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Part of the Intouch Group network, Intouch B2D leads the health and life sciences industry in fulfilling the promise of connected end-to-end modern marketing through innovative technology solutions, performance-driven managed services and mastery of customer insights and data models. In 2018, Intouch B2D developed a web portal to streamline reimbursements from pharmaceutical companies to medical facilities for de-identified patient data. The portal summarizes all of the transactions each night, batches them together and initiates the reimbursements on the following business day using standard ACH processing time.

Prior to the web portal, Mike Baker, Enterprise Marketing Technology Consultant, said reimbursements were handled using a third party. Money would go to a third-party and reappear days or weeks later in the form of checks, that then needed to be mailed. This very manual, time-consuming reimbursement process had been in place since 2015 and was preventing their client from scaling.

With Dwolla’s help, the web portal launched in 2018 to transform the reimbursement process from manual to digital. Today, three days after the ACH transaction is initiated from the pharmaceutical companies, funds arrive in the bank account of the medical facilities.

“That’s, what, 100% faster?” asks Baker, who was the technology lead on the web portal project. “Payment processing times were taking two weeks to a month. Since we launched with Dwolla, we are down to three days and transaction volume has increased.

“Today, we’re 100% digital and we’re able to help automate the reimbursement reconciliation process,” Baker continued. “Within our system, we show all the data that has been collected and what’s been paid. Being able to do electronic transfers and monitor the reimbursement statuses with Dwolla, that’s part of the selling point of our solution.”

Changing the Solution

Knowing that transaction volume was increasing and processing times were extended, Baker says the team started vetting third-parties to offer electronic transfers. The solution needed to easily integrate with the web portal and be cost-effective.

Dan Ubert, a Technical Architect at Intouch B2D, was the technology lead on the Dwolla integration who was responsible for bringing the idea of integrating with Dwolla’s payment technology to the Intouch team. He was looking for a modern payment API and the associated documentation to help with any integration.

“Dwolla follows industry standards for web-based APIs, which made the integration feel familiar with existing developer skill sets,” Ubert says. “Using the getting started tutorials, we easily created a proof-of-concept integration and simulated the entire payment process from end-to-end using Dwolla’s sandbox environment.

“This gave us confidence that we could use Dwolla to fulfill our use-case.”

Roughly six months after beginning their search, Intouch B2D started with Dwolla as its payment provider.

Since going live, Ubert says he does not need to interact with the Dwolla API very often—and usually those interactions are in response to a message from the Dwolla API.

“The integration with Dwolla has been very stable,” Ubert says. “In these one-off issues, we are usually able to determine what the issue is based on responses from the Dwolla API, then we can resolve the issue with our customer.”

From a client and portal user perspective, Baker says once the benefits were explained of going digital, any hesitancy to adopt the new process was gone.

“The way the Dwolla API is structured, it provides the best mechanism for us to send payments and continually check the status on it,” Baker says. “Clients were incredibly open to going electronic, they were just so tired of not knowing where their reimbursement was when it was sent via paper check.”

1. Transfer Initiated via the Dwolla API to fund Dwolla Master Balance

POST https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers
Accept: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Content-Type: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Authorization: Bearer {{token}}
Idempotency-Key: {{idempotencyKey}}
{
  "_links": {
      "source": {
          "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{InTouchB2DBankFundingSourceId}}"
      },
      "destination": {
          "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{SellerFundingSourceId}}"
      }
  },
  "amount": {
      "currency": "USD",
      "value": "2000.00"
  },
}
...
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers/{{transferId}}

2. Transfer Initiated from Dwolla Master Balance to Receive Only User

POST https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers
Accept: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Content-Type: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Authorization: Bearer {{token}}
Idempotency-Key: {{idempotencyKey}}
{
   "_links": {
       "source": {
           "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/0004a5e9-d053-46e9-af1f-f4123439138c"
       },
       "destination": {
           "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/58b6fc04-14fa-490a-9622-299238bb4a4e"
       }
   },
   "amount": {
       "currency": "USD",
       "value": "10.00"
   }
}
...
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers/{{transferId}}

Exploring the Digital Frontier

Since building the web portal, Baker says new data has emerged to help identify pain points or areas of friction with not only the reimbursement process, but other areas of the business.

“There aren’t a lot of validations you can do with paper,” Baker says. “The more data we collect, the more trends we can analyze. Electronic payments have given us a lot more insights into the program’s processes within the client’s support program.”

A process that will be truncated even more is the transaction timing of reimbursements. Same Day ACH and real-time payments are both on the roadmap for Intouch B2D.

“We can provide even more efficiencies for reimbursements and go from three days down to one,” Baker says. “Or even less.”

After taking a look at the developer documentation with his team, he doesn’t expect the implementation to take very long.

“Dwolla’s developer documentation helps,” Baker says. “It’s changing a configuration on our end and running a few tests. Dwolla is a very low impact integration.”

Baker says the future focus for Intouch B2D is to add faster payment capabilities to their solution—potentially shortening their reimbursement timeline down to a few hours.

“We have opportunities to make a good solution even better with Dwolla,” Baker says. “The biggest hurdle we’ve had to overcome was risk. We’ve reduced processing times and added volume, while reducing risk or negative events for our clients.”

To learn more about Intouch B2D, visit www.intouchb2d.com.

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