Critical Mass Technologies: Increasing the Reach of ABA for Autism Treatment

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Pabla Barrros, VP, Contracts, Michael Cook, CFO, Jeff Plowman, Co-Founder & CEO Life on the spectrum is a continuous struggle. Beyond feeling misunderstood and alienated, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are also subjected to stigma and discrimination in the society as they may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in different ways. A report from CDC’s Autism and Development Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network shows that at least 1 in 59 eight-year-old children has been identified with ASD. The report is based on the data collected from health and special education records of children from 11 communities in the U.S. during 2014. The findings also indicate that the number of children diagnosed with ASD continues to increase and that they need immediate healthcare interventions to decrease the repercussions of the disorder on child development. On the other hand, access to one of the most widely accepted evidence-based treatments for ASD, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)—a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior—is very low. The conventional wisdom, therefore, lies in ABA providers scaling their practice to an enterprise level, adding more clinics, hiring more practitioners, and delivering faster and better care to more children with ASD. However, this is easier said than done. The ABA providers are mostly independent clinics, and a significant part of their daily processes related to initial contact, intake, scheduling, clinical services, billing, and patient account management is manual. The immediate challenge then becomes the management and oversight of these areas when the growth of providers is factored in. This is precisely what Critical Mass Technologies (CMT) addresses. The company integrates traditional healthcare processes with advanced practice management strategies through its flagship solution Sidis Health to better enable efficiency across different clinics of large ABA providers, helping them increase the reach of treatment to children with ASD.

Digital Transformation of Healthcare with Sidis Health

Sidis Health enables the digital transformation of ABA providers’ health services to move away from traditional “clinic” style operations and into a leaner environment of service delivery that can be disruptive in the market while maintaining a clear set of predefined principles and practice methodology. The solution brings a one-of-a-kind approach to electronic health records and practice management systems by completely changing the way that clinics staff their organizations, establish and distribute their standards of practice, manage their business through centralized real-time data collection, and ensure the consistent and progressive quality of care—providing ultimate transparency to kids/parents. “Sidis Health makes running a clinic as a business simple and removes nearly all human error that plagues the healthcare system today,” says Jeff Plowman, co-founder and CEO, CMT.



He further adds, “The leading market offerings have developed their systems from a therapy provider’s perspective embracing the clinic model approach, overlooking a holistic enterprise reporting and financial dashboard analytics. This often leads organizations to purchase add-on modules that are not accurately integrated into the core functionality.” However, Sidis Health is designed and built to centrally manage all aspects of clinical, support, and business management at the heart of the solution, providing an in-depth, seamless experience for all types of users to perform their job functions and create an efficient operation, from beginning to end, in an ultra-secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud-based environment—allowing for true digital transformation.

Sidis Health is an open API platform that easily integrates into many existing ERP systems like Workday®, Tableau® and Concur® that enable ABA providers to operate at an enterprise scale. Our Deep Analytic Dashboards provide a treasure trove of KPIs and real-time insights to improve clinical operations, parental involvement and profitability. Clinics require numerous layers of data to slice in various ways which Sidis Health readily provides for executives and management. An AI-based scheduling module maximizes contract fulfillment by optimizing provider compliance and patient availability against payer authorizations. Additionally, a modernized patient intake has efficient ‘Point & Click’ selections for a comprehensive HHQ, electronic signing, and AI document scanning.


Our mission is to make better autism treatment more accessible to children in order to increase the percentage of diagnosed kids receiving treatment above today’s abysmal 36 percent

The Sidis Health financial backbone is strategically focused on automated billing which will ensure compliance with payer requirements and contract obligations without subsequent human analysis, enabling rapid billing scalability.

Apart from healthcare providers, CMT considers parents and guardians of kids with ASD as their clients. To this end, the company’s parent portal allows parents to access all their children’s medical records that are safely stored in one space, which they can conveniently share with other medical providers. Such mobility eliminates the legacy-based paperwork of filling out medical forms and providing insurance information multiple times.
The founding of CMT came out of the experience of Plowman and Robert Pontello, the duo with more than a decade of experience in leading digital transformations for prominent ABA providers. In fact, Pontello, as the original CTO of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), initiated the technology foundations that would ultimately enable CARD to become the world’s largest provider of ABA. “I directed the strategic leadership transformation for all technologies for the entire corporation including finishing the development of the centralized treatment platform called Skills®; along with centralizing the end-to-end processes into digital workflows by leveraging technology tools,” remarks Pontello, co-founder and CTO, CMT. As the duo realized (in traditional ABA practices) how scattered the clinical, operational and financial information was without proper data integration, they decided to leverage their knowledge of operations, technology, and management together and develop a truly transformational enterprise software solution, Sidis Health. The solution puts all the pieces of information together and enables an ABA provider to operate efficiently and at scale. “Our mission is to make better autism treatment more accessible to children in order to increase the percentage of diagnosed kids receiving treatment above today’s abysmal 36 percent,” declares Pontello.

Standardization and Reimbursement with Sidis Health

“The point of the standardization system is not to replace the professional judgment of a medical provider, but to see that the processes, frameworks, and procedures being developed are organized and structured in the best means possible to effectively track and treat a patient and extend these to other patients at different clinics of an ABA provider,” says Plowman. To this end, a prime component of Sidis Health is its Deep Analytics Dashboards, which provides a customizable reporting platform including crucial analyses such as the complete audit trail of appointment services which is shadowed entirely through all service billing/claims adjudication statuses with AI-enabled tracking for minute-by-minute reimbursement receipts and accurate projections. This ensures effective AR and cash management for historical and current appointments while providing real-time reimbursement projections based on scheduled billable services. This combined with the centralized treatment plan builder further enables a consistent standard of care provided irrespective of the location and also promotes therapy success rates throughout an organization where consistent metrics and treatment approaches can be enforced and disseminated via technology. Such measures enable healthcare providers to offer value-based care to patients, and the data metrics on consistent treatment outcomes are collected by leveraging big data analytics.
Robert Pontello, Co-Founder & CTO
The Technology behind Sidis Health

CMT is centrally focused on Digital Transformation Ideology, where driving organizational and business cycle costs down are paramount to identifying value in their solution innovations. “With the CMT founders and our partnering development company (Cloud Solution Sciences) extensively working in the healthcare landscape, our ability to translate ‘market needs’ into tangible digital tools is built upon this fast, internal tribal knowledge from the IT, finance, and operational points of view spanning over 20 years of building and implementing Fortune 2000 corporate ERP solutions,” says Pontello. CMT has partnered exclusively with Cloud Solution Sciences for primary development and cloud services configurations. Michael Shields started this company along with Dean Shoultz and Pontello by deploying a combination of leading-edge technical strategies with an extensive background in automating and standardizing highly efficient business processes.

"Sidis Health makes running a clinic as a business simple and removes nearly all human error that plagues the healthcare system today"

By focusing on true digital transformation, combining high aptitude and intelligent solution objects that are API driven, which enable enterprise immersion and scalability in the cloud, CMT has developed a truly innovative software solution, Sidis Health that provides real value, transparency and security. “Our innovation roadmap is focused on both ‘Fast Cycle’ and ‘Value Added’ business acumen approaches to software design, which has empowered Sidis Health with the ability to act as a key component to an enterprise’s operational investment strategy where bottom-line metrics drive decisions,” states Pontello. By focusing on these two attributes, the groundwork for utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning will additionally enable standardized big data for patient and treatment information, leading to the creation of a useful dataset ripe with commercial, therapeutic, and research value. This data can be used to design and test new treatment methods as well as provide valuable information necessary for potential drug therapies, as well. In addition, the solution is built around a multi-tenant approach to ensure the standardization of data metrics and collection across organizational structures.

The Sidis Health EHR platform is an Azure cloud-based multi-service solution that is highly scalable. Azure AD B2C offers standards-based authentication protocols, and each securable layer of the application is HIPAA-compliant, including Azure SQL and the APIs consumed. CMT architected the application around Windows Azure for reliability, elasticity, and resilience. Information is stored in a variety of Azure-based storage mechanisms and optimized for long-term retention and redundancy. The app uses native device storage for features that support offline capabilities. Pontello and members of CMT’s development team have been associated with Microsoft for around 20 years. “Mobility is a central focus of our technology because therapists need to be able to utilize a mobile workforce strategy, where treatment lessons, objectives and results are easily disseminated and tracked in a fashion to optimize therapist time and effectiveness while supplying the enterprise essential data,” says Pontello.

Sidis Embraces Mobile Ways of Working

CMT will soon be releasing the Sidis Lite mobile intake application, which is designed for parents of children with autism to simplify the difficult post-diagnosis task of finding therapies necessary for their kids and streamline the administration efforts for the enterprise by standardizing and containerizing patient and insurance information into the Sidis Health enterprise EHR web portal. By simplifying the onboarding process for parents in selecting an ABA service provider encompassing intake submission and HIPAA-compliant information electronically.

Decades of experience in the autism treatment industry allow CMT to produce the right technology solution for an industry fraught with misaligned goals and priorities due to a lack of centralized data and information. With the continued interest from Private Equity firms to invest in autism treatment clinics, Sidis Health provides the platform on which scalability can be achieved, furthering the maximum quality of care and productivity that this high volume healthcare niche is capable of when provided the data necessary to make informed business decisions.

Company
Critical Mass Technologies

Headquarters
Escondido, CA

Management
Pabla Barrros, VP, Contracts, Michael Cook, CFO, Jeff Plowman, Co-Founder & CEO and Robert Pontello, Co-Founder & CTO

Description
Critical Mass Technologies (CMT) is a digital transformation provider that integrates traditional healthcare processes with advanced practice management strategies through its flagship solution Sidis Health. The solution enables efficiency across different clinics of large Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) providers, helping them increase the reach of treatment to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sidis Health enables a leaner environment of service delivery for ABA providers while bringing a one-of-a-kind approach to electronic health records and practice management systems by completely changing the way that clinics staff their organizations, establish and distribute their standards of practice, manage their business through centralized real-time data collection, and ensure the consistent and progressive quality of care—providing ultimate transparency to children/parents

Critical Mass Technologies