PriceDocPriceDoc is a free, transparent healthcare pricing service, designed for consumers who are uninsured, underinsured or seeking elective procedures. These potential patients use the site to access qualified providers who accept reduced prices for procedures paid for with cash or credit card. Consumers can search for healthcare providers by location and specialty, view provider credentials and expertise, and submit price bids for services. Profits for PriceDoc.com are generated by monthly provider subscriptions for profile posting.
The site’s pilot program debuted in 2009 in the midst of the contentious debate surrounding national healthcare reform. Schwartz elevated PriceDoc above the media noise by distinguishing the site from other healthcare solutions as a unique online service for healthcare price negotiation.
PriceDoc.com initially piloted in the greater Seattle area beginning in April 2009; in November 2009, PriceDoc.com announced the website’s national expansion. PriceDoc.com began its partnership with Schwartz in July 2009 with the goal of increasing the site’s visibility among consumers – first in Seattle and later, nationally. Through aggressive, creative and consistent public relations outreach targeting broadcast, print and online media, Schwartz helped PriceDoc.com increase online traffic an astonishing 3,406 percent between June and December 2009.
Business ChallengeThe main hurdle facing Schwartz was the limited geographic scope of most of PriceDoc.com’s participating Seattle providers. Concurrently, PriceDoc.com had yet to actualize new patients for most subscribing providers during the early stages of market introduction. Schwartz had the delicate task of generating enough media coverage to increase PriceDoc.com’s traffic without overexposing the company before it had properly populated its physician database.
To create a compelling story and offer proof-of-concept for national level reporters, Schwartz began screening and compiling a detailed database of Seattle-area healthcare providers and their patients. Using these initial sources, Schwartz leveraged both individual provider and patient human-interest stories as well as timely, macro-economic trends, including the depressed economy and rising healthcare costs, to secure the interest of national consumer and business media, prominent blogs and local media.
Schwartz PR Strategy• Targeted Media Outreach—To prevent premature market saturation, Schwartz combined the targeting of select national media reporters with relevant local reporters in cities with at least one participating provider.
• Market Differentiation—Schwartz highlighted PriceDoc.com’s unique bidding capability to distinguish the service from competing sites.
• Media Monitoring—Schwartz compiled an exhaustive database of journalists at business, trade and consumer outlets who had previously covered personal finances, healthcare, healthcare reform, or medical pricing, ensuring that the campaign targeted all the relevant reporters.
• Relentless Measurement—Schwartz carefully monitored PriceDoc.com’s analytics to track media placements and blog postings that generated significant amounts of site traffic and increased provider sign-ups. The analysis of site traffic, page views and printed vouchers all demonstrated dramatic increases following the national launch in November. The ongoing measurement allowed the team to focus on targets that were having real business impact.
ResultsSchwartz’s consumer PR campaign on behalf of PriceDoc.com exceeded its objectives and was a resounding success.
• Traffic—PriceDoc.com’s total monthly site visits in December were 199,228, up 128% compared to November. The total number of vouchers printed for services rose from 19 in June 2009 to 1,342 in December. Finally, the number of procedures searched grew 163% between November and December 2009.
• Revenue—PriceDoc.com’s provider subscriptions increased, with 2,172 providers joining the site just in
the month of December.
• Coverage—PriceDoc.com has been featured or mentioned in more than 1000 articles or blog posts over the past 6 months. Coverage highlights included:
• Newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Puget Sound Business Journal
• Magazines: Seattle Magazine
• Wire services: Associated Press
• Newsletters: AARP Bulletin
• Blogs: The Huffington Post
• Online: AOL.com (WalletPop), USA Today, ZDNet, Fierce Healthcare, Healthcare IT News
• Sample Broadcast: CNN Headline News, WNBC (NYC), KOMO (Seattle), KUOW FM (Seattle), KSFW-TV (Dallas)