Cover Story: Doctor, Heal Thyself
"And most health systems and hospitals have very, very time-pressed staffs," he continues. "They've got way more to do than they have time to do, and this additional marketing requirement is making them all say, 'How the heck am I going to do this?'"
WordOut to the Rescue
"We're going after what we refer to as 'patients on the move,'" Bakewell says. "There are about 140 million first-visit appointments made each year, and it's growing pretty significantly as the population is aging."
Bakewell says 1-800-DOCTORS is already firmly in the minds of "self-referring" consumers. So PracticePlus will pursue the other 60 percent of annual referrals.
"When we go to a health system, we want to get both … the health system, and have them use this platform to market their own employed physicians," Bakewell says. "And that's going to become increasingly important because hospitals, as you probably have read, have been snapping up practices right and left because of [healthcare reform] and the changes in where healthcare's going."
Health systems are motivated by changes in the market to ensure patients stay with them "from cradle to grave," so they're acquiring practices so they can take care of all patients' needs in one place, he says.
That means the first challenge of introducing the product to hospitals is synergistic—PracticePlus has to clearly differentiate itself from 1-800-DOCTORS' marketing methods.
First of all, the main channel the WordOut platform uses is direct mail, not telephone lines. Second, it's primarily a B-to-B application, rather than a B-to-C.
"The platform has the ability to do emailing, faxing and then, if the practice wants to get into … direct consumer, it has all the consumer tools that Balihoo has," Bakewell says. "You can do radio, print, TV, outdoor, etc.