24×7 recently caught up with Rich Bott, a senior sales engineer at healthcare tech company Concord Technologies. Bott offered insights into why reliable and robust technology is crucial for high-volume data extraction and structuring via advanced cloud fax platforms, which retain a strong role in healthcare data collection and distribution.

24×7: Could you give us an overview of Concord’s capabilities and how they’ve evolved over time?

Rich Bott: Concord’s primary offering revolves around the efficient delivery of documents through our advanced fax platform. Beyond traditional fax services, we have incorporated cloud capabilities, high availability, and patented technology like SureConnect for successful delivery. Additionally, our technology includes data classification, allowing us to identify and extract crucial information from received documents, particularly for clients in the healthcare sector.

24×7: How does this technology streamline processes within healthcare organizations, particularly when managing large volumes of faxed documents?

Bott: We have deep experience and strengths in automating the extraction of data from faxed documents, significantly reducing manual data-entry efforts, which is extremely inefficient and costly. For example, we can automatically recognize and extract patient information such as names, dates of birth, and healthcare codes. This not only accelerates workflow processes, but it also enhances accuracy, resulting in substantial time savings for healthcare professionals.

24×7: How does Concord utilize Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to improve the accuracy and efficiency of data extraction?

Bott: Absolutely. Our OCR technology, powered by Microsoft Cognitive Services, goes beyond traditional methods. We employ contextual extraction, analyzing the document’s content rather than relying on fixed coordinates. This allows us to interpret handwritten notes, detect signatures, and even identify checkbox selections. The integration with Microsoft Cognitive Services has significantly improved both the output quality and the range of capabilities.

24×7: How do you maintain the reliability and robustness of your technology, especially when handling massive volumes of pages in the billions, and facing challenges such as system updates or changes in external platforms?

Bott: Our commitment to reliability involves staying ahead of technological changes. For example, when we encountered issues related to the Microsoft front-door platform, we collaborated with Microsoft to create a complementary solution—aka: the “side door.” This proactive approach ensures that our users can seamlessly access our platform even during external system updates, helping to guarantee the uninterrupted services that are especially critical in healthcare.

24×7: Can you tell us about the development of Concord Care Intake, the company’s new app, and how it fits into Concord’s future vision, considering it relies on your data platform?

Bott: Care Intake originated from our close engagement with healthcare professionals. We sought to provide a user-friendly tool to meet the strong need for streamlined processes, especially in referral management, Care Intake allows facilities to efficiently handle multiple fax streams, prioritize patient care, and make informed decisions swiftly. It aligns with our commitment to advancing healthcare through innovative technology solutions.

24×7: How does your technology improve the speed and accuracy of processing referrals and managing patient information?

Bott: The need for speed is crucial in healthcare, particularly in processes like referral management. We’ve introduced features like page streaming, where we can analyze and act on the received information before the entire fax is delivered. For instance, a hospital can quickly assess a referral’s suitability and make “admit”/“don’t admit” decisions in real-time, giving them a competitive advantage while also saving valuable time for patient care.

24×7: What advice do you have for organizations aiming to make a positive impact in healthcare technology and foster innovation?

Bott: Embrace a culture of continuous learning and collaboration. Understand the intricacies of the industry you are serving, engage with end-users, and stay abreast of technological advancements. Proactively seek partnerships with key players, like our collaboration with Microsoft, to leverage their expertise. This approach ensures that your technology not only meets, but exceeds, the evolving needs of the healthcare sector—ultimately contributing to improved patient outcomes and operational efficiencies.

24×7: How does Concord utilize artificial intelligence (AI) within its technology, specifically in the realm of fax technology?

Bott: Concord embraces cutting-edge technology, including AI, to enhance traditional fax technology. The integration of AI allows Concord to adapt and modernize an old technology for increased efficiency and usability. While AI is often associated with various applications, Concord applies it to improve the throughput, capability, and usability of data transmitted through fax machines. The goal is not to control the world but to use AI to make lives better, especially in the healthcare sector. 

24×7: Can you share more about Concord’s company culture and its collaborative environment?

Bott: Concord fosters a familial work culture, emphasizing collaboration among individuals with diverse expertise in the fax industry, as well as document management, security, and data extraction. The company operates more like a family than a rigid organization, with a shared understanding that everyone has responsibilities. Team members willingly assist each other, whether it’s completing tasks, contributing to design decisions, or determining the direction of features. This collaborative atmosphere stems from the realization that the work done in healthcare technology directly impacts everyone, as all are potential patients.

24×7: You are also HITRUST-certified. What does this certification entail, and why is it significant?

Bott: HITRUST certification is a crucial standard of excellence in healthcare security, and the HITRUST r2 assessment is often recognized as the gold standard in the industry. This process can take years to complete and can be quite costly. Because of that, some see it as optional, by which I mean not every cloud fax vendor has to achieve it to do business. For us, it’s just one more milestone that shows that Concord can, and does, meet the most stringent security and compliance standards in the industry today.