Online Podiatry Stores: Can They Enhance Revenue And Patient Care?

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By Brian McCurdy, Associate Editor

   When patients seek out podiatric products, they may be referred to companies and Web sites that may not offer a proper selection. Patients may have to search hours for the right product and podiatrists might lose potential income by not offering the items themselves. However, one company lets doctors sell the products they recommend through customized Web sites.    OurDoctorStore.com creates Internet storefronts for physicians. Lowell Scott Weil, Jr., DPM, MBA, says the company offers several benefits for podiatrists and their patients. One advantage of the Internet stores is products are marked up between 60 and 100 percent from the wholesale price and the doctor gets all the profit when the patients get products from their doctor’s Web store site, according to John Moroney, Chief Executive Officer of OurHealthNetwork.com, the parent company of OurDoctorStore.com.     “(These sites) provide doctors with additional income they would otherwise be losing to someone else,” explains Dr. Weil, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, and a Medical Director with OurDoctorStore.com.    Not only are the participating doctors generating additional income, Dr. Weil says they also have reduced overhead as they do not have to carry the inventory or have staff process orders for products. Dr. Weil says OurDoctorStore.com sends products directly to the patients.    OurDoctorStore.com is a consignment wholesale supplier which invoices physicians once a month at wholesale pricing for any items sold on their site, according to Moroney. After patients pay for items, the company reimburses doctors for the full purchase price of the products sold.

Emphasizing The Patient Benefits Of Convenience, Cost Savings And Compliance

   Dr. Weil says there is added convenience and potential savings for the patient. Through these online stores, Dr. Weil notes patients can order products at competitive prices and have the convenience of ordering them from their own computer or the doctor’s office computer. By going directly to a site that has the product they need, patients save the time of searching the Internet or local stores for something the doctor recommended.    Since the online stores are strictly retail, Moroney explains that OurDoctorStore.com is not required to bill insurance and can pass the savings onto patients. He says the online stores are perfect for patients whose insurance does not compensate for medical products or uninsured patients who pay for products themselves.    There may also be an additional benefit of facilitating patient compliance. As Dr. Weil points out, doctors often do not carry items in their office and send patients elsewhere to buy the products. Accordingly, “the patients may not get what the doctor wanted (them to get),” points out Dr. Weil.    Ken Rehm, DPM, concurs. His products are available on Dr. Weil’s Web site, www.weil4feet.com, and other OurDoctorStore.com sites to ensure his patients get exactly what he recommends to them. Dr. Rehm notes that some patients were unaware of the diabetic cream, which he has sold for 30 years, so he feels the site offers a venue for communicating with patients about the cream and actually showing them the product.     “I think it is phenomenal. I have gotten so much interest through this site,” says Dr. Rehm, who is board certified in the prevention and treatment of diabetic foot wounds.    Dr. Rehm says the time has come for online podiatry stores that doctors can refer their patients to for products. “They are establishing a place for quality products,” adds Dr. Rehm.

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