Physician Shares 4 Ways his EHR Got His New Practice Profitable Quickly

Establishing your own practice takes a lot of planning, business know-how, and courage. If you are entering a unique niche or trying a new business model, the challenges can seem almost insurmountable. Kareo asked one of its customers, a highly successful concierge physician, for advice on how he got started and became profitable so quickly.

Douglas Ross, MD, FACEP, had spent 20 years as an emergency room physician, and was ready to try something new. He was intrigued by the idea of concierge medicine, where patients pay a premium for individualized service, little or no wait time, and guaranteed access to the physician of their choice – in this case, himself. “I firmly believed that the concept would work.

But I also knew that success would depend in large part on my choice of electronic health records (EHR) system, since this would create the structure for my practice,” he says.

Here are his four recommendations:

1. Make the EHR your own.

“Since my clinic was going to be different than most, I needed an EHR that I could tailor to my specific needs. I asked about 10 of my colleagues in private practice what they recommended. Then I did a lot of research online. I even visited several other clinics to see how different systems worked in daily use,” says Dr. Ross. “When I saw Kareo, I liked how customizable it was,” he continues. “At the time, it was being used by over 30,000 practices of all different types. That assured me that it could easily be adapted to a wide variety of settings, including mine. And I was right. I’ve been able to set up everything exactly the way I want.”

“I was up and running on Kareo in 24 hours. Scheduling was a breeze from the beginning. It’s much simpler to navigate than other EHRs."


2. Choose an EHR with an easy set up process.

Dr. Ross knew from first-hand experience that learning new technology can be stressful – the last thing he needed when rolling out his practice. “I’d worked with about 20 different EHRs in hospitals, and most of them just slowed you down,” Dr. Ross comments. “I had also gone through five implementations, which were total nightmares. So, I really liked how easy Kareo was to set up from the outset.” The system proved to be easy to use too.

“I was up and running on Kareo in 24 hours. Scheduling was a breeze from the beginning. It’s much simpler to navigate than other EHRs. Using Kareo’s spreadsheet capabilities, it took only minutes for me to import a demographics database of 2,000 patients from my previous practice, a huge time savings,” he says.

3. Use Your EHR to do it all and reduce office staff.

Dr. Ross wanted to keep profits high by handling almost everything himself, including tasks typically assigned to medical assistants, front- and back-office personnel and billers. He found he could use his EMR to do it all – even scheduling – and has avoided hiring anyone except an offshore resource. “I don’t use Kareo like most offices. I have a virtual assistant with me in the examination room, connected through my iPad. The assistant is in the Philippines, and he’s fantastic. He types my notes in real time. My documentation is finished and posted to Kareo by the time I’m done seeing the patient,” explains Dr. Ross.

4. Keep costs down with cloud technology.

Another way to keep office costs down is to make use of cloud technology. Dr. Ross has a Kareo plan with unlimited storage, and he keeps all his files online. The capacity is large enough to store patients’ complete medical records, so he doesn’t need banks of old-school cabinets. In addition, he can access the information anywhere, anytime, essential for a concierge practice.

“As part of their deluxe service, my patients want to be able to phone me at odd times. With a cloud based EHR like Kareo, I can take their call while I’m away from the office, even while eating dinner, and have the patient’s data on my screen. I can then make a much more informed decision about their care.”

Dr. Ross’s approach has worked so well that he has already opened a second clinic.

If you are looking to start a new practice or update your current business model, check out our Start a New Practice Information Hub here for more information. To read about another physician who is successfully running a concierge direct primary practice with the help of Kareo, click here.

About the Author

Alesa Lightbourne is a prize-winning author, professor and former dean of an international business school. As a freelance writer, her clients have included Fortune...

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