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From Idea to Reality

In 1998 Mr. Kegler had a dream to utilize the Internet to improve efficiency and lower costs for medical practices and billing services.


Douglas Kegler, CEO, founded the company CollaborateMD (formerly XGear Technologies) in 1999 just before publicly launching the industry's first Internet-based practice management and electronic medical billing software, ClaimGear.

In the mid 90's, Douglas Kegler, founder of CollaborateMD, saw that the healthcare community was in dire need of an improved practice management and medical billing solution. With years of experience as a computer programmer and software engineer in the healthcare sector, Kegler knew that a better solution existed.

Kegler had begun writing several DOS and Windows-based dental and medical billing programs in 1989, but found a common problem with system built by software companies : medical practices and billing companies had to install, maintain, and support their own servers, databases, and connections with the clearinghouse or insurance companies, which greatly increased costs. Moreover, software in the medical field was cluttered with hundreds of menus, making them difficult to navigate, impossible to maintain, and altogether too expensive for practices with less than 25 physicians.

As his interest in finding a better solution turned into a determination to design and develop the software himself, Kegler paid the bills with a “day job” that was still supporting a Windows medical billing application written in Pascal for a large billing service company in Syracuse, NY. Meanwhile, the rise of Web applications throughout the banking, trading, retail, and media industries in 1997 intrigued Kegler, and undoubtedly served as the catalyst that drove him to choose the speed and flexibility of the Internet as the foundation on which he would later build his software.

Still in the brainstorming phase, Kegler solicited feedback from both a well-known neurologist who had used a medical billing program Kegler wrote in 1993 called Quicfa, and his Syracuse-based billing service client. Both expressed interest in the idea but shared hesitations about transferring data over the Web due to concerns about security.

Kegler turned away from creating a browser-based application in early 1998, fearing it would be too slow, as most users were on dial-up modems at the time. Instead he chose a Java client/server application which enabled him to maintain the software, database, and clearinghouse connections from his Company. Making these changes would enable his customers to focus solely on medical billing, practice management and patient care. The system would be designed with intuitive screens and easy-to-navigate menus, making week-long training sessions a thing of the past.

Continuing into 1999, Kegler worked non-stop on weekends and nights to design and develop his Internet-based system. As he neared completion of his first beta version, he contacted his two previous clients from Syracuse, NY, who both agreed to test the system.

Kegler distributed a press release in May of 1999 informing the healthcare sector he would soon release the first Internet-based medical billing software. The official version publicly launched in January 2000. The Syracuse-based neurologist liked the system so much that he signed up as a client, and is still a client today. Once the system was built, Kegler realized he needed to make it affordable to billing services and practices of all sizes. He set a low set-up fee to cover implementation, and a low monthly fee to cover the costs of system usage, software updates and maintenance, customer support, and clearinghouse fees. The end result was an easy to use, affordable, accessible, and online medical billing and practice management solution for the healthcare industry.