“How can we help potential customers effectively find the closest reseller of Medisoft and Lytec?” That was the question on the mind of the sales department at Per-Se Technologies in 2003 when it began looking for a better way to bring the customers and resellers of its medical software together. As with many businesses, Per-Se Technologies had an online tool that allowed potential customers to find resellers in their area. Customers looking for a place to purchase Medisoft and Lytec were directed to a map of the United States that gave them the ability to find a “Medisoft and Lytec Authorized Reseller” by clicking on their state and browsing through a list of resellers in that state.
The ‘find a reseller’ feature for Medisoft and Lytec worked, but as the number of resellers grew, it limited the potential for customers to find the nearest reseller location to purchase Medisoft or Lytec products. For small states, such as Vermont, there might have only been a few resellers, but there was no way for a potential customer to tell if the resellers in Vermont or neighboring states were closest to their location. In larger states, such as Texas, the list from the map could return hundreds of locations leaving too many resellers to chose from. After identifying these limitations, Per-Se began to search for a solution to improve website functionality and increase sales.
After doing some research, Per-Se Technologies was able to find the tools it needed to improve its ‘find a reseller’ feature at ZIPCodeDownload.com. Since the products were affordable, Per-Se Technologies reached the decision to implement the tools on Medisoft and Lytec’s website easily.
The most common method for developing any “nearest lookup tool” uses the latitude and longitude coordinates for a ZIP Code. ZIP Code Download provides this data for both US ZIP Codes and Canadian postal codes in its Premium and Commercial Edition databases, which starts at only $29.95. Since Per-Se Technologies decided to go with a quarterly update subscription, the price was only $59.95 for one year.
Calculating the distance between postal codes can require some complicated trigonometry. Many distance and radius calculations will use a flat-earth model to simplify the math required, but the simplification comes at the expense of accuracy. Per-Se Technologies wanted an accurate solution, so it purchased the Distance and Radius Assistanttools from ZIP Code Download. These tools use spherical geometry to calculate the distance and radius using the latitude and longitude coordinates in the ZIP Code database.
Per-Se Technologies used the database and tools, in combination with its database of resellers, to create a lookup tool that its customers could use to find the reseller closest to their location. Since Per-Se Technologies purchased the source code and SQL server stored procedures with the Distance and Radius Assistants, it was able to tightly integrate the APIs with its system. The products from ZIP Code Download only cost $159.90.
The 5-digit ZIP Code database with latitude and longitude coordinates, combined with the distance and radius programming APIs, was just what Per-Se Technologies needed to improve its ‘find a reseller’ feature. Bob Allen, the National Sales Manager, explained, “After we implemented this product, prospective customers were more efficiently led to nearby resellers that sell and support our Medisoft and Lytec practice management solutions.” Customers are now able to quickly and easily search for a reseller by performing a distance search based on their ZIP Code.
ZIPCODE DATA SINCE 2002