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Entrepreneurs VoiceHIT change how technology is used in healthcare

Editor’s Note: The following series New Orleanial Tech Entrepreneurship is a week-long series curated by Mary Pwint as part of the Digital Research Internship Program in partnership with ViaNolaVie. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Institute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities.

As technology advances and New Orleans joins the movement to innovate for a better future, let us appreciate the tech entrepreneurial spirit and energy that New Orleanians share. This grouping of articles explores and appreciates tech entrepreneurship in New Orleans as it relates to tech celebrations, gatherings, startups, and inspiration. The topic for Day 3 of our “New Orleanial Tech Entrepreneurship” series is Bioinnovation in NOLA. New Orleans is a growing tech hub for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here is how VoiceHIT, a web-based electronic health record (EHR) platform, will change healthcare industry. This article was originally published on Jan 24, 2012.

It’s ironic that as technological advancements increase in healthcare, the relationship and amount of communication between the healthcare provider and the patient declines.  Thus, causing inefficiencies throughout every stage of the patient/provider relationship, beginning with the first encounter in the exam room.

Of course, I am grateful for all the discoveries and advancements that have been possible because of the new scientific breakthroughs and inventions. But sometimes, I wonder if we have become so reliant on computers and machines that we lose touch with the value of human communication.  Have we focused so much on figuring out how computers work, rather than focusing on humans?

This is exactly what Dr. Peter Ragusa thought about the inadequacies in healthcare.  Only, rather than wondering, Dr. Ragusa decided to create a solution that would facilitate the areas of healthcare that were lacking communication. He wanted technology and computers to understand how people worked rather than the other way around.

Cue in VoiceHIT.

VoiceHIT founders Dr. Peter Ragusa, Rand Ragusa, and Jeff Miller created Better Day EHR, a web-based electronic health record (EHR) platform that uses predictive modeling and third party applications to better manage a patient’s health. The program prompts action to avoid deteriorating health repercussions using data that has already been collected by the patient. Because of certain barriers that sometimes cause a hindrance in the communication between the patient and provider, the collaborative system takes a proactive approach to healthcare to assure the patient receives the attention needed.

Dr. Ragusa describes that the communication inefficiencies typically begin in the exam room where the patient and healthcare provider typically have their first encounter.

“When the patient is giving the healthcare provider intimate details about their lives and health in the exam room, the provider is normally facing a computer and has their back turned to the patient creating an emotional and even physical barrier between the them,” Dr. Ragusa describes as an example of what prompted him to create the platform. “The patient may not be getting the proper attention, and those barriers may keep the patient from providing intimate details that may be pertinent to their care and evaluation.”

Here is how it works. The platform uses the data that has already been provided to the clinic, and any applications or devices that the patient they may use on a daily basis to track their health to predict any irregularities.  For example, the software will be able to determine when a diabetic may need medical attention using the patient’s documented data, daily routine, and results from their blood sugar tests.   These proactive measures assure that the patient is getting the best quality care when needed, and prevents the patient from potential serious complications in the future, such as amputation or loss of vision.

The system will be launching on February 1st, but the trio has been working on developing the product since December of 2009 when it was founded in Nashville, the epicenter of the healthcare industry.  After Governor Jindal signed the Angel Investor Tax Credit Bill last June, they decided to visit New Orleans, and then moved into the BioInnovation Center after meeting with several local business leaders and witnessing firsthand how open minded and welcoming the entrepreneurial community in New Orleans is.  Being Louisiana natives, they were eager to get involved in the entrepreneurial movement here.

“Nashville is a decade ahead of New Orleans as far as building an entrepreneurial community, but, as a result, the smallest of entrepreneurial endeavors tend to get overlooked,” described Dr. Ragusa as one of the biggest differences between the entrepreneurial communities in Nashville and New Orleans. “The resources in New Orleans are definitely more proactive and accommodating no matter what stage your venture is in, and the community as a whole is much warmer.”

As yet another company who has been leading their industry from the BioInnovation Center, the VoiceHIT team hopes to continue on the successes of other specialized companies that are based out of New Orleans such as The Receivables Exchange. In their own words, they want to continue to prove that successful companies in various industries can come out of New Orleans.


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