Elevating Patient Care And Ancillary Revenue With Online Product Fulfillment

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Author(s): 
Christopher F. Hyer, DPM, FACFAS

   On the minus side, however, virtual storefront sites tend to carry products for the full spectrum of medical conditions, which can be overwhelming for the patient who is being treated for a specific foot and ankle condition. Further, these sites lack informational resources to help the patient better understand his or her condition nor do they afford two-way communication between the patient and physician.

   While a typical virtual storefront site helps answer the inventory, fulfillment and income questions, considering the advantages of the Internet, there is tremendous potential to do much more.

   FootSourceMD.com is an online resource that takes to heart all the concerns physicians have about ancillary income and turns them into positives for both the practice and the patient. This site was created by foot and ankle specialists. (Full disclosure: I’m one of the founders of the Web site.)

   While there is some overlap in functionality between FootSourceMD.com and some other sites I have mentioned here, this site was specifically designed to improve the patient-physician communication and keep the conversation going long after the visit and far beyond the office.

   The consumer-facing FootSourceMD. com makes shopping simple and intuitive. It is searchable by product and condition, and gives the user access to educational resources such as articles, videos and FAQs. The physician-facing component of FootSourceMD.com is built around a dashboard, which allows the physician to create a profile for each patient. The physician can subsequently build a list of products best suited to that patient’s condition and e-mail the product recommendations directly to the patient.

   With a customized retail prescription in the patient’s e-mail inbox, he or she can simply click through to the product recommended by the physician, guaranteeing the patient will choose the right product. FootSourceMD.com effectively eliminates the confusion that crops up when patients choose a product they assume is an equivalent to the one prescribed and it ensures the physician can give the best possible advice to the patient.

Final Notes

Every time you write a prescription or recommendation, you are sending dollars out the door. Now with emerging online resources, it is entirely within your means to keep some of that revenue in your office while giving patients a way to fill their prescriptions precisely as written. In the end, it is up to you and your practice to weigh the value and necessity of ancillary income. However, it is good to know there are powerful tools out there to boost your bottom line and help you and your practice deliver an even higher level of patient care.

   Dr. Hyer is a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon in Columbus, Ohio. He and his colleagues founded FootSourceMD.com to provide patients across the country with convenient access to reliable resources and products recommended by physicians. Dr. Hyer also contributes to medical education and research through frequent presentations and publications. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery and Foot and Ankle Specialist.

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