Scott Filion launches national tour to hear feedback from customers
By Janice Holly Booth
Imagine this: you call Virgin Airlines corporate headquarters to complain about the usability of their website, and the person who calls you back is none other than founder Richard Branson himself. Not only is Branson genuinely interested in the problem, but he comes to your house to see what’s wrong. It sounds preposterous, yet a few visionary CEOs of colossal companies like Virgin, Starbucks, and Southwest Airlines have made customer interaction part of their leadership DNA. Now add a new name to the roster of leaders committed to meeting customers on their own turf: Scott Filion, CEO of Rev360, a company that delivers electronic health records software (EHR) and a suite of eyecare practice solutions to eye care professionals (ECPs) across the country.
Filion begins his CEO tenure with a bold promise: To reshape Rev360’s signature EHR platform – known in the industry as RevolutionEHR – based on user-defined innovation; in other words, all advances in the software will stem from what the users say they want and need. “We’re committed to this,” he said. “We won’t be running around chasing the newest ideas in technology until we’ve addressed the functionality issues reported by our users.” And to gather the input from RevolutionEHR’s customers, Filion himself will travel across the United States for meetings with doctors and other users of the platform.
Filion, who brings more than 25 years of experience in health care and health care technology to his new role, was named CEO on January 1, 2019, and within a week had lived up to his promise of face-to-face time with his customers. His first visit – one of many on the calendar for 2019 – was to Dr. Keshav Bhat’s eye care practice in Charlotte, NC. The purpose of the visit – and the ones to come – isn’t to build good will, which it inevitably does, but to allow Filion to see firsthand how the EHR software is performing in real time.
Bhat, who owns Austin Village Eyecare — a single-doctor practice with four staff and 9,000 active patients — has been a RevolutionEHR subscriber for nearly a decade, yet Filion’s visit was a first. “I think it really shows a certain level of commitment and dedication to small businesses like mine,” said Bhat. “For Scott to consider us worthy enough to get on a plane and come to my office to hear how we handle things was really special for me.” Bhat was also impressed that Filion spent time with the other team members. “That was even more special,” Bhat explained, “because sometimes people at the top only want to talk to people at the top. A CEO-to-CEO or leader-to-leader kind of exchange. But in an optometry practice, everybody has a niche role to play and like anything with spinning cogs, if one has broken, nothing functions correctly, and this is particularly true in optometry. So for Scott to talk to each of these units and understand what their concerns are, that was particularly touching.”
When RevolutionEHR was launched in 2007, it was the industry leader in EHR software for eyecare practices. Once the platform was up and running in thousands of eye care practices across North America, the company began earnestly pursuing new innovations that it eventually offered to its customers as add-ons to the existing architecture. But 12 years in, the doctors using RevolutionEHR didn’t want more bells and whistles. They wanted improved functionality. And now, pledges Filion, they’re going to get it. “Look,” he said, “innovation doesn’t have to be some new, great thing that’s never been seen before. Innovation can be going from 50 clicks down to 20 clicks of the mouse in order to navigate our system.”
To an outsider, the mention of electronic health records doesn’t inspire a passionate response. But for Filion, they’re an all-important piece of the health-care puzzle. When he speaks about how a well-functioning EHR software platform can free up the doctor to spend more time and energy on the patient, his enthusiasm is unmistakable. “Not many people join healthcare or healthcare technology without having a mission or a mission in mind,” he explained. “We want to bring joy and profitability to the doctors and their practices and make the experience of delivering eye care an enjoyable one.” A well-functioning EHR platform helps with patient outcomes, too. “Doctors can have an immediate impact on their patients, they can change people’s lives. It’s a cliché that’s over-used, but in this industry, vision is life,” he asserted. While visiting with Dr. Bhat, Filion observed how Bhat was able to help a 90-year-old glaucoma patient with her pain and other symptoms, and the immediate improvement in her quality of life was profound. “It’s just amazing to see the impact that these doctors can have,” said Filion. “Our goal is to help them be more efficient, help them spend more time with their patients and less time clicking through our system. That’s our focus.”
So far, Filion is optimistic that the outlay of hours needed to meet with his customers will pay huge dividends in the long run. Still, it’s not the norm. Running a company takes an enormous amount of time and energy and there’s never enough of those two commodities, which is why CEOs tend to delegate the work of gathering customer input to consultants or other staff members. But Filion insists these one-on-one meetings will be invaluable to the company as it strives to offer the best services to its clients. “For me the most important skill of any leader is listening, and there’s no better way to listen than to talk to our customers. Yes, it may be a lot of time I’m spending, but I’m getting so much more out of it than what I’m putting in,” he explained. “The day you lose that connection with your customers is a day when you need to re-evaluate the direction you’re headed.” Filion intends to apply the same collaborative leadership philosophy to Rev360’s two other business units: the Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA), a doctor alliance group; and Visionary Partners, a partnership between Rev360 and ECP’s to sustain and grow independent eye care practices
At least 10 group meetings — in Austin TX, St. Louis, MO, Las Vegas, NV, and Portland OR, to name a few cities — are scheduled in the coming months. Called the “RevolutionEHR Roadshow,” the gatherings will provide doctors and their staff an opportunity to voice straightforward feedback and suggestions about RevolutionEHR. To some leaders, the idea of unfiltered criticism might feel daunting, but Filion sees it as a gift: “I learn so much every time I talk with our customers,” he said. Then he chuckled. “And they’re not shy about telling me what they want.”