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June 15, 2015 | Tom Ballard

TVBA WINNER #1: NextDocVisit

TVBA-tekno(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of three articles profiling the winners in this year’s Tennessee Veterans Business Association’s business plan competition.)

By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Jay Crawford is not your typical entrepreneur, much less the stereotype founder of a start-up with a mobile app as its core product.

He’s a 20-year Army veteran who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon with Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic (KOC). Yet, the graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rockhopper ZSG, LLC, a company incorporated in 2013 that is currently marketing a product named NextDocVisit.

“There is massive, chaotic change occurring in healthcare that is impacting the needs of doctors and their ability to practice their profession,” Crawford says with clear knowledge of the environment.

At the same time, mobile devices are having a revolutionary impact on the ways in which individuals conduct their daily business.

“I saw profound needs that no one else was solving,” Crawford said in describing his reason for developing NextDocVisit.

His start-up was one of the winners in this year’s Tennessee Veterans Business Association business plan competition. The other two were Shockwave Motors, Inc., and Clear Image Solutions, LLC. Each winner received $5,000 to advance its product. The award monies came from The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto and Vanquish Worldwide.

Crawford is leveraging two distinct trends to build his start-up’s app. One involves the way in which doctors are reimbursed, the other centers around what might be described as the growing 24/7 expectation of consumers.

“As payment systems change, it is more challenging for doctors to do their business,” he explains. Patient satisfaction also becomes an important part of the reimbursement equation at a time when, in Crawford’s words, “healthcare is completely stuck in a pattern like no one else” as it relates to scheduling appointments and communicating with doctors.

To further compound the problem, the patient population is growing while the physician population is not.

NextDocVisit is a customized, mobile, white label app that allows patients, doctors and their offices to communicate in non-contemporaneous ways. It’s an easy way for patients to schedule appointments at a time convenient to them. In fact, Crawford told us that 39 appointments were scheduled at KOC via NextDocVisit the day before we conducted our interview.

Using an algorithm customized to the needs of the subscribing practice, NextDocVisit continuously delivers data to the practice’s Appointments Clerk. Each patient request is accurately categorized to optimal service line, level of provider, urgency of need, and location of visit.

Crawford says the app is now being used by four practices with about 100 doctors. The results thus far show a 97 percent patient satisfaction score, a 64 percent increased patient loyalty level, and a 40 percent increase in average revenue per patient compared to historical methods.

The revenue number translates into $236 per patient.

One of the attractive aspects of the NextDocVisit app to doctors is its “white label” nature. This means that each physicians’ office can have the user interface for the app designed so that it conveys that practice’s brand image. You can see this by clicking here. The app for each subscribing practice is also available for downloading at the Google store.

The physicians’ practice pays an upfront build fee averaging $800 to $1,200 per physician and a monthly service fee averaging $40 to $85 per physician. In addition, the practice pays $1.75 for each appointment request that patients complete.

Crawford is a first-time entrepreneur who has completely self-funded the start-up. “I’m above water,” he says proudly.

Rockhopper ZSG, LLC is adding an equity partner from the healthcare information technology sector to help grow the company. Within the next 18 to 24 months, Crawford expects to seek venture capital.

Those interested in learning more can contact Crawford at

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