Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard says that the 150,000-plus health care pros who use the company’s electronic health records system are spending an average of more than six hours per day in it.About 40% of those users are doctors, the company estimates.
The trick to that engagement: Practice Fusion is free, and handles everything that a doctor needs during the day — scheduling, looking up charts and medical history, and entering information from the current visit.
The price is important because the average general practitioner only makes about $120,000 per year, and usually works out of a small office with a shoestring budget. In Silicon Valley, at least, doctors are seen more like “specialised labour.”
Practice Fusion is able to make the app free through advertising. By having such a narrow, highly qualified audience of engaged users, the company can charge much higher ad rates than general-purpose Web sites. Drug companies and other medical practices (like clinics with specialists for referral) are particularly interested in reaching the army of general practitioners who handle most primary care in the U.S.
The company hasn’t had to do any advertising — basically, the sales process is word of mouth. Once a doctor reaches out, Practice Fusion reaches out to close the sale. Doctors don’t have a lot of time — most see 20 appointments per day — so the product really has to sell itself.
One other interesting point: doctors give TONS of suggestions about the product. Every doctor seems to have feature ideas and things they demand. Practice Fusion is doing its best to handle those requests.