Philly's Connexus Technology focuses in on emerging areas of Healthcare IT

Tom Paine

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Philadelphia-based Connexus Technology, which just reached the tenth anniversary of its founding, is evolving from a general purpose custom IT consultant towards becoming a more product-oriented vendor focusing on some interesting areas of Healthcare IT. It was founded in 2003 by Lawrence James (President & CEO) and Chris Holland (COO), both of whom have BS degrees from Drexel (James in Information Technology and Holland in Computer Science), and started their business out of Drexel’s Baiada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. James is originally from Brookyln and Holland from North Philadelphia.

Lawrence James
The movement from general purpose consulting towards a focus on Healthcare IT was spurred in part by James' own health scare, he told me in an interview - a bout with cancer a few years back. In June, 2008, just before he was planning to propose to his girlfriend, he was diagnosed with cancer (the eventual diagnosis was a germ cell tumor). He went ahead and proposed to his girlfriend just before his biopsy, and she accepted. After several months of treartment and eventually surgery, he was declared cancer free and has been since.

But going through that experience demonstrated to James how inadequate information flows could be detrimental to the healthcare process. The inability to access information from
other sources in a timely manner can lead to serious gaps in diagnosing problems and developing treatment plans. So James and Holland determined to focus more of their firm's
efforts on helping healthcare-related companies develop better and more timely IT solutions.

One example of what Connexus can do was its collaboration with an industry leading Specialty Pharma company to develop a sophisticated software solution to manage complex therapy of hepatitis C patients. The software has enabled the organization to improve patient outcomes.

Another emerging focus for Connexus has been working on solutions with Healthcare Information Exchanges (HIEs). James cites Central Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health Systems as one organization Connexus has worked with that gets HIEs right. Within the HIE environment, Connexus has a particular interest in building products for analyzing population heath data. The aggregate data collected through an HIE can make it possible to analyze and spot meaningful trends within groups of people. For instance, a high reccurance rate of certain symptons or conditions among patients in a given health system may lead to identifying a systemic problem that needs to be corrected.

Although Connexus has mostly worked on a project by project basis up until now, they hope to develop products or a platform addressing population health issues and may seek some seed funding in the next year, James said.

Last year, Connexus was recognized as the 2012 Health Care Innovation Consultant of the Year by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Holland received the SmartCEO Executive Management Award for 2012 by SmartCEO Philadelphia Magazine. Connexus currently has about 15 employees. Also, Connexus is one of a small number of African-American founded technology firms in the region and its founders are active in a number of civic causes. James and Holland are also deeply committed Christians and some of their initiatives are an outgrowth of that.


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