By TONI ROCHA
Special to the Daily News
MACHESNEY PARK — Practice Velocity might just be one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
The progressive Internet-based provider of electric medical record (EMR) services to immediate care facilities is a hidden asset, tucked behind the old Machesney Park Mall in an expansive space that originally housed a Kohl’s department store.
Inside its open layout, visitors to Practice Velocity sense not only contemporary environmental space and design, but also an intrinsic upbeat, forward-thinking attitude. Team pod work centers line its center aisle while meeting rooms of varying sizes and amenities surround them. At one end of the massive space is an equally impressive training and lunch area adequate for 500 people.
Practice Velocity CEO Dr. David Stern and two partners started the company in 2002 while operating Physicians Immediate Care in Rockford.
“We saw clearly that there was no adequate software for our specific professional niche,” Stern said. “EMR software existed for emergency and hospital networks but nothing was specifically designed to meet the specific needs of immediate care facilities.”
Working of the basis of their own practice and experience, the three doctors launched Practice Velocity with the intent of bringing immediate care doctors up to speed on financial and medical tracking and collection.
“We spent months debating what to name the company,” Stern added. “Velocity comes from the fact that this program provides up to 30 percent reduction in time and effort spent on financial issues, leaving doctors more time to help patients.”
Stern said they acquired a basic software system which each clinic could customize to meet their specific needs by simply choosing options that fit with their particular financial and patient records.
“The Practice Velocity software provides more effective office procedures in dual purposes; financial and medical,” Stern explained. “Our clients feel no rush, fewer distractions with less likelihood of making mistakes, plus more time to spend with patients. It removes the headaches of dealing with bill collection. Plus, the network has built-in alerts to prevent drug interactions.”
When upgrades are available, it is not necessary for Practice Velocity to go to each client to implement them. They can work with the existing program to add whichever advances are applicable without excessive time and effort. Subscribers can change the software from their end any time it becomes expedient, without rewriting the entire software program.
“We developed a financial plan from grass roots that addressed billing, collection and insurance issues; eliminated the distractions doctors were experiencing with having to handle business matters in addition to treating patients,” Stern said. “Also, EMRs provide up-to-the-minute data on new drugs and potential interactions, making them safer and easier to properly prescribe.”
Practice Velocity is entirely internet based.
"Basically, any problems incurred stem either from first-step entry or the final step exit,” Stern added. “Everything in the middle is stable. Online functionality is excellent. It’s a huge advantage. Usually, the question is a problem with hardware. The software is okay.”
Practice Velocity is responsible for running and updating the software, and troubleshooting whenever a problem occurs.
“Our job is to have the system running faster and more reliably,” Stern said.
Another vital aspect of Practice Velocity, beyond technology, is the creation of new jobs in the Stateline Area.
“We employ about 250 now. Our target is to have 300 employed by the end of the year, and ultimately 500,” Stern said. “We are developing a large, skilled workforce with openings for entry level through experienced programmers. We can train them on the job. And we are beginning to work with education down to the high school level to encourage and develop more potential employees, encouraging these young, talented people to stay in the area.”
In addition to establishing its dedicated software EMR programs, Practice Velocity also acquired the Journal of Emergency Care Medicine, a resource designed to upgrade doctors’ skills, and for which they can receive credits, Stern said.
Practice Velocity also acquired the Institute of Emergency Medicine which offers information on how to deliver top quality immediate care medical services, opening a higher level of care in that target area.
Within the company’s day-to-day operations, teams in pods work together on collections, celebrating by ringing a blue bell and gathering to stand, clap and chant when each day’s goal is met.
“It’s uplifting and encouraging for the entire workforce,” Stern said.
Stern concluded that Practice Velocity is on track to achieve its goals for maximum employment and client base expansion well into the future.