Following is a profile of Brad Jannenga, one of the 2013 EHR Game Changers who were recognized in the annual program sponsored by Health Data Management. For information about this year's recognition program, click here.

Love and Marriage

Some people are married to their jobs, but you could say that Brad Jannenga married into his. A veteran of the 1990s' dot-com boom, Jannenga designed and wrote successful platforms for a number of e-commerce companies. After moving to Arizona, he met his future wife, Heidi, who managed a large physical therapy clinic in Phoenix, whose clients included spring training baseball teams. Heidi asked Brad to help locate an EHR vendor to help reduce dictation costs and capture documentation electronically. Discouraged by the high price-and limited utility-of commercial products, the two hit on an idea that not only transformed the clinic but sent Brad down an unexpected career path. Brad would write the code for the EHR.

"I figured I could develop the software over the weekend and help Heidi automate a little of her workflow," he recalls. "We realized this might be a bigger opportunity than just a small app for the clinic. I had never done anything medical and my previous software experience was b-to-b. I figured medical is just another problem to solve."

For three months, Jannenga shadowed Heidi and the other physical therapy assistants and billing staff to learn the workflows and communications needs of the clinic. After that, he started writing the software package. By day, Jannenga would write code and by night, share it with Heidi. "She was like the product manager," he says. "It was a lot of late nights."

After nearly two years of development work, Jannenga launched WebPT in February 2008. Initially the software provided clinical documentation capabilities, and later expanded to include scheduling, billing, and external communication features which enable users to auto-fax or distribute patient summaries to referring physicians electronically.

WebPT now has a customer base of 3,800 clinics encompassing some 16,000 therapists, assistants and billing crew who use the software. The company has grown to 110 employees. The software is sold on a subscription basis and is hosted remotely for clinics at a data center in Phoenix. WebPT is a certified registry for CMS and clinics can use the software to capture PQRS (Physician Quality and Reporting System) data. Jannenga says that most EHR vendors catering to physical therapy clinics require client-server installations. He kept his own development costs down by writing the underlying program using open source software including the "LAMP" stack-Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Using the open source tools enabled him to keep the development costs down, he says.

 

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