I attended a great conference last week (not only great because it was in Orlando while I am in cold Chicago)….but also because of the quality of speakers.  I was giving the talk on Healthcare and Technology, particularly how payers and providers can embrace the internet and leverage the power of new technology to grow their businesses and their practices.   For those of you interested in the conference….it already happened but here’s the link:  http://www.iirusa.com/dentalbenefits/eventhome/35951.xml

Okay, onto some fascinating data points shared by presenters that got my attention and should get yours:

1)  According to a study by IOM (Institute of Medicine), it takes an average of 17 years from the time when a new discovery/treatment that is proven effective (e.g. treating ulcers with medication) for that treatment to become widely practiced.

2)  According to a study by NCQA, 57,000 people die every year in America because physicians are not following clear trends from “evidence-based medicine.”  Said another way, this is the staggering cost of the 17 year delay game because it’s hard to spread information throughout our fragmented health care system.

3)  We all know about the challenge of rising Medicaid and Medicare costs.  We also know that we sometimes get better data from the government sponsored programs than we get from the fragmented insurance industry, so from both perspectives….think about this….The Institute of Medicine did a study in 2006 that found 50 cents of EVERY $1 dollar spent by Medicare was spent in the last 8 weeks of a patients life.

4)  Some other engaging Medicaid/Medicare facts:  these programs cover 65% of all nursing home residents in the United States (44% of all nursing home costs).  In 2005, Medicaid passed up Medicare in terms of the # of lives covered.  In an average month, there are 49 million Americans covered under Medicaid. 

Fascinating stuff.  Data can help us understand our costs better, help patients and providers make better choices, and even start a discussion about how we as a society spend our valuable healthcare dollars.

Stay warm everyone….the winter is almost over….




Hello everyone and happy (almost) Halloween.  On the occasion of this spooky time of year, I thought I would share with everyone an e-mail exchange that just occured and can help you understand (one more reason why) it’s not just safe to use BRINGO nophonetrees, it’s actually SAFER than picking up the phone and calling a toll free number yourself.  The more you are concerned about privacy, the more appealing the BRINGO nophonetrees platform actually is….and this is not just for our nophonetrees business but also our healthcare modules.  In today’s world, privacy is critical (especially in healthcare).

 So, on Saturday one of our many new users these days (referrals keep growing the traffic) wrote us angry that the day after she used our service, she received 12 tele-marketing calls.  Understandably, she presumed we were the cause.  Here was my response to her (I changed her name to Jane Doe) and her response back:

Mark to Jane Doe:

I received your e-mail and wanted to immediately respond back to you.  I am the owner and operator of the nophonetrees.com site (along with my partners) and I can assure you, WE SIMPLY DO NOT SELL PHONE NUMBERS.  We have strict password protection on all our data, and no one has access to it.  Our policy is clearly stated in our statement of terms, and if we did indeed break this policy we could (and SHOULD) be sued.  Heck, I’d be furious if someone did that to me.

I am sure you relayed your experience accurately (used our site and then got telemarketing calls) but there must have been something else that also occured to trigger these calls.  We not only give your phone number away, but when you use our service the company you are calling does not know your phone number (careful as calling many 1-800 phone numbers directly can lead to your phone # getting onto a call list).

We have been around for more than one year now, get used by hundreds of people per day, and frankly…this is the first time someone we have gotten this kind of customer feedback.  I wanted to write you personally and assure you that your problems with telemarketers did not originate with us.  Our whole business is to help people protect their privacy and avoid the marketers.  We have been covered everywhere from the Wall Street Journal, NPR, CBS, NBC, etc….and they have delved deep enough to know that we are not a fly-by-night company nor do we cheat our users.

Sorry that you ended up in tele-marketing hell (and indeed it is hell), but I wanted to assure you that it did not come from BRINGO.

Best Regards,
Mark Grazman
Co-Founder, BRINGO.com

And the next day, here was Jane Doe’s response back to me:

 Dear Mark,


    Thank you for your prompt response to my concern.  I apologize, but I was wrong.  I had not seen a privacy policy when using your site, and thought I was being hammered with phone calls because of it.  I am on the DO NOT CALL list until 2008, and happened to receive 12 telemarketing calls the day after using your site…..and they keep calling.   As it so happens, all of the telemarketing phone calls traced back to AT&T, whose phone service I dropped a couple of weeks ago.  THAT incident was the source of the problem.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

Sincerely, Jane Doe

I simply couldn’t pass up my Jerry Springer moment and the conversation ended with my sending Jane Doe the moral of the story:

Dear Jane Doe,

Once again, sorry you experienced telemarketing hell but I am glad that your image of BRINGO has been cleared up.  Our shared respect of privacy is important, and I hope you continue to use the nophonetrees service and tell your friends!  Not only is it more convenient and time-saving, but importantly it protects privacy.  Most call centers capture your phone number when you call, and there are services that can match more than 80% of Americans phone numbers with specific demographic data that they can use for further targeting.  At least there is the do-not-call list, that helps but so too does BRINGO.

Have a great day,

Mark Grazman