CareCentric concocts Ac-Cura

Saturday, April 30, 2005

ATLANTA -- CareCentric, the nation's largest HME software company, is rolling out a new software system that may eventually supplant Mestamed and Dezine among the company's 1,200 HME customers.
Designed with Microsoft.NET architecture, the new system, Ac-Cura HME, is available as a licensed software system that loads directly onto a company's computers or as a hosted alternative that users can access over the Internet after they load a small software package onto their system.
After Fastrack and QS/1, CareCentric is the third company to offer its software as a licensed system or via the Internet from the company's own servers. At least two other companies -- Brightree and Bonafide -- offer their software exclusively through the Internet (see sidebar story).
CareCentric hasn't made a decision yet about how long it will continue to support Mestamed and its 500 customers and Dezine with 700 customers, according to Terry Watson, CareCentric's vice president of sales.
Ac-Cura, however, borrowed the best of both worlds from the two old legacy systems, he said. "But to say we have come up with a complete replacement is not the case."
CareCentric can only hope that the merits of the new Ac-Cura system -- its SQL database, which will enable easy transfer of data from one database to another, and its Windows-based open platform -- will lure customers from their old systems to the new.
Plans call for an initial release to smaller customers this summer and a larger release to the largest customers about six months later. CareCentric also plans to acquire a billing company within the next six months, and a long-term care billing component around the same time.
"If you look at healthcare as a 100-yard continuum, we'll own the last 10 yards in terms of data," said Mike McGuire, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CareCentric. "Giving phyisicians information is the last 10 yards."
Already, CareCentric has rolled Ac-Cura modules out to its home health agency customers. Of the 25 to 28 customers currently using Ac-Cura, about half have opted for the hosted software.
For a variety of reasons -- nightly back-up, periodic software updates, online training and disaster recovery -- McGuire believes the market for the hosted product will form a significant portion of Ac-Cura's customer base.