To escape the high cost of property, soaring energy prices and an increasingly unfriendly business environment, a northern California health technology firm has set up its corporate headquarters in Reno. Alere Medical Inc. CEO Randall Burt has long had a home in Incline Village, but spent much of his time in San Francisco where the company was based. When Alere executives began talking about a new home, Burt suggested Nevada.
After a few visits to the area and a deal with a local venture capital firm, Alere was ready to open for business in the technology-centered South Reno area. “We are very happy to call Northern Nevada Alere’s new home. Reno has everything we were looking for when searching for a new location for our company. Northern Nevada has an educated labor force, a business friendly environment and a very good quality of life,” said Burt from his South Meadows office.
Alere Medical is a privately held medical technology and services company, recognized as a leader in the development of Internet- and phone-based disease management programs. Alere’s suite of products creates a remote link between patients, their physicians, family members and care managers. The AlereNet system allows patients with congestive heart failure to have their condition assessed daily, avoiding the crisis of emergency care or hospitalization.
Because most of the patients who use AlereNet are elderly, the system was designed to be extremely easy to use. Twice a day each patient steps on the Daylink Monitor, similar to a scale, at home. The machine asks the patient simple yes or no questions, as prescribed by the doctor, and records his or her weight. That information is transmitted via the Internet to the desk of a registered nurse in Reno. The nurse immediately analyzes trends that may indicate a change in the patient’s health status, and the treating physician is alerted in case there is a concern. A patient can be sent to the doctor’s office for treatment before the problem escalates and expensive emergency or hospital care is needed. Independent studies have shown that AlereNet reduces hospitalizations by more than 80 percent. Alere has documented that at least 95 percent of patients who have the system comply with the simple requirements. Some compare it to having an at-home nurse, with help just a phone call away.
The Alere at-home health monitoring system is being used in more than 29 states, and Burt said the company is continuing to grow. He estimates between 800 and 1,000 new patients sign up for the AlereNet system each month.
While patients and their families enjoy the security AlereNet brings, Nevada is benefiting from the economic boost that comes with Alere, and state officials recognize the value of companies like Alere to Nevada’s efforts to diversify its tourism-based economy. Since moving headquarters from San Francisco to Reno in December, the company has hired 20 registered nurses and is training five new nurses every two weeks, just to keep up with demand. “We will most likely have hired 50 nurses by the end of the year.” Burt said.
Nevada, like most states, is experiencing a nursing shortage. However, nurses hired by Alere find a non-traditional setting more flexible than the 14-hour shifts most acute care facilities require. “We offer a flexible work schedule, competitive salary, and benefits that many nurses who have worked in the traditional setting find attractive,” said Burt.