Episode 34: Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of UBERDOC

Episode 34: Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of UBERDOC

Episode 34 of Frank’s Fast Five features Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of UBERDOC

Dr Muto is a general and vascular surgeon and from a family of surgeons. She has witnessed first-hand how the current healthcare system is not working for physicians and patients. Many times people wait months before being seen by a specialty physician for an issue that should be evaluated today. UBERDOC was created to be like an urgent care model for specialty care. Watch to learn more about the UBERDOC platform.

Announcer: MediGroup Physician Services presents MediGroup’s Franks Fast 5 with Healthcare Executives. Produced by Bridget Wilson and Carrie Peters, today’s guest is Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of UBERDOC. Now here’s your host, MediGroup’s Frank Gillespie.

Frank: Well, hello and welcome to another edition of MediGroup’s Frank’s Fast Five. Today I have the privilege of talking with Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO for Uberdoc.  We happen to catch her in her car, she’s pulled off to the side, she’s on to another case, but she’s taking time for Frank’s Fast Five. Dr. Muto, welcome. It’s an honor to see you. How are you?

Dr. Muto:  Great, thank you for being so accommodating.  Yes, I had one more case than I thought I had. It’s really nice to be here.

Frank: Thanks for making time for us today. First question: can you tell us a bit about your background in the healthcare industry please?

Dr. Muto: Certainly, I’m a surgeon, a general surgeon and a vascular surgeon. I’ve been a surgeon for over 25 years. I’m the daughter of a great thoracic surgeon. I am the wife of a surgeon in vascular and also I am the sister of a surgeon and the niece of a surgeon.  So you kind of get the picture, a family of Surgeons, all in Massachusetts for a collective Century.  I’ve always been in private practice.  I’ve been blessed with a fabulous team around me. I’m very much an advocate for the patient doctor relationship and for independent doctors.

Frank: Wow, what a great resume. That is fantastic. Thank you so much and to have that background in the family.

Dr. Muto: Yes, you’re genetically predisposed.

Frank: Dr. Muto, the second question: how did your background and experience lead to the founding of Uberdoc?

Dr. Muto:  As someone literally on the front lines of medicine and running your own practice seeing what’s happening and being a witness to all of the changes from the HMO world, into Romney care, which we had in Massachusetts, into Obamacare into the current debacle that we have in healthcare. I’ve seen how it’s not working. Not working for my patients and not working for the doctors. As we see this kind of slow march to the sea shall we say, where you know things are falling apart. I thought maybe we could do something really simple to make it easier for doctors and patients. That’s where Uberdoc came about.  A really simple concept of creating a relationship between a patient that needed a doctor nearby and available and to make an appointment with that doctor.  It started off in person only and of course, with telemedicine, we now have those doctors available in a physical examing room and remotely. The concept of nearby changes but the basics haven’t changed; to get a patient in the door, to the right doctor, right away and rather than use the insurance model, just pay a transparent price. A simple fair price for the care.

Frank:  I’ve been on your website, and it is so simple to navigate it is so easy to use. It’s intuitive.  Let’s take a little bit of a deeper dive into Uberdoc and benefits to patients and providers. How do they use it?  How do they set it up? What are the costs to the patient, other than paying the provider?  Any other details with regard to benefits to the patients and providers?

Dr. Muto: On the patient, they can just utilize it.  There are no membership fees.  It’s a pay as you go model. The nice thing about it is a lot of patients are finding their doctors have become a concierge or direct primary care doctor.  This is a way to be a direct pay a la carte. Where you may not be paying an annual fee, but you pay the doctor for the episodic care. It fits in really nicely.  Patients go to Urgent Cares, they go to walk-ins, I think of it as an Urgent Care model for Specialty Care.  Instead of walking into an Urgent Care, you could walk across the street and go right into the ankle specialist after you twisted your ankle, because after all it’s an ankle problem.  The ankle doctor probably would be able to solve it fastest. From a patient standpoint it’s simply using your health savings account or credit card. Many employers now expand those HSA’s and FSA’s so that’s accessing Priority Access for the patient.  This model is very easy on the doctor’s side.  I know doctors, we built this platform with experts. The doctors and the people who do office workflow and office electronic records.  We don’t even integrate with the electronic records. We made it incredibly, I won’t say idiot proof technology, but set at the level of a fourth grader where doctors literally can, if a patient says I have a twisted ankle can I see you tomorrow? And because the doctor just posts an appointment slot on Uberdoc, a patient requests an appointment, and the doctor can simply say thumbs up. They get the appointment confirmed, the doctor gets money transferred into their account and the patient gets sent a secure message of time and location of visit.  All super private, without data being collected. I think patients feel comfortable about that and doctors just want to see the patient. Once the patient gets to the office they follow like every other patient.  They fill out the office paperwork, they get put into their electronic records, they do it like any other appointment.  It’s just the appointment is made through this platform to make it really easy.  I should say some of our younger doctors are very tech savvy. They like their practice off their phone.  They like the concept of that autonomy. Being able to accept patients that need them because they’re excited.  They’re really well trained, they want to take care of patients that are interesting and then giving these doctors the ability to connect directly with patients for that appointment without losing the insurance payment, the referral, the authorization all the things that your office will say you can’t see that patient. We go back to very simple basics.

Frank: You have made it simple, both for the doctor and the patient. That’s fantastic. As we think about that and what you’ve accomplished on that project today, looking towards the future some thoughts on perhaps what’s next?

Dr. Muto: We want every doctor to be an Uberdoc. I should say that we want a seat in everyone’s waiting room.  We offer a lot of value. There’s no phone book anymore.  There’s no network that makes sense anymore.  The networks change all the time.  If doctors want to stay in business and practice what they’re trained to do, they need access to patients. It’s a two-way street. They talk about meeting patients where they are.  I think that doctors must begin to look at their waiting room like a Broadway show everybody, every seat people paid a different price for. Some people came in through Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross and there’s going to be a couple of seats going to come in cash. Doctors need to open up to that direct pay world and that’s what I see as our biggest value is that we basically opened up a supermarket aisle for direct pay.  Make the doctors be transparent.  They will lead the mission for transparency.  I’m going to say that again, doctors are going to lead.  We’ve been following, Doctors want to take care of patients, that’s what we’re programmed to do. If a patient wants to pay cash, they should be allowed to pay outside insurance and the doctor should have a price that’s affordable. That’s the exciting part of this.  It’s not going to replace every waiting room patient, but it’s going to provide those seats and that’s the bigger picture here. That’s where we bring transparency into reality.  It’s not just a word that gets thrown around; you’ve got to be transparent.  It puts that word into action.

Frank:  Totally agree and it gives the patient some options.  We’re at that magic last question and you get the last few words Dr. Muto.  What message do you want to leave with our viewers?

Dr. Muto:  I think that I wouldn’t be afraid. People are always afraid.  We make it easy. We make it a no-brainer. We want every doctor to participate in Uberdoc. We love specialties. We want to hear from people. We want you to tell your patients if they can’t get into to see you for six months, go online and book with Uberdoc.  It’s okay because after all these patients need to be seen and you all need to stay in business. I think that this is a no-brainer and a win-win for both sides. Again, being price transparent, doesn’t mean that you have to be expensive, it just means you have to be accessible. At the end of the day, we all just want to do what we’re trained to do, because that’s joy and that’s why we do what we do.

Frank:  Absolutely I can’t thank you enough for your time.

Dr. Muto:  Thank you very much Frank for having me.

Announcer: This has been MediGroup’s Frank’s Fast Five with Healthcare Executives produced by Bridget Wilson and Carrie Peters and hosted by Frank Gillespie. Special thanks to Dr Paula Muto, Founder and CEO of Uberdoc. This has been a presentation of MediGroup Physicians Services.

Contact Us