A Pittsburgh-based health care IT company that doubled its employee team in the past year will likely double it again in 2017, bringing its head count up to nearly 200, according to its CEO.

Careform CEO Steve Fleck said the 4-year-old company, one of Pittsburgh’s Tech 50 Awards finalists this year, has nearly doubled its revenue every year since it launched back in 2012, thanks to its focus on the fastest-growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry — specialty drugs. Careform offers a hub service that helps health care providers gain access to specialty drugs for their patients through streamlining processes like reimbursement, prior authorizations and precertification.

“I think it’s really a testament to the fact that the legacy providers of reimbursement services really aren’t addressing the needs of specialty brands today, and we’re getting a lot of positive traction and referrals from people who’ve seen how our system works and recognizing that it can help a lot of other brands in the specialty market,” he said.

While other similar services exist and hold the majority of the market, Fleck, who previously served as founding CEO of ClearCount Medical Solutions, which was acquired by Stryker Medical in 2014, said Careform is unique in that its platform is designed from a provider perspective, cutting down on the delays common in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

“Both that provider focus and the technology platform’s approach allow us to do things like make turnarounds, turn in benefit verification requests in two hours versus two days, and we offer other provider-focused services through our portal that other hub services providers can’t,” Fleck said. “We have inventory management models and other practice management tools offered through the web platform that are really focused on the provider and helping the provider manage all aspects of the drug and its procurement.”

Fleck said Careform’s growth is partly due to customer demand, but also because of how the arena of specialty drugs is growing — six out of every 10 drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the coming years are expected to be specialty drugs. Another Pittsburgh-based company, Pantherx Specialty Pharmacy, reported a three-year growth in revenue of 13,381 percent earlier this year.

Specialty drugs are high-cost and often require special handling and education on their use; Fleck said Careform directly partners with specialty pharmaceutical companies to help provide educational components on drugs to providers and patients.

“We’re witnessing a period of unprecedented growth in new specialty pharmaceuticals with abilities to treat disease like never before,” Fleck said. “But ultimately these drugs can’t help patients if they are prohibitively difficult to obtain or to navigate through complex reimbursement processes. Our platform removes the ‘hassle factors’ of ordering, stocking, obtaining verification of benefits, and an array of other tasks associated with actually delivering these innovative therapies to the patient.”

Lydia Nuzum
Pittsburgh Business Times