Portland-based innovator OCHIN is growing, hiring

Tech nonprofit adds Boston HealthNet contract, more than 15 employees to its 225-member office

Now in its 15th year, Portland-based OCHIN (Oregon Community Health Information Network) is growing by leaps and bounds – providing technical services to a broader range of healthcare providers and adding to its payroll.

“We’re growing a lot nationwide,” said Abby Sears, CEO, from OCHIN’s sun-drenched offices on Southwest Naito Parkway. “We’ll have a lot of activity this summer.”

Projects include:

  • A just-inked contract to provide Boston HealthNet (a network affiliation of Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine) with electronic health records and supplementary services to nine of its community health centers.
  • OCHIN is finishing up the final stretch of an 18-month, $7 million contract with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The outcomes will help providers make better decisions about care, which has become so important since the launch of the Affordable Care Act.

“That’s really powerful,” said Sears. “We’re at the end of data collections and in the process of getting reviewed for Phase II build-out.”

More work may be coming its way soon, as OCHIN awaits a late-June decision from the state of Oregon on a two-year, $7 million RFP to provide data and analytic support.

"From 2007 forward, we've had 22 percent growth," said OCHIN's Sears.

Business really started to take off in 2008-2009, when incentives for use of electronic records came into being and increased with Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), she added.

Rare nonprofit

The nonprofit healthcare innovation center’s goal is to provide knowledge solutions that promote quality, affordable healthcare.

It hosts and runs Information Technology services, provides technical assistance, data analysis, workforce support and research for 92 paying member organizations in 19 states.

OCHIN Epic, ranked as the No. 1 health practice management software suite since 2010, keeps track of 1.5 million active patients and has 3.5 million visits per year.

OCHIN currently has 225 employees. Fifteen more staffers are being hired and recruited, with 15 more budgeted for fiscal year 2016 starting in September.

In 2014, Oregon Business named OCHIN one of the “100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon,” ranking it 14th.

The nonprofit’s income stream comes from its members’ monthly service fees, implementation fees, grants and contract revenue.

From FY 2013 to FY 2014, OCHIN's revenue jumped 15 percent from $24.4 million to $28 million. Fiscal year 2015, which ends in August, is budgeted at $35 million and FY 2016 at $41 million.

“We run like a business, but we really are a nonprofit,” said Sears. "We can configure the whole system for a small practice. Doctors are spending less time with patients and are realizing they need technical and billing help. With managed care, they need electronic notes to substantiate billing.”

Kendra Hogue is a Portland-based freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

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