Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of MRO’s most recent acquisition, MediCopy, during my podcast show, Follow the (Medical) Record. Since the show is focused on following a patient’s medical record throughout the healthcare ecosystem, Elliott Noble-Holt seemed like the perfect guest, especially since he and his team and now a part of the MRO family.
Here is how we kicked off the interview:
Don: I am so excited for you. We’re going to talk today a little bit about entrepreneurship, and I’m always very intrigued by what motivates a person to get out of the mainstream of having a job and take that lead to start their own business. So, tell me a little bit about what motivated you.
Elliott: Absolutely. So, I come from an entrepreneurial household. And both of my grandparents were business owners. One owned a gas station back in the sixties and seventies. My grandfather was entrepreneur. Him and my father both ran a local printing company here in Nashville that printed all sorts of things, including business cards, appointment cards, charge tickets for health care facilities, surgery tickets, and all sorts of things. I was around that at a very young age, four and five years old.
Then my mother worked at an orthopedic practice here in Nashville for 30 years before she passed away. And so, I grew up in that environment, too, so I would go to work with her. She was a workaholic, working nights, weekends, etc. and I was around the health care part of it. My uncles were entrepreneurs, and so I always had that in my blood.
Back to the printing company, we used to print this job called the Bible class. We would have to cut it, fold it and then as children, me, my brother, and sister would do this job. And then at the end, someone would staple it. They would get bound up and then sent to Africa to spread the word. But I’m doing this at six and seven years old, up until my parents’ divorce at age 12. So, this work and work ethic has always been instilled in me.
After my parents had divorced, my mother would come pick me up from junior high and high school. She lived about an hour away from Nashville, and so I would go hang out in the kitchen at her job doing my homework and just trying to, you know, do my homework and get my life together. She was an executive administrative assistant at this orthopedic practice, and she would stay until 7:00 or 8:00pm. I would go into the medical records department just for fun and help pull and file charts. And this was, you know, back in the day when everyone was still on paper. They ended up putting me on payroll in 1993 for $4.25 an hour, which was minimum wage. And I ended up working there through high school. And then during my senior year, my father passed away and I was barely able to get out of high school because of that. But I did, and I ended up going to a local community college because I was attracted to business management and office administration. I wanted to be an office manager of a physician’s practice or something like that but end up going to college for ten days before I dropped out.
It just wasn’t for me. And I hate saying that, but it’s the truth. It’s my truth. I ended up going back to work at the orthopedic practice and working there until I was 21, which is when I started MediCopy.
The reason I started MediCopy was because we were using a vendor. The vendor’s turnaround time wasn’t great and the quality of the scanned images were also not great. I would get complaints from the attorneys, insurance companies, the state, and other practices saying, ‘hey, we need these records because there’s a court case and we’re due in court tomorrow’ or ‘the patient’s having surgery in the morning and we need these records now.’ They couldn’t wait for that vendor to get the records, so I would find the chart myself, get the records ready for maybe say the paralegal to come pick them up for the court case, or fax the records myself over to the surgery center so that the patient could have the records.
I ended up going to my office manager saying, ‘listen, we continue to get complaints, what are your thoughts about me doing this? Nights and weekends, I’ll clock out. It won’t be on you guys. I’ll go buy my own equipment, and now we’ll know that it’s done right.’ It ended up she said, ‘Yes, go do it.’ She believed in me, and I was very thankful for that, especially being 21 years old. I’d been working there for six years and so she knew my work ethic and how I operated, how I got things done in a certain way.
So, my mother ended up taking me to Best Buy to buy me a Hewlett-Packard copy machine. And back then, if you signed up for AOL, they gave you a $500 gift card. And we used that gift card to buy this Hewlett Packard copy machine. I started copying medical records for that orthopedic practice 22 years ago, and they’re still a client to this day.
To listen to the entire interview, including more entrepreneurial insights, the foundations of MediCopy, and tidbits from Elliott’s new book, Bald Bearded Boss, click here.