Medicineonline.com has announced that beginning in February it will allow surgeons to bid online for the right to perform your facelift, liposuction or bunion removal.
The site will market the services of qualified surgeons to consumers through reverse-auction offerings on its site. Consumers will be able to sign up by filling out a form that asks for demographic and clinical information as well as the elected procedure they wish to receive.
Participating surgeons will receive this information and make a bid. Once the offer is made, the site allows consumers to research the surgeon's practice profile, the cases they have performed, their infection rate and other pertinent information. After 72 hours they are asked to make their selection and a free face-to-face consultation is then arranged.
“We looked at the e-health business and noticed that there was a lack of this one model — the auction process,” said Michael Sussman, CEO of Medicineonline.com and Mol.net.
Although the model seems price driven, consumers probably won't select a doctor based solely on the lowest bid, according to Sussman. “We feel the determinant will not only be the price,” he said. “The surgeon's credentials and qualifications will be equally as important.”
To market this new feature, Medicineonline.com has posted banner ads on its site and on Mol.net, which targets physicians. Sussman is considering other online advertising methods, but had no further details at press time. Offline, the site will be advertised in clinical and medical journals. Radio ads may also be on the horizon.
Surgeons have learned about the site through word-of-mouth by members of the site's advisory group and are currently signing on to participate.
The first bid-for-surgery section of the site, called FootDocs, was 80 percent complete at press time. It will focus on consumers in need of bunion removal. Features will include: the “What's Wrong With My Feet?” question and answer segment as well as the “Consult with a Diabetic Foot Amputation Prevention Specialist” section.