Know Your Patients

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

 

You are sitting on a gold mine. That medical chart is full of the stuff that most marketers dream about. Gender, Age, specific needs and desires. Most advertisers pay big money for an outside firm to tell them exactly who their target customer is, but you have it all in the chart or EMR (if you are lucky). You just need to mine all of that data and target more people just like the ones coming through your doors. If you want to know more, just ask… If you don't already ask “what do you expect to gain from today's visit”, then add that question in your patient packet. These answers can be the base message in your advertising and marketing messages. You don't have to be spending millions in advertising to do it. You don't need a billboard campaign to be advertising. There are profile sites that already have a listing for you, take advantage of them and upload the information that you want out there. An effective social media site will help you gain and retain patients by having conversations daily about how to be healthy and happy. All of this information is in your hands already, you just need to invest the time finding the information and creating the messages to address patient needs and desires.

Here is a basic list of types of information that can help you grow your practice by targeting similar patients.

Age

Gender

Marital status

Employment status and occupation

Socioeconomic status

Age of onset of different illnesses

If you need help with targeting new patients, creating a marketing campaign or social media management, MD Integrated Marketing can take over, so you have time to focus on your patients. Visit our website to learn more or talk to a specialist.

Medical Marketing 101

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

"Marketing your practice" is not a class you missed in medical school. You didn't bypass it to take another class that you thought would help your suturing skills. It's not offered. You probably never even thought about it, until you hung out your shingle and waited. Waited for all of those doctor referrals that the hospital told you that would be coming your way. Waited for the word of mouth advertising from those patients whose lives you changed. Waited for the schedule to be full and the insurance reimbursements to pay off your student loans.

Stop waiting and make it happen. Medicine is big business and you need a plan to get your name and services in front of your potential patients. Depending on your specialty and location you have many opportunities to get in front them. Here are the top 5 first steps that you should be taking

1.  Google yourself- There is a ton of information here that can help or hurt your practice.

a.  Is your address, phone number, website and any other critical information correct? If not reach out to those sites and make sure any updates get done.

b.  Doctor review sites pop up every day. Make sure that your information on them is correct, upload images and logos or anything else that will help drive traffic to you. Solicit positive reviews from happy patients. Know your options on each site to combat any negative remarks.

2. Create some social media profiles. Depending on your specialty, some sites might be better than others at getting your message out.

a.  Facebook is great. Create a business profile and post frequently. However, do not post with your personal facebook profile. Do not "friend" patients and keep it professional.

b.  Twitter- This is great to post blogs about topics in your field and share articles and stories that can benefit your patient. Twitter is also a great tool to reach the referring doctors and show them your expertise.

c.  LinkedIn- do you rely on referrals from other doctors? If you want to be the "specialist" that gets referrals, then show off your specialty. Make frequent posts about the procedures and services that you offer to explain why you should be getting their referrals. Reach out to any physicians that could refer to you or that could influence others to refer to you.

d.  Instagram- if patient transformations is what you specialize in, then show it off here. Weight loss, plastic surgery and even pain management can be highlighted with this very visual site. You will have to master the art of hashtags and understand the search terms around your specialty, but if you have visual results and a younger demographic, this is where you should be.

e.  Pinterest- very similar to Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform and works great to show off before and after pictures. The demographic is a little older with more disposable income.

f.  YouTube- There a few reasons that YouTube is a great platform to showcase your business.

1.  It’s owned by Google- so if you want to show up well in Google searches, this is a great place to be.

2.  People really enjoy watching videos. Most would rather watch something than have to read an article or scan a site to get information. A YouTube channel can house professionally produced videos or even videos shot on a smart phone.

g.  Google+ - Just like Youtube, you will want a Google+ profile so that you have more information pulling up during a Google search. Don’t forget to create posts frequently.

3.  If you don't have a website, get one. It doesn't have to be tons of pages, but patients have abandoned the yellow pages and moved online to find services. You need to have a presence online and it shouldn't have to cost a fortune. Show potential patients who you are, where to find you and what to expect when they come to see you. Healthcare is scary for many patients. Help them feel comfortable with you and your office and you are starting to break down the barriers.

4.  Create your image and stick with it- Look back over steps 1-3 make sure your message and name are consistent across all of the profiles. If you have goals of growing to be a multi physician practice, go ahead and plan to use a business name that doesn’t just focus on 1 doctor, after all, you will want to be able to sit back at some point and let others help to bring in patients and cases.

5.  Marketing materials- You will need items that people can take with them as they leave your office. Business cards are a staple, but so should be branded folders, trifold brochures and post cards with details on services, procedures and other areas for additional information (like a listing of all of your social media sites)

If this seems daunting to you, there are many companies out there that can manage all of this for you. If possible, find one that understands the medical profession and understands HIPAA. It is “social” media, so you will need to interact some with the patients, but always keep it professional and make sure any patient videos or posts have been covered with signed consents from your patients.

For more information on how MD Integrated Marketing can help you fill your waiting room, fill out our contact form (click here) and someone will get in touch with you shortly.

Visit MdIntegrated.net 

When is an emergency, not an emergency?

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Eventually, it will happen. The surgeon will get called away to deal with a patient who is having a problem and needs to be taken immediately back into surgery. What happens when this interrupts a waiting room full of patients? You have spent a lot of money to fill that waiting room. You spent hours developing patient flow and creating the best patient experience. You have trained staff on customer service and patient education about the procedures and process to get to surgery, whether it is through insurance or self-pay programs. But, does your staff know how to handle an emergency? Do they know what to say to explain to your potential patients that they need to come back later in the day, or that they need to re-schedule to another day?

Whether this is an elective procedure or a much needed life changing operation, patients have choices. They want to feel safe and secure in the surgeon or group that they are choosing. Many times they have people in their lives already trying to talk them out of this choice. To hear that the surgeon had an "emergency" or even had a patient with an "emergency" is all that they need to back out completely or go find another surgeon. It's nothing that is planned, however, I think some forethought into staff responses is important. It's not only the wording, but the empathy with this patient that they took time away from their normal schedule to be in your office  and now they will need to come back at another time. The staff responses, from the MA who rooms the ones who came a little early, to the front desk who needs to communicate with patients waiting to be called back and even the ones making the phone calls to reschedule the one who aren't even there yet, need to be calming and empathetic. The staff has been taken out of their comfort zone and is having to call patients and many times they don't feel that they know what to say or how much they can say. Take some time to pull the staff aside and remind them to show some empathy. Give them either some set words that they can say about why the appointments need to be rescheduled, or give them a phrase that they can use, but "emergency"should not be an option. While that might be the best way to explain the situation, you don't want patients thinking that they could be that "emergency" if they chose your practice.

Chose words or phrases like "called into a case" or "check on a post-op patient" Either one of these is true. Either one of these is more calming to the patient than "emergency". You have worked hard to get patients comin g to your practice and to choose your facility over the other ones. Make sure that how you and your staff handle an emergency, doesn't turn patients away.