Beyond the Pitch
Updox Brings CRM to Independent Physicians
From 900 to more than 20,000 members in less than two years, that’s the story of Updox , a Dublin-based Rev1 Ventures client that provides the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for
Our conversation is with Michael Morgan, CEO of Updox.
TC: Updox solves a big problem for a big market. Tell us about that.
MM: The medical industry is ripe for change. Immense financial pressure, regulatory changes, new healthcare legislation, and more than 44 million new patients coming on to a system that is already strained and not known for outstanding customer service.
Updox solves problems that matter to our customers. While the core function of physicians’ practices—charting and health records—have gone or are going electronic, before Updox, no one had addressed how independent practice physicians can better communicate with other providers and patients.
The average independent physician uses up to 15,000 pages of faxing per year. Less than 30 percent of physicians have any kind of website where patients can come online and ask questions, schedule an appointment, or make a payment. That’s where our CRM solution helps.
Our solutions are cost effective and easy to use; we provide independent physicians and medical practices the technology and tools that in the past only were available to the large medical systems.
TC: How is Updox getting into the market efficiently?
MM: Our services are available directly to independent physicians or through partnerships with electronic health record (EHR) vendors. There are more than 200 companies providing EHR software. We are partners with 30 of the largest firms serving more than 140,000 physicians in independent practices and that number continues to grow.
TC: How did Updox manage to ramp up so many subscribers so quickly?
MM: We originally wanted to help physicians and their administrative teams manage paper faxes. Then we found that it wasn’t just a problem with faxing, but that physicians and their staff needed to bring together and make more efficient all the ways they communicated with anyone outside the practice.
So, we turned our service into a secure universal inbox to handle any communication that came in—faxes, messages from patients, or secure communications from another doctor.
The crux of our story is that we deliver a pragmatic solution to a problem that saves money and makes life easier for physicians and their staffs. We have a lot of people signed up to manage communications with patients and providers through our secure healthcare portal. Our online bill pay and credit card filing helps improve cash flow. Patients like being able to schedule their own appointments.
Now we want to help our customers optimize their relationships with providers and patients by bringing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to independent physicians, which in turn now helps them improve revenues and cash
There is a lot of technology for a medical practice’s back office for billing and accounting. There are electronic health records (EHRs) for the doctors, clinicians, and nurses. Before Updox, there wasn’t much for the administrative staff or the marketing and outreach people to make the office more successful.
Thanks to the reach of our business, with our EHR partnerships and the strength of our platform, we’re well positioned to be the CRM leader for independent physicians.
TC: How do you envision an independent practice using Customer Relationship Management?
MM: CRM is using technology to help optimize relationships, to make them more efficient and satisfying for both parties, to get the right products and services to the right people at the right time, and to ultimately increase revenue.
These things apply to medical practices, just as they do to other businesses where they have already been used successfully.
For example, we’re helping our physicians recognize that now that they have a great portal to send and receive messages to and from their patients and referring doctors, why not start doing some marketing? Now, family doctors might reach out every quarter to encourage patients to exercise, maybe with a referral with local gym.
Or, if the physician is a specialist, she might reach out to primary care physicians with information that could help that physician better serve their patients and perhaps eventually lead to referrals.
We want to help independent physicians stay independent. Our cost-efficient, easy-to-implement tools and resources put independent physicians back in the center of care and allow them to manage their practices better and operate more profitable businesses.
TC: Updox is a job-creator for Central Ohio. How are you managing growth and hiring?
MM: We are going to double in size over the next year. Our hiring is across the board—development, customer service, customer support, sales, and marketing.
It’s a great time for us from a market standpoint. We are a small company that has a big opportunity to make a big difference.
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