With a key executive change in its health-care services area completed, Equifax Inc. is moving to expand revenues by making some formerly independent units work more closely with one another.
The credit bureau and financial information services giant provides electronic data interchange and claims processing services to the health- care industry through two companies it recently acquired.
In part by encouraging these units to share information and expertise, Atlanta-based Equifax hopes to expand its annual revenues from health-care processing from last year's $8 million to $100 million in the next few years.
A key player in the effort to make the acquisitions mesh is Joe Dawson, an executive from Equifax's financial services area.
Mr. Dawson, a former senior vice president in charge of credit information services such as credit reporting and mortgage pre-screening, earlier this month inherited control of the health-care electronic data interchange division from Joe Bigley, who came to Equifax when it acquired Cooperative Healthcare Networks from BellSouth Enterprises in January.
Mr. Bigley decided to leave Equifax in order to start a new health care- related business in which he can play a more central role.
"The company's getting big," Mr. Bigley said of Cooperative Healthcare. "It's no longer my company. It's Equifax's company. I'm an entrepreneur."
Mr. Bigley will remain with Equifax through the end of the year as a consultant. He has opened a health-care services consulting firm, Realtime Investment of Alpharetta, Ga.
By strengthening the bonds between EDI-based businesses like Cooperative and another recent acquisition, Electronic Tabulating Service, Equifax expects to construct a complete health-care infrastructure that banks and health-care providers alike will find attractive, according to Dan Cole, senior vice president and general manager of health-care information services for Equifax.
This year, as the health-care business moves from mostly financial transactions to more clinical information services, revenues are expected to top $17 million, according to Mr. Cole.
To spur this growth, Mr. Dawson said, his EDI group will require more structure than has been seen in the entrepreneurial building block companies from which it was assembled.
Equifax, coming off the most profitable year in its 95-year history, announced this week record first quarter revenues of $384.2 million.
Much of the credit for this financial growth has been attributed to the company's diversification into new areas, such as health care.
Mr. Cole added that Equifax is continually seeking to align itself with new health-care business partners. He said the company is currently in discussion with several banks to launch a health-care card that would enable a consumer to handle medical co-payments with a credit card. He declined to name the banks.