Dr. Shelley Cooper
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Hosted By Matt DeCoursey

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Dr. Shelley Cooper

Today's Guest: Dr. Shelley Cooper

CEO and Founder - Diversity Telehealth

Kansas City, MO

Ep. #954 - Telehealth Solutions for Underserved Communities

Our social impact week at Startup Hustle continues! Next in queue is all about telehealth solutions.

In our third episode spotlighting LaunchKC’s social impact studio, Matt DeCoursey gains insights on telehealth solutions from Dr. Shelley Cooper. She is a returning podcast guest and the CEO of Diversity Telehealth. They dissect the current challenges of the healthcare industry. And tackle the potential tech solutions to better provide healthcare for everyone, especially underserved communities.

Covered In This Episode

As a social impact entrepreneur, Dr. Cooper’s vision is to make telehealth solutions and healthcare accessible for everyone. It should never be discriminatory of one’s socioeconomic status or educational background.

Get Started with Full Scale

So, with Matt, she willingly shares her outlook on the topic. The duo talks about what telehealth solutions can do and the developing tech scene of the industry. They also discuss how not to tip the balance between managing a for-profit business with a non-profit side.

If you want to learn more, tune in to this Startup Hustle episode today!

Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Highlights

  • Dr. Shelley Cooper’s backstory (02:55)
  • What it means to be social entrepreneurs (04:42)
  • On managing non-profit organizations (05:51)
  • What does telehealth solve? (07:06)
  • About getting access to care (09:47)
  • What Sure Show is and the definition of telehealth (11:41)
  • Why promote Pediatric Primary Prevention? (16:05)
  • The funding for telehealth (17:27)
  • What telehealth does for communities (22:10)
  • On corporate healthcare (24:41)
  • New tech in health services (26:12)
  • HIPAA Compliance (29:08)
  • Providing dynamic pricing for services (33:13)
  • Customizable services for your clients (35:05)
  • Choosing to support and cater to the underserved communities (42:12)
  • Biggest lesson learned as a startup founder (46:10)

Key Quotes

So it’s one thing to have telehealth. But if you can’t even get on the teleside of it because you’re in the middle of Africa, or who knows, the middle of Montana, it’s exactly the same kind of connectivity issues somewhere. But that future is right on top of us. And it’s going to generate a golden age of helpfulness and entrepreneurship.

– Matt DeCoursey

So what we’re trying to do is really make telehealth available for anybody in any area. Regardless of their economic situation, their educational level, or really what they’re able to do on their own. Healthcare should be available to everybody.

– Dr. Shelley Cooper

The most important lesson I’ve learned, as a startup founder, and hopefully others will learn from this, is when you hire or when you decide you’d like to have a co-founder, anybody like that, you are still the CEO. You are still responsible, ultimately responsible. So if something comes up, and you don’t know how to do it, like me being a non-technical founder, you need to learn as much as you can about not abdicating. You need to delegate.

– Dr. Shelley Cooper

Sponsor Highlight

Exactly how they support entrepreneurs in and around Kansas City, today’s episode is sponsored by The Economic Development Corporation of KCMO (EDCKC). This organization has your back whether you’re a startup, an SME, or a large business. All their programs, including LaunchKC and Social Venture Studio, are geared towards your business growth. Discover all the various types of support you can get at EDCKC.com.

Want to know more about the organizations we work with? Check out the list of Startup Hustle partners!

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey  00:01

And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Are you familiar with telehealth and telehealth solutions? It’s an idea that you could get medical help from a doctor and nurse, all kinds of different medicine solutions for your health, and do it over the internet. And why is that important? We’re going to talk all about that during today’s episode. And before I get too far into that and introduce you to who I’m speaking with today, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, is proud to support the dreamers and doers of our great city through a variety of programs, including LaunchKC and KC UP. If you’re in or around the Kansas City area, learn more about how they can help you by visiting EDCKC.com. There’s going to be a link for that in the show notes. And, you know, if you haven’t listened to any episodes in the past, first off, Startup Hustle is in Kansas City. Actually, mainly in Missouri, I probably blew someone’s mind. That’s right, the Kansas City Chiefs play in Missouri, but they have a lot of great programs. And they’ve been a great supporter of Startup Hustle. And today’s guest is a member of their recent Social Venture Studio. If you want to apply for grants to be a part of LaunchKC, go to launchkc.org. You can also find info at EDCKC.com. That is a mouthful to say if you said that five times in a row really quickly. You won’t get it right. With me today, I’ve got Dr. Shelly Cooper, she is the CEO and founder of Diversity Telehealth. We’re going to talk about how she’s actually been on the show before. So I guess I’ll just go ahead and say, Dr. Cooper, welcome back to Startup Hustle.

 

Shelley Cooper  01:46

Well, thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.

 

Matt DeCoursey  01:48

I’m looking forward to talking about this. I’ve actually done some episodes in the past about telehealth. Now, your prior episode, which there’s also a link to in the show notes, was about bootstrapping tips for startups. That was a popular one, by the way. I don’t know if you’d even know that. 

 

Shelley Cooper  02:01

No, I didn’t know that. That’s good to hear. 

 

Matt DeCoursey  02:05

I think it’s because all of this is startup founders bootstrapping at some point. And that’s good stuff to know. Now, what I really want to know is a little bit more about your backstory.

 

Shelley Cooper  02:15

Well, my backstory begins here in Kansas. But no, I’m just being funny. My backstory actually starts with me being an educator, I started in business and then decided to become a teacher, and I taught for 25 years. During the last part of that 25 years, I decided to get a doctorate, and the doctorate is in instructional technology and distance education. Most people don’t know what that is, but delivery of a service from a distance. And the service I decided to deliver is the service of medicine. And so, without being an MD, a medical doctor, or a medical degree. I have an EDD, which is an educational doctorate. So delivering medicine from a distance using HIPAA-compliant technology is what I decided to do. And in doing that, I decided to start Diversity Telehealth and left the classroom, and that was quite a few years ago. So Diversity Telehealth has been around for 10 years.

 

Matt DeCoursey  03:14

Oh, wow. Okay. 2012 is when you’re part of the EDCKC, and that is really hard to say really fast three, or four or five, or a bunch of times in a row. That is, so the Economic Development Corporation at Kansas City exists to help businesses like yours or really businesses at various stages of industries or people trying to accomplish a specific mission. So they’re here to help develop the economic environment. And they do that through grants or various different things. And you are part of the social venture studio, and we’re which all of your classmates will be on the show too. So look forward to those episodes, but how has it been getting involved with them?

 

Shelley Cooper  04:02

It’s been amazing. And SBS. So Social Venture studio, we’re all social entrepreneurs, which means we kind of fall into two categories. Some of us are 501 C three, which means we are tax-free, and charitable contributions can be made. And we’re also for profit. So they are nonprofit and for-profit. And what we’re doing is we’re trying to change the world. We’re trying to make the world a better place with our products and our services. And so Diversity Telehealth is a for-profit company, but I also have a 501 C three, not-for-profit arm called Diversity Telehealth community network. And with that, we provide telehealth resources for homeless folks, for Families in Transition for children who may not have the resources that they need. Their families may not have it, so we raise money, and we make those telehealth services at no cost to underserved communities.

 

Matt DeCoursey  05:03

So let’s stop and define a couple things when we talk about 501. And all that this says, these are not-for-profit organizations.

 

Shelley Cooper  05:11

An organization that has CEOs and staff members is the same that a for-profit company would have. But their mission is one in that they are trying to make the world a better place. And in doing that, they’re able to accept charitable contributions. And folks can write those off, the donors can write them off, and the recipients are able to operate their companies with those donations.

 

Matt DeCoursey  05:37

Yeah. And there are some specific tax benefits and other things we don’t need to get into that are intended to make things easier for the donor and the recipient company. Exactly, exactly. I’m saddled with all kinds of taxes, doctor. Maybe we should talk about that.

 

Shelley Cooper  05:55

Give away more money.

 

Matt DeCoursey  05:57

I do, but maybe I need to give more of it to you. Right. I agree. So when we talk about underserved communities, that can be a pretty broad definition. You mentioned quite a few people. One of the things that, to the best of my understanding, telehealth is also reached out to as Ben. There’s a lot of rural communities that really struggle to get doctors and the kind of medical care that he does that also classifies as underserved?

 

Shelley Cooper  06:26

It definitely does. As a matter of fact, there’s a program that I’m a part of right now. HERSA, which is a government agency that funds the Head Start program, also funds some of the monies to federally qualified health centers. And with that in mind, they put out a challenge called the p four challenge, and you’ll have to Google it to find out what the other three P’s are. But basically, what it’s trying to do is improve early wellness visits for young ones for kids going into kindergarten, Headstart. And so Diversity Telehealth is partnered with Head Start and Swope health. And so the three organizations together are working in Excelsior Springs. I was just there yesterday. Every month, they provide healthcare to rural citizens, they’re the young ones, because they have a scarcity of health care. And so when within a certain mile radius, you can’t find a pediatrician, or you might not be able to find an ophthalmologist or an optician, or a dentist. And so being able to provide those services to rural folks is what we do as well. So that’s one of the ways that we help through telehealth and also through providing services face to face. The Mobile Medical Unit goes there and cleans teeth and performs procedures on little ones, as well as doing the immunizations and other early wellness visits.

 

Matt DeCoursey  08:00

Well, thank you for doing all that. I have a big admiration for people that do all of that kind of stuff, really the whole charitable side of things. And there’s, as we all shed it, there’s someone who needs to handle some of the issues that are coming up, I mean, the underserved communities, and I know, we’re just talking about rural areas, my sister’s a doctor. And with that, as she graduated from medical school years ago, I mean, I remember her talking about the struggles that rural communities are going through, and some of them are like paying off the doctors, and student loans if they would come and be the doctor there for like, you know, two or three years or something like that. I was like, Wow, that must really be an issue. And that’s been a whole a whole nother that’s a whole nother topic. But yeah, then underserved, as well as just a generalized is really any community or group of people that aren’t able to get the same me really breaking this down in a basic way, but are just not able to get regular services or afford them like the accessibility to services in general is that the broad definitions access to care and access could be transportation.

 

Shelley Cooper  09:10

It could be financial, it could be just being able to understand the healthcare education instructions, maybe that person isn’t really able to understand when you take medication twice daily, what time of day, do you take it both one right after the other? Do you take one in the morning when at night? Do you need to have an empty stomach, full stomach? So there are a lot of different ways that medicine can be taken. But if we don’t understand how that medicine needs to be ingested, then sometimes it doesn’t really do what it’s meant to do. So part of what we’re doing in underserved communities is trying to educate patients and trying to also provide different ways that they can receive healthcare and telehealth is one of those ways to tell.

 

Matt DeCoursey  10:03

It’s really, it’s an outstanding way to look at modern technology’s ability to have a far and broad reach. And what I remember. So here in Kansas City, which is the home once again, the homeless Startup Hustle, we were the first major city that partnered with Google to do Google Fiber. And we’re the first major city that had gigabit internet. Now, that’s a pretty common thing now. But I remember when it first came out, that was it attracted a ton of startups here to Kansas City. And some of them told us something related? Because that pipeline, that wide open pipeline of bandwidth, made this possible. And you also look at things like Starlink, you know, Elon Musk’s satellite network that is now going to deliver. So it’s one thing to have telehealth. But if you can’t even get in the Telus side of it, because you’re in the middle of Africa, or who knows the middle of Montana. I mean, these are the same kind of connectivity issues somewhere. But yeah, that future is right on top of us. And I think it’s going to generate a golden age of well, helpfulness and entrepreneurship. So cheers to you on that. Now, when it comes to your company, you actually used to be called sure Show, right?

 

Shelley Cooper  11:21

Yes. Initially starting out. And let me give you a little background on the Show.

 

Matt DeCoursey  11:26

Yeah. And so that’s why you changed the name.

 

Shelley Cooper  11:29

Here’s how your show actually got started. I’ve been working. As I mentioned, I completed the doctorate in instructional technology in distance ed. And in doing that, I was able to work with some of the federally qualified health centers like Swope health. And in working with Swope health and some of the other FQHCs, we discovered that they had a pretty high no show rate. And that high no show rate contributes to this continuity of care for patients. And it also contributes to lost revenue for the providers, and having that lost revenue, that does not allow the clinics to do all that they need to do. And so I thought to myself, Okay, my dissertation topic was on the benefits and barriers of telehealth. And if we’re working with telehealth, we’re providing telehealth to individuals, why can’t we provide that telehealth when there is a no show? So a lot of clinics have a really high no show rate, the average no show rate is about one in four. So 25% of those appointments and a no show. And I just talked about the rep barriers to having something like that happen, how it’s not really serving the community. At the same time, the day before Valentine’s Day in 2018, my father passed away very unexpectedly. And when we found out that he had a medical appointment just a few weeks after he’d passed away, we were, of course, distraught and upset. And since I’m not an MD, I couldn’t have treated him. So I thought to myself, what about all of these open slots? What about all these no shows? What would have happened if there had been a no show? And someone would have called and said, Mr. Brown, we have an opening. We’re using telehealth, would you like to have a telehealth visit, because the coroner said he was anemic and dehydrated. And those were the only things I could really find, besides him being 87 years old, but what I wanted to do was make it so that no other person would need to go through something as senseless as there are no shows or open slots, there’s telehealth available. Why can’t we bridge the two together? So I decided to create an app called how to make sure people show up and so that’s why it sounds kinda kind of dorky but that was what I decided to call it. And sure Show was getting a lot of traction, a lot of attention. And with some startup stories, I’m sure you hear that sometimes one founder has one idea. And the other founder has another idea and pivoting is what startups are for. And so what ended up happening was that as I mentioned earlier, the p four challenge came about right about the time that my co-founder and I were deciding that we were going our separate ways, and I decided to take Swope Health and Headstart up on their offer. And I decided to tweak or pivot from strictly working with adults to focusing on children. And we decided to change the name of sure Show to come on now. And with Come on, now, we’re encouraging parents to bring their children in for early wellness visits, and come on in and take care of your kids. And so now the name of the software is called Come on now. It’s available In the Google Play Store in the app store, it has several users, not only in the rural area of Excelsior Springs, but also at a manual Family and Child Development Center at Martin Luther King and prospect.

 

Matt DeCoursey  15:17

So in Kansas City. Yeah, sure. Sure. Sure. We were talking about them over here. I was like, No, you’ll be, we’ll listen to this all over. So I looked at promoting PD, pediatric primary prevention. Good, good. Say that three times. I can say it once. That’s my primary. This whole entire show is now dedicated to Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. She sells seashells by the seashore. That’s what I heard. That’s what I heard. I don’t even know if it’s true. You can’t say it. It’s not true. You know, when you talk about rebranding and pivoting and changing, there’s been, I mean, that Facebook’s a good one there. Now, Mehta. Subways used to be called pizza super submarines. And then one often sponsors of the show, Gusto was once ZenPayroll. So it’s not an uncommon thing to rebrand. And you know what things change? Sometimes you have to, you have to change with and so as I mentioned, you were on a prior show with Lauren, and you talked about bootstrapping tips for startups. So how has the last year been since you recorded that show? Like what’s new to update us on still bootstrapping.

 

Shelley Cooper  16:27

Wonderful thing, as you mentioned earlier as a social venture studio that came along with non diluted funding, so I didn’t need to surrender any equity for that financial contribution. Diversity. Telehealth is really doing a lot here in Kansas City, Missouri. And with that, the earnings from Diversity Telehealth is actually funding the development of the c’mon now software platform with which we will raise funds at a later date. But right now, we’re bootstrapping. We’re very frugal. As people mentioned to me, I can pinch a penny till it screams. And so that’s what we do as founders.

 

Matt DeCoursey  17:09

I have never heard that. Pinch a penny till it screams that makes a lot of sense. We keep joking about Kansas City. But you know, it really is so misunderstood people. You know, I think that Kansas City is in Kansas, and it is part of it, like the small part of it. I live in Kansas, I live in the Kansas side, I always have but you learned there’s this invisible line that runs through our city that honestly just makes things kind of a pain in the butt.

 

Shelley Cooper  17:35

It really does. And actually, I used to live in Kansas, Kansas until three weeks ago, we just moved across the state lines.

 

Matt DeCoursey  17:41

Rules are different.

 

Shelley Cooper  17:42

Taxes, licenses, for licenses, facility companies.

 

Matt DeCoursey  17:47

It’s hard to get people to agree when one side of the city wants one thing and the other doesn’t. And there’s we got to try to make sure that like like, like you mentioned, like our stadiums where the chiefs and the Royals play those are in disarray, right. But if I’m willing to bet on most nights, the people that are going to him are just as much from Kansas as they are from Missouri. So who pays for the stadium? Where do we do that? And now I just lived here my whole life, most of my life, but this is home for me. And it’s a challenge. Now with that. We want to grow KCMO. So let’s grow this is the Economic Development Corporation of KCMO’s tagline. And it represents how we work with businesses, large and small, and just starting to locate and grow and the great city of Kansas City, you know, and if you talk to them, yeah, they’re in Missouri, but they really want the best thing for the whole city. We’re sitting here talking about which side of the line and you know, you kind of don’t even get to notice it. Now, they do a lot of great things at EDCKC.com, including Launch KC, which is doing grants and a grant competition, that’s how that whole program started. Then they pivoted a little bit and we’re working on the people that were in the Launch KC so we’ve been involved with them for years now. And both at Startup Hustle Anna Full Scale my business who’s given development credits to some of the companies that have been in there, and you know, they’re just still continuing to do what’s the what the best thing for them and everyone else is. So thanks to everyone at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, once again, go to launch kc.org and learn about how to get free money. Did you get some free money?

 

Shelley Cooper  19:26

I’m applying for it.

 

Matt DeCoursey  19:27

There you go. Yeah, I think everyone should. Why not? I mean, it’s. So you mentioned one thing about non-dilutive funds and you know, that’s an important thing for a lot of a lot of businesses especially like yours, you know, that’s with that. You mentioned other forms of funding coming in and being in the not for profit, that’s gotta be challenging.

 

Shelley Cooper  19:50

Well, since diversity, telehealth is for profit, okay, that pays quite a few of the bills. Whenever I’m raising money for the Diversity Telehealth community I work. It’s normally either through a Facebook fundraiser about my birthday, July 28. It’s still open. I haven’t closed that fundraiser on Facebook, just a shameless plug.

 

Matt DeCoursey  20:08

Or if I’m looking to make a donation. Great, thank you.

 

Shelley Cooper  20:11

So what we’re trying to do is really make telehealth available for anybody in any area, regardless of their economic situation, their educational level, or really what they’re able to do on their own. Okay, so healthcare should be available to everybody.

 

Matt DeCoursey  20:30

So right now, as we speak, I’m donating $100. Seriously, yeah, it’s doing it right now. Assuming that my card doesn’t get declined, it didn’t. It doesn’t. You’re good. You’re good. You are close to your goal now. So there you go. Well, that was from me, not from the company. You note that that matters.

 

Shelley Cooper  20:50

No, I appreciate that. You know, that is a tax write off.

 

Matt DeCoursey  20:55

If I get the receipt for that, that’s great. If not, that’s not because I didn’t do it for that reason. So, you know, back to that relationship with diversity, telehealth and all that. How’s that? I mean, is that it? I still think that’s going to be a challenge, because I think that a lot of places that money comes from don’t want to hear what you are after?

 

Shelley Cooper  21:19

Well, the thing is what telehealth does, it bridges the gap between having access to care and going to the emergency room. And eventually, even though we have our health care insurance, we also pay taxes. So eventually, folks who use the emergency room as their primary care physician are really spending a lot more money on care that can be done in other ways. And so when we allow care to take place outside of the emergency room, we’re really saving ourselves money and we’re saving tax dollars for the city.

 

Matt DeCoursey  21:54

I think that’s something that I remember when telehealth was first becoming a thing, and I remember kind of thinking about it. And I’m like, Man, I want her insurance companies to feel about it. And then I’ve really learned that they really embrace it. Because it’s cheaper. It makes a lot more sense. And, as you mentioned, like going somewhere like the emergency room, or I’ve been, I think the pandemic really pushed a lot of that stuff into the spotlight rather than the side stage. I mean, am I right? Oh, you’re exactly right.

 

Shelley Cooper  22:24

And actually, march 20 of 2020. That second week in March, the telehealth usage was a lot lower. The third week in March, march 20, is the week prior to March 20, was much lower. But March 20, itself is a dividing line. And if you look at what was reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid in the form of telehealth, it just skyrocketed between March and May of 2020. Because Friday, you could go to the doctor sitting in the waiting room and see your doctor face to face. By that Monday, doctors offices were closed. And that’s when people said, Hey, maybe I can get medical care without going to the doctor’s office, which is what I’ve been pushing for a long time. So unfortunately, it took a pandemic to open the eyes of a lot of people to see, there are other alternatives for receiving health care that don’t involve taking a half day off from work, taking your kids out of school, and driving across town, especially for those folks who are in rural areas. And they have to drive hours and hours for a basic appointment. So I believe telehealth saves lives and it saves time and saves money. It’s more convenient.

 

Matt DeCoursey  23:34

I think another key with telehealth and you’re i i buy in to all of the mission statements there. But I think one thing is that there’s so many people that just don’t go to the doctor, because it actually feels inconvenient. So even if you do these aren’t necessarily even underserved people. I’m on that list. I’m not underserved. I’m committed to going to the doctor as much as I need to like. I was even paying really big health care premiums for myself, my family and the employees at Full Scale. And I look back at it, and I even told my wife, I was like, I should just start paying cash for this stuff because I don’t ever use it. And I need to be better about that. And one of the reasons is, you know, everyone knows you mentioned it well, it’s a lobbyist, telehealth can open up that door for me a little more. Because if the doctor is a few minutes late, I’m not going to get super antsy, right. Yeah, I think that’s kind of the historic thing with doctors. And actually, I can’t remember the name of the company. It was one of our new New Orleans top startups. And they were helping solve the problem of late doctors basically, really, yeah, they’re using an AI and machine learning algorithm that would basically look at the actual data of every doctor because I think doctors don’t want to be late. They’re not trying to be late, but some of them just are As you also don’t know what kind of emergencies can happen, or the regularity of them, and those things are tough to predict, but in certain cases where doctors took longer than maybe they’re scheduling four appointments an hour for simple checkups, and if they were only on historically getting three of them done on time, it would kind of make those adjustments. Right. Making availability.

 

Shelley Cooper  25:22

Okay. Is that the doc pace? Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

 

Matt DeCoursey  25:26

It was them. It was either them or, well, no, darling doc pace, and that was the company. Do you know them?

 

Shelley Cooper  25:32

Just heard about them out in the lobby? Okay. Okay. Yeah, that was probably that because you were talking to our show producer.

 

Matt DeCoursey  25:35

So she would know, thank you for thank you for doing our job, Dr. Cooper. But no, that doc pace was, that might have been a component of what they did that theirs was more about that why do I have to fill out the same darn forms every time? So that was their thing that I believe that could have been the second half? I don’t know. I feel like there were two different ones.

 

Shelley Cooper  26:00

But well, there’s modern health here.

 

Matt DeCoursey  26:02

They’re there. That’s modern, and with an RN Caressa Hutchinson, she’s actually been on the show a couple times. Trying to meet her. Yeah, well, we can make that happen. She was on our top startups list this year. And they do. It’s similar. It’s similar to what you do, but it’s like it’s an but it’s specifically a nurse. Okay. So like, it’s almost like having a project manager for your health. I see. Which is, as I you know, my parents have both passed and my dad recently, but I began to note here that, thank you, I have gained a whole new appreciation for the complexity of keeping that kind of stuff going. You know, as I mentioned, my sister’s a doctor, and she did a saintly job of doing the things that I mean, sometimes I’m looking at life, I’m looking at like 15 different pills. And I’m like, what socially? So thank you, Robin. Yeah, there’s a lot to keep up with. And so there’s everything from action. Sometimes you don’t need to speak to Doctor someone and other and there’s, you know, there’s someone that can give you some medical input or help. And, you know, and that’s, that’s a component of that it is a telehealth thing. And they’ve been working on that for a while now. Now, it was during the patent search, shortly after the pandemic. Got moving. Matt Watson and I did an episode about how we predicted who we felt the winners and losers of the pandemic would be and telehealth was like, well tell us anything, right? Because we had to obviously tell a learning letter are other Tella things that we can think about. I mean, there’s, there’s talent, legitimate tele education, yes, distance education.

 

Shelley Cooper  27:49

As I mentioned, my degree is in instructional technology and distance education. And currently, I’m teaching a tele course through Nova Southeastern University where I earned my doctorate. So that started yesterday. So one of my many hats I’m wearing is teaching a distance education course. And several other parents, well, millions of parents became homeschool teachers during the pandemic. So they were able to see exactly what goes into writing lesson plans and grading papers. And it’s not really as easy as a lot of people consider it to be, so making sure that those HIPAA compliant types of encounters take place for telehealth, it’s just as important to make sure that the Zoom connections are secure. So data breaches, all of those types of things are important when we consider doing anything virtually, where the service is provided through technology. And the two participants are in two different locations.

 

Matt DeCoursey  28:51

So So when when she mentioned HIPAA, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, here in the United States, that is, falls under five categories, which will first office privacy privacy exam, and that’s that’s like rule number one, then transactions and like code sets, rule, security rules, unique identifier rules and enforcement rules. And these are all just things that that Well, I think that they all kind of STEM and start from the privacy piece.

 

Shelley Cooper  29:23

Right, keeping the patient information protected health care information needs to remain protected. So in any way possible, not revealing patients names, or what they’re going to be seen for who their providers are. Any of those that type of information will be considered protected health care information,

 

Matt DeCoursey  29:41

well then having some security standards around actually protecting them exactly where it’s stored, how it’s retrieved.

 

Shelley Cooper  29:45

All of those types of factors are important in remaining HIPAA compliant and the c’mon now platform is connected to HIPAA track and HIPAA TrackMania. veins are HIPAA compliant. And so what we do is when there is a no-show, as I mentioned earlier, we contact folks and let them know there’s an opportunity for a telehealth visit. With the project, we’re doing the P for challenge. We’re notifying families and letting them know, there’s opportunities for you to bring your young ones in, and they can accept it online and receive a notification through the app. And it’s all free for the patient. There’s a small amount that’s paid for by the providing agency. So we’ve had a lot of success with the Come on now platform.

 

Matt DeCoursey  30:33

I read an article recently that when it comes to just missed appointments in general, because I you know, we own Gigabook, and that’s online booking. Okay, we are not a HIPAA platform, because that’s really complex and expensive. A lot. Yeah, it’s inexpensive as the main thing. But, you know, with that I always get anything that involves booking or scheduling or like any no show kind of stuff gets online booking and just simple automation of notifications and reminders. A word can make a world of difference. Because people just forget to get stuff. It’s just that simple. Something they don’t want to come a lot of times or they can’t comment says they literally forgot, they find out about it afterward. I was reading an article the other day that said that missed appointments just in general were like a multibillion dollar bill. Yeah, like huge is that one of us?

 

Shelley Cooper  31:26

When we look at the number of if we’re looking at one in four medical appointments and and no shows, and that’s an average, it’s lower for specialists, like neurologists, just for like a sudden success for medicine.

 

Matt DeCoursey  31:39

Okay, medicine, so it’s much higher multi-billion.

 

Shelley Cooper  31:46

Talking about everything from missed car appointments to a personal trainer for the dentist, the accountant, the lawyer, architect, all of those.

 

Matt DeCoursey  31:50

Here’s the thing: your small business owners lost revenue. That’s true. Yeah. So that means it’s not only it’s not even if we just look at it from a business perspective, I mean, these are things that what can you do to to make people actually show up and other thing that you mentioned was shown, come on now, as is also a lot of businesses experience, you look at like a service business that say, an air conditioning repair place, and they’re at somewhere from 9am to 11. And they don’t have another appointment until two o’clock to five and you know, you, but here’s the thing is the employees are still getting paid exactly in the middle of that. And, and that’s, you know, I mean, for the business that’s lost. I mean, that’s sunk cost, opportunity, opportunity, then there’s opportunity. So, and then other things that I’ve seen out there are actually working on dynamic pricing, because there is the end, that’s back to the machine learning kind of thing, like, Hey, these are the spots where you’re always booked. Maybe you should charge more. Right? Right, you know, so like, this is your most in demand stuff. And I’m a big believer in that. I think that if everyone wants the same spot, and only one person can get it, I mean, it’s a free market economy, like a business, you might want to consider that supply and demand.

 

Shelley Cooper  33:07

And it’s funny, you should mention that because the earlier version of the show platform doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as the version we’re working with right now. So I’ve been speaking with my developer about what we can use that for, we can rebrand that. So we can change the color palette, we can make it change the words because a lot of times when I go to the alterations shop or the shoe shop or even getting jewelry repaired, when do you know if your items are ready? And how much is it going to cost and they give you these tiny little tickets that no one can ever keep up with. And so they call you, which takes a lot of individual time on that on that employee’s schedule. And so we’ve decided to rebrand the earlier version to be ready. And we’re working with pilots now with some of the alteration shops and dry cleaners and shoe shops so that they can let people know your shoes are ready, it costs us a mountain you can pick it up. So with that very, very easy transition, another vertical like notification that you mentioned. So our number one focus is to come on the platform in the medical space. But we also have this little side hustle gig called it’s ready, and it’s ready we’ll be ready very, very soon.

 

Matt DeCoursey  34:28

You know what’s crazy is that people think that scheduling is easy. It is wildly complex, and it’s the act of putting this, which is so Gigabook’s fully customizable, which if I had to go back and do it again, I would tell you because you have to build everything like five times more to make it customizable. If I could have done it again. I have a time machine. I’d go back and just completely mastered industry or genre because you know people will call me up and they’ll say, Hey man, I think gigabit It would be great for my cousin. Okay, well, she does, oh, she’s a hairstylist and I tell him, I’m like, don’t go find one of the platforms that’s already made for what she already does, because they already it’s, you know, you don’t have to go through and customize it. So the niche that we filled is actually filling the niche for people that don’t have a niche like that and don’t have an industry specific platform. Really. Yeah, it’s all custom. That’s the Customize customizable side of things. And we’re and we openly admit it when we talk to people like if you have an industry specific platform, I just told someone that the other night it was actually India who runs Yes. Yeah, was talking to me. She was like, Well, should I be using a book? And I was like, probably not. And she said, “Well, why might I save some money?” I said, even if you did, it’d probably be a big pain in the ass to change it over if you have something that’s working for your business. Stick with it. But yeah, so they have more like a ticketing kind of thing I see that can be a little different. So there’s, you know, when there isn’t, the thesis of my statement here is don’t assume that any software that you use, or whatever is easy to build, because it’s not because yeah, putting something on and off like a singular instance on a calendar is not difficult. What is difficult is the million F ends and the combinations and the routing and all that and if you charge money, then you gotta have you gotta have, you gotta have it connected to an invoice. And then if you got to be able to credit it, and what if they pay a deposit? What if they cancel? What if they want to reschedule, you’re like, what, and then and then for us, we got, we have widgets that you install on your website, so you gotta make it work on someone else’s really bad technology.

 

Shelley Cooper  36:44

A lot of times, gigabit users upgrade your website by giving me a headache.

 

Matt DeCoursey  36:46

It goes on and on. We even do add on sales, Group Sales, you can book things like rooms. And then what about when you need to pair them? What if you have five batting cages, but you have 10 instructors? You can’t have six people teaching a hitting lesson not in a batting cage. So yeah, it gets wildly complex. And the really the main thing we the biggest account that we have is actually at Full Scale our own company really well we use it to power all of our who we have 1000 people a month that, that apply for a job at Full Scale. Do it for all of our interviews, it routes people to the appropriate interviewer and then when our clients want to talk to a potential team member to Full Scale, that helps them schedule there as well. So yeah, it’s a lot. There’s, that’s, yeah, so it’s crazy after all these years and you know, users and whatever, that yeah, the biggest enterprise user is still us. It’s created wildly. You mentioned just the amount of time that a business could spend on calling someone, right, and then you know, the reason I built Giga book was I got tired of people asking, they’re like, no, it’s actually a friend of mine. I had a dog grooming studio. And I went over, I kept calling and I was trying to get a hold of her because I was going to get married the next day. Oh, and I was supposed to drop my dog off. And I was like, Oh my God, they’re not open. The one thing my soon to be wife told me to do was to drop off the dog at the kennel and I was like, there’s no one there. And I drove all the way over there cursing, sweating and worried about two dogs sticking their heads out the window. It’s like, alright, sir. Gonna go do this. And then I got there. And there was a lady in the back like Washington, a huge dog. So she can answer the phone. Oh, no, I kept thinking I was like, it just offended my sense of efficiency and business in general. I’m like, How much money is my friend losing? Because they don’t answer the phone. Whoa. So I kept thinking, because what every new bride wants is for you to have your new idea. Right before you go live to get married. So yeah, that was so that was a spark of the idea. That was where it started. We’d already built a lot of the stuff and a testament to learning that things take way longer and cost more to build than we thought we’d be done. But in six months, it took three years.

 

Shelley Cooper  39:17

Takes twice as long and costs twice as much and much more.

 

Matt DeCoursey  39:20

That’s what you’re hoping for. Yeah, that’s wishful because some people never even get to you, never even get there you die on the vine are there I mean, there’s that it is a treacherous road. Are you pivoting or doing something different? But yeah, if I could go back and do it again, I would pick something niche. You know, because I think you’re some of the best advice that I ever received was actually during this podcast, and it was one of our sayings, I can’t remember it was a single digit episode number like one of the first 10 It was really it was literally the founder of car Star Series. It’s a car stars national now that’s a franchise it’s basically an operating system. And franchise for auto body repair. Because there was a very fragmented industry and people and they’re good at repairing cars and terrible at running businesses. It’s just not what their focus was. But when I asked him, I said, Well, Lirael told you the same thing. Give us a little bit about your backstory and say, Well, I’m a coward. I was like, whoa, what do you mean? Like, you’re pretty brave. So no, I’m a coward. My whole approach as an entrepreneur is I want to find something that nobody’s doing, and then where I can go do it and be left alone till I get really good at it. And it was really like that. So that was like, don’t take on the Giants. Like there’s riches in the niches kind of that’s true. And yeah, so there’s a lot to be said with that. Now, that’s a good maybe a good thing to ask if I feel like telehealth is tele anything. Learning all of that tele learning might have been one of the first major telco things like when Skype came out and stuff like that are teaching each other foreign languages. Right. But how are the headwinds? When it comes to your competition? I gotta feel like there’s not already a lot of it. It’s there, they’re getting ready.

 

Shelley Cooper  41:10

Well, here’s the thing. And it’s so funny when you say the riches are in the niches. Because we are concentrating on underserved populations, which are federally qualified health centers, we really aren’t going where the people who have a lot of money are going. But people also don’t realize that those federally qualified health centers are funded by Medicare and Medicaid. And when they are funded by the largest payers in the US, there is revenue there. So I’m kind of revealing my secret sauce here. But the point is, I don’t want to go after the huge guys, I want to protect the smaller ones, the underserved and the underdog. And so bringing this type of service to underserved and underrepresented communities, I think is my calling. And in doing that, we’re able to recoup lost revenue for the providers who provide continuity of care for the chronic disease patients medically fragile like my father. And then also were able to help those clinics see more patients, which means they get better quality measures with those agencies that grade them on what they do. So that’s my niche. That’s where I’m going. And so, so far, it’s been an not I won’t say, an easy road, I’d have to say more of a more determined road. I know that’s where I want to go. So that’s where my area is. So those went actually in two weeks, maybe it’s this week, the 27th. That’s the Saturday I think the National Association of Community Health Centers is having their conference in Chicago. So I’m on my way there to talk to more community health centers and tell them about the Come on now platform, hopefully get some more customers and get some interest and really push our sales up and save some lives in the process.

 

Matt DeCoursey  43:01

By the way, there are no easy businesses. That’s true. Show me the easy ones. Show me let’s do some of those. Because I haven’t found any. They are easier. They’re still not easy. But if they are easier, they usually don’t pay that well. So there’s that part too. Once again, today’s episode, Startup Hustle was sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation of KCMO, Kansas City, Missouri. If you’re within the KC boundaries, you can find out who your business development offer officer is, at EDCKC.com. That’s right. You get your own business development officer. That’s pretty cool. We encourage you to connect with these folks out there that are making a big difference in our business community. And while Today’s show was sponsored by EDCKC, today’s guest once again was Dr. Shelly Cooper, the CEO, and founder of diversity, telehealth, and someone who does more stuff than I thought she did before. And we didn’t even figure out where we saw each other recently. Somewhere.

 

Shelley Cooper  44:03

I don’t know. I don’t remember. Maybe it was, maybe it was Keystone. Maybe it was. I’m everywhere. So who knows? Maybe it was my hologram. I send my hologram out, and people think they see me but

 

Matt DeCoursey  44:13

Hey, I want to learn more. Because I’m ready for that. Another show. I’d invest in that tech. I mean, why hasn’t someone done that yet? I mean, I would love to be able to be great. I could send my hologram out. First off, people would notice a hologram would be like, is that a hologram or a real person with a karate chop? Actually, now in real estate, people will be doing dumb stuff to my hologram. So you don’t have to work that out to maybe make it electric or something. That’s true. A shocked Taser can be problematic. Because if someone actually bumps into Yeah, then they’d need telehealth. We’re gonna work through iterations of this off-air. So I like to ask every episode with what I call the founder of freestyle. I like to ask my guests what the founders like. I mean, what stood out from our conversation today? Or what for? What kind of advice would you give to any young founders or people that want to follow in your footsteps.

 

Shelley Cooper  45:15

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned, the most important lesson I’ve learned as a startup founder, and hopefully others will learn from this, is when you hire or when you decide you’d like to have a co-founder, anybody like that, you are still the CEO, you are still responsible, ultimately responsible. So if something comes up, and you don’t know how to do it, like me, being a non-technical founder, you need to learn as much as you can about not abdicating. You need to delegate. So make sure even if you don’t know how to code, you know what type of code your software is in, you know where it’s stored, you know how your product is made, and you know who the suppliers are. Because when you don’t know your company, it’s easy for you to lose your company. So it’s really important for you to stay on top of all that pertinent information because you are the chief executive officer, and the buck stops with you.

 

Matt DeCoursey  46:10

I’ll add to that if I might. I was driving here this morning. And I was thinking about, see the acronym, because people who say, Chief Executive Officer, I am the chief everything officer, right, I have been for a very long time. And that doesn’t always mean everything I want to do. It’s more about everything that I need to do, everything that comes up, or how any of that comes around. And I agree with you in full. I think if you don’t, you need to. So I have done every job at the business, I mean, everything from taking out the trash to all of it. And some of that is me keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s going on. Because if you especially had to do it, I’m a non-technical founder who now employs almost 300 developers. And I’d become highly technical, I don’t write code, but I can get into the weeds with you about a whole lot of different stuff. And have also developed a very strong understanding of how long it should take to do things. Right. And I think that that’s a key ingredient is one of the things that non-technical founders have a bad habit of doing until they either drive the team crazy and they all quit, or they just learn more is setting unrealistic goals and deadlines that aren’t really attainable, you know, they’re like, Hey, we get this done in a month. And your development teams are looking back at you and going, no, no, you’re not getting this done in a month. In fact, not only you’re not getting it done in a month, you’re probably not getting it done in a year. And that kind of means, yeah, sure. It’s great to be optimistic but realistic. I mean, I’m almost 50. I’m trying. I’m just a baby, there’s just well still, but I’m looking at it, I’m like hey, but there’s a reality, and then there’s like you can be idealistic or realistic and like, you know, and then you gotta factor reality and I think Warren Buffett said nine women don’t make a baby in a month. So it’s the same, it’s the same thing. It’s like you can’t want it. There’s someone out there going, man. You can manifest all that. No, no, no, you’re not. You can manifest all day and all night. Nine women still haven’t had a baby in a month. I’m gonna go ahead and end our show on that note.