Developed by a plastic surgeon as a practice builder and to save both consumers’ and doctors’ time, the Buildmybod online platform is a pre-consultation tool that helps take the guesswork out of what plastic surgery and other treatments cost at physicians’ offices.
Here’s how it works: The platform is available to place on websites, where online visitors can click an icon and pick their wish list of procedures. In return, and within seconds, they receive a list of fees from the surgeon’s office. The surgeon, in turn, receives a notification of the request as well as the user’s contact information.
Buildmybod.com CEO and founder Jonathan Kaplan, M.D., tells Cosmetic Surgery Times the Buildmybod online tool offers instant gratification for those who are interested in having elective procedures, as well as some medically necessary procedures when high deductibles are involved, by answering the often awkward question of cost.
“… patients are always calling asking about price and you can either: … tell them the doctor needs to see them first before providing an estimate, which frustrates patients [or] spend a lot of time on the phone trying to explain all of the costs that go into a service/procedure,” Dr. Kaplan says. “… still, by the end of the conversation, you may not get their contact info, and/or they don't book a consult anyway!”
With this online tool, doctors capture potential patients’ contact information. And, by getting pricing out of the way, cosmetic and plastic surgeons are more likely to meet with people who are serious and ready to pay for procedures, according to Dr. Kaplan.
There are currently more than 100 healthcare providers are using the Buildmybod platform on their websites, including plastic surgeons, dermatologists, concierge primary care, labs, radiology facilities, surgery centers, dentists, hospitals and Ob-gyns, according to Dr. Kaplan.
He says his own use of the platform has helped to grow his practice.
“When I arrived in San Francisco two years ago, I started with 200 email addresses and now have over 3,800! It has also been very effective at reducing the number of patients experiencing sticker shock, when they come in for a consult,” Dr. Kaplan adds.
Buildmybod also offers a revenue-generator, a “BuyNow” option, which is an online healthcare shopping cart for nonsurgical offerings.
Doctors who sign up for Buildmybod pay a monthly fee, ranging from $99 to $149 a month depending whether they sign up for a single month, six months or a year. Buildmybod also charges 5% for purchases consumers make through the “BuyNow” option.
Buildmybod does not offer exact prices. It offers estimates. And the platform doesn't automatically include discounts that a doctor may offer on secondary procedures, according to Dr. Kaplan.
“But you can include a statement at the bottom of the email that says that discounts may apply,” he says.
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One Doctor’s Experience
Gary Motykie, M.D., a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, says his practice has been using the Buildmybod platform for more than two years.
“… a vast majority of our initial phone calls were potential patients looking for pricing on specific procedures. Plastic Surgery pricing can be confusing, so Buildmybod serves as an educational tool, as well as [helps] patients to plan ahead for surgery that can be expensive…,” Dr. Motykie says.
Dr. Motykie says he likes that Buildmybod provides a simple platform for patients to get a sense for pricing without ever having to leave their homes.
“A patient can then decide for themselves in the privacy of their own home whether they may want to proceed to an in-person consultation with the surgeon of their choice,” he says.
One downside to such a virtual platform, according to Dr. Motykie, is that it can be anonymous and there is a certain amount of ‘window’ shopping that occurs organically with all apps.
“You must understand that this is the nature of the business, and that not all of the leads generated by the app may convert directly to patients walking through the door and having surgery,” Dr. Motykie says.
Details and Data
Dr. Kaplan says he kept data on Buildmybod the first year he used the platform and these were his own findings:
He received 412 wish lists from 208 unique consumers, without advertising the platform.
Of the 208 consumers, 17.8% came in for a consultation.
Among the 82.2% who did not, he retrieved their contact information and added it to his monthly email newsletter database.
“Of the 17.8% that came in, 62% booked a procedure. The booking rate of price-aware patients was 41% higher than consults with patients that were not price-aware. Interestingly, of the 82.2% that did not come in during that first year, 2.8% did subsequently come in and all 100% of those patients booked a procedure,” he says.
He says having pricing on his website has kept consumers’ attention longer and, because of that, they’re less likely to leave the site after seeing the first page.
“…they browse the site for 3.43 minutes instead of 1.63 min, and they browse 33% more pages,” he says.
Dr. Kaplan says he’ll release a new version of the integrated widget, making it easier to view on all screen types and mobile devices.
“That'll be coming out in October to coincide with the instructional course I'm giving on October 19 at the [American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ meeting] in Boston on price transparency and how it transformed my practice. I'll keep the presentation and stats focused on my practice and not make this course a blatant infomercial,” he says.
For more information, go to buildmybod.com.