Gain a steady source of referrals

May 31, 2012
Issue 5

Health in Reach announced earlier this week that it would be merging with its largest competitor, PriceDoc. Both services offer an online platform where consumers can go to compare prices on dental services. Both companies will now operate under the Health in Reach corporate brand, and Health in Reach CEO Scott Sangster will remain in the top executive role.

Health in Reach announced earlier this week that it would be merging with its largest competitor, PriceDoc. Both services offer an online platform where consumers can go to compare prices on dental services. Both companies will now operate under the Health in Reach corporate brand, and Health in Reach CEO Scott Sangster will remain in the top executive role.

Sangster told BetaKit in an interview that the merger just made sense from the perspective of both companies, owing to their mutual goals.

“Both Health in Reach and PriceDoc have been around for several years, and we’ve been head-to-head competitors,” he said. “Over the course of the last year, both teams realized that the opportunity we’re both pursuing is large, and requires a scale that would take us independently far longer to reach [than was possible alone]. We met, and within about an hour, realized that our visions and philosophies about consumer-directed healthcare were aligned.”

Below is a submitted article written by PriceDoc Marketing and Sales Director, Kelli Waclawski, about the benefits of using the online platform.

In a down economy, many dentists looking to grow their practices are hindered by the upfront marketing costs needed to bring in new patients, combined with the heavy overhead required to sift through rapidly-changing insurance benefits. If only there was a way to attract not just new patients, but also those who choose to pay in cash because they lack insurance coverage for a specific procedure.

That’s the case with PriceDoc, a unique marketing vehicle used by savvy dentists to increase their qualified leads, reduce their overhead costs, and bring in new, cash-paying patients.

PriceDoc is an online service where dental and medical providers list both the qualitative information about their practice such as credentials, staff, and office amenities along with prices for highlighted procedures. This transparency is exactly what self-paying patients require in order to make an informed decision in selecting a provider. By listing their practice on the site, providers are attracting self-paying patients that allows their practice to bypass the costly overhead associated with insurance paperwork.

Since one in four Americans under age 65 do not have dental insurance, dental procedures continue to top the most commonly used search terms on the PriceDoc site. Since the patients are seeking information on either a required or elective procedure, the average procedure value for a new PriceDoc dental patient is $750, well above what most practices experience from other new patient sources.  

“For the reasonable amount of money we pay for PriceDoc, the service has been a steady source of referrals,” said Dr. Becky Coats of Grapevine Dental in Dallas, TX. “We’ve had over 50 patients come to our practice through PriceDoc.com.”

Dentists are not in the business of offering their services for free, but they are committed to helping each patient reach a state of optimal health. Frustrating insurance battles that drive up overhead can still lead to partial payments or refusal of payments. By receiving payments in cash, the dentist is avoiding a costly insurance struggle, and will typically pass some of the savings on to his self paying patients so they can get the care they need at an affordable price.

The second benefit is attracting the large segment of the market that is using the web as a resource for evaluating and selecting their healthcare providers. In many cases, patients are looking for elective treatments like teeth whitening. These patients are already planning to pay out-of-pocket for their treatment and want to make sure they are making an informed decision before taking the time schedule an appointment with an office. As a result, dentists listing on PriceDoc report very high conversion rates of the related leads because price is not an issue in getting patient acceptance to the treatment plan.

“Dentists have told us that their office staffs are uncomfortable dealing with patient price negotiation,” said Patrick Bradley, PriceDoc president and chief operating officer. “PriceDoc takes that out of the equation. When the patient walks in the door to the practice, the price point has already been established.”

Although pricing transparency is a very unique feature related to the PriceDoc web site, it’s about a lot more than just price. That’s why PriceDoc helps consumers view and compare provider qualifications, education and training, offices hours and locations, patient referrals, and links to the state licensure boards.

“When you have a patient who needs significant surgery, they are most likely not going to just go with the cheapest option,” stated  Bradley. “PriceDoc gives you a way to manage your online profile so you’re giving potential patients the information they need to feel comfortable with you as their dentist.”

And when patients feel comfortable in a practice, chances are they’ll want to remain patients. While at the office, the patient may find out about a cavity, gum disease or other dental need, which the office can then explain and handle the further treatment of the patient. The practice gains a patient who will likely be with them for the foreseeable future, and even better, will be paying in cash.