We’ve gotten where we are because we believe in what we’re doing, and we never stop trying to do it better.
Today, in a world where web-access is rarely farther away than our back pocket, no one thinks much about the wonder of banking on the internet. It was a different story back in 2000, which is where the Solutionreach story begins.
It started with a big idea: that communication between businesses and their customers should be simple and widely available.
Though SMS texting hadn’t yet taken off in America, Jim Higgins believed that he could leverage technology to make his idea a reality–and he did. Higgins and a small team of innovative geniuses created a company they called Communitect Inc. and jump-started the mobile banking revolution. Using “Communication Architecture”, Communitect correlated with cell phone carriers to connect banks with their customers via SMS text message.
After the 9-11 tragedies, the banking industry briefly tanked. It was time for Communitect to find a new industry.
Jim soon found the perfect opportunity when a friend casually mentioned a problem facing his dental practice: no-shows. It was more than just frustrating and inconvenient when patients failed to arrive for scheduled appointments. The unexpected gaps in his schedule were accounting for a huge loss of revenue, and Jim knew that Communitect technology was just the answer the dental industry needed.
"We understood mobile delivery in text messaging really well, and we understood security in messaging really well," Higgins recalls. "With HIPAA regulations and our automated text messaging technology, I realized that Communitect was a perfect fit for dentistry."
Once Communitect began syncing with dental Practice Management Systems, they were unstoppable. Communitect transformed into a dental giant, no longer focusing on Communication Architecture. Higgins hired a few dental experts and changed "Communitect" to a name dentists across America would know for the next decade: "Smile Reminder."
Text messaging exploded onto the national scene and, because of Jim’s foresight, Smile Reminder was ready for it. By 2005, their automated text messaging and remarkable customer service were the talk of every dental practice. But it didn’t stop there.
Smile Reminder continued to develop new technology and, with additions like automated email reminders, include more and more benefits with their service. Each feature had one goal in mind: to help dentists stay connected to their patients.
2005 brought a new feature from Smile Reminder that took patient engagement far beyond appointment reminders and patient emailing: Automated Patient Recare.
Dentists desperately needed to keep a full schedule and retain their patients, without wasting so much time calling and re-calling to get them in for routine or follow-up visits.
Postcards were getting more expensive and less effective, so the Smile Reminder team created automated messaging that contacted patients when they were due or past-due for an appointment.
From that point on, patient engagement was just as much about retaining patients as it was about reminding them.
"When we develop new technology or add a new feature, we don’t just cross it off a checklist and move on. We never stop fine tuning, expanding, and perfecting it–and we never will." – Jim Higgins
Smile Reminder soon introduced a new tool that would strengthen patient loyalty by helping dentists not only communicate with their patients, but connect with them:
E-Newsletters. Through automatically sent email messages, dentists were able to educate their patients while promoting their practice, all for no cost.
Since 2006, the Smile Reminder customizable e-newsletter library has grown into a massive online database of templates, pre-written articles, images, ads, and more.
The dental industry had treated Smile Reminder well, but Jim Higgins recognized that dental patients weren’t the only ones that needed better communication with their providers. For the first time since 2001, Smile Reminder stepped outside of the dental chair. They attended an Ophthalmology conference where they signed up the first non-dental client in nearly 6 years.
Smile Reminder eventually became the standard for patient engagement among optometrists, cosmetic surgeons, and dermatologists.
Smile Reminder soon set yet another standard for patient engagement.
SmileDash Patient Portal (now called SR Portal) rolled out in the Spring of 2008, immediately taking its place as number one on the market. SmileDash seamlessly integrated with hundreds of Practice Management Systems to provide patients with online billing and scheduling tools, secure and private emailing with their healthcare provider, classified document downloading, and archived newsletters.
True to their reputation for capturing the digital trends of tomorrow, Smile Reminder created a state-of-the-art social media portal and a Google Local Listings feature to enhance clients’ online presence.
CareCredit was (and remains) a leading healthcare credit card, and a natural fit for joining with Smile Reminder to increase practice revenue and improve patient care. Smile Reminder began to integrate tools that coordinated CareCredit details with patient data for practices that accepted the credit card, enabling staff to instantly supply patients with the information they needed to understand their options and receive the best care possible.
With CareCredit by its side, Smile Reminder branched out to new healthcare networks.
By 2011, Smile Reminder had evolved far beyond just a patient messaging service. They now offered a robust platform of high-tech patient engagement tools, and Jim Higgins recognized that the company name no longer conveyed everything they had become.
He also realized that a dental-driven name like "Smile Reminder" wouldn’t make much sense to other healthcare practitioners seeking the many solutions that the platform now provided.
Thus, Solutionreach was born.
Shortly thereafter, Solutionreach made headlines when they announced that they would be the only automated patient communication system to include customizable phone messaging. Even today, unlimited phone messaging remains a substantial service differentiation.
Growth equity investor Summit Partners took interest in the market-leading position that Solutionreach had established with their patient engagement technology. Summit’s investment in April of 2012 spurred further growth for Solutionreach.
The accelerated momentum led to the creation of a Business Development team, dedicated to cultivating key industry relationships and establishing strategic partnerships with companies that shared the Solutionreach goals for helping practices succeed.
In 2013, Solutionreach took waiting rooms by storm with the newest addition to their services, PatientReach Tablet. The digital check-in tool revolutionized office efficiency yet again, providing accurate, legible patient information and eliminating the need for scanning and shredding.
But PatientReach Tablet was about more than just digital check-in. Solutionreach created the application to act as another opportunity to engage and educate patients, this time with point-of-care interaction. After checking themselves in, patients were able to do things like browse educational campaigns, register for the patient portal, update their preferences, and view/sign documents.
In 2014, Solutionreach became the first patient engagement service to offer a patient-facing mobile application: PatientReach Mobile.
By downloading the free app, patients immediately formed a secure connection with their practitioners(s) using the convenient technology they were already using all day, every day. With a few clicks on their smartphone, patients could exchange secure messages with their provider, manage their appointments, and even submit mobile payments.
2014 also brought the release of Multi-Provider and Multi-Location capabilities for the Solutionreach Platform. Practices with multiple providers in one or more location(s) could now intuitively match each patient with the right provider and the right location. The development added even more personalization and clarity to patient communication, and streamlined office tasks to once again reinvent efficiency for healthcare practices.