It all started in 2007. After working for years in preventative medicine and pediatrics, the then-31-year-old Parkinson had just finished a residency at Johns Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care.
He watched doctors treat up to 40 patients a day and have at least four staff members each to handle the nitty-gritty paperwork.
“It’s around 70 percent overhead,” he says. “It wasn’t like this decades ago. Doctors served their neighborhoods, took cash, and didn’t charge a lot because there was so little overhead. So I designed a process that went back to this model, looking at it from the patient’s perspective, and just injected a little technology.”
With $1,500, he set up a house-call-only practice in his Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood, serving only two zip codes. He created a website through Apple’s iWeb that featured his resume, and posted his schedule on a Google Calendar so patient’s could enter in an appointment time online.
Whereas most practices deal with significant costs in office management, Parkinson’s start-up costs went to getting his license and buying tools, such as an otoscope and doctor’s bag.
The community’s response was immediate. Within six months, Parkinson had 400 patients, paying him from $100 to $200 per visit. (Read more on mobile payment tools for business.) In addition to old-fashioned face-to-face visits, Parkinson used whatever technology was convenient to keep in touch with his patients: e-mail, video chatting via Skype, or phone.
“About half of my patients actually had insurance. They just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of the process, so they came to me instead,” he says, adding he typically treated patients for minor chronic illnesses such as asthma and acne.
He garnered a significant amount of press from local bloggers (to the tune of seven million hits to his website in the first month), and he was soon touted by mainstream magazines like Esquire as the man who could revolutionize health care.
An excellent example for some insider to attack on a big issue with limited technology.