Health Care Deal News: Spotlight on Venture Capital- September 2012

Most of the venture capital raises we see these days involve companies developing new drug therapies to solve the world’s health problems or new devices to fix a broken body part.  Most of the time, it is difficult to understand the science of what is involved, even though we all know what the goal is.  So it is nice when there is a successful company that is growing, profitable, cost-effective, easy to understand, and most importantly, able to raise $45 million to continue its expansion plans.  The company is called Best Doctors, Inc. and the new investment came from a private equity fund sponsored by Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., called BBH Capital Partners IV, L.P. Best Doctors was founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School professors who, we dare say, probably didn’t realize how successful their little venture would become. By 2002 they had raised some outside capital from Munich Re, the largest reinsurer in the world, followed by an investment in 2011 by Nippon Life Insurance Company, the sixth largest life insurer in the world.  By the time Nippon made its investment, revenues had grown by nearly 31% in 2011 to $121.2 million, compared with $92.7 million in 2010.  We assume it was this growth, plus the concept, that got BBH Capital excited about investing the largest capital slug to date in Best Doctors.

As its name implies, Best Doctors recruits the “best doctors” dealing with 45 specialties and over 400 subspecialties, defined as the top 5% of the doctors in their area of expertise ranked by an impartial peer review. These expert doctors work on difficult-to-solve health diagnoses and treatments, and while they receive an honorarium for their consultative services when it occurs, there is also an element of intellectual curiosity involved as they often like to see those cases that others can’t solve.  In fact, in 2011 these specialists corrected or refined diagnoses in 29% of the cases they reviewed in the U.S., and corrected or improved treatment in 60% of the cases. One can only imagine the cost savings attributable to these corrections and improvements, let alone better patient health. 

Right now, Best Doctors’ clients include very large employers as well as health insurers.  For large employers, the average monthly fee, at only $1.50 to $3.00 per employee per month, is so low as far as the customer is concerned, while the impact can be so great, that it should be the proverbial no-brainer from a cost-benefit analysis.  Just one misdiagnosis can easily result in thousands of dollars of wasted health care expenditures as well as lost productivity, making the monthly cost miniscule by comparison.  And who doesn’t know someone who suffered through the wrong treatment or an improper diagnosis? The patient covered by this benefit simply calls Best Doctors, provides all the required health information, and lets the Best Doctors staff research the problem with the best appropriate specialists.  It’s that simple.............Want to read more? Click here for a free trial to The Health Care M&A Information Source and download the current issue today