In 2014, during his wife’s pregnancy, their doctor nearly missed a critical medical test that could have been disastrous. In addition, Luke’s first hand experience with long periods of time in the waiting room, rushed visits, surprise bills and a lack of patient communication triggered him to think about how he could create a solution to solve some of these issues and improve patient experience and patient outcomes. This trigger led to Luke co-founding PatientPop, fast forward 7 years, the company has raised $150M and is a rapidly growing practice-growth and management platform.
To learn more, we conducted an interview with Luke Kervin, CEO of PatientPop.
1. Where did the idea for PatientPop come from?
When my wife and I started to navigate our way through her pregnancy with our first child, we thought the healthcare experience would be relatively smooth and organized, with great customer service.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t our experience. We had substantial wait times for appointments and several scheduling complications. Then, there were some missed test results that could have resulted in a catastrophic outcome — luckily, one of her doctors eventually discovered them. Along with other bumps in the road, there was no way to pay our healthcare provider online; they only accepted checks. I actually had to order printed checks from the bank to pay for her care. Convenience wasn’t built into the process.
After this experience, I saw an opportunity in the market to improve the patient journey and bypass the variety of issues and frustrations we personally encountered. I contacted Travis Schneider, who I worked with on two successful businesses. We put the plans for PatientPop in motion.
We saw the opportunity to change the standard healthcare experience and help physicians and other healthcare providers grow, modernize, and streamline their practices.
2. Can you tell us more about PatientPop?
PatientPop is the third business Travis and I have worked on together. We also co-founded ShopNation and StarBrand Media, which were acquired by Meredith Corporation and POPSUGAR, respectively. We took our experience in those industries and applied it to PatientPop while referencing our personal interactions with healthcare practices and providers in the U.S.
First, we researched to find out more about what distracts providers from patient care. At that time, we found the biggest challenges were in reputation management, new patient acquisition, practice marketing, and front-office workflow. We built our first technology platform and showed it to healthcare providers, who expressed a strong demand for the solution, beyond the OB-GYN practices we thought would need it most. Practices responded enthusiastically and wanted to address the pain points we called out for the doctors and their patients.
PatientPop launched in 2014. We started with three employees and have accelerated rapidly to a team of more than four hundred today.
3. What issues is PatientPop able to solve?
Before PatientPop, providers spent time and money piecing together marketing agencies and a handful of software tools to manage their website, online reputation, visibility and search ranking, appointment scheduling, patient communications, plus a host of other tasks. Most of those tools and agencies aren’t tailored for healthcare and private practices, and only offer part of the overall solution needed to run a successful practice.
PatientPop is the all-in-one solution that doctors and other providers use to promote their practice online, attract new patients, and retain them for life. The platform also automates routine tasks that take time for office staff to manage, including sending appointment confirmations and reminders.
PatientPop responds to the pain points that doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers have, and gives them automated, digital solutions to solve the toughest business challenges. Using one centralized, intuitive dashboard, providers can measure their progress and performance, and get the most value from PatientPop.
4. How is PatientPop transforming the business of private practice healthcare to serve patients better?
The ways that people search for, evaluate, select, and interact with a doctor are vastly different than they were ten years ago, or even a few years ago. Much of the process has moved online, before a patient steps foot in the practice office. It then continues during and aftercare, where patients expect digital convenience along with the best healthcare available.
We bring digital touchpoints for each of those moments to our practices, so they can respond to patient needs, expectations, and trends. This is critical as the healthcare industry continues to change dramatically.
Acquiring new patients has always been important to the business of private practices, and so is retaining those patients. Now, practices must look for that lifetime relationship with patients, with an optimal demographic for their practice, who are well-matched to the services the practice provides.
Practice efficiency is another key area in healthcare. Doctors and staff want the tools that can help them automate manual processes, cut down on paperwork, and give them more time back in their day.
5. Do PatientPop services assist in tackling the issues emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic? Can you elaborate on that?
Healthcare tends to be very community-focused, and private practices are extremely important to communities across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated this on a grand scale. Patients trust and rely on their local doctors in private practice for personalized, ongoing care, and health information. It’s our mission to help those practices succeed in business.
In the early months of the pandemic, PatientPop quickly delivered a telehealth solution to practices, with services and strategies to promote their virtual care offerings. The result: on average, PatientPop practices returned to pre-COVID-19 appointment volumes by the end of May — 14 weeks sooner than a national average of patient visits.*
Throughout the pandemic, the PatientPop platform continues to help practices communicate to patients about changing conditions related to COVID-19, whether that’s updated appointment safety protocols, a temporary office closure, altered practice hours, or COVID-19 testing and vaccination options. Anytime a practice needs to communicate critical information to patients and the community, the platform is designed to allow a practice to share details quickly online, via email campaigns, and on the practice website.
6. Where is PatientPop today in terms of growth and advancement?
Right now, we’re focused on bringing providers and patients even more convenience and automation on our practice growth platform. Our team continues to enhance the connections practices make with patients. As part of that, they’re adding tools and technologies that remove the heavy lifting for a practice when they want to grow the business, modernize it and streamline processes to make it easier to communicate and engage with patients.
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