Bringing the smile back to dentistry
Evolving an industry, building a company. Wellfit and Slalom Build partnered to create a new technology platform to power the patient/provider relationship, and ended up creating a whole new company.
Modern Web, Microservices, Cloud Architecture, DevOps, Experience Design, Solution Ownership, Automated Testing, Quality Engineering, Security
Angular, ASP.NET, WebAPI, Microservices, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure, VSTS
Giving an industry a much-needed checkup
Let’s face facts. The dental industry today could use a few more smiles. Sure, dentists themselves work wonders every day, but the overall process is often too complex and far too opaque. And that was the genesis of a shining idea. From treatment plans to payment processing to insurance and billing – by extracting the barriers to better oral health, millions could realize not only brighter smiles, but better health overall.
Slalom Build was brought in to help develop a modern, cloud-based platform designed to put control into the hands of patients and providers alike, so that everyone could make better-informed health decisions.
Putting the focus back on patients
Healthy mouth, healthy body: there are strong, proven links between oral health and whole-body health. That’s the simple premise behind Wellfit: bringing together oral and systemic health through vast improvements to an overly complex system – and doing it in a way that helps reduce costs.
Think about it. In most cases you sit in the chair, marginally understand the options, have the work done, pay what you think you owe on the way out. Then, 6 weeks later, another bill arrives. It’s maddeningly murky at best. Unfortunately, payment complexities and benefit confusion are too often disrupting the relationship between patient and provider.
Wellfit and Slalom Build set out to create a new oral healthcare ecosystem. A patient-centric digital platform linking patient and provider through a real-time marketplace providing complete transparency upfront. Billing would be handled directly through the platform, empowering patients with a greater understanding of their treatment options, benefits, and costs while also enabling providers to treat each patient’s needs as they see fit.
“It was clear that the dental benefits process was broken. A concept that goes back to the 1950s, hadn’t really changed.”
ERIC BAURLE, HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT, WELLFIT
Fast friends. Faster product creation.
Like most things in life, it wasn’t always just about the work, the Wellfit & Slalom Build teams became close outside the office as well. Volunteering at a local foodbank together, testing their intellectual mettle at escape rooms, and just growing into a group of not only colleagues, but friends. Friends that just happened to be on the threshold of progressing an industry. Turns out, that’s the best kind of partnership.
To maximize speed to market, the lean, multi-disciplinary, unified team quickly drilled into the root of the problem. Leveraging Slalom Build’s Product Engineering Methodology, which incorporates user experience, modern engineering, and automation specialists, the team staged intensive and immersive experience design sessions. And in just three months a working prototype was brought to life. From there they were able to call on Wellfit’s industry reach and influence to get the prototype into the gloved hands of dental providers working with real patients. Our subjects were given little direction, so that user experience teams could discern if the solution was intuitive, inviting, and easy to use. The vivid, real-world feedback gleaned proved invaluable in improving the initial concept of payment simplification, as well as confirming that a customer-centric approach had the power to really enhance the core patient/provider relationship.
“They can see what the treatment actually costs. They can see what the price is, see what their discount is and they see the portion that their employer is contributing.”
MATT HALL, PRESIDENT & COO, WELLFIT
Launching an idea – and a company
What came out of that revved up timeline and close working relationship was something designed to completely revolutionize an industry. With the Wellfit platform, dental providers can help their patients thoroughly understand their treatment options from the start, instantly provide detailed treatment recommendations, and even offer benefit plans and payment options. Right in the chair. The interface is clean and unassuming, concealing all the heavy lifting it does on the backend. It provides total transparency of costs through secure web-based portals for both dental providers and patients.
What started as a single app to assist in the typical provider/patient relationship developed into a suite of cloud-based products that evolved into a true platform touching on every part of the oral healthcare experience. Providers can use their portal to present, discuss, educate, and establish agreement on Treatment Summaries with patients in the office. The products draw on multiple sources to display the standard fee for each service, the discount with dental plan membership, the amount contributed by the patient’s employer, and the patient’s share. Patients can access their portal any time to see a detailed history of their dental services and make real-time online payments.
And perhaps most importantly, Wellfit helps reduce overall healthcare costs by making it easy and efficient for patients to get the care they need and want, while freeing providers from the complexities of traditional benefits and payment processes. But the proof is in the practices – in just two years, adoption has grown to over 700 dental offices nationwide. It’s a true testament to the power of Build as a Service (BaaS): bringing in experienced, multidisciplinary teams to partner closely with clients in the building of modern technology products. What’s more, Wellfit has developed into a powerhouse team in its own right, growing five-fold in the course of a few short years. Formed under the umbrella of a larger dental services organization, Wellfit broke off to become its own company in 2018. It’s an exciting beginning for a company born from a simple idea – and a strong partnership.