VC pitch number two

2010 May 26
by Dave

Uh oh, you’re at a Twitter application developers conference and you left your wallet back at the hotel and you don’t have cab fare. You see a VC that you were introduced to earlier waiting in the taxi stand line and you decide to start into a pitch so that you can just climb into his taxi and get back to the hotel. Unfortunately you’ve used VC pitch number one a few too many times and it is getting a bit stale in the circles where you travel. Lucky for you, you recently read VCp#2 and are ready to keep his attention long enough for him to pick up the cab fare.

You know the drill. This is an idea that I think is good, but am too busy to implement myself. So I am giving it to you to do with as you will. My hope for these is that someone will actually make them, because I want to use them, but am too lazy to code them myself. And we’re off.

I had a recent brush with the Emergency Room at a local hospital. It was a Sunday evening and I guessed that one ER would have a short wait. It is five minutes further away from my house than four others, and another four urgent cares are also closer. I got lucky and was called into triage before I had even finished filling out my paper work and was taken to a bed immediately thereafter. I commented on how light the traffic was that evening and the triage nurse told me that they had had a three hour wait at the same time the night before.

Let’s run with that traffic metaphor. When I am ready to leave work in the evening I check traffic on line to see which freeway I should take to get home. I’d like to see similar functionality for Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care facilities.

Hospitals are finally starting to put ER wait times online in a few parts of the US, but it is far from common practice. I found one site that aggregates this information along with a google maps search for hospitals, but it has a few flaws. First and foremost is a lack of information. There are currently only 82 hospitals that report this information. Mostly in the south and Arizona. Secondly it is missing several features that would make it a much more useful tool(all wait times seem to have been updated 3 months ago). Third, the business model on display is sad. There is a text AdSense unit at the bottom of the page that displays ads that are unlikely to ever be clicked on by someone searching for emergency care.

Here comes the pitch. The first thing necessary is a widget that integrates as many ER patient management suite apis as possible. Money and connections will open those doors. Also it should provide manual data entry options for facilities that haven’t gone beyond a written list yet.

Next you need to pick a launch market and get every Emergency Room and Urgent Care facility on board. Again with the money and the connections. This project is good VC fodder because a good health care software focused VC firm with solid connections to health care providers in their community would be fundamental to the success of this project and venture capitalists like concrete ways that they can add value for lots of reasons.

Once you have established thorough, reliable wait time reporting in a market, you need to roll out your client. It needs to be available on the web, as a mobile app, and via sms(text messages) interface. It needs to clearly and visually communicate both the wait time and services available at locations near you. It also needs a feedback mechanism so that people can be steered away from the dodgy urgent care in Pacific Beach that claims to take your insurance but wants payment up front and expects you to file the claim yourself.

Feedback is a strong component of the revenue stream. Part of the feedback form will ask what you were treated for. This will allow highly relevant advertisements targeted at follow up care. A little extra thought will need to be put into the best way to hook people into coming back to leave a review.

Another revenue stream comes from selling market info back to the care providers.  I’m sure they would love to be able to access local market share information broken down by care type. This would allow care providers to see which of the more lucrative care types there is market share to be gained in.

The exit plan is to build up strong brand recognition and a very useful service that is suitable for integration into a healthcare web portal like WebMD, or slowly bolt on good fitting bits of functionality until you have your own health care portal focused on transparent health care information and then get bought or go public as a stand alone unit.

Let me know how it turns out.

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