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Firm ramps up growth in health care IT

Bio-Optronics Inc. has grown its revenue at a more than 20 percent clip for the past three years—a breakneck pace for a firm that has been operating for over three decades in the region.

The health care software services firm projects 28 to 30 percent growth in revenue for 2017.

Health care information technology has many opportunities, said Dan Kerpelman, president and CEO.

“It’s a pretty healthy market; it’s like real estate in a saturated highly popular town … where else are you going to build?” he said. “So prices are likely going to go up or demand is going to stay; it’s that sort of phenomenon.”

Bio-Optronics has three product lines: Clinical Conductor, which focuses on clinical trials; Momentum, for health care staff scheduling; and Biopoint, a product that streamlines patient safety and workflow. 

“The idea is to focus on areas of quality, efficiency, productivity, regulatory compliance, financial performance—many of the things that are kind of on the periphery of health care that aren’t well-served by the core health care IT that’s available,” Kerpelman says. 

The tight focus on three product lines has helped the firm grow, said Maria Durkin, vice president of administration.

“It’s really a strong portfolio of products,” she said. “We can leverage our core competencies across those three, and we have a really strong commitment to customer service.”

 Bio-Optronics employs 61 people; most are based at its headquarters at 1890 S. Winton Road in Brighton. The firm also has an office in Vaud, Switzerland, which has six employees, and a couple of employees that work remotely. 

This year the firm plans to add five to 10 employees. 

The company was founded in 1985 but with a different business model. Each software installment was customized for a specific customer, which ranged from government to health care.

In 2008 Kerpelman took the helm, and he and his team made some key changes. They focused on repeatable product lines for a variety of customers and limited the customers to health care and clinical research.

Fortunately, the firm did not have to reinvent the wheel, Kerpelman said. 

“It wasn’t like we had to do a 180-degree shift—it was sort of evolving that way anyway,” he said. “So we ended up drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘OK, that’s the best piece of what’s been going on—let’s stick to that and focus our energy.’”

The company employed a dozen people at the time. As the company grew, Kerpelman saw the need for management changes; he brought on three vice presidents in 2016 to help support the company’s growth.

Five of the top 10 U.S. health systems are the company’s customers. It also has customers in some 10 other countries, spanning five continents.

The firm’s growth has caused shifts in how to develop its software. Customer feedback is key for proactively designing new features, officials said.

A challenge is predicting how health care will change in the next few years, although certain trends have always been apparent.

“The way we look at it is the trends in health care have been persistent for years,” Kerpelman said. “There’s a demand for better health care, better outcomes with diminishing resources. The insurance companies are trying to pay less and the patients are demanding more.”

“It’s that constant imbalance of resources available to satisfy an increasing demand that creates our market, because we provide tools that offer efficiency,” he added.

Health care IT and technology in health care are two different things, Kerpelman said. The rate at which technology is applied varies in a hospital setting.

“It’s kind of a dichotomy because they’re always on the bleeding edge of technology that’s specifically related to clinical matters like radiology or surgical robots, but, as adept as they are at adopting clinical technology, the administrative IT technology around the periphery is a little harder,” Kerpelman said.

2017 is already looking to be a strong year for Bio-Optronics.

“We had a record-breaking year last year, and the early part of this year (looks good) in terms of new bookings, so we have a lot of work to do,” Kerpelman said.

kfeltner@rbj.net / 585-546-8303

The Rochester Chamber Top 100 program is presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and KPMG LLP. Launched in 1987, it recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in Greater Rochester. The 2017 Rochester Top 100 event is slated to be held Nov. 2. For more information, go to greaterrochesterchamber.com.

Bio-Optronics Inc.

A health care software and services provider.

Year founded: 1985

Top executive: Dan Kerpelman, CEO

2016 ranking: 84

Current employment: 61

Headquarters: Brighton

Website: bio-optronics.com

3/10/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.


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