Daniel Cane

CEO, Modernizing Medicine

In the first minute of a conversation with Daniel Cane, the Lake Worth High grad mentions that he started the educational software giant Blackboard from his dorm room at Cornell University, that it went public in 2003 after five rounds of fundraising, and that the company sold in 2011 for $1.6 billion.

When noted that he relays this Zuckerberg-esque tale as casually as if he were sharing his breakfast order, Cane laughs.

“It’s very anticlimactic to sell a company that you build with your hands and heart,” says the 35-year-old entrepreneur. “It’s about the journey, the people and the culture, not the financial events.”

Yet another groundbreaking journey—this time in health care—has led Cane to his latest venture, Moderning Medicine, based in FAU’s Research Park. This software innovation, tailored specifically for the moment to dermatology, plastic surgery, ophthalmology and optometry, allows physicians in those fields to quickly tend to everything from clinical documentation to billing to writing prescriptions through a cloud-based “Electronic Medical Assistant.”

“I’m doing this,” he says, “because it’s needs to be done.”
    
What kind of lessons did you learn through your experiences with Blackboard?

Something like Blackboard is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unless you decide to leave it there. Of my seven co-founders, three are CEOs of other companies that are funded, doing well and growing. ... There’s nothing that prevents us from transforming an industry. For industry to evolve, someone must be ambitious enough to try.

I looked at health care in that way 14 years later.

Where has Modernizing Medicine succeeded where other companies have failed in terms of health care and the Internet?

Health care is so diverse and so broad, and the big companies that have come in have left. They’ve said we aren’t capable of solving this problem. Even Google aborted an attempt to standardize health informatics.

The one thing that we’ve understood, which must be working because we’re growing like a weed, is that you have to solve the problem of efficiency. If doctors can’t save time using it, they won’t. No matter how much you try to educate them on the benefits of being paperless or e-prescribing, if they use your system and lose productivity, they’ll stop using the system.

Why tackle something so challenging instead staying in a field—education—with which you were familiar?

I’m a switched-on personality. I don’t do it for the glory, and it’s not for the challenge. It’s that health care needs my help. It’s so backwards in this country, and it’s not any one person’s fault. Doctors are trying to treat the patient, make a living and not get sued.

I came into this knowing that I could build a much better way for doctors to document what they do. They spend two to three hours a day documenting; let’s start with that. Software, if it’s built right, can make that easier.

Where will the company be five years from now?

We want to dominate the surgical specialty market. ... But you have to stay disciplined. We get approached on a daily basis by someone not in a domain we’re focused on—the head of a 70-provider practice in gastroenterology who wants to buy our system and guarantees us $50,000 a month in billing. It’s hard not to follow the money. But we have a plan. We know where we’re going and why.