Elation Health — a San Francisco-based company that sells its electronic health record (EHR) and other technology solutions to primary care providers — on Thursday announced its acquisition of medical billing firm Lightning MD.
The deal will help Elation become an all-in-one technology platform for primary care offices, CEO Kyna Fong said in a recent interview.
Fong founded Elation with her brother in 2010. The siblings grew up in Canada, where their father was a primary care physician — and a passionate one. He was so passionate that he ended up moving his family to the U.S. because he couldn’t “practice the type of personalized medicine he wanted to in Canada,” Fong said.
Once the family arrived in the U.S., Fong and her brother helped their father build his primary care practice from scratch — from hiring staff to negotiating with payers to building furniture .
“I ran the back office of the practice for about 10 years. And it was really our experiences in our dad’s practice that led us to Elation. One day, we were intently looking to put some sort of electronic system into his practice, which was still using paper charts. We earnestly sat down and evaluated all the systems out there. And at the end of it, we were pretty disappointed and surprised that they all would require us to hire additional staff or see fewer patients,” Fong explained.
Acting on this disappointment, Fong and her brother built Elation firstly as an EHR platform purpose-built for primary care providers and their workflows. Now, the company offers more primary-care focused technology solutions — such as its virtual care platform, which was named Best in KLAS last week.
About 25,000 clinicians use Elation’s technology to deliver care to more than 12 million patients, Fong said. Customers are typically independent primary care practices — the company’s technology was developed with their needs in mind, and the implementation process is much less expensive than a million-dollar Epic installation. Elation also serves larger primary care-led organizations, such as Crossover Health, Fong pointed out.
Looking to enhance its technology suite further, Fong said Elation’s acquisition of Lighting MD will complement the company’s core clinical data platform by providing primary care providers with easy-to-use medical billing and revenue management software.
“As the market evolves toward more complex ways to get paid — especially the hybrid lens of fee-for-service and value-based care, with that being such a critical part of financial success for practices today — it’s important now for high quality clinical care to not just be something that physicians are delivering to patients, but something they’re also demonstrating to payers. For us, acquiring a billing platform makes a lot of sense for the continuation of that strategy,” Fong said.
She didn’t name the other billing platforms that Elation looked at, but Fong said Lighting MD stood out because of its ease of use. The fact that Lightning MD built its product while considering the clinician experience every step of the way was of the utmost importance, she declared.
Lightning MD was founded in 2017 by two registered nurses. The Palm Desert, California-based company has developed solutions that are not only seamless for providers to adopt, but also simple for them to customize, Fong said. For example, the company made its superbill feature easy to edit, and its claims management solution has color-coded accounts receivable, one-click appeals and a built-in worklist for tracking problematic claims.
Beginning this summer, Elation will start offering its all-in-one solution (including Lightning MD’s billing software) to existing small practice customers. It will be made generally available later this year.
Photo: marchmeena29, Getty Images