Cover Story: Doctor, Heal Thyself
WordOut on the Street
The only reason PracticePlus hard-launched last year was the tests not only functioned well, they produced results for doctors, Bakewell says.
"The first one's an orthopedic surgery practice," he explains. "It's a 15-physician, three-office practice. They're actually opening up two offices this year—so they are very healthy and are growing at a very quick clip. But they've got a lead physician who is very aggressive and very growth-oriented, very competitive. And this represented an opportunity for him to get the word out … to referring physicians in his area so he could drive market share."
So, two years ago, this orthopedic surgery practice that's affiliated with Meridian used WordOut to create an introductory brochure, announcements about the new office and a scholarship.
"They did an overview of kyphoplasty, which is a minimally invasive repair to damaged vertebrae profile," Bakewell says. "And then they did a new physician announcement."
He says in that test year alone, the orthopedic surgery practice saw "spectacular" results. A total of 191 new referring physicians came in.
"So 108 direct new referring physicians were directly attributable to the mailing," Bakewell says. "Let's just assume, conservatively, that each one of them referred one patient. The average value of an orthopedic surgery patient or orthopedic patient is about $1,200. So that's about $130,000 in revenue, just to the practice. And that's to the practice—the health system realizes significant incremental revenue beyond that, for each patient."
It costs the practice $6,000 a year to license WordOut. Bakewell says if the practice sends mail to 1,000 people, it probably spends a total of $7,000.
"So you're looking, very conservatively, at 10-to-1 ROI in this particular case," Bakewell says.
The second case study may not set off any bells, but it may mean a steady heartbeat for the practice.