MADISON, Wis.—Five months into the launch of a new practice ownership structure for independent eyecare professionals, Rev360 executives are pleased with the response the new RevAdvance “partnership model” has received and the operational progress the initial OD practices in the program have experienced.

“Things are going very well and RevAdvance is officially on the map,” Rev360 chief executive officer Scott Jens, OD, said in an interview.

Rev360, a software and business services company that delivers the RevolutionEHR platform, publicly debuted the RevAdvance model in March. One of its objectives is to provide optometrists who want to remain independent – or have their practice remain independent – a means to do this while retaining an ownership stake. The ownership structure is flexible to accommodate variations in state law licensing requirements of the doctor. As such, RevAdvance is an option for independents who want to continue the legacy of their practice.

RevAdvance began with an incubator group of practices that were the first in the program in late 2017, and RevAdvance is on track to achieve planned 2018 growth objectives, he said.

The RevAdvance program is an alternative concept designed around “an extended partnership” that calls for RevAdvance to invest in practices by purchasing between 60 percent and 80 percent of the equity (with valuation based upon a financial multiple that provides fair-market value). The doctor (or practice owners) retains the remainder of the ownership. In this way, the OD remains engaged with the practice for a defined term and assists RevAdvance in optimizing and growing the business. At the appropriate time, associate doctors at the practice (or outside ODs) can transition into equity partners of the practice as a way of bringing along the next generation of leaders and providing the original practice owner an exit strategy.

“Our goal is to sustain the practice’s legacy in its community,” Jens explained. “The doctor keeps seeing his or her patients [and] patients don’t see any change and the practice has an enduring quality about it.”

Rev360, which is approaching 6,000 optometrists in its RevolutionEHR user base, operates RevAdvance as a separate company under its corporate umbrella. Rev360 chairman Gunnar Bjorklund and Jens are overseeing the initial aspects of the program.

“We will always have a doctor in 20 to 40 percent ownership of the practice,” Jens said. “So if a doctor was interested in 100 percent opportunity, which some of the offerings in the market give them, then we would have to take a slower approach with them and work with them to find a doctor …. who is willing to take at least a 20 percent stake. We will always hold our [maximum] level at 80 percent so the practice has always got that doctor-owner perspective in the community.”

According to Bjorklund, the long-term objective or RevAdvance is to create a “compelling service and opportunity for partnership with our customers.” The key criteria Rev360 is using to review RevolutionEHR users who may want to participate in the RevAdvance program are philosophy, direction and outlook on the optometry profession. “We’re looking for doctors who want to ensure the quality of their practice, who want to continue to make sure that their patients are served well and who bring scale, acumen and resources to their business,” he added. “The first thing we would do with any customer who raises his or her hand to [show interest], is we would make sure that we have a good philosophical alignment…… We are looking more for customers who ‘lean in’ and want to do this and who want to continue to ensure that legacy. That’s by far No. 1 for us.”

Jens said in the early stages of RevAdvance the program is most interested in moderately performing practices since these will be the practices that become part of the early set used to guide the vision. In addition, RevAdvance is looking at regions that are more urban than rural and where RevolutionEHR users have a strong presence.

RevAdvance has “gotten more than ample interest” for 2019 among practices familiar with RevolutionEHR software. “The more our customers align with how we operate and use our services, the easier it is for us to assimilate a new partner [within RevAdvance],” Bjorklund said.

“Long term, obviously, we are looking to do something that is pretty broad,” Bjorklund added. “Here and now the answer, we think, is that you should crawl and then walk and then run. So we are going to be somewhat careful about how many specific locations and regions that we service … [and] that will expand over time.”

He added, “It’s paramount to us that we maintain patient satisfaction and doctor and staff satisfaction. That’s the right approach, as opposed to the maximum approach in terms of driving the business side. It is clearly something that we are looking to do [drive the business], but we are looking to do it in a thoughtful way that is compatible with good patient care.”