I tell other budding entrepreneurs, ‘Take your most conservative estimate—how long do you think it really will take? How much money do you think it really will cost? How many resources do you really think you need?’ Put that down, and then triple it.”

Rosenfeld’s leadership style is to make quality decisions fast. He fosters collaboration to help move the company forward.

“You hear a lot of different stories about different organizations and the leaders in those organizations and you have almost like collaboration gone wrong,” he says.  “Where it’s more like everyone can veto things and nothing gets done and its analysis paralysis. Part of me is out to prove that you can have a collaborative environment and move very quickly, and that’s what I try to promote in this organization.”

He has a policy of bringing bad news quickly, which opens up communication on his team.

“Ken is one of the most approachable bosses I’ve ever worked for and as a CEO, I think it’s a great thing because he loves to hear input from anybody,” Mulcahy says.  “It’s just very collaborative and inclusive, not only with the other C suite members but also with the whole company.”

Where to move next is the current challenge Rosenfeld sees in 2015.  Sometimes it is difficult to just stay the course, he says.

“There’s all kinds of opportunities so it’s kind of keeping that focus,” Rosenfeld says. “But we’re never going to have enough of anything if we’re going to successfully do this. It’s always hard to figure out what do you invest in, because if you just did it all I’d be out of cash and we would fail. Trying to figure out that balance is critical.”

“It’s really making those prioritization calls and then you’ve got to stick with them. You can’t keep changing them,” he adds.

Operating in Rochester for the last nine years has had its ups and downs, Rosenfeld says.

“I think (Rochester has) continuously improved from a standpoint of support for entrepreneurship, (but) I think we still have a ways to go,” he says. “There’s technical talent here, but not enough of it. What I’ve had to battle in Rochester is there’s also a lot of conservatism. It’s gotten better, but a lot of times there’s a lot of regional focus versus national or global focus.”

Creating a company that specializes in data and its different channels, its leader has learned when to step away from the information.

The data does not suffice for human experience, he says.

“I truly believe data is good and you need data. But there are also experts in an industry who are subconsciously pulling in all this data, and there’s a gut sense about what is the right way to go,” Rosenfeld says. “You’ve got to trust that, and I think a lot of companies don’t value that enough. That person with years of experience, sometimes you’ve just got to trust them.”

Ken Rosenfeld
Position: CEO and president, eHealth Global Technologies Inc.
Age: 51
Education: B.S. in engineering for bioengineering with a minor in computer science, University of Pennsylvania, 1985, Philadelphia
Family: Wife, Debby Rosenfeld; sons Ryan, 19, and Zack, 14
Residence: Pittsford
Leisure pursuits: Running, triathlons
Quote: “I truly believe data is good and you need data. But there are also experts in an industry who are subconsciously pulling in all this data, and there’s a gut sense about what is the right way to go. You’ve got to trust that, and I think a lot of companies don’t value that enough. That person with years of experience, sometimes you’ve just got to trust them.”

2/6/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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