‘Why don’t you invent something?’
The idea started more than 10 years ago, when Craig Walker found himself snail-mailing VHS tapes of ultrasound recordings to a medical specialist, just to get a second opinion. Walker had become frustrated when doctors couldn’t tell him if his unborn son would have a medical condition.
“I said, ‘Man, is there any way I can just send this stuff over the Internet and we can check it out?’” Walker said. “He said, ‘No.’ And he’s like, ‘Why don’t you invent something?’”
Fast-forward a decade and Walker – previous CEO of two major hospitals and one of the pioneers of telehealth legislation – can do a little more than just send ultrasounds over the web.
Though most patients won’t see his software during a doctor visit, his VidiStar system is making its way into hundreds of hospitals and specialty medical practices across the country and overseas. For example, VidiStar has taken over the West Virginia footprint, while current customers work from a dozen states, Canada, Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean, Walker says.
“Having been the customer and having partners and employees that have been end users… we’re pretty good at tailoring or modifying,” he said. VidiStar is on track for 65 percent sales growth this year following 45 percent growth for each of the two years before.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Greenville, VidiStar primarily helps doctors access, view and analyze medical recordings such as ultrasounds from anywhere. Images can be shared between certified providers via its web-based platform, which cuts down on redundant tests and makes second opinions easier. And built-in data analytics also mean doctors and specialists can prove they’re helping patients more efficiently, which is huge when it comes to insurance providers and other authorities, said Walker.
“This is kind of a game changer. As a former CEO of a hospital, and as someone who has been a VP of business development of a hospital, one goal is to provide actual patient care,” he said. “Two, I’ve got to grow my business. I’ve got to make money. Health care isn’t free. This does both.”
Walker said customers span a wide range of uses, including the cardiology, vascular, OB-GYN and neurology fields. Just this year, VidiStar broke into the endoscopy and maternal fetal medicine fields, and they plan to add three new employees in the next month.
To make room, Walker bought a 4,000-square-foot building in a prime spot downtown, within walking distance of several hundred new apartments, downtown Greenville amenities and the Kroc Center. Despite completely renovating the old transmissions building and adding a second floor, Walker said the company will be virtually out of space when they move in.
VidiStar is a two-time InnoVision award winner, first for small enterprise development and then for technology development. Walker said the promise of investment from SCRA’s SC Launch program drew him and two employees to South Carolina from Austin more than a decade ago, and he plans on staying here.
“Most of the earnings we maintain go into personnel and R&D,” he said. “We’re really trying to further the product.”