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UA Researcher Develops System to Reduce Doctor's Appointment No-Shows

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Mekayla Phan, Tucson Local Media, Jun 5, 2020

Every time a person skips their doctor or dentist appointment, the healthcare industry endures a financial loss and patients miss out on receiving the treatment they need. Combined, these no-shows result in a $150 billion loss for the U.S. healthcare industry.

In order to reduce the repercussions of these patient no-shows, a University of Arizona alumnus started a company with the vision to “build the new front door to healthcare.”

Hipokratiz, LLC (named after Hippocrates, the Greek “father of medicine”) is a new startup developing a software system that incorporates a reliable notification system and a video consultation service with medical providers.

Partnered with Tech Launch Arizona, the creator Vinodh Subramanian is working towards his goal to lessen the amount of patient no-shows, focusing on dental offices first.

During his two-year master's program in the UA Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, came across the idea while balancing consultant work for local dental practices in marketing to new potential patients. Despite being able to gather new patients for his clients, Subramanian discovered that the hardest part was having the patients themselves commit to going to their appointments.

“One out of every five patients who schedule an appointment, they don’t show up,” Subramanian said. “In a given year, an outpatient clinic or a private practice loses $150,000 in revenue.”

Subramanian then decided to further this research as the basis for his master thesis project “No Show Reduction System,” which he tested at local Saeid Badie, DDS - Best Dental Implants & Dentures. He investigated various reasons behind no-shows which included patients not being able to afford the care, not being able to take time off work and the human and system inefficiencies themselves.  

After he graduated, Subramanian attended two UA programs, mentors-in-residence and Innovation Corps, which forced him to interact with people outside the lab. Subramanian also began to commercialize his No Show Reduction System under the title Consultation.

Barry Glick, a Tech Launch Arizona Mentor-in-Residence, advises Subramanian in his startup and works on protecting inventions with licensing.

“It is rare that you can go so quickly from an idea, which was in his master thesis, to actually have a product and a service that customers can actually benefit from,” Glick said. “That was really impressive.”

Subramanian’s project mentor Robert Lepore, the director of the engineering management  graduate program, also aids him in giving his expertise.

“He's a very motivated young man, very organized and clearly got a good vision,” Lepore said. “He's going to have a lot of competition, but if he can keep it going and prices down for doctors, he has a good chance."

Both Glick and Lepore agreed that the demand for Subramanian’s product has surged due to COVID. “As a matter of fact, after COVID-19 happened, the requirement for telemedicine, the requirement for meeting the doctor on a live video call has increased 10 times in the 10 year average,” Subramanian said.

Dr. Badie explained the positives of using telehealth at his dentistry from addressing concerns from elders who do not want to physically come in to introducing himself to new patients. “What teledentistry does is it builds the value for patients to be more comfortable and does reduce their anxieties before they come in,” Dr. Badie said.

According to Dr. Badie, everyone is affected by a no-show appointment.

“From a doctor standpoint, when we have no-shows, three people lose. The first one who is going to lose is the patient who didn’t show up for the treatment. The second one is the other patient who could have come in lieu of that time,” Dr. Badie said. “The third is the business, the office, or me who loses from the income of the patient.”

When Subramanian thought up the system, the idea was to always place the patient first as long as the healthcare industry did so too. “Because things are changing, healthcare practices are at a tipping point now, they just need to make the changes now and be innovative,” Subramanian said. “The goal is that we want to be the first to access the new front-door healthcare... At the end of the day this will put patients first. The systems that we built are based on one core idea which is putting the patients first.”

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