Yesterday as I was looking for some business records I came across the original filing paperwork with IRS to establish Best Practice Medicine as a limited liability corporation. Turns out, today we turn five years old! (At least that's when we started paying taxes...). I can remember spending weeks trying to understand what an LLC was, how to file the paperwork, and wondering if all the hassle of setting up a company would be worth it. I admit, at the time, I didn't think it would be.
Between visiting with a lawyer and a local CPA, I spent every dollar I had made teaching courses over the previous year by the time I sent the paperwork in to form the company. Most of what I was teaching at the time were American Heart Association (AHA) courses, especially skills verifications as the distributed content became more popular.
My office traveled with me in an old backpack, a notebook and an aging laptop. We traveled from the air ambulance hanger (my full-time job), to my dining room table to the local bank community room I was allowed to use after opening the company checking account. (Fun fact: the minimum deposit to open the account wiped out my grocery budget for a few weeks. I am grateful to the many friends who I bummed a dinner here and there off of!)
I used to care for one patient at a time, laser focused on the case at hand, trying to make even a slight difference in another life. It was easy to understand and hard to experience first hand how good clinicians make bad decisions, harming people, everyday, because they lack access to high quality education. Preparing for high risk, low frequency, non-discretionary time emergencies is a team sport, impossible to achieve through distributed online learning and canned courses. That's why I started Best Practice Medicine.
To be writing this blog post on the fifth birthday of this idea is a privilege not lost on me or my family. So many things had to go right, so many risks needed to pay off, so many people had to believe and sacrifice to get us to where we are today. From a one man show with a handful of courses and no website, to the largest independent, clinical education team in America with a team of over 150 of the best and brightest you will find in clinical education is (to borrow an overused word) awesome.
In 2019 alone, learners who engaged with our team cared for an estimated 660,000 patients. To those that know me, it won't surprise you that I fought back tears as I shared that with the team that was on our Bozeman campus the day we ran the math. To think that we created an organization from nothing, that touched that many lives in one year is beyond astounding to me.
As I finish this blog, EMT students are filing into our 4,000 sq. ft campus to practice social distant compliant skills practice that our team came up with over the last few weeks. Twenty four members of our clinical practice team, Paramedic Resource Group (PRG) are in the field, providing essential COVID-19 screening to Montana industries, protecting over 1.5 million dollars a day flowing into the Montana economy. Our simulation staff are drawing up plans for a simulation based hospital and dozens of other projects continued to grow and evolve today.
I am once again late for dinner. My patient family, and those families of the BPM team have also sacrificed substantially these last five years. I am grateful for all of the spouses, kids and pets who have endured the late nights, the weekend marathons and the stress of building a team that the world needs.
So, as Alfred Whitehead said "Ideas won't keep, something must be done about them." Here's to the idea and the people of Best Practice Medicine and all of those part of her story, may the next five years exceed our wildest imaginations. (I'm shooting for 10 million patients a year cared for by BPM trained clinical teams...)