HIStalk Practice Interviews Dr. Shashi Kusuma

5 QUESTIONS WITH SHASHI KUSUMA, M.D. – CEO OF SYMPLAST

Read the full article here.

 

Shashi Kusuma, MD is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Symplast, a Fort Lauderdale, FL-based mobile medical software startup for plastic surgeons and med spa physicians. Kusuma is also the owner and medical director of Suria Plastic Surgery (FL), which he founded in 2010 after relocating from Cleveland where he worked as an attending surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. SPS has not attested to Meaningful Use due to the burdensome nature of its requirements, and the “sheer aggravation and mental stress” it caused staff. The practice uses different IT systems for different purposes. “We currently use an outdated client/server legacy system for clinical documentation,” Kusuma explains. “I elected not to renew their support package nearly 18 months ago, as I felt I was being overcharged and underserved. We use a different system for multimedia and a different system for IT support.”

 

 

“I grew up with EHRs from my first day as a resident at Vanderbilt University, where we used a system called MARS,” Kusuma adds. “I’ve also used Vista, Epic, Cerner, Meditech, and many others. While the intent of these solutions was good, the true benefits were never realized. As most of my colleagues would attest, these EHRs took away from our abilities to be doctors, discouraged us from using common sense, and prevented us from connecting and developing a true relationship with patients. It really took the fun and fulfillment away from the original intent of being a doctor.”

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What was the impetus for creating Symplast?
I was looking for a better experience as a doctor. I worked so hard to become the best doctor I could be, but I wasn’t having fun and engaging with my patients as much as I wanted to. The idea for Symplast came to me after another long night at the office finishing up notes and tedious administrative tasks. These duties wasted a lot of my time, did not help me treat my patients, and took me away from my family.

I was beyond frustrated with the deficiencies of medical software solutions: the impersonal nature; the impracticality; the poor designs; the long, frustrating hours; the fragmentation; the lack of innovation … I could go on and on. Despite searching long and hard and wide, I could not find what I thought was a great system. People became resigned to what was available and did not have the energy or time to do something about it. The conversation always seemed to emanate from businessmen, entrepreneurs, and software personnel, and not from the providers and doctors who were on the front line.

I also observed a growing trend within our practice and the practices of my colleagues: the role of smartphones in the doctor-patient relationship. Patients were introducing smartphones into the equation, sharing post-surgical photos, conducting virtual consults over their mobile devices, and taking selfies from their consultations. I knew that this was the future of healthcare IT. People today want on-demand input and consumption of their data. Multimedia is crucial, and smartphones enable communication to go from a text-oriented manner to a visual medium. Handing you a three-page printout of instructions is not as effective as sending you a 30-second instructional video that you can consume on your smartphone.

The timing for Symplast seemed perfect. Smartphones have evolved to the point where the camera quality, screen sizes, and voice-dictation accuracy are ready to be introduced into the exam room. The real mobile technology matured to the point where sophisticated applications can run seamlessly and natively on your device, eliminating the need for plugins and online portals.

The true potential for Symplast is to merge these disjointed modules into one complete solution, becoming a mobile ecosystem that integrates technology such as secure communication, telemedicine, patient engagement and big data into one complete solution. Symplast can leverage mobile tools to drive costs down, increase ROI, and improve the overall experience for both the patients and the care providers.

The idea for Symplast has evolved over the past three years. The actual development has been underway for about 26 months. We now have five full-time employees and 12 developers, as well as an advisory board consisting of surgeons and physicians, seasoned businessmen and CEOs, ancillary medical care staff, and IT professionals.

What unique challenges do plastic surgeons and med spa providers face when it comes to selecting, implementing, and using healthcare IT?
Plastic surgery is a true market-based economy in medicine. As plastic surgeons, we must rely on our reputation and our outcomes to attract new patients and customers. We deal with a highly educated audience that has done extensive research and price comparisons. Marketing is critical if you want to survive in this specialty. Our field is unique in this sense, and so the healthcare IT solution needs to placate this reality.

We need robust patient engagement tools with automated, personalized communication offerings that will help us increase practice revenue. The biggest frustrations we experience with the current software offerings for this specialty are the complexity and fragmentation of the platforms that lack true patient engagement, marketing, and multimedia features.

Symplast was founded by three practicing plastic surgeons who understand first-hand the unique challenges this field faces on a daily basis. That’s why our product is specifically targeting plastic surgeons and med spa providers to start with. Patients in these fields demand a certain level of engagement and communication that Symplast delivers.

How does Symplast’s PM and EHR tools help meet these needs?
We don’t classify Symplast as just an EMR/EHR or PM. Symplast is a complete mobile ecosystem that provides every module a plastic surgery practice or med spa needs to operate on a daily basis. While the EHR is certainly one component of Symplast, we also include PM, patient engagement, multimedia, inventory management, cosmetic quotes, financial reporting, automated marketing, and more. Symplast allows you to run your entire practice from your smartphone, tablet or PC.

We understand how important security is for SaaS cloud-based solutions, and that is why we have three layers of security that ensures your data is 100-percent safe. No data is stored on your device; it is all encrypted and stored in the cloud.

How did beta testing go? What type of feedback did you receive, and how does the final technology reflect that feedback?
Beta testing was tremendous. As expected, we learned and made enhancements to the UI/UX of our technology. We understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect” product. We will continuously push ourselves to improve and innovate, and user feedback is a critical element to that objective. This is just the beginning.

On a personal note, I find it inspiring that you have provided free care on several occasions in India. How have you seen healthcare technology impacting such patient populations?
This is actually a great example of how mobility is transforming healthcare. In the past, I wasn’t able to properly engage with patients when I traveled. Now, thanks to the penetration of smartphones and mobile devices, I can truly interact and connect with these patients. Millions of people around the world have grown up in the mobile age, completely bypassing the desktop generation. They will now be engaged with the Symplast ecosystem.

Symplast is actually in the early stages of creating a partnership with some charities that would facilitate the use of our patent-pending mobile technology in medical missions around the world in the near future. This is the mobile world we will live in very, very soon.

Dr. Kusuma Panel Speaker at TiE Forum

Symplast Founder/Chairman and emerging thought-leader Dr. Shashi Kusuma was recently featured as a panel speaker at the TiE forum “Opportunities and Challenges in Healthcare IT“.

Dr. Kusuma spoke about the issues facing small to mid-size healthcare practices today, including the communication gap that exists between doctors, staff, and patients. He also discussed the future of healthcare and the role technology will play in our daily interactions. Of particular note was the role of smartphones in healthcare. Countless studies show patients are demanding more and more smartphone optimization, and while the medical software industry is lagging in this regard, Dr. Kusuma spoke about his new startup company Symplast.

Symplast is the first complete medical software solution that was built from day one to be completely device agnostic, meaning it is fully functional on any smartphone, tablet, or PC. Dr. Kusuma explained the role smart technology plays in medical software, and his philosophy that technology is a “tool” that should be used in the background to increase human engagement and interaction in the foreground.

 

 

 

About Shashi Kusuma, M.D.

Dr. Kusuma received his B.A. in Biology from Emory University. In addition, he graduated with distinction from the Emory University School of Business with a Bachelors of Business Administration (B.B.A.). Subsequently, he received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, Georgia. He completed his residency in General Surgery and Otolaryngology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He also completed a plastic and reconstructive surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. He worked as a teaching faculty member in the department of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Cleveland Clinic for 4 years before moving to South Florida in 2010. He is currently the medical director of Suria Plastic Surgery in South Florida.

About TiE

TiE is a non-profit, global community welcoming entrepreneurs from all over the world. We believe in the power of ideas to change the face of entrepreneurship; and growing business through our five pillars: mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. TiE was founded in 1992 by a group of successful entrepreneurs and is currently the world’s largest entrepreneurial organization. With programs like TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) and Mentor Match, TiE is reaching out and fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Introducing Symplast, the First Medical Software Solution That Allows Doctors to Run Their Practices from Their Smartphones

Emerging thought-leader Dr. Shashi Kusuma launches a software startup that aims to shift the paradigm in healthcare engagement, communication, and data input via mobile technology.

 

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Symplast, a cloud-based, 100% mobile medical software startup, announces its launch, aiming to fix the communication gaps among doctors, staff, and patients through patent pending mobile architecture.

Headquartered in the growing tech hub of South Florida, Symplast is the brainchild of Dr. Shashi Kusuma, a practicing plastic surgeon who was frustrated by the lack of real-time communication and engagement among healthcare practices, hospitals, and patients. Offering a complete solution of modules designed specifically for plastic surgeons and med spa providers, Symplast provides users the unique ability to securely manage an entire practice from any smartphone, tablet, or PC. Recently completed beta testing has already garnered inaugural customers, and Symplast is now officially available for purchase. For more information or to request a free demo, please visit www.symplast.com or email sales@symplast.com.

 

Featuring robust modules for practice management, inventory/POS, EHR/EMR, multimedia, and more, Symplast offers plastic surgeons and med spa providers everything they need to increase practice revenue, staff efficiency, and patient engagement in one easy-to-use solution. Its intuitive interface was created by doctors who applied their first-hand expertise to designing complete and efficient system workflows. Consisting of four unique user role apps (doctor, staff, patient, and referring physician), Symplast delivers a cloud-based ecosystem that bridges the gap in communication, resulting in improved quality of care and outcomes. Symplast is also completely secure, storing all of the encrypted data in the cloud, not on the actual device.

 

Mobile health is a growing trend in healthcare, with more and more patients demanding smartphone-enabled interaction with their physicians. What small to mid-sized practices need is a complete eHealth software solution built specifically for smartphones. Medical software has evolved from server-based to cloud-based to tablet-optimized, but it has yet to take the next leap to a truly device-agnostic, 100% smartphone-enabled model. Symplast has taken that leap.

 

The concept for a 100% mobile eHealth solution came to Dr. Kusuma after he spent yet another long night doing paperwork. “As a physician, I experienced first-hand the healthcare IT challenges that exist for small practices. When my colleagues and I founded Symplast in 2013, the driving force was to create a doctor-friendly solution that would be mobile, simple, and complete. Smartphones are the future of healthcare. Not just from the patient side, but from the practice/provider side as well. Our vision is to shift the paradigm of healthcare engagement and communication by using smart technology as a tool to connect people. With Symplast, we can change healthcare IT, one community at a time.”

 

Because Symplast is cloud-based and fully functional on any device, a practice can be up and running in just days, not weeks or months. Symplast eliminates the need to invest in expensive hardware, maintenance, or third-party software and is available for a flat SaaS monthly fee.

 

For more information, please visit www.symplast.com.

To schedule a free demo, please contact sales@symplast.com.

 

 

About Symplast
Founded in 2013 by a group of plastic surgeons, Symplast is the first complete, 100% mobile medical software solution designed specifically for plastic surgeons and med spa providers. Built to be device agnostic from day one, Symplast boasts an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution that is fully functional on any smartphone, tablet, or PC. Symplast saves a practice time and money by increasing revenue, efficiency, and patient engagement. For more information, please visit www.symplast.com or contact sales@symplast.com.

Mini Silicon Valley for Healthcare Sprouting in South Florida – Sun-Sentinel

Symplast was profiled by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. The full article is below:

 

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‘Mini-Silicon Valley’ for health care sprouting in South Florida

Local IT industry getting noticed for medical innovations

June 21, 2014|By Nicole Brochu, Sun Sentinel

The doctor of the future has arrived, and his digital makeover has South Florida’s fingerprints all over it.

That’s what you get when you live in a region some are dubbing “a mini-Silicon Valley” for health-care innovation.

From prescriptions and X-rays to patient consultations and bill collection, the physician’s smartphone is doing it all, serving as a digital practice and usurping the stethoscope as the go-to accessory.

The doctor isn’t the only one to benefit from the way technology is tearing up the medical blueprint. Recent innovations also are connecting physician and patient like never before, allowing patients unprecedented access to their doctor and their own records while providing more efficient care.

“It not only makes the doctor’s life easier and the staff’s lives easier, it makes the patient’s life easier,” said Dr. Shashi Kusuma, a Plantation plastic surgeon who has designed a smartphone-based office management system fordoctors. “It allows them to interact with their doctor; there’s a reduction in errors. You don’t have to worry about waiting to get your records or not being able to pick them up after hours. It saves time and costs.”

Even The Wall Street Journal has taken notice, declaring in a May 30 article that the Miami area, once known for its beaches and club scene, “is adding a new distinction: tech hub.”

“South Florida is becoming a health-care software hub, a mini-Silicon Valley,” Kusuma said. “There are a whole bunch of software companies down here specializing in healthcare. It’s a burgeoning industry.”

The health end of that IT industry has created such a buzz that the Boca Raton-based South Florida Technology Alliance had a workshop last month that sought to answer a burning question: “What is it about South Florida that makes this the right time and place to grow a successful health-care technology company?”

The sun and sand help, allowing local companies to recruit some of the nation’s top talent, said Albert Santalo, a panelist at the alliance’s May 29 workshop. Then there’s the region’s status as one of the country’s top health-care marketplaces — in dollars spent per capita and in the size of the aging patient population, he said.

“There’s a significant amount of health-care technology that’s growing up in South Florida,” said Santalo, president and CEO of CareCloud in Miami, which uses a cloud-based system to help doctors manage their practices. Begun in 2009, CareCloud now boasts 6,000 doctor clients around the country.

Area medical schools — Nova Southeastern University in Davie, the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton among them — also are churning out a top-drawer class of doctors, adding to the region’s standing as a world-class health system, said Vipul Katyal, CEO of My Vision Express in Weston, a cloud-based electronic records system specifically for eye doctors.

Such intellectual capital helps breed innovation, he said.

Count Kusuma among the innovators.

Inspired by how transformative devices like the iPhone and Google Glass have made everyday tasks easier, Kusuma developed Symplast, aided by local software companies like Plantation’s Chetu Inc. Like CareCloud, the platform works through a secure, web-based cloud, allowing doctors and their staff to do everything, including create patient charts, order and review lab work, photograph injured limbs, set appointments — even bill patients and collect payment. It’s instantaneous and accessible not only to the doctor and consulting physicians, but to the patient through a free smartphone app.

“This is the practice of the future,” said Kusuma, who is testing Symplast this month and plans to officially launch it in the fall. “My entire office is on me right now. My entire professional life is with me at all times, any time, anywhere in the world.”

Examples abound of local companies modernizing the standard delivery of health care using smartphone and other technology — to the benefit of doctor and patient.

GetMyRx, for example, runs a smartphone-based prescription delivery service in Miami-Dade and Broward counties that allows consumers to skip the trip to the pharmacy. Modernizing Medicine ofBoca Raton has created a web-based electronic records system that allows doctors to manage office and patient files from a tablet or laptop. And Sunrise-based MDLive allows patients to consult with doctors and therapists at any time of day or night by video or smartphone.