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Opportunistic Rebrand

For more than 33 years, Link Wilson’s Newbury Park health care software firm had operated under the moniker Compulink Business Systems Inc. As of June 28, it has a new name: Compulink Healthcare Solutions. “We want to get people to take a look at us,” Wilson said. The name change is part of an overall rebranding strategy in concert with the launch of a new product, Wilson explained. Though the company has been specializing in software for private medical practices since its inception, he wants to make sure that potential customers see Compulink as the foremost solution to their rapidly-evolving needs. “We’re trying to look at where health care is going and where we’ll be,” Wilson said. Target marketing Wilson’s company has evolved in step with the health care industry and technology as a whole. Its new software system, which is slated to launch this fall, is tailored to the needs of multi-specialty ambulatory, or outpatient, clinics. These have been on the rise as care moves out of hospitals and into smaller hubs. Though much larger companies such as Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. have platforms that work for hospitals, few have created affordable options for smaller clinicians, Wilson said. “We don’t see a solution out there in the ambulatory world,” Wilson noted. “We’re trying to make a difference here.” The starting price of the new platform will be around $200 a month, Wilson said. It is designed to be used by up to 17 different specialties and leverages artificial intelligence for tasks ranging from automating workflows to marketing. In doing so, the platform saves clients significant time and money, Wilson said. “We can make them more efficient,” he said. “They can impact their bottom line by 5 to 10 percent by using our solution.” To make sure that potential clients get the message, Wilson decided a rebrand was in order. Compulink Healthcare Solutions is more pointed than the previous name. “The name change right now is based on our focus on the larger enterprise system,” he explained. Encino-based brand consultant and author Rob Frankel said a name that demonstrates clearly what the company does or the industry that it serves is a hallmark of a successful business. “Brand clarity is super important – it has to be clear, authoritative and defensible,” Frankel said. “The quicker potential clients understand it, the quicker they pick up the phone.” When Compulink started out back in the 1980s, the trend was for brands to have more general names that simply showed that they were software companies, without targeting specific industries, Frankel said. Now that the market has solidified into different sectors, it’s important to differentiate a company’s offerings, he explained. “In response to the competition, (Compulink) might have felt that it needed to be more specific,” Frankel said. It’s a common misconception that branding is the same as graphic design, he continued. While cool-but-vague business names might be hip with Silicon Valley startups, it’s the firms that are able to leave an impression that the company’s product is the only solution to customers’ needs that are most successful, Frankel said. “If you can convince users and clients that you’re the only thing in town and they can’t go anywhere else, you can charge a premium,” he said. “That makes you more profitable.” Humble beginnings Compulink is a true Valley success story. A lifelong local who attended El Camino High School, Wilson started the firm not long after graduating from UCLA. He was looking for a side job when he learned that his optometrist – located in Canoga Park – was in need of practice management software for his clinic. Wilson developed a solution for him and installed it in December 1985. “From there we got another client, then we grew to six, all in the San Fernando Valley,” Wilson recalled. The company entered the electronic medical records business in the mid-1990s. Growth since then has been slow and organic, Wilson said, save for a major ramp-up in the early 2000s when laws were passed mandating the use of electronic medical records, or EMR. Compulink was among the first EMR software vendors to be certified by Medicare. “That was a tsunami,” Wilson said. “It was challenging.” The company’s EMR offerings and its full-service patient management platforms continue to be popular with health care providers. Revenue is up 8 percent this year over last year, and the company is looking for acquisitions to keep the momentum going. Its biggest obstacle has been finding the right sales people to get the word out about the company’s products. “The very tight labor force out there has been challenging,” Wilson said. The growth of the company has been substantial enough to warrant a physical expansion. It recently doubled its square footage when it expanded into a 20,000-square-foot facility at 1100 Business Center Circle in Newbury Park, and is still on the hunt for more real estate that can accommodate further growth. “We’ll be scaling up here,” Wilson said.

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