Ryan talks about the retail healthcare space in this interview.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as Simplifeye.
Ryan Hungate: I’m the Founder and CEO of Simplifeye. I’m actually an orthodontist. Prior to that, I was at Apple in Cupertino. I was there from 2007 to 2008. I designed what is now the Apple Retail Workflow. It was a cool time to be at Apple. We had a problem that we were not triaging people as they walked into the retail store.
Being a pre-med, I thought maybe we should triage people like we do in the hospital. I got to implement that and it’s still what you experience today. It was at a time when my friends were starting dental school, medical school, and veterinary school. I started seeing the software that everybody uses. I decided to go to dental school. That’s where Simplifeye came from.
Sramana Mitra: What is the premise of Simplifeye?
Ryan Hungate: I went through 11 years of school and I had zero business classes. You come out of there with the belief that if you’re an unbelievable clinician, patients will show up. It’s more often the opposite of that. We get into this world where we want to be great clinicians, but we also have to be great business people. You can be a bad business person in medicine and still have a business. It’s just that your overhead is ridiculous.
Simplifeye looks at the business process of a practice, and we automate as much as possible. We try to eliminate human interaction and remove that business portion of the process so doctors can do what they love.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s double-click down one more level and understand what processes are you automating.
Ryan Hungate: When Simplifeye first started, we wanted to figure out how to put a foot in the door. As an entrepreneur, it’s not just about making a great product, but it’s also about getting somebody to buy it. As doctors in general, we don’t like to change much. That permeates throughout the culture of our office, especially to the front desk team.
You have to make something where it barely changes anything in the practice. We started with a 24/7 live chat. At that time, there were a few different technologies taking off. We realized that bots aren’t smart enough for healthcare yet. On the other side, there’s intercom.
What we thought was what if we can create a service that was HIPAA-compliant that allowed us to chat on behalf of the practice. We started with 24/7 live chat. That was our wedge product. After that, we moved more into the direct scheduling side. We were still relying on the front desk. That was a problem, because they’re already busy.
Now you move to COVID where everybody is struggling with staffing. You’ve got front desk teams, which used to have four people, functioning with one or two persons. They’re overworked and stressed. That’s when we moved to direct scheduling. Now we can schedule on the behalf of the practice. We wanted to take it one step further. We had to create another product where we looked at treatment that was planned but not yet completed. We started to look at this and how we can help practices out.