Stuart/Grey Wins RealMed Account

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Stuart/Grey, Frederick, MD, has been selected to help RealMed launch a new healthcare communications system.

RealMed, Indianapolis, which was formed two years ago, has developed an Internet-based system that would let doctors access patients' insurance coverage and medical histories instantly through a secure network when patients present their insurance cards in the doctor's office. The service is expected to allow doctors to file claims faster, less expensively and more accurately.

Since its formation, RealMed has designed and built the system software and tested and enabled the technology. The company also has conducted seminars with doctors to explain the program and assess interest. For its next phase, RealMed has tapped Stuart/Grey to begin to enlist program participants.

The assignment is complex because the company must have both insurance providers and doctors enrolled before it can launch the system, said Jonathan Staples, partner with Stuart/Grey. The company initially must attract a significant number of doctors to entice insurance providers -- who will bear the cost of the program -- to participate.

Stuart/Grey will begin with a direct mail campaign in which a letter from a doctor and a reply device will be sent to all of the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 doctors in Indiana. The Indiana campaign will launch later this month.

"It's a letter from a doctor talking about what the program would mean and discussing the relationship between doctors and insurance companies and the frustrations of the current system," Staples said. "In the letter, the doctor says that his grandfather was a doctor, his father was a doctor and he's a doctor -- but if the system doesn't change, he's not sure that he'll encourage his children to become doctors."

After the system is launched in Indiana, RealMed will begin a national rollout, starting with certain targeted states. The national rollout is expected to begin next spring.

For Stuart/Grey, which has primarily focused on conservative non-profit clients in its 26 years in business, the RealMed assignment represents a bit of a break from tradition.

"We resisted doing commercial work for a long time, but this sounded so interesting we decided to try it," Staples said.
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