Proud to be our own breed…

February 11, 2007

We have been live with bringodentist for nearly one month (I’m not good at anniversaries so don’t ask me the date) and momentum is building. Each day we get dentists signing up with us, asking more questions, giving us great suggestions/tips, and we are also learning more about what our consumers are looking for. In conversations with dentists from all over the country, I have been struck by a few common themes:

1) Over the years, many dentists have had bad experiences with various referral services that guarantee them a certain number of patients each month in return for some steep up-front costs. Unfortunately many of these referral services have earned reputations for delivering low quality patients to dentists, or more frequently not even delivering the minimum volume they guaranteed (but still taking their rich fees). In short, many dentists have gotten burned by using fixed price referral services that over-promise and under-deliver.

2) Dentists have responded to the BRINGO model very positively, as we do not charge up-front fees, always give the dentist the ability to reject patients based on their criteria, and have a pay as you go model. the BRINGO model is simple, honest, straightforward and effective. From one dentist I just spoke with in North Chicago, the pay-as-you-go model is “a ray of light.” While I thought his description was a bit dramatic, I think he’s right.

3) The number of dentists who are actively on-line is pretty small. We can take electronic claims as a good indicator. In this day and age, less than 35% of claims are processed electronically (according to my friend at the ADA). Hard to fathom, but it means 65% of practices still choose to complete paper claims forms, snail mail them to insurance carriers, and wait weeks for processing payments. While I’m not hear to lobby for electronic claims (although one of our board members certainly does that through http://www.cooperativeexchange.org/), I am here to help our dentist partners figure out how to tap into large number of prospective patients searching on the web for providers.

4) Prospective patients are hungry for a good way to find new dentists, and the internet does not have many good options. Bringodentist is bridging an important digital divide between dentists who are not really online, and prospective patients who are very much internet savvy and start every search at their computer. I had a drink with a very accomplished dentist from the NY area this weekend and he said he started taking the internet seriously when he realized two of his three children searched the internet to find their dentists when they moved to new cities over the past few years.

5) There are always great surprises when starting something new. While there have been several wonderful letters of appreciation, perhaps my favorite came from a psychologist in the South who works with people who have disabilities. He said our service helped to take the hard work out of finding a dentist, and is very valuable for his patients. Nice, ehh? I think they started by using our nophonetrees site, appreciated the stress it could eliminate and then moved onto bringodentist. Great feedback.

Given that I am sitting in Chicago, these days I would also like to develop BRINGO warm weather. Unbelievable how many consecutive days we can be below freezing. I was at dinner last night with Marcin (who also posts here) and was amazed to find he considered yesterday’s 20 degree temperatures finally warm enough to go for a walk. Numbed by the cold I say.

Stay warm and stay in touch,

Mark

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