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Monthly Archives: June 2017

Trump Doesn’t Seem to Know Anything About Health Care: A Closer Look

Source: – Thursday, June 29, 2017

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How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Every time the phone rings at your practice, you get a brand-new chance to delight your caller with great customer service. Each call that comes in to your medical practice is also a chance to build revenue by helping a potential or existing patient. However, too often these calls turn into a missed opportunity.

Your practice, like other practices, must be spending a lot of time, effort and money trying to get more patients to call in for an appointment. Most practices are spending thousands of dollars on marketing efforts just to get the phone to ring. After spending a major chunk of their revenues, the average practice misses almost 34 percent of calls.

What a waste of marketing dollars!

However, why so many missed calls? This is because the telephone takes the lowest priority in a busy office where the staff is handling patients who are scheduled for consultation, speaking on the phone with another patient, responding to the doctors’ needs and handling last-minute requests. On such busy days, it is easier to call back a patient instead of taking the phone call. However, for the potential patient who has evaluated and explored a procedure for weeks and is finally set to take the next step, the recorded words, “Please leave a message” may make him or her call elsewhere. In fact, according to studies, only 15 percent of potential patients actually leave a message on voicemail.

A patient’s decision to move forward with treatment is an emotional one. Most new patients will want to gauge if your practice is welcoming, friendly, well-informed and, most importantly, sensitive to their needs. You can say all you want on your website, but when a patient reaches your voicemail, they may not feel any care or compassion.

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Where are you losing leads?

Regardless of the nature of your business, your sales funnel is likely to leak at some point. The key is to find where these leaks are and take proactive steps to close them and ensure leads progress smoothly.

In order to identify weak points in your sales funnel, you must first understand each phase that a potential patient goes through before becoming a loyal patient. Optimizing these stages is the first step in spill-proofing your sales funnel.

Marketing strategy: Successful lead generation starts with an effective, multi-platform marketing strategy that maximizes the number of leads your practice receives. Getting high-quality leads is critical when it comes to expanding your patient base.

Website design: Once a prospect finds you, he or she will visit your practice website to do further research on your services. A user-friendly website that provides useful information will significantly improve the likelihood that a visitor will either fill out a contact form or call your office. A slow-loading site, irrelevant content and lack of call-to-action will negatively impact your conversion rates.

Response time: This is the most critical component in converting leads into patients. According to studies, following up with leads within 12 minutes of receiving them increases the likelihood of conversion. However, conversion rates may drop off significantly if the lead is followed up within an hour.

First contact: If your front-desk staff has not been trained on phone etiquette and sales techniques, you could be losing many leads each day. Sales are difficult to master, and most front-desk staff does not have the skills to promote your practice. However, taking the time to train your staff to successfully close leads will increase the number of new patients you see each month.

Lead nurturing: According to studies, for every nine leads that your practice receives, only one schedules an appointment. Following up on leads that have yet to convert is critical to growing your practice. Staying in touch with leads through newsletters and emails keeps you fresh in their minds so that when they need to schedule an appointment, they know whom to call.

The consultation: From interaction with your staff to wait times, the patient’s experience at your practice determines whether they become a regular patient or not. Often, patients form an opinion about your practice even before entering the exam room. Your staff is an extension of your reputation. It is important your office conveys a sense of friendliness and professionalism.

Follow-up: Just because a prospect does not schedule an appointment does not mean you should hang up your hat. According to experts, practices that followed up at least three times with leads had a 36 percent higher conversion rate than practices that followed up just once. Your staff should be persistent in a way that displays a genuine interest in prospects’ wellness and healthcare. Without persistent follow-up, your conversion rates will continue to remain flat.

Once a prospect becomes a patient, your efforts should shift to staying engaged, delivering value and keeping the patient satisfied. A happy patient is much more likely to spread the good word about your services and send referrals your way. Loyal patients are more likely to write positive online reviews for your practice. A good online reputation translates into more qualified leads and a better conversion rate.

The main goal: Increasing the conversion rate.

The three key goals of any successful practice are maintaining a high conversion rate, growing the patient base and retaining current patients. If you are promoting your practice, every time your phone rings, you have paid for that ring. However, when that phone finally rings and you ask the patient to hold, you may return to the line to find your patient is no longer there. This is an area most practices struggle with.

According to AT&T, most businesses place 70 percent of callers on hold. A staggering 35 percent of callers who are put on hold hang up in less than 45 seconds. Lost calls equal missed appointments, and in the long run, lost revenue.

How Much Revenue Are Missed Phone Calls Costing Your Practice?

Are you thinking your top concern is getting more patients to call you? While this may be true for some practices, the real challenge begins when potential patients start calling your practice. Are you equipped to convert leads into customers?

The first contact most new patients will have with your practice is with the front-desk person. If this call does not go as expected, the chances are that prospect will not call back. Unfortunately, many practices face this problem and often wonder why they are not able to improve their conversion rates. If you, too, are getting abundant phone calls but few consultations, it is time to find out the reasons and fix the situation by doing the right things.

Nearly 50 percent of new patient calls are lost at the front desk.

Here are some effective ways to help you improve conversion rates:

  • Make sure your staff is cross-trained in key functions such as scheduling appointments, following up with patients and providing basic information.
  • Make sure your EHR has a “quick consultation” facility. This feature will require your staff to only take down the name, date of birth and phone number for the patient. Your staff can quickly schedule the appointment, write the patient’s name on the list, and call back to discuss the rest of the formalities. A quicker discussion will help keep the phone lines free for other patients to call in.
  • Create a set of call-answering guidelines. For instance, your staff must answer the phone after two rings and have others in the office handle the front office when calls are on hold.
  • Convey to your staff that the goal for everyone who answers the phone is to convert that caller.
  • If you are using an automated answering service, consider setting it up such that the calls are not routed to a voicemail for scheduling an appointment. Even one patient a day can prevent your practice from having the extra dollars you need for staff, marketing, admin, etc.

Train your staff to close leads efficiently

The value of each incoming call and the skills of the person answering the phone are underestimated in many practices.

Not everyone is adept at phone etiquette, so providing a script for your staff to follow when answering inbound phone calls is vital to improving conversion rates. In the phone handling training program, your training firm must cover the following key areas:

  • Answer calls with a scripted greeting that should be used consistently by all staff.
  • Answer calls after two rings, and note the day and time of the call.
  • Do not put the patient on hold for more than a minute. Try not to put them on hold multiple times in one call.
  • Learn to convey friendliness, professionalism and compassion over the phone.
  • Understand how to convert a simple inquiry call into a friendly conversation by asking the right questions.
  • Gather vital information like the caller’s name, contact details and referral source during the call.
  • Keep the necessary information nearby, and help the caller if needed. You must learn important information such as the practice’s credentials, services and associated costs or insurance concerns.

Telephone training must be a part of your staff orientation. You can plan the best marketing campaign with plenty of calls to action, but if your staff does not have the necessary training to convert those calls to appointments, you are wasting away those hard-earned dollars.

From missed call to appointment confirmation

Almost nine out of 10 medical practices lose revenue every time the phone rings. Even if you are losing just one lead per day when the phone rings, with a case size of approximately $ 1,000, that would be a significant amount in new business opportunity each year. This is even more relevant if you are handling advertising-generated leads. Moreover, with case sizes larger than our estimate, the lost opportunity size is staggering. A professional training course can make a significant difference in converting leads to new patients.

In nearly all of the revenue loss situations, the problem is due to the complete absence of staff training in phone handling skills, leads closing and converting leads to an appointment.

Practice Builders can help you train your staff and provide tools for measuring and monitoring their performance. If you would like to know more about our training modules, or if you want to know how call handling training can make a significant difference to your bottom line, we can help you understand the numbers.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Are you flushing your precious marketing dollars down the drain? If you cannot track how much revenue you are generating from the various marketing activities, you may end up wasting A LOT of money on activities that will never yield desired results.

Measurement is vital to successful marketing because it is the only way to recognize the effectiveness of your healthcare marketing activities. Unless you are able to track the revenue generated by every single marketing activity, you have no idea which of your marketing efforts are capable of attracting patients to your medical practice.

This is one of the biggest mistakes practitioners make in their healthcare marketing efforts. They have no idea how their marketing strategies are helping them, and they have no clue which marketing activities are generating the best results. It is only when you know which marketing activities work the best for your practice that you can create an effective healthcare marketing plan. For instance, if you know that direct mail is the best strategy for attracting quality patients to your medical practice, then you can look for innovative ways to integrate that particular activity into your healthcare marketing plan.

What is the best way for measuring healthcare marketing activities?

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Monitoring. Monitoring. Monitoring.

There are a variety of ways to monitor each of your healthcare marketing activities, depending on the type of marketing you do. For instance, if you conduct an email campaign, the best way to track the number of leads generated is by using call tracking. Call tracking is a low-cost and precise way to identify whether or not your marketing efforts are paying off. By using call tracking, you can determine which marketing activities generate the most leads, which will help you calculate the revenue generated by the tracked marketing activity.

Whether you are tracking online leads using Google Analytics or tracking leads via call tracking, monitoring is important for the success of your healthcare marketing campaigns. This is because an increase in the number of incoming phone calls only means your marketing is working; it does not say that you are getting a healthy return on your investment. So, it is always a good idea to measure marketing activities against the amount of revenue they generate, not the number of phone calls you receive.

The success of your healthcare marketing efforts depends on how efficiently you track key metrics that influence ROI. If you are a healthcare marketer, here are the eight critical metrics you should be focusing on:

1. Acquisition cost per patient: The acquisition cost per patient is an essential piece of healthcare marketing strategy. Understanding how much it costs to acquire a new patient through the various marketing channels is a starting point for tracking the overall success of your healthcare marketing efforts.

Mostly, this cost tells you how much money is being spent for every new patient acquired. Patient and doctor referrals, paid ads, website, social media and other marketing channels factor into your cost, and each channel contributes to the success of your marketing campaign. While most marketers just divide all marketing costs by new patients acquired in a specific period, it is better to calculate the cost per acquired patient for every marketing channel. This lets you know which marketing activities are most effective and which ones require a more aggressive treatment.

How to calculate acquisition cost per new patient

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Thanks to some amazing digital healthcare marketing tools, understanding and calculating your acquisition cost per new patient is simple. These tools allow you to track which marketing channels your patients are coming from, and then decide the importance and effectiveness of each channel. This will help you efficiently develop digital healthcare marketing strategy.

2. Patient’s lifetime value: The lifetime value of a patient is about understanding how much value a patient can bring to your practice in the long term. This healthcare marketing metric is an excellent way to learn how patient satisfaction boosts your bottom line.

When a patient is happy with your services, he or she is more likely to come back to your practice and recommend your services to family and friends. This means your patients can become a powerful way to market your healthcare practice. Estimating the lifetime value of a satisfied patient will help you enhance customer service strategies way down the road.

Although initially it may seem you are losing money in acquiring new patients, the lifetime value of satisfied patients may increase your ROI by as much as ten times. This broad view can help you shift focus on customer service and delighting your current patients, rather than focusing purely on acquiring new ones.

How to calculate a patient’s lifetime value

Calculating this metric requires some computation. In order to understand how much value a patient can bring over a lifetime, you will need to have the following information:

  • Patient acquisition cost
  • Rate of patient retention
  • Cost of appointment

3. Patient engagement: When it comes to healthcare marketing, an active online community or a social media platform can prove to be your best friend. The way patients interact with their healthcare providers divulges valuable information about their overall relationship. While ensuring a positive online interaction with patients, try to address and resolve any negative feedback at the earliest.

While patient engagement may seem like an insignificant metric and you may not directly link it to your ROI, it helps marketers understand how leads are responding to online content and how close they are to scheduling an appointment. Patient engagement can also help you see the extent of your brand outreach and refine your marketing strategy accordingly.

How to calculate patient engagement

Here are some of the key factors that can help you measure patient engagement:

  • Blog views and comments
  • Shares on social media platforms
  • Patient reviews and testimonials on third-party review sites

While a lot of factors play a role in understanding a medical practitioner’s engagement with patients, paying attention to online patient reviews is the most critical.

4. Search engine rankings: Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the essential components in your digital healthcare marketing strategy. When potential patients are searching for a healthcare provider, you want to appear on the top of those options. Appearing high in organic searches is critical for any healthcare provider as it is an excellent way to attract leads to your practice and gain new patients. Local listings are influential, as these show star ratings and patient reviews. Listings with positive patient reviews and best star ratings always get the most click-through from organic traffic. This is where the importance of digital content kicks in.

How to understand search engine rankings

You can measure this important metric by monitoring your page ranking for keywords that are relevant to your industry and specialty. Knowing your position in search engine rankings allows you to have a better digital strategy on how to improve or maintain your position. A variety of online tools can also lend insight on your search engine ranking.

5. Patient retention: Retention is much sought-after, especially in the healthcare industry. The success of a medical practice relies on repeat business. When existing patients return to your practice, it increases their lifetime value. A bad experience in a medical practice can force a patient away for good. As a medical practitioner, it is critical to address patients’ concerns before they become widespread issues. A healthcare marketing strategy that focuses on converting negative patient experiences into positive ones will yield a great amount of success.

A happy patient who has had a good experience will not only become a patient for life but will also recommend your practice to family and friends via their social media or blogs, which can help increase your social validation. This makes loyal patients an integral part of your healthcare marketing strategy.

How to calculate patient retention

In order to know how many patients your practice can retain, you need to see how many current patients you have and how many you have lost and gained over a set period.

6. Valuable content: With regard to your practice website, you should have a strong idea of which sections and pages are driving most of your traffic and contributing to your marketing strategy. Sharing useful content is an effective way to acquire new leads. As a healthcare marketing professional, you must measure how well your target audience is responding to individual pages or type of content. This will help you hone your content marketing strategy. All of this relates to conversion rate optimization.

How to measure the impact of content

There are a lot of online tools that can help you understand the impact of strong content on your overall healthcare marketing strategy. However, Google Analytics is one of the best tools available online to measure these metrics.

7. Incoming call volume: Most medical practices complain about the volume of incoming calls and how much time their staff members spend handling them. A successful practice must have regular incoming calls and appointment requests from existing as well as new patients.

How to calculate incoming call volume

8 Essential Metrics Healthcare Marketers Must Focus On

Most phone systems have built-in call tracking equipment, which can be your starting point. Another helpful tool is CallRail, which provides in-depth information on the number of patient calls your practice is receiving on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and it helps you identify where each patient discovered your practice.

8. Customer service response time: Customer service is a necessity in order to maintain healthy relationships with patients so you can earn their loyalty and continued business. Patients expect you to give priority to their problems and address their questions quickly. Your healthcare marketing must include a patient service team that focuses on improving patient service and experience. The primary goal of that team should be to resolve issues effectively and promptly.

How to understand and improve customer service response time

Your digital healthcare marketing strategy should cover a patient’s overall experience at your practice. Patients expect you to respond to their concerns through phone calls, emails and even social media. In order to calculate your customer response time, you can track the time when customer communication comes in and on average how long it takes to respond to their queries. Some social media platforms allow you to track this metric automatically.

Wrapping up

With extensive information available out there when it comes to digital healthcare marketing, it may seem a little overwhelming to make sense of everything. The best moves are the ones that define your marketing goal, set your plan of action and identify the marketing metrics that will help you discover how successful you were.

Different marketing campaigns have different goals and will yield different results. However, before any campaign, define what your healthcare marketing goals are so you know what to expect and how to strategize for more successful campaigns. However, regardless of your efforts, at the end of each healthcare marketing campaign, you must take the time to evaluate your success and note what you learn.

Measuring and analyzing healthcare marketing metrics can be difficult, and we would love to help you understand them in order to grow your medical practice. If you are willing to learn more about the powers of marketing metrics, give us a call.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Health systems playing catch-up on rising patient self-pay

Hospitals and physicians are bracing for higher levels of patient self-pay brought on by high-deductible health plans or lack of insurance, and many aren’t prepared for the financial shift, according to a survey of health system chief financial…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Mexican governor denounces ‘beasts’ and ‘cowards’ who killed state commander of federal police

Gunmen burst into a restaurant and killed a state commander for federal police and two other officers on another bloody day in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

The policemen were among at least 11 people slain in the state on Saturday, including four children, according to local officials.

Veracruz… – Los Angeles Times

Medical Website Design Tips That Convert Leads to Patients

Medical Website Design Tips That Convert Leads to Patients

As a marketer, you must have invested a lot in marketing strategies in order to boost your website traffic. After tremendous amounts of content creation, social engagement and paid media, you think of celebrating because your website is finally able to pull in thousands of unique visitors every week. However, if your conversions are not picking up and growth is slow, then this is not the right time to celebrate. While it is critical to attracting more visitors to your website, those visitors are of no significance if they are not resulting in appointments. Unfortunately, website visitors do not grow your practice. Patients do. And if your website is not helping you improve conversion rates, it is not serving you well. This is where conversion rate optimization can benefit you.

Instead of attracting more visitors to your website, conversion rate optimization focuses on making your website more effective so that your existing visitors feel motivated to convert to patients.

No doubt, conversions are difficult to achieve. According to research, strong conversion rates hover in the range of 3 percent to 5 percent, depending on your specialty. The medical industry is tricky because your potential patients have a lot to consider before converting. Before getting into further details, here are a few points to get you thinking:

  • Typically, you will get merely five seconds to make an impression using a landing page. After five seconds, most of your visitors will leave.
  • Approximately 96 percent of your website visitors are not ready to buy.
  • The more landing pages you have, the more leads you are likely to attract.
  • A one-second delay in your website speed can cause a 7 percent reduction in conversions.
  • A/B testing is the preferred method that can help you increase the number of conversions.

If you too are struggling and looking to improve your conversion rates, you must look beyond the traditional tips and suggestions for bottlenecks.

Medical Website Design Tips That Convert Leads to Patients

Here are seven key healthcare website design principles to help you achieve better conversion rates:

1. User-friendly, responsive website design: A user-friendly web design is easy for visitors to navigate. If your website is too difficult to follow, visitors will become frustrated and will be less likely to convert to patients. Your website should also include your practice’s phone number, email ID, address and location in the footer. Ensuring that vital information is clear and prominently displayed will result in a higher conversion rate. Also, visitors may be accessing your website on whatever device they are using.

According to SmartInsights, more than 80 percent of people use smartphones as their primary method for browsing the Internet. It is important to be mindful of this trend because 30 percent of mobile users are likely to abandon a website if it is not optimized for mobile browsing. By having a responsive website, you place your practice in the best position to connect with highly engaged potential patients.

If your website is not using a responsive, mobile-compatible design, then it is time to upgrade your website. Failing to do so will not only make you lose potential patients but will also cause a significant drop in search rank and organic traffic.

2. Make your unique value proposition (USP) clear: There are plenty of healthcare providers out there, so it may become difficult to differentiate yourself from the pack. While the unique aspects of your practice may be known to you, conveying a clear value proposition to your visitors is vital to your conversions. Your visitors should clearly see on your landing page why they should come to your practice and what unique services you offer. What are your main selling points? Do you claim to provide the best services using the most advanced equipment? Do you offer discounts? Your landing page or homepage should address the top questions that potential patients may have about your practice. You are likely to increase your chances of converting a visitor into the patient if you have a clear value proposition that encourages the visitor to take action.

3. Test your calls-to-actions (CTA) buttons: What is the purpose of each page on your website? After a visitor reads a page, what is the action that you hope they will take? Do you expect the visitor to make an appointment or contact you for more information? The easiest way to accomplish your goals is to add a call-to-action button at the end of each page that prompts visitors to take the desired action. The CTA buttons are an essential element for influencing your visitors and should be easily visible. Make sure strong calls-to-action buttons are present on all pages and stand out from the other information on the page. According to research, changing your CTA buttons from green to red can increase conversions by as much as 34 percent. Also, using encouraging language like “Click to see pricing plans” can help increase conversions by 252 percent. Placing the prominent CTAs, such as ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Request an Appointment’ inside a circle or button, can make them stand out from other elements on the page. Make it easy for the visitor to complete the action.

4. Test your headlines: The headline can make or break your patient conversion rates. The first thing a visitor reads on your website is your headline. The first impression is formed within the initial few seconds, and the headline plays a major role in shaping that opinion. It is important to know what resonates most with your visitors. While there is no magic wand to help you find the way, there are a few guidelines that you can follow.

If your headline is unclear or mysterious, you confuse your visitors into leaving. On the other hand, a well-written informational headline can encourage your visitors to take a closer look at your services.

Having a clear headline with a unique value proposition is critical. You can consider adding discounts or free services in your headline in order to attract more eyeballs. You will need to test a couple of ideas and see what works. Be creative with your headlines and inform the visitor of your USPs. The goal is to serve them useful information in a creative way that pushes them one step closer to converting.

Medical Website Design Tips That Convert Leads to Patients

5. Try to shorten and simplify contact forms: Limit the forms only to the necessary number of fields. How many times have you been willing to sign up for a service, continue and see more than 25 fields to fill in? Will you not just leave the site? Respecting visitors’ time is critical. If you have managed to encourage the visitor to sign up, it is important that you do not make him or her drop off because your form is too long.

If your aim is to convince a visitor to fill a form, make sure the form is small. Ask for the information that you really need. For instance, in an appointment request form, you should include fields for the patient’s name, email address, location and maybe the current illness.

Build short forms, and only ask for what you need. Try not to include optional fields such as username, birthdate, security questions and verification code. In fact, do not force your visitors to create an account, even if they are coming for the first time. You will end up interrupting their conversion process.

6. Use video content to engage visitors: Videos are far more engaging than static text content and can help you build an initial human connection with potential patients when they are seeking a new healthcare provider. According to a study, one out of every three healthcare customers is actively searching for healthcare videos online. Before uploading video content, think about the needs of your potential patients and what they are hoping to find when they visit your website. Most potential patients want to feel a connection with a practice they entrust themselves to and want to feel cared for in the process. Video content is a powerful way to convey that message and bring more patients through the door.

7. Offer live chat: Implementing a live chat feature is believed to increase signup form fills by almost 31 percent. Many websites use chat tools to generate leads and convert them to customers. A website visitor is more likely to turn into your patient if he interacts with a person, and this is what a chat box does. Visitors can directly click on the chat box and ask questions to the patient care representatives at the other end. With a chat box, you will also understand what your potential patients need or want from your medical practice, and this insight can help you enhance your services.

Medical Website Design Tips That Convert Leads to Patients

Your website is the online face of your medical practice. By stepping back, taking a consistent look and implementing these seven key tactics, you will be able to elevate your website from a mere online brochure to a lead-attracting and converting tool. The healthcare industry, as well as the preferences of patients, have changed drastically over the past few years. It is time for your website to do the same.

An excellent healthcare website design should strike a delicate balance between conversion goals and esthetics in order to sell your services. Your website should be striking enough to grab the attention of visitors, yet useful enough to convey the essence of your brand. An effective healthcare website will let the content stand out without the distraction of visual elements.

These healthcare website design tips will not only improve conversion rates, but will also help you attract more qualified traffic.

At Practice Builders, we have specialized in medical marketing and healthcare website design for over three decades. This singular focus gives us the expertise, data and the insight to build healthcare website designs that provide one of the best conversion rates in the industry. Contact us for a free consultation and quote.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Google’s latest local search update has highlighted the importance of online reviews in a customer’s decision-making process. Your practice’s online reviews are one of the most reliable ways for potential patients to determine whether your practice is good or not. Reviews are often so reliable that 91 percent of potential customers read reviews before making a buying decision, according to a BrightLocal survey.

As the world’s top search engine, Google is constantly striving to enhance and simplify the user experience. Google understands that one of the first things potential patients do when searching for a local healthcare provider is to read its online reviews. Knowing this, and understanding just how powerful reviews are, Google has now made it even easier for users to find them online. With the new update to Google’s local panel in mobile search results, potential patients can easily navigate to see all your practice’s online reviews. This will help them make quick and accurate decisions.

Being a healthcare provider comes with a lot of responsibilities. One responsibility you cannot afford to overlook is online patient reviews. Recent studies by reveal that nearly 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Also, more than 54 percent of customers will visit the website after reading positive reviews online about the business. Combine these findings with the fact that Google now includes your practice’s reviews on searches, this makes your online reputation even more

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

A positive online reputation is one of your most powerful assets for attracting potential patients. The social proof contained within reviews and ratings helps potential patients make decisions faster and with greater confidence. Google continues to recognize and emphasize the importance of online reviews and has included a more substantial component of its Knowledge Panel called “Reviews from the Web.” This new section will feature customer reviews and ratings of businesses from third-party sites such as Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Reviews from the Web is Google’s attempt to give businesses a way to display user-generated content. This new section acknowledges that customers care about a business’s reputation on trusted third-party websites.

How does this update impact your practice?

Likely rolled out as an extension of Critic Reviews, Reviews from the Web gives you the opportunity to showcase positive patient feedback and attract more patients.
With reviews from Google as well as other third-party review sites displaying directly in local search results, it is faster and easier for patients to find everything people are saying about your practice online. Do a quick online search for your medical practice to see what searchers are reading about you.

This update provides users exactly what they want: quick and easy access to your online reputation. It also highlights just how important online reviews are in a patient’s decision-making process and places a practice’s reputation into the limelight for everyone to see. You just cannot avoid it. Potential patients are going to read your reviews. Updates like these emphasize the importance of monitoring your online reputation and ensuring that your reviews outshine your competitors’.

Your practice’s local search ranking will benefit indirectly from more reviews because potential patients will be more inclined to click on practices with more positive reviews, which will lead to higher click-through rates.

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

However, practices without a patient review strategy or unclaimed listings may find themselves at a disadvantage. Not only are patient reviews a ranking factor, but an influx of bad reviews is likely to drive away potential patients. For practices that have plenty of positive reviews to display and share, Reviews from the Web provides a valuable source of unique content that will engage patients and help attract more leads.

With Google displaying customer reviews from a number of external review sites, if you have been concentrating your review marketing efforts on a single site, now is the time to expand. Moreover, if you have not been considering a review marketing strategy, this is the time to plan one. You should focus your efforts on popular third-party sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, Yelp and Facebook.

It is time to take control of your online reputation and begin asking patients for online reviews.

Improving your online reputation

Improving your practice’s online reputation and gathering more reviews is one of the most efficient ways to take your practice to the next level. However, establishing and maintaining your practice’s online reputation does not happen with a snap of your fingers. It requires an active approach to generate more reviews, improve star rating and respond to online reviews.

Regardless of the specialty or size of your practice, your potential patients are going to read and trust the feedback that your previous patients have given you. Moreover, if your reviews slant negative, most of your potential patients will go looking for your competition instead.

So, how can you turn around your online reputation?

1. Evaluate your patients’ experience: The best way to generate positive reviews is to ensure you are giving patients a positive experience. If you are consistently delivering good services, your online reputation will reflect it.

Tips to improve patients’ experience:

Take a good look at your recent patient feedback. Look for common issues, and take them seriously. Have many patients mentioned the rude staff, long waiting time or high prices? Identifying a few areas for improvement might be useful.

If you do not have a lot of online reviews, or if the reviews do not give you any helpful ideas for improvements, reach out to patients directly. Ask loyal patients for honest feedback about your services, staff attitude, prices and other important factors.

Another approach is to ask for feedback at the end of every consultation. You can ask insightful questions like, “How can we serve you better?” or “How has your experience been today?” You will be surprised how direct questions yield honest answers from your patients. You should train your staff to ask such questions, as well. When patients see that you care, they will be willing to share their feedback online as well as offline.

2. Ask for reviews: Getting reviews is as simple as asking for them. Most patients will gladly write a review when asked to do so. You can make this request at the end of every consultation. Based on the patient’s feedback, it will be easy to determine if he or she is happy with your services.

3. Follow a systematic approach: No doubt online reviews can make or break your online reputation. If patients see mostly negative reviews about your practice, they will be more likely to choose your competitors. Positive reviews signify a brand that patients can trust. However, positive reviews do not just happen overnight; they are the result of great patient experiences delivered consistently. If you are treating your patients the way they deserve to be treated, they will end up spreading the good word about your practice to their friends and family.

4. Respond to negative reviews: Most healthcare providers do not just sit back when a patient leaves a negative online review. Instead, they take the time to reply to feedback and attempt to resolve the conflict. By responding to a negative review, you show the unhappy patient that you care about your patients’ experiences and are continuously striving to improve your services.

While you may be tempted to get defensive when a reviewer seems unjustified, it is important to remain calm and look for a solution. In addition, you should offer to fix the problem and invite the patient to give your practice another try in the future. In some cases, a patient may even be satisfied with your response and decide to take down the negative review and leave a positive one in its place.


With updates like these, it is obvious that online reviews are about to become even more important. You must optimize your strategy to attract the best possible reviews for your practice and stay ahead of the competition.

Patients are leaving it up to search engines and third-party review sites to give them a narrowed-down list of the most trustworthy and relevant medical practices in their area. From there, they will take a few minutes to read and compare the reviews for top suggestions and confirm their decision within a matter of minutes. This means, as a practice looking to capitalize on this opportunity, it is your job to become one of the top local medical practices that Google recommends. You can do this by monitoring your reputation, generating positive reviews and taking the required steps to improve your local search rankings.

Schedule your free consultation with Practice Builders to learn how we can help you manage your online reputation and local search to win more patients. If you are struggling to establish or maintain your online reputation, there are plenty of reputation management consultants out who that can help you. The online reputation management experts at Practice Builders can help you gather positive customer reviews. Our experts will monitor your online presence while implementing effective strategies to help you look your best.

Google Local Search Update: Why Online Reviews Matter for Your Practice

Medical Healthcare Marketing

‘Becks,’ ‘Everything Beautiful Is Far Away’ among L.A. Film Festival award winners – Los Angeles Times

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Commodities Performance – The Impact of Trump’s Presidency and Rising Rates

Source: – Tuesday, June 20, 2017

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