When Off the Shelf Won’t Do

Have a problem that calls for a tailor-made solution? It may be time to turn to custom software.

Illustration by Donough O’Malley

The last time you used POS technology, handled an automated invoice, or called on a delivery service, you most likely were interacting with a form of custom or specialized software. ¶ Although complex at times, custom software is more subtly embedded into our everyday lives than ever before, and some of the companies writing that software are based here in New Orleans.

The companies behind custom software are known for being able to produce a large quantity and high-quality of software with relatively few employees. While not always the case, the New Orleans-founded MetaClinic, with a staff of three, has certainly conquered this efficiency, reflected by their $40 million pre-revenue valuation in 2017.

Founded in 2015 by Brett Landrum — who also owns GatherMed, a company that provides remote patient monitoring for healthcare providers — MetaClinic’s software serves as a bridge between law firms and clinics, technical services and medical spaces, and doctors and their networks.

After growing from its original core focus of time billing, MetaClinic’s software aims to help clinics manage care and claims data by allowing them to collaborate with other clinics to share data on patients, and enabling clinics to keep intake, scheduling, billing and customer service departments in-sync. The software tracks everything on a patient, from care plans to account balances, as well as manages accounts receivables, requests patient records as needed, and allows patients to know what their insurance covers before treatment.

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MetaClinic has many preexisting networks across cities. By allowing doctors to release their own care plan into Metaclinic’s network, the software expands the patient network of users.

Landrum spoke of being proud of New Orleans’s burgeoning technology marketplace.

“A lot of people don’t think of New Orleans as a tech hub of any kind, and they’re kind of right in that, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here,” he said. “We can do anything in New Orleans that can be done on the West Coast.”

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At its largest point, the fully remote staff once had 12 employees, which Landrum said is no longer necessary as the software has been adapted, meaning maintenance is the main focus.

“What one engineer can do now versus what they could do five years ago is like night and day,” Landrum said on his now smaller staff.

Antares Technology Solutions
New Orleans-based Antares Technology Solutions, formerly Cotinga Soft, is a software engineering company based on lower Magazine Street focused on building software “from the ground up,” according to President and CEO Barrett Conrad. With custom builds across all industries — including banking and medical — Antares typically builds software with web applications, server-side technologies (think, data-based management systems) and mobile apps of their own.

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Nearly all of Antares’s jobs are work-for-hire, in that clients come to them with opportunities for efficiency and integration, so they do not shop around their own pre-built software.

As of late January, the company’s team consisted of Conrad and a few contractors, following the software industry trend of being able to do more with less.

“The purpose of building software is not to remove people,” Conrad said. “It’s about how do you really make people’s lives better.”

Custom software, however, is not cheap. If an interested client can’t compile a minimum of $100,000 for a custom software project, Conrad admits a challenge awaits the team of developers trying to meet the need. However, Antares doesn’t require a large fee upfront, instead offering a monthly payment plan.

Performance Health Partners
Based in New Orleans, custom software company Performance Health Partners is assisting health systems by helping them to increase patient safety and improve healthcare employee retention by tracking and reporting incidents inside health systems. The company was just awarded the No. 1 ranking by Klas research — a company that has been ranking all independent healthcare software since 1996 — in its 2023 Best in Klas report. Following the remote workforce trend, the company’s nearly 30 full-time employees are spread across the country.

PHP’s CEO, Heidi Raines, entered entrepreneurship and software after an extensive tenure within healthcare systems, where she first saw the opportunity to make processes more efficient and safer.

“All organizations have the responsibility for patient and employee safety and to prevent harm, but not all organizations had tools that were built for their organization type,” Raines said on her inspiration to launch PHP about six years ago.
The company’s customer base reaches all corners of America’s healthcare system, where it uses predictive analytics to prevent patient safety mishaps from occurring. Healthcare systems use PHP’s custom software to report and track near incidents and incidents, which are then studied in order to prevent future incidents.

Raines has also just published a book on patient safety called Shared Voices: A Framework for Patient and Employee Safety in Healthcare, which is currently listed on Amazon as the No. 1 new book release in the hospital administration and care category.

“The greatest opportunity and the biggest chance now for preventing harm is prevention,” said Raines. “It’s what we do.”

PHP is also addressing another hot topic in healthcare: burnout. The company has developed a portal through which healthcare employees can document what they see as any factors causing burnout. That data can then be used by administration to address issues.

Cost for the software varies depending on provider type — which can include hospitals, home healthcare centers, dialysis centers, etc. — and the number of full-time employees served.



Other Local Custom Software Companies Include:

Susco Solutions
With over 20 employees, Metairie-based Susco Solutions has been leveraging and pushing technology with a focus on efficiency.

Over five years ago, Susco developed custom mobile apps to reduce crime for the French Quarter Task Force, an initiative of SDT Productions, Susco’s New Orleans-based client.

With over 24,000 downloads, the mobile apps resulted in a reported 45% decrease in area crime, according to Susco’s 2017 news release.

The company works with entities from a wide array of industries, for example creating custom solutions for insurance companies that can replace document management, CRM and ERP software with a system tailored to a company’s workflow. Susco’s staff boasts over 50 years of experience in creating technology for disaster recovery and claims and grant management.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Litify opened a location on New Orleans in 2019 — the company’s first expansion out of New York. Litify is an end-to-end legal operating platform that has gained attention from industry heavyweights. In September 2022, the company announced a strategic alliance with Deloitte — an audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of Fortune 500 companies — “to help legal teams across industries modernize and digitally transform their legal operations.”

The company’s software allows firms to automate repetitive tasks like billing and tracking hours and spending, as well as facilitates easy online communication within a team, auto-generates paperwork, aids with customer relationship management — essentially touching every aspect of a law practice. The company’s solutions are built on Salesforce, currently the No. 1 cloud-based technology.

This past November, the company announced that it had been named “Overall Practice Management Solution Provider of the Year” for 2022 in the LegalTech Breakthrough Awards.


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