After the acquisition, Bates was looking for a new opportunity — a friend suggested investing in a chain of urgent care centers in the Valley.
“I knew absolutely nothing about urgent care,” Bates recalled. “Digging into the financial analysis, I quickly came to the conclusion that running a medical practice is very tough business.”
Urgent care centers see high fixed costs — providers, facilities, equipment and regulatory requirements are all expensive.
Bates almost gave up on the investment opportunity, but then he had an idea: What if you take the autonomous technology in self-driving vehicles today and use it to automate the intake and administration for urgent care centers?
“We make the doctor still responsible, but we automate everything around the doctor,” Bates said. “We built that financial model with the tech implemented, and it actually reduced the cost of running the clinic by over 70 percent. It was so dramatic that I figured I had no choice but to found the company.”
Bates filed 12 patents and founded the “world’s first fully-automated medical visit.”
It fundamentally revolutionizes health care,” said Bates, who serves as CEO of AdviNOW Medical. “This invention alone saves Medicare, it enables access for every single person on the planet, and this is how you resolve the disaster of health care that we have in this country as well as the world — this technology.
One of the greatest costs in health care today is the fact that people are using the hospital emergency room for their primary care, he said.
“Ultimately, what happens is that people who are on Medicare or Medicaid end up using the most expensive point of care, which is the emergency room, for things that they shouldn’t,” Bates said. “When you look at that scenario, the reality is the emergency room is not convenient. No one wants to use the emergency room, but they don’t really know how, or they don’t have access to a simpler and lower-cost point of care.”
The other problem is that people often forget or neglect to manage medications properly when treating chronic conditions. Patients need a follow-up system to help them help themselves, Bates said.
“You need to have primary care service that is cheap; you need to have nurse call centers which are cheap and plentiful,” he said. “Both of those things don’t exist today; it’s impossible for that to happen. What AdviNOW Medical does is it actually allows existing doctors to see three- to four-times more patients per day than they see today.”
At the same time, patient compliance — making sure patients follow through with their treatment plans — is all managed through AdviNOW Medical’s Virtual Provider Assistant, Hannah, which completely automates the clinical visit within regulatory guidelines using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR).
“AdviNOW Medical does all of the triage with the AI; they do all of the follow-up with the AI; they do all of the documentation for the doctor with the AI,” Bates explained. “Because they’re only making decisions now — just like the driver only has to watch the road and touch the steering wheel in their Tesla every 30 seconds — similarly, a doctor just has to confirm what the AI is suggesting on the diagnosis, confirm what the AI is suggesting on the treatment plan, and then press, ‘I agree.’”
Now, doctors can see more patients, and patients receive follow-up, data collection and compliance, almost for free, he said.
The AI handles four main components: the intake, or introductory paperwork; dynamic patient data collection, including History of Present Illness (HPI), using the AI; patient measurement collection using AR; and documentation for the doctor, also known as SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment and plan) notes.
“Ultimately, there is no data entry at all for the provider, and there’s no data collection at all for the provider,” Bates said. “All of that is done, and the provider just reviews and says, ‘I agree,’ relays that information to the patient to make sure they’re compliant with the FDA regulatory environment that we have today.”
AdviNOW Medical currently operates 11 clinics at Safeway grocery stores in the Valley, with a contract to open 600 more in Safeway stores. The company also has two Valley locations with providers on-site, three out-of-state clinics and contracts to open 400 more locations nationwide.
“We’re really excited,” Bates said. “It’s a long road to get there, but hopefully we’ll have another billion-dollar company here in Arizona. Right now, that’s where it’s leading.”