Major online deal vendors in the industry like Groupon and LivingSocial, offer cosmetic providers a potentially large group sale that brings a new group of people to their office, in return for deep discounts. But revenue might not be the only thing these providers are giving up. When discounts for medical procedures are widely advertised, unintended consequences may arise.
For example, an ad for discounted breast augmentation in the United Kingdom was pulled by the Independent Healthcare Advisory Board on the grounds that it might encourage patients to make hurried decisions about purchasing potentially risky medical procedures. This poor publicity is hardly beneficial to medical providers, or even to the industry as a whole. In addition to bad publicity, providers who opt for the daily deal special are giving up a substantial amount of control over how, when, and to what degree discounts are offered.
Dr. Manu Gujrati, a California Facial Plastic Surgeon has experience managing the effects of Groupon deals and states, "While they brought in a lot of new clients, in the end, the schedules got clogged up and the revenue was unfavorable given the limitations imposed by the online deal vendor."
There are new sites that are attempting to bridge this gap between quality and price. “Newer sites that cater to our industry like ZendyPlace, offer providers more control over deal price points and volume,” says Gujrati.
ZendyPlace is a start-up that offers an alternative approach to online deals, with an online platform that matches certified cosmetic procedure providers with local patients who are able to suggest a price that fits their budget. The provider has final say as to accepting or declining the offer, which isn’t possible with standard discount sites.
Medical Advisor for ZendyPlace, Dr. Jeffrey Pollard, claims, “The key is to balance interests so that providers can efficiently fill vacant appointment slots in their schedules on an ‘as needed’ basis without selling too many procedures at a loss, and without making it known to the greater community that they are deeply discounting their prices.”
The problem of balancing quality of medical care with fair prices is a difficult one, especially during times of economic strain. Although various companies like ZendyPlace are making steps to reconcile the two, the problem of discounted cosmetic procedures (http://zendyplace.com/