No more ‘no shows’ from patients
Delia: Dallas Mayne, welcome to Wikihospitals.
Dallas: Oh, thank you. “Delia: To introduce you, Dallas, you’re the CEO and co-founder of Lyfe Group.”
Delia: To introduce you, Dallas, you’re the CEO and co-founder of Lyfe Group. You run an online appointment and payment system for general practitioners and allied health professionals, is that correct?
Dallas: Yes, correct, yeah. Delia: So can you tell me a bit about your work history? I’m not sure if you’ve got a tech background or if you’re just a serial entrepreneur?
A background in sales, an interest in technology
Dallas: Yeah, so I’ve been in sales since I can remember. I started in Canada working for Shell, selling bulk fuel and oil to exploration companies. Then made the move to Melbourne, would have been about seven years ago.
I wanted to get into tech for quite some time, so I started working with a company that built custom apps and custom digital communication solutions for mainly the superannuation industry, but some banking clients as well.
A wife who works in healthcare
During that time; my wife who’s a psychologist, was speaking to me about the problems that she was having in her job. A lot of times her clients would cancel on the day, or just not show up for their appointments at all. I started finding out how serious of a problem it was.
Then found out that it was not just specific to her, but it was an industry-wide problem.
I started thinking about how I could use some of the knowledge that I gained from my job, to help her. So that’s kind of how things started.
Delia: That’s really interesting, and that’s what is going to lead to my next question…
What has been your first main exposure to the health industry? I think you’ve really answered that, you’ve seen, from the point of view of being a spouse of a health professional, some of the issues that we have.
Dallas: My first suggestion to her was, “just get a credit card from your client so if they don’t show you can charge them for it”.
And she said, “Well, in the health industry it’s a bit different, because while it is a business, you’re there to help the patients.”
So… when it comes to healthcare or wellness… it’s an awkward conversation, so when you’re talking about money .
If you use technology, I guess you kind of sidestep that.
Everything’s transparent, you take money out of the equation because the payment system is transparent. You don’t have to have the awkward discussions, I guess.
The big issue of ‘no shows’ for health professionals
Delia: It is an issue. And many people wouldn’t realise that no-shows are a big issue for both doctors and allied health professionals.
Dallas: Yeah… after researching a little bit, we found out on average that up 10% of the total appointments that are booked, are cancellations or no-shows. So it’s a big problem.
Delia: It is. It’s a lot of money. Other industries, like you said, have a pre-booking fee, but the health industry isn’t likely to do that. Just also a bit about your background, you’re obviously a serial entrepreneur.
Your previous startup was called Windsale, it was an online and mobile platform allowing people to communicate with customers about upcoming sales.
Can you just give a brief overview? “A lot of times my wife had a client… that cancelled on the day, or just didn’t show up for their appointment at all…”
Dallas: Yeah, I guess this was pre-Groupon days. The original concept was, I wish there was a website where I could go and buy all the same stuff I would normally buy but I could know where all the sales were happening. Down here there’s someone doing it really well, they call themselves Click Frenzy.
But yeah, that was kind of originally what it started out as. So that’s what got me thinking about tech and talking to developers, and got me on that whole train of thought.
That actually sparked my wanting to move to Australia. I thought, I want to move to a bigger city centre, and I had a cousin that lived down here, so he said good things, and I made the move.
Enabling Medicare payment to be made through the Lyfe website
Delia: Just looking at your company, one of the things that you do which is interesting is that you turn the 21-step EFTPOS payment and Medicare rebate into a one-step payment. Can you just go through a bit of that, because many people don’t realise how complex the payment systems for healthcare are.
Dallas: Yeah. So the current payment and Medicare rebate process is, essentially you need a physical terminal, which is an EFTPOS machine or Tyro or something similar, and then you need the client’s physical credit card or debit card and their Medicare card.
It’s about a 21-step process through payment through to rebate, so we wanted to streamline that and make it like a one-step, one-click process. And to do that what we’ve done is we use profile-driven payments.
The provider has their bank account set up in their profile along with their service, their fees for that service, Medicare, MBS information. The client has their details set up in their Lyfe profile, which is their credit or debit card, their Medicare card, and date of birth and name and all those things that Medicare checks. So on the day, after the appointment is finished, the provider opens up their payment screen for that booking and it marries up all the information from both profiles.
So it brings in everything and then it simply, “Is this information correct?” Then they just click the Complete button, and it’s as simple as that.
It’s a one-click process.
The Medicare information is sent off to Medicare, and Medicare rebates the client overnight. So the client, patient is out of pocket for maybe 12 hours.
Delia: There’s a number of services in Australia that do medical teleconferencing and they may have some payment system.
Dallas: Many of them were practise management solutions which, while they do tie into the payment process, they still require a physical terminal, meaning you can’t charge for cancellation fees when the client’s not in the room.
Also the fees and things involved with the EFTPOS machine come with it. We didn’t want to compete with practise management solutions.
We essentially wanted to distill down the elements that are needed in the bookings through to payment process, so we don’t do the clinical notes and things like that.
So a much simpler user experience from both the provider and the client.
Working with an Australian bank to keep data secure
Delia: You are working with NAB Health and they’re involved with the EFTPOS terminals, is that the case? Are they looking at moving into the space of looking to automate the prices there?
Delia: Yeah, so NAB is actually our payment partner. They’re the payment gateway which we leverage from, and so the actual payment details are kept in NAB’s secure environment.
The only information we keep is contact information, although we do have bank-level securities for that as well. “You don’t need an EFTPOS terminal when you use Lyfe, all the payments and that are facilitated online through our system.”
So the client doesn’t even need to bring their wallet to the appointment, they’ll just receive an email with the receipt.
Delia: Right. Have Medicare been in any way supportive of you? Dallas: Medicare’s been great. We deal with them in terms of our Medicare rebates. We also want to start dealing with private health down the track, so that’s going to be our phase two. We want to be able to facilitate payments with Medicare and with private health. We could service all the different sectors within healthcare.
Delia: Have you actually begun a conversation with some of the private providers? Dallas: NAB, again, is good with HICAPS. So HICAPS has many of the major providers involved. They have a partnership with a company called Medipass who, from my understanding, built the API which allows companies like us to access that more easily. So there will be linking up through that at some point.
Delia: Just a brief overview of the technology that you use, people that listen to this show aren’t always technology-based. Obviously you’ve got some sort of a payment portal. How does it actually work, to some extent?
Dallas: Okay, so as far as the client is concerned, all they need to do is enter their credit card or debit card details into their Lyfe profile, and from there it’s provider- driven. So if they make a booking with, say, a doctor on Thursday, on the doctor’s end the appointment will be sitting in their dashboard, and the doctor can’t process the payment until on the day of appointment or after.
So you go into your GP or other health provider, after the appointment is done the receptionist might say, “All right, so it’s going to be this amount, and you’ll be getting this much back from Medicare tonight, and you’ll see an email shortly that will have the invoice attached.”
Delia: Are you looking to move into teleconferencing?
Dallas: Yes. Some of our psychologists are already using it for that. They facilitate the appointments and payments and everything through our system and use whatever video provider, whether it’s Skype or what have you, to do the actual call or telephone.
Delia: Well, isn’t it a good thing that… the health industry is beginning to modernise. Dallas: Yeah, exactly. And that was … What we wanted is just to build something that we would want to use, and then decided to make a business around it. Delia: And what’s some of your customers’ feedback? What do people have to say when they work with this system?
Positive feedback from health care providers
Dallas: Yeah, so the providers are liking it in terms of mobility. Some of the providers, they rent rooms by the hour. They don’t need to pack around an EFTPOS machine any more and use their phone, just log on to our website and log on through their portal to process payments and bookings. So portability is a big factor. And in terms of the actual end user, the client, the patients, we’ve had feedback through the providers.
Their clients are saying, “Wow, I wish all my doctors and that were on this.”
So that’s good to hear, and that’s our aim. You don’t need an EFTPOS terminal when you use Lyfe, all the payments and that are facilitated online through our system, so they can get rid of their EFTPOS terminal which, EFTPOS fees for the provider can be up to 1.5% per transaction.
We don’t charge any subscription fees, we make our money off of transactions. So we make 3% per transaction of funds processed using Lyfe, and that covers all of our services, bookings, the SMS reminders, the Medicare, everything. It’s just one flat rate.
Delia: And the SMS reminders, have they helped reduce the do-not-shows?
Dallas: Yes, very much so. A lot of our providers we found were manually sending SMS reminders themselves each night before moving over to our platform. It saves them the time in doing that.
Also, some of the them don’t like their clients having their personal mobile number, it gets them away from that problem as well.
Delia: So where do you see your company in five years?
Dallas: We just want to add more features and extend our platform. So our core business, the bookings, the payments, that works for psychologists, GPs, what have you. But we can get specific, and we can start building modules.
There’s a huge section of the health provider industry that they rent rooms by the hour, we can see either building our own booking software which is tied to room rental, or integrating with it.
We also want to integrate with the practise management systems and things like that. We don’t want to compete with practise management, we see them as a resource that we can leverage off.
When you start integrating with other platforms it becomes a much more valuable proposition for the providers.
Integrating the platform with data from smart wearable devices
Delia: As a matter of interest, are you looking at integrating with data from smart wearable devices?
Dallas: Yes. So we’re in early days, but we are talking to one of the big tech companies about partnering up in terms of building our app, and if we do that then we get to leverage off of some of their health data, and they’re big into wearables including watches. It’s going to be really interesting if that all works out. Yes. Definitely.
Delia: And if you end up with the teleconferencing feature then people can really treat healthcare as an ordinary service.
Delia: They can see somebody anywhere, any time, and all their data can be sent along… so the doctor or the psychologist or the physiotherapist can see clearly… what the history is. Good for you for being one of the many entrepreneurs bringing healthcare into the 21st century.
Dallas: Thanks. There’s a lot of people that are doing some pretty exciting things right now, and I’m sure you get to talk to a lot of them. But yeah, we get talking to people and instead of seeing them as competitors we start asking, how can we work together?
Delia: This is an area that really needs modernisation. From my point of view, having been a nurse, it’s really lovely to see people like you move in and bring modernisation to, more simple (to use)
Dallas: Make life easy, that’s our slogan. Oh, thank you.
Delia: We’re really delighted to have people like you in the health space, Dallas.
© Wikihospitals May 2018