When vascular surgeon Joseph Magnant moved to Fort Myers in 2006, he had to build his surgery practice from scratch.
So it's no surprise that the entrepreneurial doctor and owner of Vein Specialists in Fort Myers has ventured into Web marketing with a mobile-phone app.
Now, prospective patients can download an app for their Android or iPhone and send in a photo of their varicose veins for Magnant to review. Patients can do the same via a companion website called eVeinScreening.com. Surprisingly, 66 prospective patients have used the secure service since Magnant launched both the app and the site in May.
Meanwhile, another 121 prospective patients contacted Magnant for an initial consultation via his own practice's website, WeKnowVeins.com. A QR code in local newspaper ads he publishes links readers to his website.
Magnant estimates he's spent a total of about $100,000 on his online marketing efforts, including about $30,000 for eVeinScreening. But when you consider that the average patient generates about $3,000, Magnant says the investment in technology will pay off. “We're almost to break even,” he says.
Now, the enterprising doctor is planning to sell this service to other physicians around the country, though the fees haven't yet been established. Anyone who visits eVeinScreening.com will be able to view a list of vascular surgeons who pay a fee to become members of his referral program. Besides eVeinScreening.com, Magnant purchased another 100 websites with similar-sounding names such as eFootScreening.com to develop in a similar fashion.
“He really goes outside the box in building the business, building the brand,” says Luis Campos, president and founder of Damonaz Designs, the Web-development firm helping Magnant. “Out of all my clients, Dr. Magnant would be in the top in how he promotes his brand.”
Magnant had been part of a busy 130-person group practice in Georgia and bought a couple condos during the boom in 2005 to be closer to his parents. But when he moved to Fort Myers with one employee in 2006, he had to start selling because he didn't know anyone here. “I was in survival mode,” says Magnant.
Weekends were spent manning a booth at medical and home shows while he courted physician referrals during the week. “I'm selling every day,” says Magnant, who is now opening a second office in Bonita Springs.
Magnant acknowledges that the consultation over the Web and mobile phone means he's giving up the revenue from an initial visit. “I'm giving up a couple co-pays,” he says, noting that he doesn't provide a diagnosis with the online service but can arrange for tests such as ultrasounds. “The procedure is where the money is made,” he says.
The website and mobile-phone strategy also is a way to identify those prospective patients who are most likely to do something about their condition. “This is empowering people to take control of their health,” he says.