February 11th, 2014
By Theresa Downs Correspondent | Capital Gazette
For seven years, Randy Boldyga ran his prescription business out of his basement.
Now RxNT is an eHealth provider that offers electronic health records, electronic prescription and practice management solutions from its Annapolis headquarters. A $150,000 loan from the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. — along with matching funds from family and friends — helped the business along the way.
Boldyga, president and CEO of RxNT, talked to the AAEDC about those early years and how the firm grew to doing more than 12 million e-prescriptions annually.
Tell me a little bit about your business and the history of its establishment.
“RxNT was established 15 years ago (1999) and operated out of my basement.
“We recognized there was an issue with the old method of writing prescriptions and there was probably a better and safer method for doctors to prescribe medications for their patients using computer software but we didn’t have all the answers back then. Market research told us that there were only a handful of companies developing similar products to meet this need. There were no clear industry leaders and physician adoption was less than 2 percent.”
“Over the first few months a concept was drafted on paper and then a prototype was created. Then I hired one developer to work with me in my basement. Within two years we realized that if we wanted to make this a competitive product we needed funding, so we contacted the (AAEDC).”
Then what happened?
“Upon completion of our first version of the product, we could fax a prescription to a pharmacy. But (we) recognized that there were regulations limiting our technology in many states and there were no national standards for sending prescriptions electronically. Also, there were no standards for sending electronic formulary and medication history data from Pharmacy Benefit Manager to doctor.
“These challenges created opportunities for RxNT. Over the next few years, RxNT worked with some of the largest healthcare companies in the U.S. to implement electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) standards and helped implement those standards through a national prescription routing network now known as Surescripts. Within a year or two our cloud-based technology was implemented by doctors all over the country, and we were soon doing more than 12 million e-prescriptions a year.”
Talk about some of your experiences as you set up your business.
“It takes a lot of personal dedication to be successful. In the first few years, the most challenging part was being dependent on very few core people.”
“Another challenge was keeping the finances in check. From 1999 to 2006 we ran our business out of our home, so we were able to keep our overhead expenses low. In 2006, we finally moved into our first building.”What advice would you offer business owners in similar situations?
“One thing I would suggest to people wanting to start a business would be to write a business plan. You may think you have things straight in your mind but not until you go through the process and start to ask yourself the really hard questions, do you really understand the important (but costly) little details.
“I can make a little mistake now and most likely the net-loss is insignificant but mistakes early on are much more costly. A business plan gives you a clear path to success and is a key component to early success. It is one of the most valuable processes I have been through.
“There are key questions in a business plan that may not have even crossed your mind. In addition, you will need a business plan to get funding.”
What are the current trends in this industry and what advice would you give someone who is considering starting a business in this field?
“Presently the federal government is offering doctors incentives for adopting electronic medical record software and next year they will begin penalizing doctors that have not adopted the technology. The federal government wants doctors to use EMR software to increase efficiency and decrease health care expenses.
“One trend in the medical healthcare industry is increased regulation. It is increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain an industry-certified solution. Just to show you how difficult it is — in 2011, there were 956 vendors that met the Stage 1 certification requirements, whereas in January 2014 there are less than 75 vendors that met the Stage 2 requirements.”
“It would be difficult for a new vendor to compete in this industry. With thousands of doctors already in our system, we can afford to spend money on the research and development to meet these specific standards but any new player or ‘little guy’ will certainly find it difficult to compete.”What is unique about doing business in Anne Arundel County? Why did you choose this area for setting up your business?
“I grew up here. As a software company, we could have set up anywhere, but personally, I love this area. In Anne Arundel County, we have easy access to major highways, BWI airport, and a pool of highly skilled people.
“When we hire people from outside the area that is one of the questions they ask, ‘What is the local area like?’ I have no issues getting people to move and work here. Once they come for a visit and see this area, they are sold. It’s a big selling point.”