Medical practice has come a long way since the time when barber surgeons doctored to the masses. Physicians, in those early times, mostly attended to the wealthy. The ordinary man would have his blood let by the same tradesman who cut his hair. And although they had to earn a daily bread, no physician, presumably, took up the vocation because he considered it a business. Business enterprise was deemed vulgar and beneath one who took the Hippocratic Oath.
Today that stigma no longer stains commercial endeavor. The good medical practitioner can be a good businessperson as well. In fact, the modern Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Licensed Midwife (LM) must be. And the suite of Electronic Health Record (EHR), revenue cycle, transcription and data management applications from Medical Transcription Billing, Corp. (NASDAQ: MTBC) (NASDAQ: MTBCP) is helping those professionals be just that. In the healthcare information technology (HIT) market, the cloud-based business administration solutions from MTBC are proving to be quite a hit.
The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing. As in other industries, information technology is altering methodologies and holding out the promise to improve the quality of services while keeping costs down. The industry is under a mandate to move from a fee-for-service approach to a value-based reimbursement one. Under fee-for-service, providers are paid on volume: number of visits, number of tests, etc. With value-based reimbursement, other more sophisticated quality control metrics will be used.
To manage the data generated by these new performance measures requires wholesale adoption of new information technologies. In addition, there is an imperative for providers to move to electronic health record (EHR) systems. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides incentives and penalties to physicians and others to adopt EHRs. These two developments have given rise to a virtually new field of healthcare information technology.
The chief financial officer of MTBC, Bill Korn, discussed the implications of these forces for the company with The Wall Street Transcript (TWST) (http://dtn.fm/7dmHx) and the opportunities lying ahead. Korn, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, has been with Medical Transcription Billing since June 2013. He was a co-founder of the IBM Consulting Group, now IBM Global Services, the creation of which marked IBM’s highly successful transition from hardware to services. Korn has been CFO of six other growing technology businesses.
He described MTBC’s business:
“MTBC is a health care IT company. Our clients are doctors’ practices. We typically work with smaller practices, meaning one- to 10-doctor practices, and we provide them with a variety of services. We do their billing, submitting all the claims to insurance, preparing and mailing statements to their patients, and giving them electronic health record software that allows them to record notes of the visit. We provide practice management software for the front office staff to schedule appointments, check insurance eligibility, send out automated reminder calls and text messages about flu shots, etc.”
In addition to these services, practitioners and patients have access to a suite of mobile applications, including apps that the doctors can use to refill prescriptions, apps that the patients can use to look up their records, set up appointments, request prescription refills and check in when they arrive at the practice. Doctors who do not want to type their notes into the EHR can dictate into an app on their iPhone or Android, which will be sent automatically to MTBC personnel, who will listen to it and type the notes into the electronic health record software.
MTBC’s main competitive advantage is its ability and track record to deliver these services effectively and at a cost far less than any competitor. Part of the reason for this, Korn pointed out, is that the company has bought or established a number of overseas subsidiaries, sourcing expertise and talent for much less than is obtainable in the U.S. MTBC’s two largest offices are in Pakistan ‘where we employ 1,500 people at salaries of approximately one-tenth what you would pay in the United States for similarly skilled and educated labor.’
MTBC had 2015 revenues of $23.1 million, an increase of 26 percent over 2014. Now Korn wants to make a quantum leap to $230 million. Can MTBC pull it off?
According to a MarketsandMarkets report (http://dtn.fm/XoA2B), the global healthcare IT market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4 percent over the next five years, from $117.7 billion in 2015 to $228.8 billion in 2020. Getting just 0.1 percent of that pie five years down the road would certainly do it.