Condon’s sale of ARC clears the way for his next big dream.
Matt Condon likes to dream big.
An entrepreneur at heart and a self-described romantic, Condon founded ARC Physical Therapy+ in 2003 with one employee and a tiny clinic in northeast Kansas City that focused on PT for workers’ compensation patients.
The goal was never to get rich or build an empire – it was to spread an idea.
For Condon, the goal always has been about improving a health care industry he saw as too reactive, too inefficient and too expensive – a lofty goal, even for a dreamer.
During the past decade, he’s built his company on a foundation of hard data that clinicians use to try to drive better outcomes at lower costs. That approach has fueled ARC’s growth, bringing it to 90 employees at 11 clinics with $11.5 million in annual revenue.
But lately, Condon’s dreams of changing the face of health care have gotten so big that ARC can’t grow fast enough to keep up with him.
That’s largely why he agreed Dec. 13 to sell a majority stake to U.S. Physical Therapy Inc. for $36 million: He’s ready to take his ideas to the masses through a new company he founded, called Bardavon Health Innovation LLC.
Condon is a collector of quotes, often taking to a dry-erase wall behind his desk with the latest inspirational quote that strikes his fancy. One of his favorites: “And yet, words are not deed.”
It’s Shakespeare – the Bard of Avon.
He was thinking about that quote late one night in a hotel room while attending a health care conference in 2012. Everyone talks about fixing health care, he said, but nobody has real solutions.
“My problem is that for the last five years, we’ve spent so much time talking about who is going to pay for health care and not enough time talking about why it’s so expensive,” Condon said. “We’re playing hot potato with the checkbook. You pay for it. I’ll pay for it. Who’s going to pay for it? And that’s really frustrating for me.”
His goal was to build a company that focuses on deeds more than words. He registered Bardavon that day.
Today, Bardavon owns three technologies Condon and his team have developed that he thinks will provide real, meaningful change in the marketplace. ARC leased the tech from Bardavon and acted as a real-world test site.
Those technologies include a cloud-based electronic medical record system, a piece of physical testing equipment with a cloud-based software application and a wellness program – all designed to track data. Lots of data.
It’s a simple enough idea – meticulously track patients, treatments and outcomes to identify trends and providers who do the best work – but it’s been conspicuously absent from health care.
“The reality of the physical therapist is we are the last stage of a workers’ compensation claim,” Condon said. “And we can track data all the way up the funnel. We can track data about what doctors did better, how smoking impacted the cost or duration of the claim, how being obese impacted cost or duration of the claim, what other environmental issues were impacting the cost or duration of the claim.”
Brian Stewart, ARC’s chief marketing and acquisitions officer, estimated that the company has recorded blind data from about 300,000 patient visits since 2003. That volume of data – often called “big data” – allows clinicians to identify patterns and trends that could aid in treating patients more efficiently, which ultimately reduces cost.
“I can pull everyone together and say, ‘How did you treat 42-year-old obese smokers who had a heavy-duty return to work and a total rotator cuff?'” Condon said. “Let’s find out what doctors got the best outcomes, what therapists got the best outcomes, what places got the best outcomes.”
That data help people determine value, he said. So far, it’s been incredibly difficult for patients to consume health care based on its value because there’s no way to measure it. Condon thinks raising that veil and bringing consumers into the dialogue can go a long way toward fixing health care.
“There is nothing that is the silver bullet,” Condon said. “But it is a really important piece, and it’s going to grow.”
Now that Condon has agreed to sell a majority stake in ARC, he’ll shift more of his focus to expanding Bardavon and selling the technologies to more providers. He’s already in 21 states.
“What I’m excited about with Bardavon is I’m no longer limited to where ARC is to provide those same solutions,” Condon said. “We’re growing well outside of ARC’s bounds to provide solutions to a much larger geography, and that is just exciting. It’s intellectually really exciting to me.
“This opportunity gives me a chance to be really aggressive about risk again and to do some crazy, bold things. And I’m more comfortable there.”
originally printed December 20, 2013
Reporter – Kansas City Business Journal
reprinted with permission