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SpectraMedi rides the medical-transcription wave

By Adam Rombel Journal Staff
September 3, 2004

SYRACUSE — The days when doctors and other medical professionals would use hand-written notes to record and convey information about patients’ health are rapidly fading away. Spectrum Software Solutions, Inc., through its SpectraMedi unit, is a fast-growing Syracuse based company that’s taking advantage of the trend toward utilizing hightech, medical-transcription services.

Medical transcription involves converting medical records dictated by doctors and others into data that can be sent to a transcriber anywhere in the world, who then types it up. The material transcribed includes patient history and physical reports, clinic and office notes, operative reports, discharge summaries, letters, psychiatric evaluations, laboratory reports, X-ray results, pathology reports, and other medical records. These transcribed records are used for archives, reference, or for legal proof of medical advice.

Medical transcription has become more sophisticated over the years, graduating from the use of simple tape-recorders to various hand-held recorders such as the Pocket PC and the Olympus digital recorder, as well as advanced phone-in systems.

Frank and Ancy Kunnumpurath, natives of India, founded Spectrum Software Solutions in 1997 and the SpectraMedi divisionin 1999. By the end of its first year, SpectraMedi generated about $100,000 in sales. This year, SpectraMedi expects to reach $3 million in revenue and more than $100,000 in profit, which was last year’s total.

“We’ve seen tremendous, exponential growth,” says, Frank Kunnumpurath, co-owner of the company, along with his wife.

SpectraMedi’s customers include specialty medical practices, family doctors, and hospital departments. Central New York clients include: Internist Associates of CNY, CNY Family Care, Colon Rectal Associates of CNY, Family Medicine Services Group, Loretto Health & Rehabilitation CTR, Orthopedic Medical Service Group, the Onondaga County Health Department’s Bureau of Disease Control, Oswego County Opportunities, and Vivian Teal Howard Health Center. But 95 percent of its customers are outside the Syracuse area, Kunnumpurath says.

SpectraMedi has three offices: one at 6562 Ridings Road in the Town of Salina and wo in Kerala, India. The company employs more than 300 people, with most of those in India, says Thomas E. Flynn, a vice president with SpectraMedi’s parent company. SpectraMedi has 30 full-time employees in the U.S., seven of whom are in Central New York, he adds. The rest are spread across the U.S. and Canada, working from their homes.

They’ve been busy. In the first six months of this year, SpectraMedi’s workers transcribed about 15-million lines of medical dictation.

About 90 percent of SpectraMedi’s revenue comes from transcription services while 10 percent results from selling software and technology services. The new flagship software product for the latter is Speech2Print, a dictation and transcription- management solution, which came to market last January.

SpectraMedi recently installed the Speech2Print system at a radiology practice in NewHampshire. “The system allows the radiologists to review the typed-up transcriptions, electronically sign them, and print them from anywhere,” explains Kunnumpurath. “The report can then be faxed to the referring doctor’s office without any manual intervention.”

SpectraMedi plans on creating a new division for the Speech2Print business and on hiring more technical-support and sales staff to boost sales, Kunnumpurath, says, without providing a target or goal. The company will also seek outside investors to help financethis division, he says.

The company will also continue to hire more transcribers. SpectraMedi may also begin offering franchises to owners of small medical-transcription companies, Kunnumpurath says. The selling point would be that SpectraMedi can offer these owners medical benefits, vacation time, and its technical and staff resources, he says. SpectraMedi, in turn, would obtain experienced, quality transcription staffers, who are exceedingly difficult to find, he explains.