John Leonard was impressed with Savannah’s beauty. But it was the city’s “brain” -- its workforce availability and technical infrastructure -- that made him decide to base his web-based business, The Stat Doctor Inc., here.
The Stat Doctor is a service provider for medical professionals that will allow doctors to issue prescriptions, access e-mail service, view the latest medical news and use other services geared toward their specific needs.
The new company is located on Bay Street above Churchill’s Pub and officially opened Aug. 1. The 1,500 square-foot loft will serve as The Stat Doctor’s headquarters, with design, development and customer service centers there.
The company was lured to Savannah by The Creative Coast Initiative, which partnered with the Savannah Economic Development Authority to extol Savannah’s assets. It is the 15th business that The Creative Coast has helped expand or locate in Savannah.
“We are announcing a new company, a new knowledge-based business,” said Chris Miller, executive director of The Creative Coast. “This type of company typically pays the highest wages. That will contribute to the community in a meaningful way.”
But it isn’t just in wages that the city will benefit, Miller said. “Their presence will further reinforce Savannah as a smart city,” he said.
The company operates its Web site at www.thestatdoctor.com/. Such a service is important because it will expedite patient care by collecting and distributing electronic prescriptions.
The site’s e-mail service is approved by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects patient privacy. While HIPAA’s intentions are good, it does limit communication.
“While the world has become computerized, often relying on the Internet, to date, patient privacy has prevented such efficiencies in the medical fields,” Miller says. “Not the case anymore! And a company now based in Savannah is leading the way in this exciting field.”
The company will be directed by Leonard, CIO Arif Baig and Vice President of Operations Dave Huesemann. For now, it has a staff of nine.
By January 1, the company is expected to hire eight programmers, two graphics/user interface specialists and 20 customer service representatives. With these employees, it will continue to develop its main website and act as a customer service center for users.
Leonard has worked in the medical industry since 1993, dealing directly with physicians. He is the CEO of another company, The Doc Depot, and Baig is its president.
“We believe we have the right people in place,” Leonard said. “We’ve already started hiring programmers.”
The company partnered with the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the city and the county is arranging to locate here. Leonard said the company considered several cities before choosing Savannah.
“We’ve been looking around the country for a lot of years,” he said. “The first thing I can say about Savannah is that the local government exhibits an understanding of what it takes to do today’s technology.
“The other thing that stands out is that the city and county governments work together,” Leonard said. ‘There isn’t any competition with each other. We can’t afford to have city infighting.”
Add to that the high quality of life in Savannah, and the city became the company’s choice. “I feel Savannah is a great place not only to start, but to grow,” Leonard said.
Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis and Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson were on hand to welcome The Stat Doctor.
“What’s so great about Savannah and Chatham County is that they support business or industry when they come here,” Liakakis said. “We want to see it grow.”
“We are high on knowledge-based business,” Johnson said as he presented a digital key to the city to Leonard. “We know it is the way of the 21st Century.”
SEDA President Rick Winger noted that there are more than 400 brain-based businesses in Savannah. “They have high-paying jobs with no pollution,” he said. “Every city in the country would love to have an announcement like this one.”
Miller said as soon as Leonard saw the space on Bay Street, he knew it was the right one. However, there is a serious lack of parking nearby.
“We have a housewarming gift,” Miller said, presenting Leonard with a 50cc retro Vespa scooter from Coastal Scooters.
“This is mixed use of a high density environment. This type of business doesn’t need vast tracts of land. The idea is to give them the tools they need and the talent.” ç