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Tag Archives: doctors

Why 14 Million Newly Insured Americans Have Not Overwhelmed Doctors’ Offices

With 14 million newly insured individuals gaining health coverage under the ACA since last year, 2014, nearly everyone expected doctors’ offices to be overwhelmed with new patients. But, according to recent statistics, that has simply not happened.

According to an AthenaHealth survey of 16,000 providers, there was only a slight uptick in new patient visits to primary care doctors in 2014, from 22.6 percent in 2013 to 22.9 percent in 2014.

Researchers say that people tend to access healthcare more when they are insured. And the ACA has expanded medical insurance coverage faster than any new health policy since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965. While 14 million newly insured sounds like a big number, it actually represents about 4 percent of Americans going from uninsured to insured status.

Many healthcare consultants and experts simply assumed that all these newly insured people would run right to the doctor’s office with a plethora of untreated or complex medical conditions. But the survey found no evidence of that. Logic dictates that a person with health insurance is not necessarily a sick person who needs to see a doctor. Those 14 million newly insured folks are not 14 million sick people.

How will you get your fair share of the patients/cases you want from the 14 million when they do get sick and search for providers? Choose your specialty here ( to learn more.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Doctors, Dentists, Veterinarians and Social Media, Oh My

If you are a physician, dentist, veterinarian or other healthcare provider, you have likely arrived at the proverbial fork in the road between embracing social media or ignoring it, and accepting change or avoiding it. No matter which choice you make, there’s risk involved. The question is, how much risk are you willing to accept with your practice and your livelihood on the line?

Let’s start with the notion that change is central to our universe. So said the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. If you run a healthcare practice, you know that change is constant. The one change you may not have seen coming and may not be ready for, however, is the change in consumer (read: patient) behavior. Driven by the digital age and mobile technology, 80 percent of your potential new patients now go online to obtain health and provider information. It’s not a fad or a trend anymore. It’s a fact of life.

You Already Have a Digital Footprint

Whether you like it or not, you already have a reputation in the digital world. If you doubt this, go ahead and Google yourself. You may be surprised by what you find. You may already have an online reputation based on current or past patient reviews, even if you do not yet have an online presence – say a website or a blog.

As a healthcare provider, you are naturally risk-averse. So engaging in social media or online reputation management probably seems like risky business. No wonder so many healthcare professionals have been slow to embrace social media.

But consider this: Every medical or dental treatment you have ever given involved some degree of risk. Doing what’s best for your patients also involves the risk of doing them harm. Conversely, doing nothing for your patients involves the risk of losing them entirely.

It’s no different with social media. You are now at the fork in the road where you can ignore social media and possibly do your practice great harm, or you can embrace it and reap the benefits. The first option is the familiar route where you keep your head down and accept whatever comes – even if it’s a negative online patient review.

The second option is the road less traveled – where you actively engage in the online community and conversation and use electronic media to enhance the good you can do for your patients and your reputation. If you follow this path, you must accept the two most fundamental realities of online reputation management. First, you have ZERO control over what other people say about you. Second, you have 100% control over the brand, image and story you create.

Social Media and Online Reputation Management Offer Opportunities

With healthcare social media in its relative infancy, you can still make your own rules. Think about that. Wouldn’t you rather make the rules than follow them?

Your voice and your opinion, as a healthcare professional, still matter. With so much bad information and pseudo-science overwhelming people on the Internet, most patients still want to know what their doctor or dentist says. They want and need information they can trust – that only you can provide.

Social media can be therapeutic, too. It gives you a chance to reflect about the inherent goodness in your work. It gives you a chance to educate patients and connect with colleagues around the world. Social media can also make you a better doctor, dentist or veterinarian. Social media covers health-related stories in real time. Social media brings new information to your smartphone or tablet immediately. Staying current and informed has never been more important.

Social media also levels the playing field for patients and doctors. A solo practitioner can have the same influence as a hospital or a big managed-care company. All you have to do is tell a good story and you are perceived as a leader. And medicine is filled with untold stories about exciting new treatments and cures. Social media gives you a voice and the opportunity to influence consumers.

So the benefits of using social media easily outweigh the risks. And the benefits of engaging in online reputation management can easily outweigh the risks you take by ignoring it. It’s important that you understand how social media and online reputation management can work together synergistically to bring you the kind of patients you really want in your practice.

Professional Help Is Just a Phone Call Away

If you don’t have the time or inclination to create and use your own social media and online reputation management programs, seek professional help. As a healthcare marketing firm with over 35 years of experience providing successful layered marketing programs for physicians, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists and other ancillary healthcare providers, Practice Builders offers customized social media and reputation management programs that will do the heavy lifting for you.

Talk to a healthcare marketing consultant at Practice Builders to discover how our social media and online reputation management programs can help you build and maintain your practice and achieve your marketing goals. Just call 800.679.1200 or email and ask to speak with a marketing consultant.

If you wish to comment on this electronic newsletter’s content or subject matter, simply email the editor:

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

The Doctor’s Office, February 2015

The Doctor’s Office, February 2015 – The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office, January 2015

The Doctor’s Office, January 2015 – The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office, December 2014

The Doctor’s Office, December 2014 – The Doctor’s Office

Insurers’ listings of in-network doctors often out of date

Many insurers are offering smaller networks of doctors in their Medicare Advantage and commercial health plans this year. But those networks may be even narrower than they seem, physicians and regulators say, because the lists often include names and addresses that are erroneous or out-of-date. In some cases, the doctors shown as participating in plans have moved, retired or died, surveys show. Others are listed under the wrong specialty, work in hospitals full-time and don’t see outpatients, or don’t accept the plan being offered. In a study published in JAMA Dermatology last month, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, tried contacting all 4,754 dermatologists listed in the three largest Medicare Advantage plans in 12 metro areas. – Physician Leadership News

The Doctor’s Office, November 2014

The Doctor’s Office, November 2014 – The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office, October 2014

The Doctor’s Office, October 2014 – The Doctor’s Office

The Doctor’s Office, September 2014

The Doctor’s Office, September 2014 – The Doctor’s Office

Skin Problems — Doctors On Call WVU Healthcare and WV Public TV

Skin problem, from common rashes to wrinkles and cancer, affect millions of Americans. Two experts answer questions about skin problems on this episode of Do…