Changing Waiting Rooms- Clockwise MD

May 29, 2014

I am pretty sure we ALL hate waiting for doctor appointments. Very rarely is it a positive experience as we are seen sometimes hours after our scheduled time, or are left waiting even when urgent care is needed. Luckily, Mike Burke Founder and CEO of Clockwise MD, is providing patients with ways to manage their waiting experience. Leading a rapidly growing and successful startup in the Village, Mike and his team are a great part of our community and I am excited to share their work with you. Check it out!

What is Clockwise MD?

Clockwise.MD is a little like a Disney Fastpass for healthcare. It lets patients make appointments and sign in from any web-enabled device, so that they can skip waiting in the waiting room. For healthcare providers, it drives new patient volume by converting visitors to their website into patients. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but it covers the important parts.

Why did you start this startup?

I had started then sold another Healthcare IT company, Dialog Medical, to a large publicly traded company. I very quickly remembered why I left the corporate world in the first place. I missed the exciting early days of a startup, so I went to a startup weekend event and met Philip and Phong. The idea actually grew out of discussions I had with a friend who is a cardiologist at Piedmont. Interestingly, he was talking about a related system in the restaurant industry. So our goal became to build healthcare solutions based on the service-oriented perspective found in other progressive industries.Everyone seems to have horror stories of waiting for longer than they expected at the doctors office, urgent care or hospital. It's great timing for us because there are major changes in healthcare right now, and a big part of these changes involves consumerism and patient engagement. Hospitals are now being paid, in part, based on measures of patient satisfaction, and there's movement throughout the industry in that direction.

Who is your ideal customer?

Our ideal customer has changed as we grow. Our ideal customer was initially a smaller early adopter that was willing to work with us with an MVP that was only half-baked. We were fortunate to find several like that, which allowed us to make very rapid iterations in the product. Now that the product has a larger installed base, a robust set of features, and that we know how to sell it and implement it, our ideal customer looks a little different. We're bringing on several large networks of facilities that expect a fully-baked solution.

What traction do you have?

We've been actively selling now for about 6 months. We have over 80 facilities, and we hope to announce a new customer in a few days that will more than double our run rate to $500K and over 230 facilities.

What is the Healthcare IT community like in Atlanta?

Atlanta is generally regarded as the top Healthcare IT city. It has the most Healthcare IT-related revenues of any other city. There are some other cities where innovation is really moving fast (like Madison WI and Nashville) so entities like the Tech Village really help us stay ahead of the innovation curve. One thing Atlanta doesn't have (at least to my knowledge) is a well-established incubator specifically for Healthcare IT. With all our expertise and access to entities like Emory, Piedmont, GA Tech and CHOA, it seems like we'd have one by now.Chris Carter and Andy Ibbotson have been doing great work in bringing together the Healthcare startup community with their Health 2.0 Meetup group.

What do you love most about being in the Village?

I feel a little like a zealot for the Village, because I had to do it the hard way with my first company. In addition to founding and running a startup, I also had to be in the real estate business, the network admin business and the facilities management business. Those things take a lot of time and effort. And we had to guess at what our needs would be not just 3 months in advance but 5 years in advance.There are a number of other huge benefits:free access to service providers in law, accounting, marketing, HR and other areascommunity tools like pitch practice, startup village, educational sessions and other meetupsnetworking opportunities that would be hard to reproduce elsewhere.I've heard from a number of investors that being at the Village is to some extent a validation of the seriousness of the startup. It won't get them to hand you money, but it might mean they're more willing to listen to your story than they might otherwise be.

Any words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs?

My history is a little different than a lot of other entrepreneurs. My first company was completely bootstrapped. We didn't bring in any outside capital. All of the folks on the early team had equity, so they thought like owners and spend money like it came out of their own pocket. I've seen time and again companies that raise a bunch of money, thinking they've already achieved success. Then they start to spend "other people's money" in ways they'd never have considered if it came out of their own pocket. I'm a big believer in making small bets to see how they pay off, before making a big investment. Having said that, you certainly need to know when and how to scale (which is after you've proven yourself, and primarily for expanding your sales and marketing efforts).

Anything else you would like us to know?

Focus on building a great company, instead of a company you can sell quickly. If you focus on building a great company, good things will happen in natural order. This can be hard if investors - whose incentives might not be aligned with yours -push you in different directions. Pick your partners carefully.Oh, and it always takes longer than you expect. Not just with software development, but with everything.   - Mike Burke

Watch the Clockwise MD video here.

May 29, 2014
Karen Houghton