Bid For Surgery gathers doctors and patients in virtual marketplace for surgical procedures

Los Angeles 06 March 2000MedicineOnline.com, a full-service Internet health care site, has just launched Bid For Surgery, a patent-pending Web-based "reverse auction" which empowers consumers to actively take charge of their own health care when seeking elective, aesthetic medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology, with in particularly LASIK vision correction, and podiatry.

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"Bid For Surgery allows potential patients to connect with surgeons and dentists by logging onto MedicineOnline.com, clicking on Bid For Surgery and posting an anonymous, procedure-specific request which is offered electronically to qualified doctors", explains Michael Sussman, who is the Chief Operating Officer of parent company Medicine Online Inc. "Physicians respond within 72 hours by quoting their total fee for the requested procedure along with a complete list of the required background data."

MedicineOnline.com adds key doctor information to the response, including licensure, board certification, residency training, years in practice, academic appointments, and recent surgical experience in the specific procedure. The doctors' bids are valid for seven days, during which the potential patient may evaluate any number of the responding physicians. If the patient selects one or more doctors for evaluation, they meet one-on-one in a free consultation.

The physician/patient relationship is established and pre-operative patient evaluation and screening is performed. Each side then determines whether to proceed or not with no obligation whatsoever to either party. During the entire process, patient data is maintained as private and confidential on a secure server, accessible by password 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Patients make their identities known to each physician only after electing to proceed with him or her. Patients will save money and time, and make more educated decisions on their health care provider via MedicineOnline.com's Bid For Surgery.

Dr. C. Everett Koop, former United States Surgeon General who now hosts his own Web site, commented on virtual health care in a February 2000 interview with Yahoo! Internet Life magazine. "There will be a new relationship between doctors and patients, with the Internet as an intermediary and educator. It has the potential to help people take charge of their own health by providing a wealth of knowledge."

"Bid For Surgery is simulating the physical marketplace by bringing together consumers and medical providers, but in a more convenient and efficient way", notes Richard Van Meter, MD, a member of Medicine Online Inc.'s medical board. "We provide a virtual environment that maintains the highest ethical, medical, privacy and regulatory standards. It's not just a matter of choosing the surgeon or dentist who submits the lowest bid. For the consumer, investigating the doctor's credentials should be a key component of the decision-making process and we make that information readily available. Our reverse auction retains the important face-to-face doctor-patient relationship and allows either party to opt out for any reason after meeting."

There are 36 procedures offered among cosmetic surgery, dentistry, vision correction and podiatry on the MedicineOnline.com's Bid For Surgery site. Procedures include breast augmentation, face lift, liposuction, rhinoplasty, hair replacement, dental implants, bonding and veneers, bunionectomy, LASIK vision correction, and others. MedicineOnline.com adds to consumer knowledge with detailed data on each procedure including an overview of the surgery itself, risk factors, side effects, recovery period and more.

Research demonstrates that no less than half of today's patients wishes to communicate with doctors on-line. Doctors are Internet savvy too, according to Healtheon's ongoing Internet Survey of Medicine, the number of doctors and clinical practices with their own Web sites is expected to increase from 30 percent today to 42 percent within the year. As patients and physicians communicate more comfortably over the World Wide Web, Bid For Surgery fits right into that equation.

"It's win-win for patients and doctors", states Medicine Online Inc.'s COO Mike Sussman. "We're empowering consumers to make more informed choices about the doctors and the cost of elective surgery while offering doctors the opportunity, at no cost, to expand their patient base." While global consumers have the opportunity to explore Bid For Surgery from the beginning of March 2000 on, requests for elective, aesthetic surgery, dentistry, vision correction, and podiatry will focus exclusively on the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial. Medicine Online Inc. will extend Bid For Surgery nationally after several months of operation in Southern California.

Medicine Online Inc. is a privately held California corporation and developer of two on-line health care sites, one for consumers and one for physicians and health care professionals. The sites offer original and linked clinical content, health care information exchange, Internet connectivity services and solutions, community services and e-commerce transactions which currently attract over one million page views per month. MedicineOnline.com's newest addition to its extensive information and services forms Bid For Surgery, the copyrighted name for electronic exchange by reverse auction for elective, aesthetic medical procedures.


Leslie Versweyveld

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