In today's challenging economy, many physicians have sought out means for generating additional revenue. Rather than look outside their practice to add on ancillary services, some are able to look inward to expand upon what they already offer.
In today’s challenging economy, many physicians have sought out means for generating additional revenue. Their efforts often result in the addition of ancillary services to their medical practice menu, such as allergy testing or on-site lab and diagnostic work.
However, other physicians look inward rather than outside their four walls. Michael Wald, MD, MS, CMS, CCN, CDN, director of nutritional sciences at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco in New York, is one of those physicians.
“Any kind of growth should start with what you know well, and you tag onto that,” Wald says. “That’s exactly what I did.”
Wald explains that his practice focuses on wellness care and, as such, features a heavy concentration on nutrition. He found himself looking at a patient’s blood work and recognizing that nutrition played a key role. For example, if a patient’s cholesterol was high, he or she would need more fiber and niacin, as well as a low-fat diet. But since 70 or 80 different pieces of blood work are required to put together patient comprehensive nutritional plans that are coherent, the process could become quite complicated.
“I realized that a software program where I could put in the results of a patient’s lab work that would automatically generate for me dietary and nutritional supplement advice in a couple of minutes would be very useful,” Wald says. “That was how the Blood Detective Professional Edition Software program developed.”
Wald used the program almost exclusively in his office for several years before a doctor friend saw a patient’s report sitting on his desk. When Wald informed him what the report was, his colleague suggested he sell it to physicians. Already lecturing on nutrition in health seminars around the country (yet another revenue stream), Wald began setting up tables where he lectured so physicians could purchase the software program.
“I don’t aggressively pursue the business other than selling the program at professional seminars, which I do maybe 14 times a year,” he explains. “It makes a nice bit of change completely passively, because I’m lecturing anyway.”
Wald’s software program allows a physician to choose from among 12 different nutrition companies from which to purchase recommended vitamins, minerals and herbs based on a patient’s chemistry.
Then one day he asked himself: “Why am I making all these other companies rich? Why don’t I start my own Blood Detective supplement company consistent with the software?”
So that’s what Wald did, and today his company sells approximately 60 different nutritional products directly to physicians across the U.S. and abroad. More importantly, the company produces supplements of Wald’s own design that he felt were missing.
“You can buy vitamin C, but it’s not so easy to buy a powdered, buffered vitamin C that is from beets as opposed to corn,” says Wald, noting that there are people who are allergic to corn. “A buffered, powdered vitamin C is good for alkalinizing the body, which is different than pills and tablets. The point is I developed several dozen unique or different supplements that were not available, or were not easily available, in one place.”
Wald’s new revenue stream had already grown into a rapidly flowing river, and was now beginning to branch off into tributaries. The next, and most recent, branch is the just-released Zombie Food Bar — a health bar that will be sold nationally.
“I treat a lot of children as well as adults, and a lot of these supplements are impossible to take,” Wald explains. “These kids can’t change their diets easily, particularly when their parents are not. So, I wanted to create something special, not just for kids, but for adults that had a fun and friendly name. Adults these days are big into zombies, and we’re working on a TV commercial now that will be on during The Walking Dead television show.”
The health bar is 12 grams of protein in a 55 gram bar from rice, what Wald calls the least allergic food on the planet. It’s 95% organic ingredients. There’s no sugar or preservatives. It’s vegetarian, glutin free, and has no nuts.
“There is nothing like it,” he claims.
What’s in a name?
Now about that name — Blood Detective. Wald says one day a patient’s spouse turned to him and said, “You were able to diagnose my wife with this condition, and she has been everywhere. You’re like a blood detective.”
After Wald heard that, he immediately got on the phone with his attorney and instructed him to obtain a trademark, a copyright and a dotcom for the name.
“I soon had patients coming in and saying they needed to see the blood detective,” Wald says. “I took it on as sort of a badge of honor. And as it started to grow on me, it forces me to work harder, because I am the blood detective, and that’s what patients expect.”