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Patient Satisfaction – Why It Matters and How To Improve It

Patient Satisfaction – Why It Matters and How To Improve It

Though the answer may sound obvious to many of you, the question is still worth asking: What do we mean by patient satisfaction?

Simply put, patient satisfaction is an indicator of how well the patient is being treated at your medical practice. The “how well” refers not only to the quality of care but also to how happy a patient is with the treatment he or she received. It is a measure of care quality and gives healthcare providers valuable insights into various aspects of healthcare, including the effectiveness of their care and their level of understanding.

Patient satisfaction, while always a critical factor, has recently gained momentum in the healthcare space. In the wake of the patient-centered healthcare environment, patients are demanding a bigger role in managing their healthcare, and they expect a higher level of commitment and care from their providers. Healthcare providers are adjusting their strategic plans accordingly.

Many medical facilities are starting to pay attention to patient experience and satisfaction. According to a recent survey, more than half of healthcare practitioners admit that patient satisfaction is one of their top three priorities. Should you be one of those healthcare practitioners? What steps should you take to improve your patient satisfaction score?

To answer many more such questions, we first need to understand the importance and relevance of patient satisfaction.

Why patient satisfaction matters

Improving patient satisfaction has become one of the primary goals for a lot of healthcare providers. The reason is simple: patient satisfaction level is directly linked to key success metrics for hospitals and individual healthcare providers. Patient satisfaction impacts clinical outcomes, patient retention and reimbursement claims.

Thanks to the Internet and social media platforms, patients are now aware of the care quality that their providers are offering. Patients are setting new expectations for convenience, transparency and collaboration, and healthcare facilities are developing strategies to meet these new demands.

While acknowledging the need to improve patient satisfaction is an important first step, from there it can be a tough task to understand what changes will yield the best results. Providers need to have an honest assessment of what their practice and services look like from when a patient first schedules an appointment all the way through follow-up with a doctor. Changes, big and small, during this process can improve a patient’s overall experience. There are many reasons why patient satisfaction is one of the top priorities for every medical practitioner. Here are some of the obvious ones.

Patient Satisfaction – Why It Matters and How To Improve It

1. Quick publicity: According to a report, satisfied patients share their experience with five others while unsatisfied patients will complain to nine or more people. Online reviews put gas on the fire. With increasing numbers of patients posting about their good and bad experiences online, potential patients are getting a glimpse of what is going on “behind the curtain.” If your team is delivering excellent quality of care, more people will get to know about it. In addition, if you are continually missing the mark, these negative remarks can snowball even faster, catching the eyes of even more potential patients.

2. Financial success: A number of factors that affect your bottom line are linked to patient satisfaction, including new patient growth, physician bonuses, fruitful partnerships, etc. According to industry estimates, in the U.S., loss of a patient due to dissatisfaction can result in the loss of over $ 200,000 over the lifetime of the practice. Do you want to understand just how significant is the impact of higher patient satisfaction? According to the Press Ganey study, hospitals with patient satisfaction in the 90th percentile experience nearly a one-third increase in patient volume or an additional average 1,382 patients per year. For hospitals with patient satisfaction in the bottom 10th percentile, the average volume loss was 17 percent. In addition, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago has calculated that higher patient satisfaction scores can potentially translate to $ 2.3 million in additional revenues annually.

3. Improved patient retention: Whether you are running a coffee shop or a healthcare facility, happy customers come back and refer others. As the cost of patient acquisition is high, so retaining existing patients by delivering extraordinary care is one of the sure-shot ways to reduce turnover, increase loyalty and extend lifetime value. However, failing to deliver excellent service means losing a patient forever. Moreover, even if you are losing only a single patient, that is one patient too many. Patient satisfaction is not just a bonus; it is a huge investment in the future of your medical practice.

4. Attract more patients: When it comes to our health, we tend to trust family and friends over any other marketing channel. Patient care is a double-edged sword. If you fail to meet your patients’ expectations, they may complain to nine more people. Some marketers feel it is a high-risk, high-reward case. However, if you approach this matter logically, there are no major risks at all. This is because the positive aspects of personal recommendations extend all the way to social media platforms and third-party review sites. By delivering on positive aspects, medical practices can build up their image among their existing patients and attract new ones. As a marketing strategy, word-of-mouth proves to be more efficient and less costly than other marketing tactics.

5. Charge more for better care: Studies have revealed that patients are willing to pay more to consult with a better physician of their choice. According to the Patient Satisfaction journal, medical practices with high patient loyalty can command a higher price for their superior services without losing profit or market share. In other words, greater patient satisfaction lends medical practitioners the ability to demand higher prices.

6. Better clinical outcomes: According to a study in Academic Medicine, patients who trust their doctors have better clinical outcomes. In simple terms, this means that the effectiveness of treatment depends on how much a patient trusts his or her physician. Meeting your patients’ needs will not only help you raise their satisfaction level but will also make your job easier.

How to improve patient satisfaction

In order to improve your patient satisfaction level, you will need to get in the mindset of your patients. You will have to ask yourself questions like: What do patients expect from healthcare providers? What do patients value in healthcare? Keeping these questions in mind, here are some actionable ways to boost patient satisfaction:

Patient Satisfaction – Why It Matters and How To Improve It

1. Train your employees: Make sure your employees are focused on delivering service that is not only high-quality but also delivers a positive patient experience. The first step to ensuring patient-centric care is by making sure that your employees have this common goal in mind. You should encourage your team to suggest ideas for improving patient satisfaction within your practice. You should convey the message to your staff that providing exceptional patient service is not an option; rather it is compulsory for every employee. Your staff must realize the significance of providing excellent service to patients and their families. It is critical to hold your employees responsible for the overall patient experience.

2. Educate your patients: Providing your patients with necessary information is critical to achieving a positive patient experience. A patient will feel empowered when he or she leaves your office with more knowledge about his or her diagnosis and treatment options. Not just that, studies have revealed that greater patient empowerment leads to better patient adherence, which leads to improvements in patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

3. Differentiate between medical and non-medical staff: Patients find it frustrating when they are surrounded by so many people but are not sure whom to approach when they have a concern or a request. This may become even more frustrating when the patient approaches one employee only to be directed to another employee. The easiest way to differentiate your staff is by implementing different-color uniforms so that patients can easily tell who is an RN, PA, physician, etc.

4. Empower nurses: Nurses have a critical role in patient experience and improving the satisfaction level in patients. Nurses who are more experienced and independent will provide better patient care as they feel empowered in their work. You can consider creating a staffing committee to allow your nurses to collaborate for better patient care and give them the freedom to improve their performance.

5. Be flexible: By improving the efficiency of your practice, you can reduce long wait times both for scheduling appointments and while a patient is waiting to be seen. One of the top complaints of patients is having to wait longer in the waiting room just to be seen. You can consider creating a system in which a patient is kept informed about wait times.

6. Build a follow-up mechanism: Patients are often irritated by the inability to communicate with their providers between appointments. You can use technology and build systems that open the lines of communication between the doctor and the patient. This will not only foster long-term patient relationships, but it will create better clinical outcomes by making it easy for patients to schedule appointments.

Do you have a patient satisfaction score?

For medical practices that are already achieving higher patient satisfaction scores, the next step is to leverage them. If your practice has worked hard to earn the positive word from patients, why not use these positive experiences to reach more potential patients? Not capturing positive reviews, feedback and testimonials is leaving massive opportunity on the table. Here are some of the ways you can leverage patient satisfaction to reach more patients.

1. Gather Yelp reviews: Most people read Yelp reviews before going to restaurants, buying a phone or choosing a doctor. It is critical to set up someone in the office for managing a Yelp page. You can initiate a process that encourages patients to post reviews that can serve as a well-oiled machine for your practice. Email campaigns, social media, paper handouts and iPads in waiting rooms with a call-to-action to leave positive feedback are excellent ways to build your testimonial library.

2. Social media ratings: Just like gathering Yelp reviews, getting patients to like your treatment videos on Facebook will help attract the attention of potential patients. You should gather written reviews, star ratings or be tagged in posts, and you will reap the rewards by “getting seen” by search engines on a regular basis.

3. Add patient testimonials to your website: Sharing patient success stories and building a dedicated patient testimonial section on your website is a great way to show off how satisfied your patients are. In the digital world, optimizing patient testimonials is an influential tool for building a brand name and attracting more of the “qualified” leads.

Wrapping up

Behind every great physician are employees who keep a practice running smoothly. Staff members are usually the first point of contact for patients and therefore require several professional skills. Your staff must have a thorough understanding of your services and should be trained to treat each patient with friendliness and compassion. Most of these skills are not just about good hiring practices, but also require practice-specific training.

At Practice Builders, we have created a series of custom healthcare staff-training programs to meet your practice’s unique needs. These training programs will assess your current processes, suggest and implement improvements and create a culture of exceptional patient experience and satisfaction. All training programs can be delivered individually or as a package. Call us now to understand how our healthcare staff training programs are best-suited for your needs.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don’ts of Patient Reviews

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

Online reputation management is an essential part of your dental practice’s success. What your patients say about your practice online has a substantial impact on your bottom line. Consider these stats:

  • 88 percent of patients read reviews to determine the quality of a local practice.
  • Merely 12 percent of patients do NOT pay heed to online reviews.
  • 72 percent of patients admit that positive reviews make them trust a practice more.
  • 72 percent of patients usually take action after reading an encouraging review.
  • 62 percent of patients are unlikely to visit a practice with unpleasant reviews.

When it comes to online reviews, the saying “If you cannot beat them, join them” applies aptly. As annoying as they can be, online reviews are not going anywhere anytime soon. It is important to accept online reviews, recognize their benefits and learn to use them to your practice’s advantage. If you are not sure how to handle online reviews, here are some dos and don’ts for dealing with them:

1. DO optimize your dental practice for service quality. Don’t optimize for patient reviews.

Instead of saying, “We need more reviews,” you should be saying, “We need more satisfied patients.”

At 27 percent, reliability is the most important characteristic a patient looks for in a dental practice, followed by skills (21 percent), then bedside manners (18 percent). Instead of focusing on random metrics such as quantity of reviews, you should focus on implementing and strengthening a process that will help you improve patients’ experience and exceed their expectations.
If you optimize your dental practice for service quality, you will get plenty of positive reviews.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

2. DO pay attention to patient satisfaction. Don’t pay attention to the number of reviews.

The only metric that is important is whether your patients were satisfied with the overall experience at your practice – from consultation to post-treatment.

Review count is just a quantitative metric. In fact, giving unnecessary importance to review count will prevent you from your main objective of improving your patients’ experience. Coincidentally, improving your patients’ experience will lead to more reviews.

Instead of giving undue importance to the quantity of reviews, focus on quality and keep measuring patient satisfaction.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

3. DO include reviews as a measure of patients’ experience. DON’T make reviews an ‘afterthought.’

Make reviews an integral part of patients’ experience rather than a “drive” you conduct when you “need more reviews.”

The only way to achieve this is by creating a process where measuring patient experience is the final step in every patient’s journey. Your aim is not only to measure patient satisfaction but also to encourage loyal patients to leave an online review and to identify and fix negative feedback.

Three basic steps:

A. The first step is to create a survey to identify positive and negative sentiments. You can either create a form on your website or print out a questionnaire to give to patients.
Note: In the questionnaire, stick to questions that allow your patients to grade your performance on a scale of 1 to 10. You can include the following four questions:

 

  • Will you recommend this practice to your friends and colleagues? (scale of 1 to 10)
  • What do you like best about our practice?
  • How would you describe your overall experience? (very poor, poor, OK, good, great)
  • What can we do better?

B. If the patient was satisfied and his or her experience was good, you could send a follow-up email thanking him or her for the time and ask for an online review.

If the patient said his or her overall experience was poor, or very poor, you must follow up immediately to investigate the reason and fix the problem before the patient leaves a negative online review.

By making patient reviews an essential part of your overall patient experience, you will have better control over the conversation.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

4. DO provide patients with a choice. DON’T be rude or forceful with patients.

In one recent study, a practice had sent more than 1,000 emails to patients asking them for reviews. Not even a single patient left an online review when given only the one choice of Google+. However, the second when patients were given Facebook as a choice, the review responses increased by 3 percent.

The top three review sites:

1. Google+ (32 percent)

2. Facebook (21 percent)

3. Yelp (18 percent)

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

5. DO abide by security and privacy laws. DON’T risk your credibility.

As a dental practice owner, it is your responsibility to comply with the safety and privacy laws related to the use and acquisition of reviews and testimonials. It is your responsibility to comply with the different review sites’ bylaws, however absurd some of them may sound.

Here is what you should not do:

  • Solicit many reviews. Most review sites will block massive waves of reviews at once. This is not illegal, but it is not an intelligent way of amassing authentic reviews.
  • Reward patients based on their public endorsement of your practice without explicitly stating the offer.
  • Ask patients for reviews on your website.
  • Incentivize reviews on sites such as Google+, Vitals or Facebook. Though you may be able to get away with it in some capacity, the long-term consequences are not worth it.
  • Use reviews on your practice website that highlight positive aspects of your dental practice and employees.

Dental Practice Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts of Patient Reviews

Key takeaways

Acquiring patient reviews for your dental practice is hard work. In fact, nearly 78 percent of patients will never leave a review for a practice and about 16 percent of patients will leave a review occasionally. However difficult it may seem to acquire patient reviews, they still play a pivotal role in how potential patients perceive your practice. Implement the suggested DOs, avoid the DON’Ts, and always remember the following key points:

  • Optimize your dental practice for credibility, expertise and professionalism.
  • Implement a process for delivering and measuring patient experience, and make it a fundamental part of your patients’ experience.
  • Don’t stress over the number of reviews. It does not matter.
  • Acquiring patient reviews is an ongoing process. This is not something you can campaign for once every few months.
  • Provide your patients the option to leave reviews on multiple sites that support both mobile and desktop.

Follow these basic guidelines, and you will be successful in building credibility and attracting more patients. Are you looking for an effective way to market your dental practice and get more patient reviews?

Discover how to attract more patients to your dental practice with our proven strategies. To learn more about how we can help you with dental practice marketing, call today.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Most medical practice owners usually think of hiring a marketing agency when their practice hits a fork in the road, and they need to make a decision. They could be facing one of the following scenarios:

1. They are either growing at an astonishing rate and no longer have the time or resources to manage their practice and keep up with the ever-increasing demands of the online market.

2. They are stagnating, and are finding it hard to keep a consistent flow of patients coming through the door.

3. They are losing business to competitors.

4. They are just starting a new practice and do not know how and where to direct their marketing efforts.

… They need help. It is time to make a decision.

Hiring a healthcare marketing agency for your medical practice is one of the most important decisions you have to make as a business owner. If all goes well, you will only have to make this decision once, but usually, this is not the case.

Hiring your first healthcare marketing agency is a stressful task, and hiring the second one is even more terrible. However, you can eliminate the pain and frustration of hiring the wrong marketing agency just by asking the correct questions during your initial meetings.

Here are the seven most important questions you should ask while looking for marketing agencies for your medical practice. The aim of this article is to explore the right and the wrong answers, and by the time you are done reading this blog post, you will know what to expect from the most accomplished and talented healthcare marketing agency.

Question #1. Why do I need to hire a healthcare marketing agency?

This is the most critical question you should ask before initiating any discussion with an agency. Businesses that have never worked with a marketing agency in the past often struggle to express what they are looking for, which can lead to disappointment and frustration for both sides. You must attach specific goals to your healthcare marketing plan and identify your practice’s objectives. This is because only after you have identified and outlined your goals will you be able to ensure the agency you are interviewing can fulfill them.

Are you looking for an agency that can improve lead generation and sales activities? Or are you looking for an agency to manage the online reputation and search engine optimization functions for your dermatology practice? Most agencies specialize in providing different services, so it is critical to understand which services you need before hiring the agency.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #2. Does your team specialize in my industry?

The Internet is a vast place, and there are many tools and techniques for marketing different specialties across the healthcare industry. You must pick the agency that has excellent experience with your specialty and specializes in medical marketing for private practices, individual surgeons and general physicians.

Medical facilities do not require the same marketing techniques as other suppliers. Hiring an agency with experience in, for instance, retail or automotive, will not make sense for your practice. A lot of legal issues accompany medical marketing. An agency that is not well-versed on what you can and cannot advertise when marketing your practice may get you involved in lawsuits and loss of reputation.

You should ask your agency about its experience and a case study, too, if possible. Based on the agency’s understanding of your industry, you can get an idea of how it would approach your marketing needs and how its approach will be different from your competitors’.

An agency that specializes in marketing individual healthcare practices will have hands-on knowledge of the latest trends and developments in your market without investing in expensive resources for extensive research. It will also have case studies showing what works and what does not so that you do not become their guinea pig.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #3. Is your team more skilled at local- or national-level marketing campaigns?

Exactly the way different industries require different marketing tactics, local brands require an entirely different approach to online marketing compared to national brands.

You should ask your agency about its approach, resources and expertise specifically for local marketing. For instance, local search tactics depend on geolocation and the optimization of Google My Business pages to attract local patients. A national campaign does not depend on either. Your agency should be experienced enough to understand this right out of the gate, as it is different from the link-building strategies employed by global businesses.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #4. Will you assign a dedicated account manager for my medical practice?

If you have handled work contracts with large businesses, you are not new to the customer service runaround. Most often, you would call customer service to ask a question but get passed around to 15 experts, none of whom can resolve your problem, before landing at the front desk where they promise to have an expert call you back. You must never accept this kind of slapdash service.
A reputed agency will assign a dedicated account manager to serve as your primary point of contact. This dedicated manager will be responsible for your customer service and answer all of your questions. If there is no one specifically assigned to your account, you will end up running around.

In order to avoid this nuisance from happening, you must ask directly who your single point of contact will be, who will take responsibility for the tasks and who will take care of any requests you may have.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #5. What practices and strategies do you have for measuring and reporting results?

By far, the biggest criticism of healthcare marketing agencies is the shoddy or nonexistent reporting practices that usually fail to demonstrate any measurable ROI.

The result?

You end up paying hefty fees without ever knowing how and if that money is helping your practice grow. In today’s world of big data and advanced analytics tools, there cannot be any excuse for bad results measurement. You should ask your agency to produce a few examples of a monthly report based on the standards, and both parties can agree on a format.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #6. What if I decide to part ways?

You can even consider asking this question first. The answer to this question may surprise you.

The answer will tell you if this agency is looking to build your practice or if it is just out for your money.

Be very careful of any agency that offers to build you a website on a “proprietary” content management system (CMS). When agencies build your practice website on their proprietary CMS, it usually means they may hold you hostage if things do not turn as expected and if you decide to part ways. As and when you decide to part ways with the agency, it will hand over the ownership of the website to you after you pay off the CMS lease. Moreover, if you do not pay, you will lose your website and all of the work you for which paid the agency so far.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

Question #7. How do you plan to execute my marketing strategy?

It never hurts to ask the agency how it plans to implement your marketing strategy. This question is especially relevant for SEO-related services. In case you are not aware, there are two schools of thought around SEO:

1. Some agencies cut corners and trick the search engines into thinking your website is the most reputable authority.

2. Some agencies do what they commit to and establish your website as the most trusted authority by posting valuable and engaging content.

The former is a short-range strategy with short-term results and continuing issues, while the latter is a more intuitive strategy with long-term results. If you are going to pay a healthcare marketing agency plenty of money to optimize your website for search engines, make sure it abides by Google’s guidelines. Fail to do so, and you will find yourself back at square one; only this time, you will be poorer by a few thousand marketing dollars.

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Healthcare Marketing Agency

In the end, you are the boss!

At the end of the day, you are the one who will be paying. You hold the power. When interviewing healthcare marketing agencies, remember that their job is to make you feel confident about their performance, deliver desired results and help you understand marketing concepts in a simplified manner. Never be afraid to ask questions, as any agency worth its salt will not only have good answers but also proven practices for all of your concerns.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

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How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

Let us accept this. Email is not going anywhere anytime soon. Just check out these facts:

  • According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your practice attract new patients.
  • For 89 percent of marketers, email is the primary source for lead generation.
  • According to research from Statista, the number of email users worldwide is likely to rise to 2.9 billion users by 2019.
  • In a digitally dominated healthcare industry, the stats convey a clear message: Email is critical for any healthcare facility. Email marketing is not just here to stay but is getting stronger with each passing year.

    Email continues to be an effective strategy for healthcare marketers looking to improve patient engagement, enhance engagement and increase ROI. In fact, patients who visit a website through email marketing tend to set more appointments.

    Email marketing is one of the strongest marketing channels when backed up by an efficient healthcare marketing strategy. Email marketing is the foundation of your overall healthcare marketing strategy. It is an effective way to keep patients informed. This is not something healthcare marketers do just because they can, and it is easy. It is a very effective tactic that helps medical practitioners and patients stay well connected.

    Email marketing is an effective way to market your services and products, and getting the word out about your medical practice. Email marketing can help you deliver content to patients, whenever it is convenient. It also helps develop loyalty and trust in your practice. With email marketing, you can build and improve relationships with potential and existing patients as it gives you a chance to speak directly to them.

    How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

    Why email marketing for your healthcare practice?

    If you are wondering how email marketing looks from the patient point of view, here is some insight. According to research, patients prefer email from the practices they are connected with. Email is a preferred communication tool for professionals. Nearly 95 percent of professionals use email, making it ideal for professional communication.

    Email marketing allows healthcare marketers to build relationships with patients and promote their products or services without spending excessive money on paper and stamps. This is the most effective way of delivering a value proposition to potential and existing patients through their inbox.

    Today, healthcare marketers want to do more with less. They need to connect with their target audience in a more personalized manner while staying on budget. Marketers that can connect with their patients in a more targeted way will be successful in improving ROI and revenue. While most healthcare marketing trends come and go, email continues to be one of the most effective channels. This is because of:

    1. Increased leads: Encouraging website visitors to sign up for your email list is one of the ways to generate more leads. Another strategy is to encourage your subscribers to forward your emails on to family and friends and to share it on social media.

    2. Improved sales: You can increase your sales by sending the right message to the right people through emails. The secret is email list segmentation. This process will help you service the right message to your subscribers at the right time, eventually encouraging them to become a customer.

    3. Driving conversions: Driving conversions is a number-one priority for healthcare marketers. In email marketing, average click-through rate is six times more effective than social media. Marketers can track the patient journey from receiving the email to scheduling an appointment.

    4. Reduced cost: One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is its low-cost nature. There are no print, postage or advertising costs. Emails can be paid monthly with unlimited plans.

    5. Return on Investment: Email marketing can outperform almost all marketing channels. According to reports, for every $ 1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $ 44.25. Practices can track the performance and impact of each email, which will enable it to calculate the ROI straight away.

    6. Integration: You can integrate email marketing with internal systems such as CRM, website analytics and social media. This will enable a practice to understand and profile its patients and see the impact of emails with other marketing channels.

    7. Automation: Automation can save time and simplify some of the marketing or operational tasks. For instance, automation is when a patient completes an action that triggers an email alert.

    8. Segmentation: The biggest feature of email marketing is the ability to segment subscribers into different groups so a practice can send targeted emails to each group. This will allow the practice to send relevant and engaging content to its patients. This can help increase engagement and conversions and generate qualified leads.

    Best practices in email marketing

    In healthcare marketing strategy, email marketing is more important than ever. In an age of ever-evolving social platforms and communication tools, email continues to be a reliable and influential digital marketing channel that connects with all demographics. However, to succeed with email marketing, it is not enough to quickly create a message and hit “send.” Connecting effectively and consistently with a target audience requires a well-planned strategy and high-quality implementation. The following best practices will help you ensure that your healthcare marketing campaigns are effective:

    1. Put security first: One of the biggest differences between healthcare and other industries is the importance of privacy. Always remember that even a general message can be viewed as personal information by many patients. Most patients are worried about the data that healthcare providers possess. In a survey of healthcare industry employees, almost 63 percent of employees believe their organization has experienced a data breach.

    The key to long-term marketing effectiveness in healthcare is trust. Therefore, you should start by ensuring that all your systems and processes are secure. This includes access to patient personal information as well as your marketing platforms. Also, as much as possible, use email marketing tools that are HIPAA-compliant.

    2. Build opt-in lists: Growing your email list using quick methods, such as buying databases or swapping information with other practices, may seem like a good idea. Our advice: Refrain from doing it. Building your own lists only via opt-in – where patients agree to receive email communications – is more time-consuming, but it is the best and the most sustainable approach. This is because the quality of these lists is better. You will notice higher engagement and fewer unsubscribes over time. In addition, the easiest way to create permanent damage to your brand is to send an email marketing campaign without permission. This damage is the worst kind of reputation hazard for healthcare facilities. Also, after you have built an opt-in list, do not forget to keep it safe and protect it. If you share this list with other marketers, you may run the risk of undoing all your hard work.

    3. Pay attention to email frequency: Sending too many emails is the biggest mistake most marketers make. When asked why they unsubscribed from receiving communications from their physicians or healthcare facilities, most patients said the biggest reason was too many emails. If you want to improve patient engagement levels and ensure that your email lists remain stable, be mindful of email frequency. You should resist sending too many emails or offers. These one-time offers may help in the short run, but in the long-term, you will end up losing valuable patients.

    How Can Healthcare Email Marketing Help Your Practice?

    4. Embrace automation: Most email services let you automate timing of sending emails, making it possible to send emails to different patients at different times according to their preference. These email services allow you to split-test various elements of emails, and they let you configure emails in a way that one event triggers another. This experience is different and personalized for each patient depending on what action they take. You must familiarize yourself with, and make effective use of, such services and features.

    5. Segment your lists properly: Nearly 51 percent of healthcare marketers rank segmentation as the most effective marketing tactic. This is mainly because of relevancy. The more segmented an email list is, the more relevant will be the messaging, and the more likely the recipient will take action. This general trend applies to healthcare, as well. In order to engage your audience, you must segment your lists properly and provide the most relevant messaging possible. When it comes to healthcare emails, the more targeted you can get with an email, the more likely the recipient will engage.

    6. Give patients something to do: One of the biggest advantages healthcare marketers have over most other verticals is that the vast majority of patients are interested in the emails. You do not need to convince recipients to care about their health and wellness. Therefore, you must think of every email as an opportunity to engage the recipient. You can consider providing links to information on your website, encouraging recipients to follow your social media accounts, and encourage the sharing of the message.

    7. Consider the timing of your emails: According to research, there is a best time and day to send emails depending on your business goals. Here are some quick facts:

    • The best time to send an email is between 10 and 11 a.m.
    • The best weekday to send emails is Monday, and the best weekend day is Sunday.
    • The best day to send emails for high open rates is Tuesday.

    It is critical to consider the time of your target audience. For instance, the time zone of California is different from that of Florida. It is important to identify where your target audience is based, and use that knowledge to optimize the timing and frequency of your emails.

    The results of these simple additions can be significant. Most patients want to engage with their healthcare brands. If you build trust, guard privacy, monitor the frequency of emails and provide a good overall experience, you will be well-poised for strong engagement with your email marketing campaigns.

    Email is not dead yet!

    Email marketing is here to stay, and it must be a part of your overall healthcare marketing strategy. Using email marketing as a tool for generating qualified leads, you can interact with patients on a more personal level, driving your practice to grow.

    Email marketing gives you a direct line of communication with past, present and potential patients. If you make these communications interesting and engaging, you will build long-term relationships that generate repeat business and grow your practice via referrals.

    As easy as it sounds, email marketing is a time-consuming process. If you could use a little help in this department, let us evaluate and automate your process. Effective email automation will ensure optimal ROI and leave you free to focus on taking care of your patients and growing your practice. To learn more about HIPAA-compliant email solutions and other ways to generate leads for your practice, contact our experts today.

    Medical Healthcare Marketing

Sundance Next Fest shakes up the film festival world with a little mischief

The Sundance Next Fest is not a typical film festival. Every year the event’s organizers tweak the program to find new ways of presenting Los Angeles audiences with films that premiered earlier in the year at Sundance’s flagship festival in Park City, Utah. This year’s tagline — “where movies,…


latimes.com – Los Angeles Times