MBA grad’s technology simplifies paying doctors
If necessity is the mother of invention, then John Tarala’s start-up may be just the medicine hospitals need to remedy one of their administrative headaches.
Tarala’s start-up, Simpliphy, was borne out of a need he identified while working as a financial analyst at an Upstate hospital after receiving his MBA at Clemson University in 2008. Tarala says Simpliphy streamlines the complex and time-consuming process of managing physicians’ compensation.
“Hospitals are buying up physicians’ groups at a rapid pace and as a result they’re employing more doctors who negotiate contracts with the hospitals, and they are very complicated. Their compensation is based on the complexity of their cases, their time worked and the training needed, among other criteria,” he said.
As a result, the traditional process of creating compensation statements each month on Excel is very complicated, labor intensive and is vulnerable to errors, according to Tarala.
“Simpliphy is a cloud-based web application that automates the process and puts all of the burden on the software. It reduces the likelihood of errors and pares the training time for the job from several months to days,” Tarala said.
Tarala, who is currently finishing up his Ph.D. in health care administration, said he didn’t start out with entrepreneurial intentions. But as the health-care industry evolved with more doctors being employed by hospitals, the need for this technology grew, and he seized on it.
“I recognized the necessity for a better way to handle this very cumbersome back-office task,” he said. “It was a need that had to be addressed.”
With a finance background, Tarala was in a position to identify the problem, but he didn’t have the technical know-how to create a solution on his own. Having some experience working with technology developers, he was able to contribute heavily in design formulas and architecture, but left the coding up to the experts.
“In my analyst role, I experienced several software companies’ attempts at finding ways to automate tasks, but few provided a great user experience. I wanted to create something that I would want to use as an analyst,” he said.
Tarala said the decision to pursue an MBA at Clemson was initially intended to further his opportunities in the world of finance. It did that and much more.
“The MBA definitely unlocked doors for me, from my entry into the Ph.D. program and to my health-care employment, which ended up kicking off my business,” he said. “But it’s also helping build my business because it taught me discipline, how to handle pressure and problem solving. Those are all disciplines important to the success of any business person.”
Simpliphy has found a temporary home on the eighth floor of Greenville ONE in the MBA program’s incubator space. Tarala has signed a one-year lease where he and several business colleagues plan to build a customer base for the start-up.
He’s also found a support network through the South Carolina Research Authority. Simpliphy has been accepted into the non-profit SCRA, which offers entrepreneurs mentoring, support services and potential grants and matching funds.
“We’re tapping a variety of sources for help, including Clemson’s MBA program. We want to remain permanent in the health-care industry so we’re taking a measured approach to growing the business. A key to that will be tapping all the resources available to us.”
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