Sunday, June 30, 2002

ARLINGTON, Texas - Each of the five years Erik Strader and his business partner, Ray Bockover, spent shopping around for management software for their rehab company, Integrated Rehabilitation Systems, they say they came up short.

The two rehab specialists were looking for a complete solution but found software that provided work orders but not status reporting or invoicing but not scheduling. They were looking for an inexpensive solution but found software that required servers costing thousands of dollars and quarterly fees that would break the company's piggy bank.

So Strader and Bockover hooked up with Al Zwanenburg, a software developer, and the three partners created their own company,, and debuted their management software at Medtrade Spring in April.

"Our software is for the rehab business owner, the manager, the salesperson, the whole staff," Strader said. "All they need to keep business flowing is in this one solution."

To make their management software complete, Strader and Bockover included work orders, status reporting, invoicing and scheduling, as well as communication capabilities. Strader said the software "keeps business flowing" by allowing employees to work off one form. The salesperson uses the software to file the work order; the customer service representative uses it to verify the order with physicians and funding sources; the manager uses it to approve the order; and the customer service representative uses it, finally, to place the order. Each can leave notes for the other, i.e. "Jane, we can't get this approved without an evaluation from a physical therapist." The work order also contains links to physicians and funding sources.

To make their management software inexpensive, Strader and Bockover made it an ASP (application service provider). That means Strader and Bockover have a sizeable server here, as well as a backup nearby, that stores all information, and providers access it via the Internet for $100 per person per month.

Strader said the benefits of the software include increased accuracy. When a customer service representative picks up a paper order form and has to manually add up prices and create an estimate, there's always potential for inaccuracy, he said. Other benefits include a speedier turnaround time, which results in more product sold and more profits made.

Strader said he realizes the home healthcare industry isn't the fastest to adopt new technology and that some rehab providers still don't even have Internet access, but it behooves them to change their ways.

"The reality is that technology comes out for a reason," he said. "It helps us do things and do them better. To be slow and resistant to change would be to miss out on a great opportunity here."

Strader said Integrated Rehabilitation Services has fully implemented the software and three other rehab companies are currently testing it free for one month.

"For Ray and I, this is a dream," Strader said. "As a sales guy, I do my evaluation and turn it over to someone else. When equipment's been ordered and put together, I get notified, and I make the delivery. That's all I do every day: evaluation and delivery." HME