Health IT

Wireless health IT firm from Oregon considers Cleveland expansion

Health IT company Proxense has developed a “wireless platform” that can deliver various software applications it has developed to users in hospitals, outpatient medical centers and physicians’ offices. The company’s software provides so-called real-time location services (RTLS), so hospitals can more efficiently use equipment, better manage inventory and improve patient flow and employee work flow, the thinking goes.

Oregon-based startup Proxense provides wireless Internet service to hospitals and doctors’ offices, but its services go far beyond simple wireless access.

The health IT company has developed a “wireless platform” that can deliver various software applications it has developed to users in hospitals, outpatient medical centers and physicians’ offices. Thus far, Proxense has developed two applications for the platform: ProxAccess, a program that uses an ID card and sensor to log users, such as doctors in hospitals, in and out of computers without having to touch a keyboard, and ProxTrax, a radio frequency-based asset-, patient- or personnel-tracking program.

“The thing that truly differentiates our technology from others is that it is a wireless network platform on top of which many, many applications can sit, versus being a wireless network dedicated to one application,” said Jeff Davies, sales director for the company’s eastern region.

“The latter inherently causes wireless conflicts and performance issues, given the limited channels available,” he added.

By employing so-called real-time location services (RTLS), hospitals can more efficiently use equipment, better manage inventory and improve patient flow and employee work flow, the thinking goes. ProxAccess, for example, frees doctors from having to remember several passwords, boosts efficiency and improves security via automatic login and logoff, according to the company.

Though Proxense has been around since 2005 and raised $6 million in angel funding in its lifetime, Proxense has been selling its systems for less than a year, having spent previous years building out its technology.

“The technology is solid. Now we’ve got to take this to market,” Davies said.

The company has 22 employees, most of whom work in engineering and technology at its Florida location. Davies is Proxense’s only Cleveland-based worker.

Proxense has already enjoyed some early success, inking five clients. At least two — the Bend Memorial Clinic and Central Oregon ENT — are located near the company’s Bend, Oregon headquarters. But like any startup, Proxense will need to constantly push geographic boundaries as it seeks more and more new customers, and that’s where Northeast Ohio may come in.

The company may look to expand its one-man Cleveland office in the future, with the most likely hires coming in sales and marketing. As the company grows, Cleveland could become its hub for sales in the eastern U.S. However, it’s too early in the process to know numbers or time frame, Davies said. Much of that will depend on Proxense’s ability to boost sales in the coming months, and that’ll depend on the company’s success in differentiating itself from an increasing amount of competitors in the real-time locations services market.

Key competitors include AeroScout, Ekahau and AwarePoint, which boasted 91 hospital installations of its RTLS system as of last month. AwarePoint, which has inked deals with several value-added resellers and raised $20 million in investment funding last year, seems an especially formidable foe.

Nonetheless, the RTLS market is young and still wide open. Davies predicts that the eventual market leader will be a company that can successfully integrate a package of different technologies from different vendors.