Startup Insider: Everseat

Baltimore-based Everseat, which partnered with athenahealth's More Disruption Please program in October, aims to offer solutions for a problem that's been endemic in healthcare since physicians moved from making house calls to seeing patients in practices and hospitals — efficiently managing appointment times.

"At a time when almost every service people need is reachable via smartphone, getting access to healthcare appointments remains generally the same as it has always been for most people," says Andy Tarsy, senior vice president of strategy and business development for Everseat. "Calling the doctor's office on the phone and waiting on hold. Patient portals are a step in the right direction, but aren't widely utilized."

Although missed appointments can be rescheduled and wait times are often viewed as an unpleasant, but unavoidable, part of a doctor's visit, they can have significant impact on patient experience and satisfaction, hospital or office workflow and revenues, to name a few.

Mr. Tarsy took time to discuss leveraging mobile technology to create healthcare solutions, the shift to the cloud and how startups are impacted by interoperability with Becker's Hospital Review.

Q: What is the unmet need Everseat hopes to address? What is unique about the solutions the company offers?

Andy Tarsy: Even the busiest physicians and other healthcare providers regularly have gaps in their schedules, due to late cancellations or for any other reason. When they cannot efficiently find patients to take those available slots, everyone loses. The practice loses a revenue opportunity and a chance to help a patient who needs them. There may well have been any number of patients nearby — within 10 or 20 miles — who would have jumped at the chance to get in for attention from the doctor.

Everseat's founders noticed a real problem in matching up supply and demand with regard to appointments, and thought a smartphone and web-based solution could help. Our cloud-based software facilitates scheduling between service providers and consumers. It allows businesses to post open appointments to a community of interested consumers — revolutionizing the supply and demand equation. Inside the free app, users can quickly and easily find and schedule appointments. They can tag favorite people and places, get directions to locations and make appointments for others, such as children, spouses, parents or pets.

Everseat's transparency and ease of use enables better communication and connection between providers and consumers. At a time when patient satisfaction scores are getting more and more attention, and research is blaming antiquated scheduling models for negative health outcomes, we think we can create real value for hospitals, physician practices and patients alike.

Q: How does acting as a startup position your company to fix this issue? Are there disadvantages or advantages to working in the startup sphere?

AT: Interoperability is a huge accelerator for start-ups in healthcare technology. For example, we are a small company but we can serve the needs of every hospital, practice group or community health center because our system is cloud-based and can integrate with most practice management systems. We are focused on solving a particular problem that matters to a great number of people and that is an enormous strength and source of satisfaction. Not everyone has heard of us yet, but we intend to get the word out mainly by building great partnerships with health systems, EHR platform companies and patient groups.

Q: What challenges do healthcare startups face that are different from young companies in other sectors?

AT: Healthcare is highly regulated and complex. It has been accused of being slower to change than other sectors as well. There have been some great articles in recent months about how interoperability among the various technology platforms in a health system would make it easier for entrepreneurs to grow useful companies that would add value and solve problems. That is certainly a strong hypothesis. Nonetheless we are finding that there is enormous ingenuity, motivation and excitement in health IT right now and we are glad to be in the middle of it.

Q: How does your solution fit into the bigger picture of healthcare?

AT: Everything is shifting to digital and to the cloud, and we are already there. In addition, systems like scheduling, that have for a long time been very provider-centric are now increasingly under pressure to be built around the needs of the patient. We see ourselves as a leading advocate for these shifts, and we think practices using Everseat will be stronger financially, stronger in terms of meeting their population health goals and stronger in terms of individual patients having a better experience and better outcomes.

Q: What is the company culture like and how many people does Everseat currently employ?

AT: Everseat has 20 employees. The culture is entrepreneurial. We have subject matter experts but everyone knows that on any given day we will be pooling our knowledge to solve problems and make things happen. Staffing is lean but we have the people we need to partner successfully with academic medical centers, large multi-specialty groups and private practices.

Q: What sort of projects or expansion are you planning for in the near future?

AT: We expect to see tremendous growth in our work with hospitals and health centers up and down the East Coast, and in pockets throughout the U.S. Because we are now an integration partner with so many practice management and scheduling software systems, we anticipate growing with those partner networks and creating value for their customers.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share with Becker's readers?

AT: Everseat will grow because patients are demanding a healthcare experience that better matches the realities of busy 21st century lives. We are here to be their ally, and to be an ally for those healthcare service providers who are taking care of them. The population we want to continue serving includes chronic care patients and those going in for well-visits. It includes the very young and the not-so-young as well. We have provider partners who say they think having real-time access to open appointments through Everseat will save lives. We like to think they are right.


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