Born and raised in Portland and educated at OHSU, Lester Baskin is an Oregonian through and through. He has a deep love for the Northwest and all it has to offer, from the incredibly talented medical community to fantastic recreational and cultural opportunities.
What is your company?
Baskin Clinic is a direct pay primary care medical clinic located in NW Portland. With one monthly fee, clients receive round-the-clock access to their personal physician via phone, e-mail, and text. Same-day appointments and callbacks, referrals to pre-selected specialists, and coordination of care in the event of hospitalization are just some of the benefits of membership.
How did you come up with the idea?
I was working for a large HMO as an internist, and unhappy with the lack of connection to my patients. There was never enough time to provide the level of care that I thought patients deserved, and as a result, both patients and providers were often frustrated. I had heard about direct practice and after talking with a number of doctors engaged in the model, I decided I would also give it a try.
Where did you find your first customer?
My first customer was a patient of my Dad’s — he’s an orthopedic surgeon here in town.
How did you determine your target market?
The target market really evolved as my patient base grew. It became pretty obvious that what attracted patients to the practice was the access — the ability to call and email instead of having to make an appointment. So the clients tended to be folks who were busy, and valued their time.
What are you currently doing to reach them?
We are classic professional services marketing — mainly word-of-mouth, though we also get a reasonable number of patients through internet searches.
How much did you start up with?
The practice was started with a $50,000 loan.
Did you bring on investors, get loans, or grow naturally?
The business has self-funded since inception.
What’s the best advice someone has given you?
Provide good service, care about your clients, and your business will grow.
What are your keys to staying productive?
Have a wide range of projects in the hopper. So when you get bored with one, you can move on to something new. And when the list of unfinished business feels insurmountable, just remember that a to-do list of 20 items gets completed just like a list of three items… one at a time.
When you started, what was one thing you wish you knew?
How incredibly satisfying it would be to be my own boss. If I had known this years earlier, I would have started my own business long before I did.
What resources or books do you refer to regularly?
Has your company experienced any close calls or lucky moments?
We almost hired a physician who would have been a very bad fit for our organization.
I decided to rescind the offer letter after weeks of negotiations.
What does success mean to you?
The respect of clients and colleagues, satisfaction in my daily work, and great co-workers who want to do a good job.
Where would you like to see your business 5 years from now?
We’d like to be the most well-known and respected direct practice in town, the one people recommend first when someone asks about this care model.
What do you need help with?
Technical matters, always. IT is a black hole to me.
How can people find you online?