The impact of being underbanked extends beyond being left out of the financial system. For many, it can also mean a lack of access to health services. In the latest installment of PYMNTS’ Commanders In Chief series, Ted Waz, CEO of DaVincian Healthcare, explains the critical role payments and mobile technology can play in not only fostering financial inclusion, but in connecting the underserved to health care providers around the globe.
PYMNTS: How relevant is payment to the issues facing the health care industry today?
TW: Within health care in the U.S., health care payments is a huge source of friction. Thirty percent of payments are not processed in a timely fashion, there is a huge amount of fraud, there’s the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) that regulates how personal health information is handled and then PCI which is related to payments processing. What the health care industry and the payments industry have overlooked so far is that all of this — data and payments — is subject to Homeland Security and cybersecurity breaches, which are far more sophisticated than anybody has thought through.
PYMNTS: How is DaVincian Healthcare tackling the underbanked or underserved markets?
TW: India is reported to have somewhere around 1.7 billion people. In Odisha, the poorest state in India, there are lots of people who don’t have access to money, nor do they have access to health care. But what they do have is a series of community service centers that are spread throughout the state.
At least three months ago we started a pilot with 100 community service centers, with the idea that with a feature function phone a consumer could actually connect with a kiosk at a community service center and alert them that they wanted to speak with a doctor – which they can do through either text messaging or if the service center had 3G, via videoconferencing and telediagnostics.
In this three-month period, we’ve seen 100,000 patients that never had access to a doctor before. Fifty percent of all the care provided was free and for the other 50 percent, the average cost was less than $2; people were able to pay for that using their mobile phone.
So here’s an example of where we’ve taken mobile payments, digital technology, and kiosk technology, and brought it to a place where people haven’t seen a health care provider ever. We’ve also been credited with saving some lives in the process, but really it’s the doctors and the nurses that are on call, what we did is brokered the technology that allowed people to engage.
We are combining commerce, mobile technology and health care.
PYMNTS: How does innovation help to solve the problem?
TW: In order to apply innovation and payments properly to be inclusive, to really get payments to the edge and reach the people on the edge, you have to have them engaged. It’s not a question of giving a handout, it’s a question of people are engaged to give them the proverbial hand up.
At DaVincian we have an acronym, H.O.P.E. — Healthcare Outreach and Personal Engagement. That gives us a vested interest in everything we do – and nothing gives a vested interest like an opportunity to earn an income, to spend on those things that you see are important, and to look out for your loved ones and family members.
We’ve done some amazing things in the last nine months – bringing health care to 100,000 people in India, building a digital telecommunications and commerce platform so that people can connect with doctors and pay for services globally and do secondary consults – and we’ve protected personal information by leveraging the technology that our commercial license of the technology used by NASA and the jet propulsion labs use to connect with astronauts on the space station.
Unless you’re moving faster than 17,800 mph, we can connect with you and we can secure your assets with the 1024 front end encryption that’s not available any place else.
We’re applying those things in a way that hopefully other people will think that we get it as well.