(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business Journal)
One Call, a health care network manager and workers’ compensation solutions company, is disrupting its industry from the inside out.
“We’re disrupting ourselves,” Senior Vice President of Product Joseph McCullough told the Business Journal. “Our company recognized that this [disruption] is going to happen, so it was about do we want to lead the charge, or do we want to be reactionary to it?”
McCullough began One Call’s self-disruption with RelayRIDE, a system that uses Lyft to get patients to and from MRIs, physical therapy and other non-emergency medical appointments. RelayRIDE has become a bigger and bigger part of One Call’s model since launching in 2016. About 425 facilities across the country use it to make about 5,000 trips a week.
Now, One Call is readying a consumer app for 2019 and looking at a number of new uses for RelayRIDE, such as transportation for those in assisted living. It has also accumulated enough data to deploy artificial intelligence to find patterns like hospitals’ peak hours. In a similarly self-disruptive endeavor, One Call is piloting a program to make translators available remotely at a minute-by-minute fee, a model that could replace the traditional and expensive process of deploying translators to medical facilities.
RelayRIDE and One Call’s related endeavors are all a part of positioning the company ahead of where the industry will be in years to come, McCullough explained.
“We’re making sure we have things on the shelf that support it when people are ready,” said McCullough. “We have a lot of cool things coming down the pike.”
McCullough thought up RelayRIDE in 2014 after realizing how fragmented health care providers’ transportation networks were. To get to an appointment, a patient would typically call their health plan provider, who would call a local broker, who would call a driver and schedule an appointment.
“Then every one would cross their fingers and hope it works out,” said McCullough, who noted that the system was prone to fraud, waste and abuse.
In this system, providers have to rely on brokers’ local fleets, have no way of handling disputes (is the driver or patient to blame for a missed appointment) and get no real-time data. Yet a patient could use companies like Uber and Lyft to quickly get to and from their appointment, with those companies commanding robust data, fleets of drivers and a regulatory structure in almost every state.
“Something is wrong here,” McCullough remembers thinking at the time.
He turned to Neptune Beach-based SourceFuse to bring his idea to life. SourceFuse architected and built the program’s first iteration and has continued to expand it over the past three years. The system was one of the first adopters of Lyft’s collaborative interface and is built on Amazon Web Services.
“We have been able to work as strategic partners with One Call to integrate Relay to internal systems and expand the functionality as the primary product team on Relay,” SourceFuse co-CEO Kelly Dyer said by email. “Also, since we are AWS Advanced Consulting partners, we have been able to proactively add innovative aspects to the product by leveraging some of the advanced features in the AWS toolkit such as natural language processing, omnichannel app/voice/text interfaces, and machine learning components.”
RelayRIDE automates calls using Amazon’s text-to-speech software platform, Polly, to ensure patients know when their ride will arrive and what the car and driver look like. The same system calls patients minutes after a pickup is missed, and if there is a quick fix, it will call a second ride. If the patient is running late on their way to the hospital, One Call automatically calls the medical facility to give them an updated arrival time, then calls the patient to let them know that the hospital is aware of the delay and is waiting.
“In the past, that appointment is just missed,” said McCullough, noting that the missed appointment cascades costs for the hospital, worker’s compensation provider, insurance provider and patient.
Through Lyft, patients can also rate their drivers; if a patient gives a driver fewer than three stars, One Call calls automatically to see what went wrong and ensures that the patient will never get paired with that driver again. Finally, the system checks in with a patient after their appointment to see when they will be ready for pickup. With this mechanism, McCullough learned that patients often have a ride home from the hospital from a friend or family member. In the past, providers were probably billed for this return trip, McCullough noted.
One Call’s system is meant to upend the industry’s antiquated standard, McCullough noted. One Call’s system saves clients up to 40 percent compared to traditional transportation, according to McCullough, and it better ensures patients make their appointments, which generates additional savings.
“It’s more cost effective. It’s a better experience for the patient. There are fewer problems. There’s less fraud, waste and abuse. There’s real-time data,” McCullough said. “What’s not to like?”