RealMed Uses Telemarketing To Drive Seminar Attendance

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Deploying a teleservices program to spur seminar attendance for its smart card-based medical claims resolution system, RealMed Corp., is yielding solid responses to the selling strategy.

Pitching physicians and insurer payers alike with the automated system that maintains insurance coverage status, eligibility, and specifications for patients, RealMed uses seminars to educate the medical world about the claims program. The automated program, which requires use by both physicians and insurers in order to ensure effective record-keeping, maintains a database of medical information as well as demographic information.

"The claims process as it exists today is a nightmare," said Amy Balcius, marketing manager, RealMed, Indianapolis. "The average process takes six weeks. Our system uses high-technology system smart cards fitted with a readable and write-able microprocessor. It reduces the process to five minutes. There is no more paper work and the visit and claim are all resolved at the point of care in real time."

RealMed's challenge, however, has been to recruit physicians and payers to use the system. The answer has been to target users periodically with seminars. The first seminars ran in May and a second round ran last month. Backed by a telemarketing program run by Transcom USA Inc., the seminars have drawn a 20 percent response rate to drive attendance.

"We found Transcom in a newspaper article," Balcius said. "The first program was kind of a trial run to see if telemarketing was what we wanted to do." Balcius said the first program was initiated with a ten day lead time, which created a tight timeline for training. "We had to get reps trained on high-tech information in a day. They started taking and making calls the next day and our seminars were a huge success because of the effectiveness."

Since the two first worked together in May, HealthMed has developed its own software application for targeting and updating prospect information. While Transcom tallied May seminars on pen and paper, the center administered the July seminars with a fully automated proprietary software developed by HeatlhMed.

"The first time Transcom did a program it was all on paper because we didn't have time to write an application for the reps to use," Balcius said. "But one of programmers wrote an application that runs off the computer." The system enables Transcom to link directly into RealMed's Intranet and to update leads and data on attendance directly to RealMed.

"RealMed developed its own site to which we could connect every day to update in real time," Green said. "We didn't need to provide any data because RealMed could see what was going on, pull their reports and manipulate the date however they wanted."

RealMed provided a list of potential attendees for Transcom, which issued some 2,900 faxes for the seminars that ran in May and again last month. Based on direct inbound responses to the faxes and an outbound follow-up program to recipients, 10 agents were able to recruit about 522 participants.

"We sent out a broadcast fax and at the same time we sent the fax reps would make outbound calls to make sure the information was received," said Sherrie Green, account executive, Transcom. "They would answer the questions and sign them up for the seminar."

"It was not only just training there is a real environment of coaching," Balcius said. "A coaching environment is good for the reps -- they enjoy it and it gives us better results." Prior to May, RealMed had used a different unnamed call center but the seminar results with Transcom prompted the company to make a switch.

"They were able to take our toll-free calls and talk to everyone from potential investors to health care consultant. We had used a different call center and were so impressed we switched," Balcius said.

Transcom, which operates four other call centers throughout Indianapolis, is handling calls for RealMed's newly implemented vanity number, 877-RealMed. Balcius said the number, along with seminar programs, are generating call volume of between 50-100 weekly.

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