Health IT Startup: Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt SolutionsLightning Bolt invests heavily in research and software development to solve complex problems in the area of medical staff scheduling.

Elevator pitch

Lightning Bolt is the leading provider of automated physician scheduling for hospitals around the world. The company manages more than 3 million physician hours each month, helping to create shift schedules that promote work-life balance, productivity and patient safety.

Product/service description

Lightning Bolt’s cloud-based scheduling platform helps hospitals create dynamic staff schedules with a few clicks, automatically optimizing hundreds of complex scheduling rules. Physicians are able to request time-off and shift changes through the platform, creating transparency and a fair system that balances staff needs. The system also includes HIPAA-compliant messaging and detailed analytics.

Origin story

Working as a staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to schedule massively parallel supercomputers in 1998, Lightning Bolt founder Suvas Vajracharya, Ph.D. was approached by a high school friend, a doctor, for help with a big frustration. The doctor noticed that the seemingly simple task of creating call schedules for his group was deceptively complex, time consuming, and often proved an inaccurate science where equitable distribution of staffing resources, or the honoring of individual physician requests, would often conflict or simply could not be met.

Suvas saw that his own technology experience with scheduling supercomputers could provide the foundation for creating an elegant, easy to use solution to solve the inherent complexities in medical staff scheduling. Both supercomputing and medical staff scheduling share fundamental requirements, including the need to distribute tasks equally and efficiently in the presence of complex and often changing rules with varying priorities. Within a few months, Suvas developed a prototype scheduling system to tackle his friend’s challenging problem and Lightning Bolt was born.

Marketing/promotion strategy

The company’s growth has largely been through word-of-mouth between physician executives and hospital operations leaders who have discovered the software and become loyal customers. Lightning Bolt also attends several industry events each year, including HIMSS, MGMA and RSNA.

Market opportunity

The vast majority of physician scheduling is still done manually today at America’s 5,700 hospitals. There are emerging players in the space of automated scheduling but nowhere near as established as Lightning Bolt. The company is part of a growing sector of hospital operations technology, including companies such as Silversheet, Modio Health, HealthLoop and AnalyticsMD.

How does your company differentiate itself from the competition

Lightning Bolt is the only platform that considers significant and complex relationships to auto-generate the best possible schedules for large medical organizations. Also, they are the only scheduling system that provides transparency across a healthcare workforce. Since manual scheduling using spreadsheets or paper is the largest competitor, Lightning Bolt’s biggest differentiators tend to be time and efficiency. In one case study, iNDIGO Health Partners generated a $38M ROI over 5 years by switching from manual to automated scheduling with Lightning Bolt.

Business model

Lightning Bolt is a subscription-model service for hospitals.

Current needs

Lightning Bolt is hiring for several new roles in 2016 across marketing, sales and engineering.

Expansion model

Over the past few years, Lightning Bolt has begun to serve increasingly large hospital and health system clients. Heading into the new year, the company is looking ahead to continuing growth among the largest hospitals in the US and abroad. Implementation often begins with a single department (often radiology or emergency medicine) and then expands across an organization.

When founded


Number of full-time employees



Lightning Bolt just expanded to a brand new office in South San Francisco.


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