Alere Medical: Dr. Ron Geraty, CEO

by HCE Exchange on March 14, 2011

In an ideal medical setting, patients’ personal thoughts about their illnesses are highly regarded and valued. This situation is not only ideal; it’s a reality. Alere Medical is at the forefront of connecting patients with information to lead healthier lives through providing physicians with the best methods of practice.

Dr. Ron Geraty, CEO of Alere Medical, recognizes the importance of providing timely information and support to patients as well as physicians.

“Our goal is to help physicians work with their patients to comply with best practices,” Geraty said. Geraty is a trained physician and though he hasn’t practiced in over 20 years, he thoroughly understands the need for accurate clinical information and excellence in patient care.

Alere Medical’s headquarters are in Reno, Nevada with offices across the country: Southern California; Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado and San Antonio, Texas.

Taking care of patient and physician

Identified as a care management company, Alere combines the use of monitoring and education for patients with chronic illnesses, especially those with advanced heart failure.  According to Geraty, heart failure is the costliest illness in the population over the age of 65. The company was founded by engineer and inventor Jack Lloyd, who put a patent on the pulse oximeter, and founded the company Nellcor. From Nellcor, Geraty said, Lloyd came up with the idea of daily monitoring for patients with advanced heart failure.

Through the services Alere provides, patients are able to receive personal attention from nurse support and educational materials. There are 450 members of the Alere Medical staff and over half of them are clinicians, said Geraty, who are in regular contact with the patients to whom the company provides care management services.

The hope is that these personal interactions and information offer more efficiency in the United States health care system. From the services and products they offer, Alere Medical wants to reduce cost of hospital admissions and increase satisfaction in clinical outcomes.

“One of the biggest challenges in the U.S. health care system today is integrating care in a cost efficient manner,” said Geraty. “There are a lot of things that contribute to inefficiencies in our system and our job is to try and help coordinate the care so that the inefficiencies are taken out of the system.”

The company provides physicians with information in numerous ways. Before physicians are in contact with patients, Alere provides the physician with a patient’s recent use of medication, key diagnostic indicators, or symptoms. For a diabetic patient, the physician might be provided with a 30 day history of blood glucose levels and symptoms. For patients with heart failure, physicians are provided a recent weight history and whether the patient is on their class medications.

Though one of Alere’s primary functions is to support and enable patients to lead healthier and independent lives, another significant challenge is to identify appropriate patients for interventions and then work with company clients to engage those patients. “Not every patient who is appropriate wants to work with either their insurer or their physician in following the best treatment,” Geraty said.

Growth in Care Management: Making Proper Investments

The field of care management is young and Alere has a lot of growth potential. “We have 50% compounded annual growth,” Geraty said. “We worked very closely with our clients to demonstrate with them that our clinical interventions are providing both cost savings and outstanding clinical improvement.”

Alere demonstrates this through actuarial reports and publication of academic research. They recently had articles published in the American Heart Journal. “We are academically oriented and financially oriented in producing savings for our clients,” Geraty said.

Investment in technology is also an important aspect of increasing the efficiency in health care. Alere Medical enables much of their staff to be mobile, where nurses and other clinicians can work from home and still be able to provide patient care. Communicating with patients via phone, cell phone, and instant messaging increases patient care and efficiency.

“Our biggest investment is in our staff,” Geraty said. “Our second biggest investment is the technology we use that allows us to communicate with our most ill patients several times a day.”

Future and Partner Potential

Alere Medical’s annual revenue is $80 million with the client market they have currently, which are mainly health plans. Geraty said the company would like to expand into employer and government markets and include products and services that would be appropriate for more disease categories. “We see ourselves as probably providing those care management services directly to government agencies like Medicare and Medicaid,” said Geraty.

He wants others in the industry to be cognizant of their potential as good partners. “We are a technology-enabled care coordination company, and they can look at us to be a transparent but useful partner as they work with us to provide the best care for their patients,” said Geraty.

Alere Medical is looking for new and creative ways to work with partners such as Prescription Benefit Managers, diagnostic, and other health care companies. “The care management industry is extremely young, and I think it is the right time for important breakthroughs in working with partners. I would like to see companies like ours consolidate and work together more,” he said.

With their investment in technology and emphasis on providing the best information possible, Alere Medical is making great strides in the care management industry. Things continue to look up for them as they head into the future.

Geraty thinks working with other companies will really change the way health care is delivered in the U.S., and other competitors or potential partners should keep an eye on their future prospects.

“They should be interested and stay tuned for important developments in our field that are going to be very exciting,” he said.

-by Crissanka Christadoss

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