Interview with Louisiana Business & Industry Show
Our CEO, Keith was recently interviewed by Tim Johnson on the Louisiana Business & Industry Show. They discussed a range of topics about LocalMed and Keith himself.
Tim: Tell us about your background.
Keith: I originally lived in Pensacola, Florida until I was introduced to some folks here in Baton Rouge who had an idea that I thought had some merit. It fit well with my background, which is in technology. Previous businesses that I’ve started have been wrapped around connecting consumers with those who service those consumers (lead generation). So this particular product fit in nicely with that.
T: Tell us what is LocalMed?
K: What we have done is create the first platform that connects across multiple practice management systems at doctor and dentist’s offices. You can actually see and schedule appointments instead of having to call during business hours and negotiate with the front desk to find the time that works for you.
T: So basically it is online technology? A consumer or patient can go online and it actually goes into the database of the doctors and pulls out the information graphically what appointments are available and allows you to schedule that way?
K: Exactly. Some companies have tried to do something similar in the past but what they have done doesn’t connect to the existing software. One of the big things we’re trying to accomplish is to not introduce any additional complexity into an already complex situation at the office. By connecting to the existing systems, it doesn’t require the dentist learn any new software or additional training to keep up with new things. By connecting directly it provides the best service of both for the patient and the doctor or dentist’s office.
T: You mentioned practice management system. Each doctor has their own different software system to operate their office scheduling their appointments and the different things they do? And your interface has the ability to talk to all these different systems?
K: We are working on that right now. The reason we are working (mostly) with Dentistry is there are 6-7 systems that cover the vast majority of dentists. Whereas when you get into the different medicals fields you get into 600-700. We chose to focus on dentistry because realistically the crux of our technology is that connection. The fewer systems we connect to, that cover the largest number of individual practitioners, gives us the largest client base.
T: The dental industry was the lowest hanging fruit?
T: How was this idea born? Great technologies companies start with an idea. I assume it dates back to someone’s frustration of calling a doctor’s or dentist office and punching in 5-6 different numbers in the prompt before actually talk to someone to scheduling an appointment.
K: Some gentleman here locally, LSU alum, came up with the idea. One of them had a health issue and had some difficulties keeping up with their appointments; that was kind of the genesis.
“There has got to be a better way to do this. How can we organize this better? How can we make this easier on my life since I’m focused on my health and not chasing these people down?”
It kind of mushroomed from there. So we sat around brainstormed, saying, “If you could do this would it improve the process? If you could do that would it improve the process?” Sometimes it went off on wild tangents and we would have to bring ourselves back. What it boiled down to was that original vision of making a situation that is not much fun, which is chasing down a doctor or dentist, and trying to compress that into as short a period of time as possible. You’re trying to do something that you don’t really want to do in the first place (going to see the Doctor or Dentist) and it takes 15 or 20 minutes to do that. We’ve got that down to less than 30 seconds.
T: Wow, that’s incredible. I’d love to see a demonstration of the technology at some point.
T: So as I understand it now, the original guys that came up with the idea and brought you in to help bring the company to the next level and manage it as chief executive office. They got their start in the LSU incubator? Charlie D’agostino was the guy who called us up and said, “Hey you really need to take a look at these guys and have them on your show.” Tell us about that process:
K: Charlie has been very helpful during that process but also ongoing. As you mentioned he called you and said, “Hey you should talk to these guys.” I would highly recommend those that have access to the (LBTC) should take advantage of that resource. It’s not something that you should miss and does provide value.
T: It is something you should take advantage of. Charlies been on the radio show and we are going to try and have him on the TV show sometime soon. Let me tell you something, there is a not a more passionate guy about startup business in the whole state of Louisiana or maybe even the United States as Charlie D’agostino. He’s a great representative of LSU as well
T: If I’m a patient out there, and I want to schedule an appointment, how do I go about doing that?
K: You go to localmed.com. It will automatically populate your location and once you put in the type of practitioner, select your insurance because we know that’s a critical factor in deciding who to see, and from there it does a search and returns the results that are most accurate for your situation. You can then browse histories of practitioners, their backgrounds, their associations, their accreditations, and basically get a feel for the actual practitioner.
T: So it’s not just a going to schedule the appointment. You can get a lot more information from the system as well?
K: Exactly. You want to be comfortable with who you are going to see. Many folks are looking for new practitioners, they aren’t here locally, or they aren’t happy with their dentists so they want another one. We try to give them the information to make an informed decision. Once they select a practitioner, they can select a time. One of the other beauties of the system is it does allow you to see all of their opening. So it’s not a situation like:
“Come in at 9.”
“No, that doesn’t work for me.”
“How about 10?”
“How about Thursday at 4?”
And so forth. You see it all in front of you and make a decision then. You have a lot of information associated with a practitioner. It’s also a brief process of giving your DOB and things of that nature so there are some identifying factors.
T: What was your first experience like at Alex Box stadium?
K: It was on a Wednesday night game and there were 4,000-5,000 folks at a non-conference game. Whereas when I played, if the girlfriends and the parents showed up, there were 50 people in the stands. It’s a little bit different experience but it’s certainly easy to why they are able to recruit the way they are. If you get to play in front of those people all the time, it’s an excellent tool for getting people here.
T: Why specifically Baton Rouge?
K: The other kids that were involved came out of LSU, and we initially looked at other locations. We have a gentleman named Marty Chabert, who was one of the original guys inloved. He introduced us to Stephen Moret and Steven told us about the things the state had to offer. After several conversations, we decided what they were offering us made sense, along with the support that they have through the LED, Fast Start, and things of that nature. It seemed this gave us a good opportunity for success.
T: What has been your adjustment of the (Baton Rouge) culture?
K: Other than the vast quantity of purple and gold and a lot of words I can’t speak, the people have been exceedingly friendly. They have welcomed us, we have great neighbors. My wife and son are here about 95% of the time, so we basically have relocated here. It has worked out very well. The one thing you mentioned a minute ago was about Steven Moret being instrumental in driving people here. The culture feeds off itself. The more technology you have, the more you get used to it. The easier it is to use, the more people that develop that in this area. One of the things they pitched to us was that LSU has so many folks coming out that wanted to stay in the area but didn’t have ability to do so because they couldn’t find work, which is why they put that program together. Most of the folks that work for us went to LSU and a lot of our developers are from there, which is something we have been able to use to our advantage.
T: How has this healthcare appointment scheduling made an integral part of the overall healthcare system?
K: The biggest thing it driving is patient convenience. This is something in all other walks of life you take advantage of. Travel for example; you don’t call the airline anymore. You go online and find the best deals. It is the same with Hotels and Banking. Healthcare is the last bastion that’s held out. There are some security reasons and the HIPAA act, but it’s also very complex. The thing we’re trying to solve is to bring the conveniences that you are used to, and integrate that as part of your life (in the Health Care system). The easier we make this process, we’re finding that people go (to appointments) more often as well. That’s one of the barriers to entry, as to the entire system, is the frustration of finding someone in the first place.
T: How are you connecting providers and patients?
K: The connection goes back to the way we’re building the system. The more information we’re able to provide about the providers themselves, the better off and the more informed patients are while being more comfortable about the process.
T: How are you reaching providers and patients?
K: We’re reaching them with a variety of methods, such online search marketing (Google and search engines), but also things like the business report and the Louisiana Business and Industry show. The reason we are sitting here is to get the word out about those types of things. This reaches both sides of the equation and we need both of those to be successful. If we have a bunch of providers and no patients, that doesn’t do us any good. If patents can’t find providers, that doesn’t do us any good either. We’re trying to go with patients that are already incorporating (technology) into their life; we want to be in the middle of that.
One of the big companies we are working with is called United Concordia. They are the 4th largest dental insurance company. By working with the insurance companies, we are reaching out to the providers with relationships they already trust. United Concordia has 7 million patients they provide insurance for. Getting in situations where they have already validated our software, says “We trust these folks to make these kinds of software connections for you.” That validates the whole process by eliminating legitimacy questions because it is something new that you haven’t been able to do before.
T: What’s in the future?
K: We initially focused on dental because the practice management systems. Within the next 18 months we will be rolling out into a variety of different medical fields from vision to chiropractic to dermatology, and those types of things.
T: How do we get more information?
K: Go to our website, www.localmed.com
If you're interested in learning more about LocalMed's online scheduling platform, contact our friendly sales team today!