At the end of the 1990s an Estonian IT-entrepreneur Tan Silliksaar was looking for work in southern California and happened to meet Welty. As their collaboration proved to work well, they soon began to hire new programmers from Estonia and, in summer 2002, established a company called Vihmapuu (a direct rendering of Raintree into Estonian – ed.) in Estonia.
In autumn 2007, the company name was changed to Raintree Estonia and the project-based sub-contractor in the city of Tartu grew into the main development centre of Raintree Systems Inc. Today, Raintree Estonia and Raintree Systems Inc. have merged into one company situated on two continents where decisions are made on both sides of the ocean via matrix management. Together, they are making the work of US doctors and other medical employers faster, easier and more user-friendly, whilst ensuring that the medical record of each patient is handled in a systematic and secure way.
Raintree has produced medical software for the US market for 14 years already, and the company emphasizes that their constantly growing team is made up of the most creative and brightest brains of the university town. According to board member Priit Pärgmäe, Raintree Estonia has long been an attractive employer for programmers.
‘It is exciting and varied work, with business trips to California, a comfortable and ergonomic office space and flexible schedules which enable to manage both studies and family life with ease,’ says Pärgmäe.
Indeed, the work schedule differs greatly from your average company – staff are expected to arrive at lunch time and in the evenings the last employees leave around 8-9pm as a new day dawns in their home market, the USA. A couple of years ago, Estonian business daily Äripäev ranked Raintree on a par with no less than the best-known Estonian technology company, Skype, in the top list of family- and employer-friendly companies, the two sharing 6-7th place in the ranking.
‘Every year there is a conference for Raintree customers, with hundreds of participants and also ten engineers from Estonia. The conference includes training sessions, brainstorming and the exchange of ideas between customers and Raintree employees,’ adds Pärgmäe. In the same way Raintree colleagues from India have visited Estonia on business placements lasting several months.
The Raintree collective is divided into eight teams, who work daily in the name of developing the software of Raintree and making it competitive in the ever-changing IT sector. For example, testers have the task of working together with programmers to investigate and test new functions and improvements which are added to the software, in order to find out how they work and whether they meet customer expectations. The team of agents is working on developing the piece of software which was created over 30 years ago by Welty himself. The team of business logics creates new solutions which improve Raintree systems.
Raintree Systems’ mission is to solve the real-world problems of the businesses and individuals working, managing and running medical offices in a specialized field of medicine. Raintree Systems has developed the most comprehensive Practice Management (PM) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software for specialized medical practices. There are thousands of software options for Practice Management (PM) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR), but the vast majority of these focus on general medical practices and large enterprise hospital systems, but Raintree has purposely chosen to focus their software on medical fields that are overlooked and under-served by the large PM and EMR software developers.
Raintree has over 500 customers in the USA and in Canada. This includes over 40 000 licensed users who are treating millions of patients. This means that whereas in the Estonian eHealth system data base there can be a maximum of 1.3 million clients (ie. our entire population), this figure is equal to one hospital network client base in the USA. Clients include small one doctor practices and large hospitals with more than 500 clinics and medical chains. In addition, Raintree has adapted its system for the special needs of five to six fields. The largest market is physiotherapy; out of the ten largest physiotherapy chains, six use Raintree software. Other fields include bariatrics (the branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of obesity), pediatrics, oncology, rheumatology, behavioral & mental health, and billing services/revenue cycle management.
Priit Pärgmäe emphasises that Raintree is not your ‘average’ software to suit everyone. ‘The Raintree platform is meant for clients who know precisely what they want or have the vision where they want to go to with their software,’ he explains. ‘That is why there are very large clients with Raintree who can save greatly on the expandable software as well as medium-size and small customers who by having a vision can use Raintree to make their work more effective,’ he goes on. Some solutions offered by Raintree include patient registry and the development of a workable reception calendar at a medical facility, electronic health records, digital prescriptions, patient portal and the management of insurance contracts as well as bookkeeping.