The health care industry loses about $150 billion each year due to no-shows for doctors’ and dentists’ appointments. From not being able to take time away from work to affordability to a lack of insurance, reasons abound that prevent patients from going for their checkups. On the practice side, inefficiencies in systems and staffing compound the problem.
Vinodh Subramanian, who graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2019 with a master's degree in SIE, has been studying the many factors that make us keep and attend – or forego – these visits to our health care providers. In collaboration with his adviser Robert Lepore, director of the Engineering Management Program, Subramanian has developed a deep understanding of the problem along with a solution to reduce appointment no-shows in medical practices using systems thinking principles.
“Our goal is to encourage patients to get the care they need, when they need it, at their own comfort, without needing to wait, travel, or take off from their work,” said Subramanian. Based on his research, their algorithm is allowing them to envision and build “products that will bring patients and the providers much closer by eliminating any human and system inefficiencies.”
While the work served as the basis for his graduate thesis, he is taking it forward with an impactful vision.
He said that the system, which will initially be focused on the dental field, will help the patients show for their appointments by alleviating fear through introductory video consultations. The technology seamlessly integrates all the key components – from patient recruitment to HIPAA-approved video consultations to appointment reminders – providing a complete solution for health care practitioners, as opposed to the current practice of having to cobble together multiple disconnected services. Subramanian has worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the commercialization arm of the university, to create a strategic plan and license the invention to his startup, Hipokratiz, LLC.
“The algorithm they developed minimizes no-shows,” said TLA Senior Licensing Manager Bob Sleeper. “And they’ve already got a business model, and people are using it.”