Imprivata Aims to Make It Easier to Securely Access Electronic Health Records

Lexington, MA-based Imprivata is among the software companies that is benefiting from the push in the U.S. and abroad to adopt electronic health records. And the venture-backed company seems to have found its place in the healthcare field by streamlining the way clinicians securely access IT systems.

This year, the U.S. government starts paying out $17 billion in incentives—which were outlined in President Obama’s economic stimulus plan two years ago—for physicians that implement electronic health records according to certain “meaningful use” standards. While most physicians seem to think that the digitization of medical recordkeeping is good for patients, a poll showed last month that 60 percent of 500 physicians from on the doctors-only social network Sermo believed that using the records would prolong exam times. (Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth, which provides an online EHR, paid Cambridge, MA-based Sermo to conduct the poll.)

For many doctors, time is money. It might take an extra few minutes to enter login information to view a patient’s electronic record, and that’s not good. Omar Hussain, the chief executive of Imprivata, says that his company has been able to reduce login times to a few seconds. (For certain records systems, the firm provides the option of using a fingerprint scan or the touch of an ID badge swipe for people to access systems.) The key is offering speedy login times while maintaining security. There are strict regulations that guard the privacy of patient information, and hospitals are on the hook for any breaches in security. The need for quick access to health IT systems and the critical need to secure patient information has made so-called “single-sign on” technology like Imprivata’s a hot area.

Sentillion, an Andover, MA-based firm that was acquired by Microsoft last year, has software that addresses some of same access-management challenges. Imprivata has been busy trying to gain new customers in healthcare—in competition with Microsoft/Sentillion—and adding features to its core technology to set itself apart from its rivals. The firm, which also serves clients in multiple sectors (Hussain mentions clothier Neiman Marcus and the Vatican as customers), now gets about 60-65 percent of its business from healthcare, according to Hussain.

Imprivata set up a healthcare division in early 2010 and that segment of its business helped the firm drive 30 percent growth in revenue last year, Hussain says. (The company is private and he declined to release actual sales numbers.) This growth is likely music to the ears of the firm’s investors, which include General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge, MA, Highland Capital Partners in Lexington, Waltham, MA-based Polaris Venture Partners, and SAP Ventures. Hussain says that the company has raised a total of $50 million from investors.

The company says that its technology is now used at 700 … Next Page »

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