Jonathan Kaplan, MD, Baton Rouge, La., was getting a trim inside a local barbershop in December 2009 when he had an epiphany: Why not create a phone application that gives cosmetic surgery pricing information to prospective patients - before they even call the office? The result of that brainstorm is the BuildMyBod™ app, released for iPhone, iPads and iPods on Feb. 1. (A web app version - available for use on Android phones - was released June 1.) The app has received about 10,000 downloads to date.
Dr. Kaplan says that since opening his solo practice in 2007, he's noticed an increasing trend of consumers calling his office for procedure pricing. "They've done all of the research online about the procedure itself, how to get it done and the recovery, but the price is always so elusive," he tells PSN. "As a result, they visit my office, where my office manager looks at different fee schedules before quoting a price for them. I figured if someone could do it on paper, then a computer could crunch the numbers - and give them a pretty good estimate."
The main function of BuildMyBod is to provide consumers with an accurate estimate of cosmetic procedure pricing, including additional fees such as O.R. time and device costs. "But the app is also a way to keep staff off the phone - and not answering difficult questions about pricing," Dr. Kaplan says.
Dr. Kaplan found Ben Mills at Transform Technology Consulting to help him develop the app. He also hired Ben's brother, Parker, to create the database that stores all surgeon pricing information.
The BuildMyBod database holds contact information for about 4,000 plastic surgeons - and 27 plastic surgeons nationwide have placed their pricing information in the database thus far.
Dr. Kaplan says he's received positive feedback on the app from patients and surgeons alike. Patients say they can get a better understanding of what's involved with a procedure before scheduling a consult, while doctors note they can direct prospective patients to the app for information and pricing - sparing precious time.
For more information on BuildMyBod, visit www.buildmybod.com. To download the app, visit the iTunes app store at www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-iphone/.