Solutions Factory

Detroit served as the birthplace of the modern assembly line in 1908.

Detroit served as the birthplace of the modern assembly line in 1908 when Henry Ford refined automation at his Piquette Avenue Plant in preparation for moving the automaker’s operations two years later to a massive, highly integrated factory in Highland Park.

Today, Tim Bryan, chairman and CEO of GalaxE.Solutions in Detroit, is out to match Ford’s success by automating the health care industry. As a provider of health care IT services, GalaxE.Solutions is changing workplace operations that have relied on human beings as the main driver of solutions.

“CEOs wake up every day and look to solve problems with humanity,” Bryan says, “but today you’re seeing more and more companies developing solutions by using automation — and for us that means building online tools and products that will automate what health care workers do manually. And we’re doing it right here in downtown Detroit.”

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, Bryan says the added cost of providing free or subsidized health care services to unemployed and underemployed individuals, along with meeting new rules and regulations, is squeezing earnings for hospitals, health care providers, and businesses.

“Most of the automation in health care services is being done here in the United States to meet privacy concerns,” Bryan says. “That means you’re going to see less offshoring IT work going to places like India. Right now, when medical benefit plans need to be modified, it’s often managed using spreadsheets that humans interpret.”

Through a series of new automated products and services under its “gx” digital platform, the company is replacing manual operations with software solutions that it maintains are more reliable and accurate than human beings. One company product, called gx|care, helps improve medical and pharmacy benefits management by automating information provided by patients, doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.

Based on a company report, gx|care has increased efficiency via automation by 75 percent, reduced performance penalty errors by 85 percent, and decreased the turnaround time of client benefit queries by 50 percent. Another product, called gx|trace — which provides automated controls for audit readiness, monitoring, and alerting — resulted in a 50-percent reduction in compliance related costs.

But for all the efficiencies generated by automating IT services, an ironic cog remains. There aren’t enough skilled workers to implement massive data solutions, whether in health care, financial services, or logistics. While Bryan maintains software engineers and other digital specialists can’t readily be automated, many other parts of economic activity are ripe for technical solutions.

Enter ExperienceIT, a nonprofit partnership based in downtown Detroit. The organization trains and prepares the next generation of IT professionals via a program operated by three nonprofit training centers: Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., Grand Circus, and Workforce Intelligence Network.

During the free, 10-week program, students learn how to code, build a technology platform from scratch, and work in a team setting. Partner companies, which hired 36 of the 43 graduates from the inaugural class, include GalaxE.Solutions, Quicken Loans Inc., Title Source, Fathead, Marketing Associates Inc., DTE Energy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. 

With subsequent classes underway, Bryan and his partners are implementing a solutions factory in downtown Detroit. Henry Ford, we presume, would be proud. db


    R.J. King