Iconic Data Present Another Advancement in Healthcare Technology

OneMedRadio had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. David LaBorde of Iconic Data, an Atlanta-based healthcare IT startup that came out of Healthbox, the business accelerator for health tech startups launched by Chicago-based VC firm Sandbox Industries.

The company’s lead product,  SwiftPayMD is a recently launched mobile app for iPad and iPhone that helps doctors work more efficiently when seeing patients at the hospital. It allows doctors to immediately submit patient diagnosis and billing information to their home office from the hospital via speech. Essentially, it replaces the paper billing cards that doctors use in hospitals which can create medical errors by being illegible or becoming lost or damaged. With traditional paper billing cards, physicians can also lose up to 10% of their revenue due to charges not being accounted for at the point of care.

 

Dr. LaBorde has over 14 years of healthcare experience. He is a Yale M.D., a Harvard M.B.A., and a Georgia Tech engineer. He spent 6 years in neurosurgery and previously worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Co and healthcare investment banking at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

Click below to hear full audio interview and see transcript that follows.

Matthew Margolis:    Greetings from OneMedRadio. I’m Matt Margolis. Today, we’re speaking with Dr. David LaBorde, co-founder and CEO of Iconic Data, a healthcare IT and mobile solutions company. Iconic Data produces SwiftPay MD, a secure mobile charge capture app used by private practice physicians for hospital billing. Thank you for joining us, Dr. LaBorde.

Dr. David LaBorde:    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

MM:       Today, we’re going to talk about the e-health boom and specifically why physician-centric management tools are so important to the improvement of healthcare, but first, let’s learn a little bit more about Iconic Data. What makes you guys unique?

DB:      At Iconic Data, we are bringing to market SwiftPayMD, which is a unique charge capture solution aimed at solving what we call a $6B problem that results from lost charges that go uncaptured by physicians providing services in the hospital but billing for those services in their office. Our solution is unique compared to our competitors because we are focused on being integration light, being easy to use, and really being a solution that a physician can simply subscribe to and go live. Their practice can go live literally with very simple steps carried out online.

Our competitors tend to be much more integration heavy. They require lengthy implementations to get going. These are associated with significant upfront costs and quite frankly, the solutions are difficult to use by the docs. They are dependent on significant manual data entry via a small device, you know, for example an iPhone. We’ve just found that taking that approach isn’t one that meets with success. Anything that interrupts the physician’s workflow and causes them to spend more time than status quo just really falls on deaf ears.

MM:    And this seems like such a simple concept and the layman might think it could have been implemented years ago when the healthcare providers first moved to the computer for example. So why would this solution not have worked five years ago? Why does it work now?

DB:  It’s a great question. It’s one of the theses of our sort of basis for moving into this business at this time, and that is specifically that as of 2012, more than 80% of physicians are now on smart phone devices and are comfortable using them in their clinical day-to-day activity. We believe that that is a significant transition for the industry and one of the enablers that have allowed for solutions like SwiftPayMD to now come to the fore and really have a go at making healthcare all it can be, much more efficient, and really help physicians run their practices more efficiently.

MM:       So you mentioned a little bit about how the physician community is accepting smart phones and etc. I was curious if you could talk a little bit about how this community is also accepting Iconic Data and SwiftPay MD.

DB:    We’ve really gotten a great response from our end users about our approach to doing what we do, essentially helping them capture charges and helping them post those charges in a shorter time period; essentially immediately in real time. We have a very simple interface that allows the physicians to create bills by simply speaking into their device. We typically talk about three simple steps, touch, talk, done. They can append to that bill a face sheet and a photograph or picture of some other source of patient demographics. That might be a patient wristband or a patient demographic sticker from the hospital. By allowing them to do this, they’re able to actually capture that information much more quickly, much more efficiently, and not be tagged with the responsibility of delivering that information to their office. As soon as they’re done, that bill is waiting on their biller’s desk to be posted into their practice management claim submission solution. That alone can result in much higher charge capture rates and significantly reduced days in receivables.

MM:    And how do you guys market yourself? I mean how do you after the physician community?

DB:    We are going to market with a channel partner strategy and so we are building relationships with organizations that already have deep and trusted relationships with physician practices across the United States. This would include the physician outsourced billing services providers, practice management consultants, the technology advisory services providers that have helped physician practices get on to electronic medical record systems. We also think that professional associations will be very meaningful channel partners for us. This includes associations for not only physicians but also the administrators that run their practices.

MM:   I want to shift gears a little bit to the concept of the e-health boom. How soon do you think it’s going to be until every single nurse, every single physician has a tablet in their hand?

DB:      Yeah, I think, you know, probably within the next five years, we’ll see a significant change in the way care is provided and the role of smart phones and tablets. I mean this is something that we see changing rapidly every day as we look at the last five years in the adoption. I mean there has really been, you know, exponential growth in how providers in healthcare organizations are adopting smart phone devices. I think everyone wants to be smart about it. Everyone wants to make sure that the appropriate policies and procedures are in place to ensure security of the information that goes on to these devices. But I think they’re really going to change the way healthcare is delivered.

MM:   Now every single sector seems to be sprinting towards digital tools that make communication with clients more substantive and more efficient, but why has the healthcare complex been so notoriously sluggish?

DB:    I think healthcare has suffered a lot from the legacy situation being that much of the automation in healthcare has developed historically around the payer side of things and getting claims submitted but not around clinical operations. So healthcare has for years been a paper-driven business and when you’re a paper-driven business, you don’t have structured data that enables a more sophisticated functionality with the information that’s being captured and logged at various points of care. Without being able to analyze data and leverage IT to, you know, provide the ability to know when a certain communication might be appropriate to occur, for example, you’re crippled and really that’s the problem that healthcare has been dealing with for decades; the fact that it is a paper-driven business.

Now with the meaningful use incentives and the adoption of EMRs and EHRs plus the now, you know, newer phenomenon of adoption of smart phones and tablets with the introduction really driven by Apple and their rolling out the iPhone and iPAD, things have changed [so] significantly that we’re going through a paradigm shift. I think that is a paradigm shift that will be for the better, but it won’t be without pain. That pain is primarily the older physicians in healthcare are somewhat more resistant to adopting technologies and that’s one of the things that — Apple has really been one of the first companies that have changed this because they’ve made it easy for the doctors to do. I think as that sort of movement continues, we’ll start to see some very interesting times in healthcare as the older physicians transition out and the newer more tech savvy physicians come in. I think we’ll really see some changes over the next 5 to 10 years around how healthcare is delivered.

MM:    Now, you’ve reported that physicians lose $6B of charges each year so I’m curious what insurance companies have been saying about SwiftPay MD as well as the prospect of gaining back $6B in charges.

DB:    Well as you can imagine, payers they want to compensate physicians for the work they do. They want to make sure they’re not overpaying and so I think one of the very exciting things about SwiftPayMD and our value proposition is we actually provide an opportunity for more accurate coding because we’re moving the actual charge capture closer to the billable episode of care. I think that insurance companies ultimately in the long run are going to benefit from solutions like SwiftPayMD because they will be able to more effectively understand the risk profile of their members and in doing so be better positioned to enroll them in wellness programs. So that’s actually something that we are very excited about. Certainly, no one wants to pay more of the premium revenue out on the payer’s side. But we actually see our solution as an opportunity to help payers better risk stratify their member population so that they can more appropriately price their premiums in addition to having the long-term benefit for the patient. Because the patient then can be appropriately enrolled in wellness programs and better manage their health.

MM:     What is your relationship with the regulatory bodies?

DB:      Well SwiftPayMD as a healthcare information technology solution, you know, it is subject to the same rules and regulations that any entity that deals with the protected health information is subjected to. So I wouldn’t say that we have any specific relationship with regulatory bodies, but we’re required to abide by the same rules and regulation.

MM:   And then what about the concept of hospitals and practices that can’t necessarily afford these kinds of subscriptions, do you have any plans to kind of roll them out to free clinics and philanthropic efforts like that?

DB:   The beautiful thing about SwiftPayMD and one of the theses of our value proposition is simply by capturing one or two lost charges[per physician], organizations using SwiftPayMD can already break even on the cost and so we think that the ROI on adopting SwiftPayMD is significant potentially, especially in those clinics and organizations that are struggling around capturing all the charges. So the great thing about our business is it pays for itself several fold and we are working on a handful of case studies that really will help us; we believe that they will be able to illustrate this very poignantly and that the prospect of a community healthcare center adopting this makes sense because it makes them capture more revenue and actually improves their financial performance despite the financial outlay to purchase our solution.

MM: So lastly, I want to circle back to your company growth efforts. What does the future hold in store for Iconic Data?

DB:   We’re very excited about the coming years. We think that we have an innovative solution that is very different from our competitor’s offering and first and foremost, it’s easy for the physicians to use. We think that will enable our channel partners to help us grow our business in a significant way. So we are very excited about the prospect of the coming several quarters.

MM:   That was a company snapshot of Iconic Data with co-founder and CEO Dr. David LaBorde. This is Matthew Margolis with OneMed Radio signing off.

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