Yordan Iliev, co-founder and CEO of MY Synergy, on how digital transformation can benefit all stakeholders, from patients to companies to governments
Modern healthcare, both treatment and drug manufacture, is impossible without the IT technologies. But how an inherently conservative, regulated and monitored field like healthcare can be combined with the quickly developing and ever-changing IT field? A Bulgarian start-up knows the answer.
Established in 2019, MY Synergy is a young, energetic and ambitious company created to bridge the gap between the healthcare system and the bold new world of high technologies in a way that will benefit all stakeholders. MY Synergy was founded by two professionals with rich expertise in IT and public healthcare: Yordan Iliev and Mladen Georgiev.
We met with Yordan Iliev to learn more about how MY Synergy can transform healthcare in Bulgaria and beyond. His previous expertise includes positions as CIO at the National Oncological Hospital and the National Social Security Institute, and development of healthcare apps in a small private company.
Why did you decide to create MY Synergy?
It was a spontaneous decision and we registered MY Synergy in just 2 weeks, but it was the result of a longer process. We both have rich experience in the healthcare system and we both realized that we have the ambition and potential to create something that can grow beyond the Bulgarian market.
In late 2018, several Bulgarian IT healthcare companies founded DHI, a cluster that supports companies and organizations in the field of digital solutions and innovations in healthcare to build an ecosystem and establish a sustainable and effective healthcare environment for patients, healthcare professionals, society and institutions. I was among the people who generated the idea about the cluster, but I was not a founding member as I was working for the government at the time and would be in conflict of interests. However, once the cluster started working, I and my partner saw that it was really something different.
A day came, when I told Mladen: "I think it is time for our own thing." "Are you sure?," he asked. On the next day he was ready with the company name. MY Synergy combines our first names, Mladen and Yordan, and our synergy, years of professional experience and mutual trust. And now MY Synergy is a boutique digital transformation consultancy dedicated to the improvement of healthcare.
Soon afterwards we joined DHI. In just 2 years the cluster grew from 9 to 31 companies and already has a number of successful projects.
Why clients seek MY Synergy?
Our professional background provides us with serious knowhow in healthcare. We are not only competent in IT technologies. We have in-depth subject matter expertise in regard to medical documentation, how hospitals work, state regulation, the algorithms imposed by cooperation with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Besides, my partner and I are alike. We do not believe in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. We are passionate about making healthcare more efficient by ensuring the smooth flow of information across all points of care and operations in a manner that is efficient and sustainable to the HCPs. We constantly seek how to improve things and optimize processes. This, combined with our knowhow and technological expertise, forms the core of our mission at MY Synergy: to further develop, optimize and automate healthcare with innovative and digital solutions reaching every medical center around the world. To achieve this, we offer business consulting, IT consulting and design and marketing. We also develop our own products. Our main targets are social & medical care providers, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers.
How can MY Synergy business consulting benefit a client organization?
Our hOPTin project is unique for Bulgaria. Its main goal is to decrease #waste and low value-added services in order to increase #reimbursement for high value-added services in hospital sector, create budget headroom for high value #innovations in hospital sector, improve health #outcomes and overall patients' health #experience. MY Synergy makes a complete analysis of patient flow in a hospital. Stage 1 gathers raw data by patients and doctors. On Stage 2 we analyze the collected data, identify the bottlenecks in the processes and propose how to optimize them while they still comply with the requirements of healthcare principles and the NHIF but are faster, save time to patients and doctors and reduce the paperwork. On Stage 3 we implement our recommendations and again gather raw data to compare and check to how optimization has changed the patient flow. The project is currently in its Stage 2 of development.
Implementation of such a project is a complex process. It is not only about having the knowhow. You need to know how a hospital works and the psychology of the doctors even. We have been in the field for years and people know and recognize us. This makes them more eager to listen to our recommendations.
What does IT consultation looks like in MY Synergy?
We help hospitals with digital transformation, creating cloud data centers and digitizing business and medical processes. The architectural solutions that we propose are customized to fit the particular hospital's size, patient flow, budget etc, along with detailed recommendations about the technologies they need and how to set and connect the different components. We always begin with a gap analysis on the organization's current situation and proceed with creating a road map. It includes all the processes that need to take place to implement the best practices in IT healthcare complete with a prognostic timeline, projects priority, budget, resources needed. To a significant extent this means moving from paper to e-administration. Paper documents are printed only when needed or required by the government.
What technologies do you use?
We implement Microsoft solutions and infrastructure. MY Synergy is a Silver Microsoft partner and is working towards becoming a Gold one by September. However, we do not impose our technologies on our clients. When they already own some IT systems, we find ways to integrate them and make them communicate to one another. All our solutions step on a strict cost-benefit analysis.
MY Synergy is also Microsoft's first partner for Central and Eastern Europe licensed for Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare. The cloud allows healthcare organizations to manage health data and improve their efficiency with end-to-end security, compliance, and interoperability of health data. We were familiar with Microsoft's products even before we established MY Synergy and had contacts in the company. This allowed us to quickly convince Microsoft that we have both the healthcare and IT expertise to implement their platform and help them materialize their global priority of developing healthcare as a vertical. This is why Microsoft invests a lot of time and effort in MY Synergy and is interested in its further growth.
Who are your clients?
About 95% of them are pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and private companies within healthcare sector. Many are large international companies, others are members of the DHI Cluster. We also partner with organizations such as the Association of the Research-Based Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Bulgaria (ARPharM) and the Bulgarian Medical Association.
Our key partner is SAT Health, a company for patient support programs. Together we develop our own products, like the platform MY Care.
What is MY Care?
MY Care is a fusion of healthcare, data and technology. It is built on Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, granting businesses access to powerful patient data collection and interpretation tools in the form of Microsoft Power Platform, DataVerse, Azure FHIR Connector and PowerBI. MY Care platform hosts several applications that have been developed on top – MY Care PSP, MY Care V, MY Care HomeCare and more are about to come. One of these application – MY Care PSP is already live. It is an extremely customized CRM system that guarantees improved long-term adherence to medication plans and improved patient monitoring and retention. It allows SAT Health and the pharmaceutical companies they partner with to closely monitor patients' compliance when they participate in a particular treatment for a given disease area.
MY Care PSP offers a high-level of customization that fits the strict protocols for each medical treatment. For pharmaceutical companies it is crucial to know if the patients have followed all protocol steps during treatment as it allows them to process the data, make scientific publications, apply for approval to government bodies etc. MY Care PSP gathers this data and provides pharmaceutical companies with bullet proof evidence of how their treatments work.
MY Care PSP also applies a high-level of automatization. It has seamless integration with call centers and provides assistants working with patients with fast access to relevant data and feedback. The system also automatically calculates treatment plans and has integrated master data of drugs. Pharmaceutical drug nomenclature is highly specialized and its national specifics are often hard to compare.
The best thing in MY Care PSP is that it complies with the HL7 FHIR, a set of international standards for transfer of clinical and administrative data between software applications used by various healthcare providers. All components and data sets are designed based on the HL7 FHIR standards framework to ensure data interoperability across multiple systems and vendors. MY Care PSP employs standardized terminology and procedures across various, simultaneously running PSPs, regardless of national specifics. It allows you to add additional patient engagement applications to tailor your projects to particular markets, while maintaining interoperability and adherence nonetheless.
What capabilities for growth has the MY Care platform?
MY Care V is another application built on top of MY Care. It is an application that follows the compliance of Covid-19 vaccines in Bulgaria. Currently it is used for experimental tracking of 100 vaccinated patients. The platform guarantees that each participant has gone through all required protocol steps approved by the vaccine manufacturer and the scientific advisory board responsible for the follow up of the vaccine effects.
MY Care V has a bigger potential. It can be used for tracking the effects of all vaccines currently in use, throughout any patient's life.
What digital marketing in healthcare looks like?
Pharmaceutical companies cannot market directly to patients ATC medicines. Instead, they upload information on safe vault platforms such as our partner VEEVA and use representatives who visit doctors face to face and present new and existing drugs, usually on tablets. These presentations need to be digitalized to achieve more effective communication.
We, at MY Synergy, digitize presentations to become alive, more attractive and more effective. Our html professionals and graphic designers can include animations, make graphics and indicators move, etc. We also provide localization to presentations translated from the original English. As the same words in different languages have different length, translation without localization inevitably "breaks" the initial design. Our designers make sure that this will not happen to clients' presentations.
We also provide templates for approved targeted emails that meet all legal and compliance requirements. Their content can also be customized to include graphics, animations etc.
What do you plan for the near future?
We started with 3 people. Now we are 7 and plan to extend to 10 by the end of the year. Our planned growth for 2021 is 300%, as well as for 2022.
By the end of 2021, we plan to release another application built on top of MY Care – HomeCare, a product for follow up of chronically ill patients who stay at home. It will include medical-grade certified IoT devices for tracking vital parameters such as blood pressure, pulse, arrhythmia, body position. All the data will be collected, monitored and analyzed in real time. Among other things, it can be used for timely diagnosis of emerging conditions that otherwise might take months to diagnose.
In 2022, MY Synergy is planning to further extend its business on the US market, with the help of an established network of partners.
What have you learned since the establishment of MY Synergy?
As we established MY Synergy, I and my partner attended a practical and thought-provoking leadership development program: Leadership Journey with Vladimir Borachev. I am happy we did this at the time we started our own company. We have always sincerely believed that a company needs strong foundations and we did just that with MY Synergy at the very beginning. We defined a clear mission statement aiming to develop, optimize and automate healthcare with innovative and digital solutions, and settled corporate culture and values of respect, teamwork, creativity, professionalism. Our values underpin our company culture. They describe the professional behaviors we expect from our employees. We are a people-oriented company and believe that the attitude and guiding principles of each of us are the basis for our development. These values are an integral part of the framework we use to recruit people, develop them, and assess and reward their performance.
At MY Synergy we believe in the personal touch, strong client relationships and personally tailored solutions. We aim to service our clients with the highest standards, strictly observing and following latest trends, guidelines and best practices. Our major assets are Our Clients and Our Team. It's not just about profit and loss statements – it's about people and relationships!
Sofia, 4-6 Racho Popov Kazandzhiyata St
Matrix Tower Business Center, office 2
phones: +359 88 950 0080, +359 87 916 6767