Patient no-shows and missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system a jaw-dropping $150B a year. That is why AppointmentNotify is streamlining the appointment process through its user-friendly portal that allows patients to schedule non-urgent appointments. This startup is unique because it acts as an online marketplace for the redistribution of missed or canceled appointments in real time. In addition to this, the platform allows both doctors and patients to directly communicate with each other.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and founder Ali Nayyar about his dream of accessible healthcare and how he hopes this platform can help provide that.
Tell us about the product or service that AppointmentNotify offers.
AppointmentNotify is a secure online patient engagement marketplace for on-demand (non-urgent) appointments. The platform allows patients to seek early appointments and reduces no-shows and late cancellations for providers. The patients and their providers benefit from a more efficient engagement resulting in a more valuable healthcare experience.
AppointmentNotify Platform reduces the lead time for patients so that they can get an appointment with their provider without waiting days/weeks.
A 2017 research survey of the 15 large metro markets reveals that the average person has to wait around 24.1 days to get a new, non-emergency appointment. That’s up 30% from 2014!
The problem is even worse for the mid-sized metro markets, with the average for the 15 mid-sized markets estimated at 32 days. That’s 32.8% higher than the average for large metro markets! Additionally, U.S. Veterans seeking medical care from the V.A., the largest government-run health system in the U.S., have to wait an average of 70 days before seeing their care provider!
How is it different?
AppointmentNotify Platform balances both the patient and the provider’s needs. Our platform enables both parties to directly connect with each other.
This platform is patient-facing and uses patient-centered design approaches to offer two niches to patients:
(a) Help patients seek a faster “new appointment”
(b) Automatically notify patients of “new appointment” availability
For providers, this platform helps save costs by reducing patient no-shows and cancellations, allowing the medical practice to operate much more efficiently.
Many patient portals and appointment scheduling systems lack an intuitive user interface; whereas, our user interface standardizes basic appointment management functions and shows a consolidated view of appointments across providers (physicians and facilities).
Another unique factor is that the platform allows real-time reuse of available appointment slots not just from both the provider-side and the patient-side, which creates an active marketplace. This is a contemporary concept that does not currently exist in healthcare.
For example, if Patient X cancels or reschedules an appointment with Dr. A and Patient Y is looking for the earliest available appointment with Dr.A, then AppointmentNotify facilitates the reassignment of the appointment slot given up by Patient X so Patient Y can seek it.
Additionally, providers can post newly available appointment slots, so patients interested in booking those appointments can seek them.
Providers can connect and manage appointments of any other medical business they are affiliated with, so long as it is on the AppointmentNotify Platform, using the same platform provider-side account. This creates a single, appointment management system that can integrate appointments from a variety of affiliate care providers using a hybrid set of (Electronic Health Record) systems.
How do you make this defensible so that a larger organization like ZocDoc does not introduce on-demand appointments as a feature to their existing business?
ZocDoc has been a model for us to evaluate and learn from when trying to design the AppointmentNotify solution. We call them our “Big Brother”. However, despite getting founded back in 2007, ZocDoc has not been able to innovate beyond their initial offering of (a) making a provider’s schedule transparent to the public via their cloud and (b) debuting the check-in feature in 2012 which allowed patients to remotely fill basic forms and check-in before their appointment.
They also still display doctors who see patients at different facilities (that has a different physical address) as “separate” entries on their platform, making the user interface experience more difficult.
The AppointmentNotify Platform is more user-friendly. It has a consolidated view of appointments, so patients can view appointments for a provider at any of the provider’s associated facilities. This is innovation and a total disruption of the way appointments have been traditionally shown in any industry.
What market does AppointmentNotify target and how big is it?
Patient no-shows and missed appointments cost the U.S. healthcare system roughly $150B a year. Group practices comprise almost 50% of all the providers in the U.S. and account for over $100B of this cost annually.
There are almost 1M physician care providers in the U.S. and considering how busy most of them usually are, it is no surprise that the market size addressed by our platform is quite large – even in the U.S. alone. The platform is highly scalable and can be rolled out and deployed globally.
What is the business model?
Our business model is based on monthly/quarterly/yearly subscription service by providers based on the number of care providers and a flat fee for some premium features. The provider charges do not apply to the front-desk or administrative staff (like medical assistants) at a provider’s office. The platform is free for use by patients.
Though our platform can be deployed by any size organization, our specific target market is medical businesses with up to 10 care providers across any medical specialty.
[Tentative Pricing] For example, we could potentially charge a medical business $149 per provider for up to 2 providers, $119 per provider for up to 5 providers, and $99 per provider (Value-Package) for up to 10 providers. Medical organizations wishing to pilot this platform will have an invite-only opportunity to sign-up for a limited-term FREE trial initially after Beta launch, which we expect to roll out closer to the end of 2018.
What inspired the start of AppointmentNotify?
AppointmentNotify is the result of a genuine need for change. Like millions of other patients, we found that access to care providers is incredibly difficult. We want to make the system simpler and easier to access.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Our immediate goal is to complete alpha-testing on our platform and make sure it is stable for use by end users. We anticipate another month or so before it will be completed. Currently, we are talking to a few other entities about launch/showcase opportunities.
We demo’d the platform to Health 2.0 team last week and are waiting to see if we qualify for the upcoming Fall Health 2.0 Launch event in Santa Clara, CA in September.
We also began the process of applying for integration with a few EHR systems like Athenahealth and Allscript, and we are currently in the initial stages of working out the logistics with them. Before the end of 2018, we anticipate integration with at least 3 EHRs to be available.
We have some other plans developing, including integration with Amazon Alex/Echo. Timelines are still being worked out.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
You feel it when you experience it!
Startups are the most challenging form of any business one could delve into. It is good to see and dream of a successful startup; however, it is not an easy road to hail on and definitely a very risky and ruthless adventure to embark on. But it is fun and challenging and that is what keeps me and my team going every single day. We think we can make it if we stay persistent, and that is what we hope to do to advance further into our startup journey!
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Tough question! My focus is making healthcare accessible everyone regardless of where they live and their socioeconomic status. If I have to meet anyone, I presume I would want to meet a patient who could share a story about trying to unsuccessfully access healthcare.
Why did you launch in New York?
I am a New Yorker, have been living here for almost 20 years or so and I love it! There isn’t any other place better to conceive and design our innovation.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I am a die-hard fan of Middle Eastern food, mainly because a lot of it offers healthy options. I tend to stay away from more expensive options because of being startup savvy. My two favorites are in Bay Ridge Brooklyn: Yemen Café and Karam Restaurant.