Azalea Health: Reaching underserved communities
Cloud-based health IT provider Azalea Health is growing fast, and last year topped KLAS Research’s annual list of emerging health IT vendors. We take a look at this company on the rise.
Azalea Health has a large portfolio of services, including EHR, electronic prescribing, lab ordering and results, revenue cycle performance services and population health management. Its cloud-based, interoperable SaaS solution integrates these capabilities in one system, making it well suited to the needs of small and midsize hospitals in rural parts of the US and other underserved communities, who have fewer IT resources than their larger counterparts.
The company recently announced it was receiving new investment from LLR Partners, which will help the expansion of its services in harder to reach areas. The capital will help Azalea invest in further product innovation, pursue continued organic growth and explore acquisition opportunities.
Baha Zeidan, Co-founder and CEO, explains what sets them apart their competitors: "For decades now the healthcare industry has been beholden to legacy EHR vendors who control their customers by locking them in to proprietary software and burdensome support contracts. Azalea is taking a fundamentally different approach, fully embracing the interoperability tenet of the HITECH Act of 2009 with its cloud-based EHR platform.
"Azalea’s Open API architecture allows healthcare facilities to leverage other Azalea modules, like billing and telehealth, and also integrate with Open API-based healthcare IT products offered by other like-minded vendors" he adds.
At the heart of this is customisation. "We believe the healthcare IT stack should reflect the unique profile of needs of each healthcare facility, and the power to customise should lie with the customer and not require extensive IT and financial resources to build, adjust and maintain. Interoperability shifts control from the EHR vendor to the healthcare facility."
Azalea Health's cloud-based model is ideal for delivering healthcare to traditionally undeserved communities. "Being cloud-based means that healthcare facilities do not have to make a substantial capital investment in both hardware and software to support the electronic health record platform" Zeidan explains.
"The software-as-a-service (SaaS) model allows healthcare facilities to scale their investment in the EHR platform over time rather than committing to a number of licenses up front, making the investment more manageable for facilities of all sizes and all financial means. Our model puts rural providers and urban providers in traditionally underserved communities on a level playing field with healthcare facilities catering to more affluent populations."
This echoes the reasons LLR Partners chose to invest in them. "We look for businesses that help reduce costs in the healthcare system, while simultaneously driving better outcomes and patient experiences" explains Sasank Aleti, a partner at the equity firm.
"Businesses that meet these criteria tend to be differentiated from legacy competitors and generate strong organic growth, as their value proposition is aligned with the future of healthcare.
"As a purely cloud-based provider of EHR and related services for both in-patient and out-patient healthcare facilities, Azalea is a perfect fit within our portfolio of high-growth healthcare technology companies. We know that Azalea’s approach to interoperability through Open APIs is the future of healthcare IT, and Azalea’s strong track record of displacing traditional vendors will only accelerate through the partnership this investment is forging."
Zeidan adds that the investment from LLR Partners will enable them to continue building on their services with an emphasis on tailoring products to best meet their customers' demands. "This means continuing to work closely with our customers to understand their unique workflows and provide health IT solutions that will empower them to deliver quality care and improve patient outcomes. By using the funds to invest in our own growth, we can continue helping our customers prosper."
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”