The Grant that Started it All
In 2001, President and CEO of Dynamic Screening Solutions, Inc. (DSS), Adrienne Akers was working as a senior researcher for the Early Intervention Research Institute at Utah State University. There Adrienne and one of her colleagues, Richard Roberts, wrote and directed a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division for Children with Special Health Care Needs. The purpose was to establish an easier way for Utah families of children with special needs to get state assistance that they need. The challenge was to simplify the eligibility and enrollment process for families by combining the applications from several different agencies into one system. After Adrienne and Richard found out that the grant, Opening Utah’s Doors, had been funded the grant team got right to work.
The Day that Changed it All
Shortly after the grant was funded, Adrienne attended an interagency meeting, when the project was drastically altered and so was the life of the Opening Utah’s Doors Project. Presenting at this meeting were two young programmers who worked for an agency that helped uninsured families find services. The two programmers had come up with a web-based solution called the Universal Application System (UAS) which targeted the problem that the Opening Utah’s Doors grant was attempting to solve. After subsequent negotiations, Adrienne was able to use grant funds to purchase the UAS prototype. Using the resources available for the grant, as well as additional funds from the Utah Department of Health, the next four years were spent developing and piloting The ONE Application under the brand name of Utah Clicks.
Trading in their Letters: USU to DSS
After a successful statewide launch of The ONE Application in Utah, called Utah Clicks, and a contract from the State of Indiana to replicate the system, Adrienne Akers sat down with Dr. Raymond Devito, the director of Utah State University’s Technology Commercialization Office, in March 2007 to discuss the possibility of launching a company to market the product nationwide. It was necessary for Akers and DeVito to negotiate the terms for the license for the copyrighted UAS. DSS was granted the exclusive rights for use of The ONE Application. In May , 2007, Adrienne embarked on a new journey to become the President and CEO of DSS, leaving behind a career at USU that brimmed with amazing memories and experience in working with families and directing projects for local, state and federal agencies.
The value and usability of The ONE Application is recognized by users of the product. For example, Utah Clicks has maintained a 98% customer satisfaction rating since 2005 and has been promoted largely by word of mouth. The ONE Application processing more than 60% of the State of Utah’s Medicaid applications and large percentages of the other applications available through Utah Clicks, such as CHIP, Head Start, Early Intervention to name a few.
The ONE Application Brings Success
With exclusive rights to The ONE Application technology and a small team of programmers, DSS set out to sell The ONE Application to states outside of Utah. Oregon piloted a early version of The ONE Application and a license was sold to Indiana. Many other states were excited about the product and its potential. In 2006, The ONE Application won a prestigious Innovation Award from the Council of State Governments. The ONE Application’s potential was also recognized by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development/Centers of Excellence program and awarded DSS a substantial grant intended to fund early stage start ups with growth potential in the State of Utah.
Happy Anniversary…Let’s Change it Up
On May 1, 2008 DSS had a birthday. The team was elated to be among only 10% of entrepreneurial companies that actually survive their first year in business. DSS’ focus has evolved over this past year, navigating into new waters. The ONE Application is the flagship product for DSS but there are many new and exciting projects that are spinoffs of this powerful technology that are quickly up and coming. Today DSS is hard at work with a small, yet talented, team of developers under Adrienne’s extensive leadership. This team is working on emergent products to solve the paperwork problem in not only the state government sector, private healthcare, human resource management and even personally directed screening needs. Talks have been initiated with some exciting strategic partners that will result in large sales and increased usage of DSS’ new suite of solutions.