Episode 108: Dr. Brad Brown (He/Him) of Strive Direct Health - Erie, CO

Direct Primary Care Doctor

Dr. Brown and his stethoscope
Dr. Brad Brown; photo Credit: Emily Broadbent

From Dr. Brown:

Hello! My name is Brad Brown of Strive Direct Health in Erie, Colorado and I've been in practice since March 2021. I opened Strive with a little over a year left in residency and haven't looked back. It's been a fun journey to be a small part of the DPC world from the get-go. I learned about DPC early in med school and knew it was the way of the future. Along the way, my wife and brother created AeroDPC, a all-in-one practice management EMR for DPC practices that was recently acquired by Hint Health. That has been a wild ride to say the least. We have 3 young kids and love anything in the mountains here in Colorado.

In today's episode, Dr. Brown is the latest doctor to join the podcast and his journey is unique in that he opened his DPC, Strive Direct Health, WHILE he was still in residency. He shares about how his clinic started from a dirt floored building and how he, along with his co-Resident Dr. Schuster, had 100 patients with 100 days left to go in residency. Dr. Brown also talks workflows and how a desire to have an EMR that worked for him was the nidus for starting AeroDPC, recently acquired by Hint Health, and how being a Nextera Affiliate is a perfect fit for the clinic!



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Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Brown

Thank you. Thanks for having me. It's been a long time coming. I'm happy to be here.

It definitely has.

And you know, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna spoil too many surprises, but especially for those residents out there, those medical students, people who are early on in their medical careers considering dpc took a close listen to today's story. So, Dr. Brown, with that, I wanted to start with your journey into family medicine.

On your website you share in your bio how when you were at medical school in Arizona, it was very quick that you came to the decision that you wanted to practice full scope medicine. So can you tell us a little bit about that journey to choosing family practice as a, as a specialty?

Yeah, of course.

So yeah, in med school then I joined all the clubs. First year, you know, I have no family or extended family in medicine, so I didn't have any people pushing me one way or the other or telling me to do something or not in terms of family members.

And so I just joined all the clubs. I mean surgical, non-surgical, everything. I went all to the, all the lunch meetings and after hours events and met everybody and. Within a few weeks, I gravitated towards the primary care side of things. And then quickly onto family medicine as well. Um, I have an entrepreneurial itch that I can't quite scratch and family medicine seem to fit the ability to have my own practice.

But also to treat all ages. Cause that's one of the things that I really love too, is, wound to tomb as they say, or whatever fancy saying the AFP has nowadays. But that really struck a chord with me to be able to open a clinic treat patients of all ages and pretty much.

Kind of form my own path in terms of what I, what I really liked. If that was ob, great, If not, or women's health, or men's health or you name it, whatever, integrated medicine, whatever, there's pretty much we all know how great family medicine is. So that's what really turned me onto it initially.

And I haven't looked back, haven't second guessed at once.

Awesome. And my alluding in the earlier statement about how if you're a resident or someone early on in your medical career, take a close, Listen, you recently graduated residency. what Gave you the idea that opening a private practice was still going to be a thing even though you graduated recently yourself.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I mean, you nailed it. Uh, It's uh, this is a long answer.

I'm gonna keep it really short. And people who know me will understand it better than the people who are just listening. But I, The American healthcare system is exactly what health insurance wants it to be. Very vague, very no one really knows what's going on. And so, as I learned more about it and as I went through the various specialties in medical school and then through rotations and, and residency as well, I just finished this past summer a few months ago.

I just, I, I . We all complain about , the healthcare system, and I'm guilty of that as well. Usually when I'm really exhausted. But uh, I, I've, I felt like direct primary care and the people, the mentors friend that I have. They turn me on to the fact that like, this is actually doing something to change the American healthcare system.

And that's one of the reasons why I love it so much and why I knew early on that direct primary care was where I wanted to go because I was tired of complaining and I was tired of hearing everyone complain is including myself. And so I was like, You know what? Look, this is my small way of doing something to change.

It's really hard to change the whole world. Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or whatever, but I can, I can do my part and lift where I stand. And so it really uh, again, it just kept, it was one, one more click. Everything kept clicking. You know, We always say, Oh, it just clicked. I had a lot of clicks to get to where, in my illustrious career where I am now, if I can say that.

And that was one of them where, where I was like, Hey, I can A, have my own clinic B, feel like I'm really making a difference in the system as a whole, as well as in my patient's lives. So it was too good to.

Awesome. And I, I love that term. I, that's a new one for me, friend tour. I, think that's great.

many of us have those, those mentors as attendings and even. Residents older than us who definitely fit that, that bill of friend tour. So when you were talking with your friend tours where along that journey did you hear about dpc? Was it because you were having those conversations about the concern for the, the lack of transparency and the crazy cost of American healthcare?

That is a fantastic question. I don't know if I have a specific point in time where I knew like, this is, this is it. I think it was just a accumulation of Thoughts that I was having that I didn't know I was having and feelings of, of, you know, know, there's something, there's gotta be something better out there that we got.

It's a, consumer driven country pretty much. Why can't we e even and making money off patients' health just feels slimy as it is, and so the whole hospital administrator thing, and all I just. Once you start learning about it, then once you start talking with other people and bouncing ideas off people that you can trust of various backgrounds and everything it ones with in the DPC space and one's not.

It just kind of, again, just slowly clicked and started that snowball effect of, This is gonna work for me and it's gonna work for the country. , it's, it's happening. It's not just a movement anymore. It's we're here to stay type of thing. And then during residency, I was very thankful to have a, a program that allowed me the bandwidth to explore that.

And kind. See if that could be a possibility. And then it was very fortuitous that it kind of happened during residency , which was almost a ask forgiveness rather than permission when it came out to it. But in the end it was, it was fantastic. And it, I mean, it's just, it is just exploding from here.

Love that and can't agree more that this is not in our grassroots movement that is gonna go away anytime soon. So when you, you know, drop that amazing part of your history that you opened Strive Direct Health during residency mm-hmm. , your practice is with Dr. Sarah Schuster. And I'm assuming she's a co-resident of yours as well.

She was, yeah. Yep. So can you share, how on earth did you go from this? You know, This is definitely what I'm going to do. I'm gonna be a DPC physician to actively putting the steps in place. And then, like you said, asking for forgiveness rather than permission. . But how did that all culminate in you guys opening and you guys working together to open Strive Direct Health?

. This is a fantastic story. So about, I don't know, halfway through residency, 18 months in or so, then I was driving home post call.

I think I delivered eight or 10 babies that night. I was exhausted and there just happened to be an office space, the one I'm in right now. That was brand new. It was a dirt floor. And I, I literally like, looked in the window and , the real estate agent was here. And so he let me in and we just started talking.

I was in a, in a dissociative state. I didn't know what was going on. And I told him a little bit about what I was thinking about doing. He was like, Oh, that's and this is, that was like the first thing. I was like, Yeah, that that'd be a perfect space. It's one mile from my house. It's only a couple miles from where I'm doing residency.

It was, it was almost the, the right place at the wrong time. And so I was like, Oh, well it's 18 months away. I'm not, I'm just gonna have to let that one go. There's gonna be other office spaces. It's no big deal. And then as I got to thinking about it more after, a nice nap then.