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Tag Archives: improve

Are You Looking to Improve Conversion Rates of Your Medical Website?

Are You Looking to Improve Conversion Rates of Your Medical Website?

So, your medical practice has a website and you want to drive more traffic or potentially more patients. What can you do? Most website owners instantly think about marketing and spending more dollars. Undoubtedly, getting more visitors to your website means more new patients will schedule an appointment? “I can spend more money on Google AdWords and I will attract lots more leads.” Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?

Yes, that is true, but such strategies can also be a complete waste of money. Instead, you can spend your hard-earned money on making the most of what you already have.
The more intelligent way is to make your current website visitors more engaged. By increasing the conversion rate of your website, you get more appointments without driving more visitors and without the hefty marketing costs.

In case you are still wondering, let us understand the concept of conversion rate.

The conversion rate of a website is nothing but the percentage of potential patients who take a specific action, such as schedule an appointment, subscribe to your newsletter or fill in your contact form.

For example, if you have 500 visitors a month but only 10 take a certain action, you have a 2% conversion rate (10 / 500 x 100 = 2%).

And, What Is a Healthy Conversion Rate?

Many practice owners are surprised at how low their conversion rate is. This is because most practice owners assume that most visitors would want to schedule an appointment.
Generalizing the concept of a good conversion rate is difficult. This is mainly because conversion rate depends on many factors, including what do you want your site visitors to do, what is your specialty, and how much do your services cost? For some, a 3 percent conversion rate may be considered good. For others, terrible.

The best way to start is by assessing your current conversion rate. Whatever you are achieving now, try to improve it. However, be realistic. You will not be able to change it from 2 percent to 40 percent overnight. It is amazing how addictive it can become once you see an initial boost. You will want to experiment more to improve it, and soon you will get an idea of what works and what does not.

It is important to note that conversion rates can change over the month or year. So, track your pattern and take an average year-on-year. Segmenting conversion rates by visitors or referring channels can prove useful, as well. You may convert remarkably from direct visitors but poorly from social networks. In such cases, it is essential to compare the overall conversion rates and determine what can be done to increase the rate of poor-performing channels.

Are You Looking to Improve Conversion Rates of Your Medical Website?

How Can You Improve Conversion Rates?

Unfortunately, no magic wand can make your visitors schedule more appointments. The key is to identify what might be stopping your visitors them from converting and work out ways to fix it.

Sometimes, underlying factors such as finding the right link, being able to see a button or knowing how to navigate your website can make or break a conversion.
There are some online tools that you can use to identify problem spots. Once you have identified the issues, you can then quickly fix them.

Track Conversions

To begin with, you need to decide what you want visitors to do on your website. Schedule an appointment? Buy a product? Fill in a form? Download an eBook? What is the purpose that you want your visitors to achieve?

Once you identify the goal, make sure your website can track it using analytics. Unless you know your current conversion rate, you will never be able to improve it.
Step Into Your Patients’ Shoes

For sure you know your website like the back of your hand, but it is amazing what new things you can discover when you behave like a website visitor.

Set yourself a task. Try to schedule an appointment, or to download an eBook, or whatever is relevant to your website. You must start from your homepage and navigate your way through your website until you reach your destination.

While doing this, look at each page and section, and think of ways to improve every step. Is there anything that was inconvenient? Did you find what you were looking for? What can be done to improve the user experience?

Analyze Your Data

Almost all websites these days have analytics packages on them. This analytics can help you understand how many visitors you get and what they are looking for.

To begin with, make sure your website is tracking conversions. If you want to monitor other activities, such as downloads, contact forms or subscriptions, then set up your analytics package to track these critical actions. Once you have the relevant data for your conversions, you can start following it and see if any change improves the performance.
This analytics can show you critical indicators, such as at what point most visitors were exiting the site when they got bored. One thing to note here is that visitors from different referrers may act differently. For instance, visitors who come to your website via your blog may never book an appointment. This may be because they just wanted to enhance their knowledge by reading your blog. How can you encourage such visitors to perform other actions?

Assess your data to understand who your target audience are, what they look at and how they get to your website. Once you have understood what your website visitors do, you can look for opportunities to improve.

Ask Your Patients

Why not ask your potential and existing patients what they think of your website? Whether it is via a survey, email or social networks, your patients might give you some honest feedback.

Be careful though; it is tempting to offer incentives to encourage a response. However, if your target audience thinks a prize is at stake, they tend to give positive feedback in order to win the prize. As much as it is great to hear positive words, you need genuine and constructive feedback, as well. So avoid offering incentives.

Observe Your Competitors

If you have competitors who are doing well, try and figure out the reasons. How is their website different or better than yours? Is there something you could learn from them? Why would patients choose them over you?

Find out the answers to these questions and you may get some great insight to improve your own website.

Test Your Findings

If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong with your website, just go ahead and test it. Testing is the most efficient way to see if there is an improvement.
The best way to test your website is via A/B testing. During A/B testing, you show multiple options to your website visitors and see which works best. There are a number of tools to facilitate testing, which will help you manage the different versions and collect the data for you.

Just a word of caution: Try not to test lots of elements at once as it may become difficult to tell which changes made the difference. It is best to tweak one component at a time, and if your conversion rate gets worse, go back to where you were. In addition, make sure to leave your tests long enough in order to get a few hundred visitors to make the data credible.

Look at Your Practice as a Whole

Many more significant factors can affect your conversion rate, in addition to website design. Therefore, it is worth looking at these, as well. Here are a few factors to investigate:

  • Are your prices competitive?
  • Do you look like a credible practice?
  • Do you have a positive online reputation?
  • Do your services or treatments have positive reviews?
  • Is your staff friendly and approachable?
  • Is your competitor undertaking some prominent marketing activity?

Verify the Basics

Just to make it easy for you, here are some tips and hints to help you identify common issues related to conversion rates:

  • Make sure your practice looks trustworthy. Patient reviews and testimonials will come in handy here.
  • Highlight your unique selling prepositions (USPs) – What makes you different from your competitors?
  • Make sure CTAs can be easily seen.
  • Are your prices clear and competitive?
  • Do not put off your visitors by asking for unnecessary information.
  • Make your website easy to navigate.
  • Prominently display relevant information such as address, office location, working hours, phone number and email address.
  • Keep an eye on your website analytics. This is because a sudden drop in visits could mean an issue with your website.

Contact the Experts

The above points are very simple and are capable of making a difference. However, do not forget that medical website design companies, such as Practice Builders, can give you a helping hand.

Whether it is not knowing where to start, or you think you have done all you possibly could, talking to a website expert can really make a difference. The experts have years of experience in delivering efficient websites and can spot issues that you may not have noticed. These companies also build and design websites, and therefore they will not only recommend improvements but also implement them for you. These experts can also help you with setting up your analytics or testing different options.

Yes, hiring a website design expert may cost money, but if this can improve your conversion rate, then every single penny is worth it. In addition, for most practices, an increase in the number of patients can more than cover any costs that may have incurred in hiring such experts.

Are You Looking to Improve Conversion Rates of Your Medical Website?

Conclusion

Even if you think your conversion rates are healthy, experimenting with CTAs and contact forms can help improve your conversions even more. Trying different options will help you understand what your website visitors respond to best.

If you are satisfied with your conversion rate, try to attract more visitors. Spend time and money on AdWords, send out direct e-mails and promotions, go for paid ads or do whatever marketing activities suit your practice best. Even without spending more money, it is possible to get more visitors because if your website is appealing, your target audience may start coming back often and recommend you to their family and friends via social media.

So, give it a try. It could really make a difference to your practice.
Do you want to improve your website conversion rates? Talk to experts at Practice Builders to get started.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Providers bundling equipment purchases to save money, improve care

Norman Regional Health System is bundling its equipment purchasing to reduce costs and improve care.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

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

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

When most people hear about search engine optimization (SEO), they think of researching keywords and building links. While this is somewhat correct, that is not all there is to modern SEO. These days, analytics and content play a significant role in improving the ranking of your healthcare website.

However, if you have been persistently working on keyword optimization but are not getting the desired results, you need to consider other factors that impact SEO ranking. It is important to consider that search engine algorithms not only rate the relevance of your keywords, they also assess vital information such as the average duration visitors stay on your website, bounce rate, pages viewed, broken links, outbound and inbound links and many more.

Getting visitors to stay on your website and engage with your content can boost your website’s ranking, and you can achieve this by making your website easy to navigate and by providing useful content.

Including well-researched keywords to get visitors to click through to your website is only half the story. You will need to optimize your website for visitors who use search engines and endeavor to make user-friendliness an important goal.

In this article, we will look at the various aspects of website usability that impact its ranking and how you can improve ranking by enhancing your website’s usability.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

So, what exactly is website usability, and how can it improve SEO ranking?

The usability of a website includes many design elements, most of which are tied to conversion rates. Here are some of the key elements that affect your website ranking:

  • Effectiveness: Are visitors able to achieve their objectives when they land on your healthcare website? Do they find your website easy to navigate? Can they quickly find the information they need?
  • Efficiency: In addition to being easy to navigate, how quickly can a visitor find the desired information on your website? If visitors cannot find the required information effectively and efficiently, they will navigate away.
  • Learnability: Are the calls-to-action prominent? This is because if visitors are spending too much time searching for information on your website, they will spend less time consuming that information.
  • Memorability: Are the keywords associated with your website search-relevant and memorable enough so that visitors can find your website again? Repeat traffic can help boost your Google ranking.
  • Error Prevention: A broken link error can affect not only user experience but also SEO ranking. For instance, a 404 Page Not Found error or a broken link that is no longer valid can severely impact user experience and website usability.

Search engines prefer websites that are user-friendly and provide useful content. Google favors websites that are not only rich in keywords but that also establish visitor engagement.

SEO ranking improves significantly when visitors stay on your website longer, view more sections or pages and repeat their visits. The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely visitors are going to return to it.

Here are eight elements that not only increase your website’s usability but also help improve SEO ranking:

  • Keyword research: The most important step of a successful SEO campaign is keyword research. While doing keyword research, try to find which keywords or phrases potential patients are using to find your website and then decide which ones to target. Ideally, the keywords with more potential are the ones with a higher search volume and low competition. Unfortunately, your competitors must be doing similar research. This makes these keywords limited and insufficient to support your SEO campaign. Try to include long tail keywords. You must analyze your competitors’ online marketing practices, improve upon them and create your SEO strategy.
  • High-quality content: Without useful content, you cannot practice effective SEO. In order to develop an effective SEO strategy, you will need to create and publish content that is appealing to your target audience and optimized for search. Creating relevant content that generates leads means building a strong brand that improves your credibility, strengthens your brand image and expands your market presence. According to research, content between 2,000 to 2,500 words is likely to rank higher in search engine results. Although word count does not rule the SEO world and nobody will read your content if it is not informative, longer content gives you the opportunity to include more keywords and outbound links and get people to spend more time on your website. Another reason to create compelling content is that when visitors bookmark your website or content on Chrome, it helps to improve your SEO ranking in Google.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Page loading speed: Most search engines include page load speed in their website ranking algorithm. Visitors may leave your website if they have to wait an extra few seconds for each page to load. This may increase bounce rate and reduce the number of pages viewed, which will impact your SEO ranking. Some studies indicated that 40 percent of visitors would abandon a website that takes longer than three seconds to load. There are many effective ways to increase page load speed, such as using a caching plug-in, keeping the code clean, optimizing images and minimizing redirects. Correctly optimizing images can help reduce file size and improve page load speed. Upgrading your web host to a virtual private network (VPN) can help reduce page load times.
  • Technical optimization: Search engines such as Google and Bing use software called crawlers to read your website’s content and code. If your practice website is not technically perfect, it may be difficult for crawlers to read and understand its content, which will impact its rank in search engine results. It is critical to check the following technical points:
  • URL structure: Try to keep the URLs under 100 characters long, use dashes instead of underscores, and avoid special characters.
  • Title tags: Include a unique title tag on every page, and restrict the length of the title tag to 75 characters. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the title tag.
  • Meta description tags: Include a unique meta description tag on every page. Meta descriptions should ideally be up to 160 characters long and briefly describe the page.
  • Heading tags: Headings are part of the webpage’s HTML and are visible to visitors. Every web page should have only a unique H1 heading tag. Correct use of header tags can help divide your content into sections that are easier to read. Search engines focus more on keywords in header tags. By including relevant keywords in your header tags, you can boost your SEO ranking.
  • Duplicate content: These issues occur when the same content exists on your website under different URLs. This can have adverse effects on your website’s ranking as search engines may not know which version to include in their index. It is recommended to either remove the duplicate content or create redirections between the different versions.
  • Structured data: Structured data allows you to add special markup to your content, which helps the search engines to understand its type. Structured data can also provide rich snippets for your web pages in the search results pages, which can help you achieve higher rankings.
  • Quality of outbound and inbound links: To make your content more relevant, you can link out to authority websites for providing in-depth information to your readers. This will not only increase the credibility of your content and increase the time visitors spend on your website, but it is also likely to send trust signals to search engines to improve SEO ranking. However, too many outbound links can make the content hard to get through.
  • Video content: A variety of graphics, including videos and slideshows, can enrich the user experience and help to deliver content in a way that is best-suited to your target audience. Video content is increasingly gaining importance in driving user engagement and conversion. According to research, websites using videos can achieve a nearly five percent conversion rate compared to a three percent conversion rate on websites that do not use video content.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

  • Mobile optimization: Being mobile-friendly is as important for healthcare websites as it is for other businesses. Google penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly by bringing down their search ranking. More and more patients are consuming online content on mobile devices, and not being mobile-friendly will affect user experience and conversion rates. Going mobile does not have to be restricted to just having a responsive website. You can take it a step further and develop an app. By making your website mobile-friendly and offering a related app, you can make made your services easily accessible to a target audience.
  • Social sharing: The number of posts and shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms can significantly influence SEO ranking. Installing social sharing buttons on your practice website not only makes it easy for patients to share your content but it can also help you rank higher on searches. Social sharing can also drive purchasing behavior.

8 Ways to Improve SEO Ranking of Your Healthcare Website

Conclusion

If you feel you have to squeeze a keyword into a sentence, you are approaching SEO with the wrong approach. While keyword density was a common concept a few years ago, it is not very relevant these days. Instead, focus on creating content that your existing and potential patients will find useful.

If your website content sounds unnatural because you are trying to optimize it for search engines, change it. Search engines are cracking down harder on keyword stuffing, so these age-old tactics are likely to cause your rankings to drop, killing your online reputation.

You do not have to spend a lot of hard-earned money to dramatically improve your search visibility. Even simple steps can help you achieve a major SEO boost. In the end, SEO is all about improving the user experience and enhancing the usability of your practice website. Any positive change that makes your visitors happier and more comfortable navigating your website is likely to make search engines happier, too.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How you can use Twitter Moments to improve your content marketing

Last year, Twitter opened its storytelling feature “ Twitter Moments ” to the public.

Users can create and share stories consisting of tweets and multimedia that have been uploaded to the channel. By prioritizing concise, digestible pieces of content, Twitter is attempting to compete with social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.

Here’s an example of how Twitter used this feature to announce its arrival.

For health care organizations, this feature could dramatically improve the return on marketing investment.

“Twitter Moments just leverages what Twitter is already about, which is real-time marketing,” says Rebecca Lieb, a digital media and marketing analyst quoted in a recent AdWeek article .

Here are a few ways Twitter Moments can help your health care organization improve its content marketing in 2017:

  • Showcase the value of your brand. A health care provider crafted a moment in order to highlight the value of physician assistants. It included tweets with statistics about the growth of the profession over the last five years. Not only is this a great way to tell a story, but it also emphasizes a mutual sharing of information and visuals relevant to a given topic.
  • Engage with your brand advocates and followers. A best practice in social media marketing is to share your followers’ content. Using Twitter Moments to do this helps your health care organization build a deeper level of trust among your audience by showing how well your staff pays attention to what’s said about the brand, trending topics and current events.
  • Shape your health care brand’s messaging and reputation. Don’t let detractors have the last or loudest commentary on your message. With Twitter Moments, your health care organization can issue a statement, frame perspective on the topic and highlight relevant messaging, as well as sharing pertinent information that bolsters your position, focuses the narrative and keeps your organization’s reputation intact.

Digital storytelling with Twitter Moments is an efficient way to give your audience the news it wants and the content your organization seeks to promote.

Audrey Chittick is an account executive and a social media manager for Scott Public Relations . The original version of this post appeared on Scott’s Einsight blog.

HealthCareCommunication.com

5 Ways to Train Your Front Desk Staff to Improve Customer Service

5 Ways to Train Your Front Desk Staff to Improve Customer Service

Your front desk staff pulls a lot of weight when it comes to your medical practice’s customer satisfaction. They’re the first people your patients speak to when they call and the first faces your patients see when they walk through your doors. Unfortunately, they’re also often the reason patients leave your practice. In fact, a recent study published in a 2016 issue of the Journal of Medical Practice Management revealed, after reviewing approximately 35,000 doctors nationwide, that a whopping 96 percent of patient complaints are a result of customer service, and only 4 percent are due to patient care. So make sure you’re providing proper customer service training to your staff!

Here are five training tips you can implement to boost your front-desk staff’s customer service satisfaction scores:

1. Put patients first! Train your front-desk staff to immediately greet patients who walk in the front door, even if they’re in the middle of something. A simple “Hi, I’ll be right with you” is sufficient if they’re busy helping another patient. This lets the incoming patient know you’re aware of his/her presence. Also, a friendly tone and helpful attitude on the phone will go a long way in making patients feel like you want to help them and they aren’t inconveniencing you.

2. Document your expectations. While it’s great if you have a shining-star front-desk staff member who’s always on top of things, ultra-friendly and loved by all, it won’t do you much good to have a few others who play by their own rules. Your medical practice should hold the front-desk staff to a consistent set of expectations. Document what you expect, and have new employees train from that manual.

3. Make HIPAA a top priority. Upholding patient privacy isn’t just a matter of common courtesy; it’s a legal issue with a hefty fine if violated. To train your front-desk staff on HIPAA regulations, mandate that they re-read the regulations periodically. Regularly discuss ways you can improve your practice’s implementation of these regulations. Have employees do role play to practice proper HIPPA compliance and then constructively critique one another. Your medical practice’s reputation and bottom line are at stake!

4. Diffuse angry patients. Your front-desk staff should be especially well-versed in what to do with angry patients. While your employees don’t deserve to be treated poorly, a first line of defense should be to understand and empathize with the patient. Keep in mind the patient could be in a lot of pain that can change how he/she behaves. Sometimes letting a patient win an argument or just vent can diffuse a tense situation, but let your staff members know they have your support if the situation becomes threatening, and be sure to have a procedure in place if it becomes dangerous.

5. Implement time management strategies. Your front-desk staff answers phones, checks in (and out) patients, books appointments and processes paperwork, just to name a few tasks. Make sure that they have the information they need and the appropriate amount of time to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. For example, they should know how long each type of appointment takes and how to schedule around emergencies so they can book accordingly and minimize patient wait times. Re-evaluate and/or re-distribute workloads if they appear overloaded, stressed or unable to keep up with all their tasks. Remember, your front-desk staff’s top priority is to promote a positive image for your practice.

Knowing how your staff should behave is one thing, but implementing this training is often a challenge. Let Practice Builders train your staff for you with our Customer Excellence Training so you can be confident that your front-desk staff is the best it can possibly be! Contact us at info@practicebuilders.com or 800.679.1262 to sign up for a free marketing consult.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Would body cameras on doctors improve health care?

Picture this: A physician is accused of inappropriately touching a patient during an exam. Authorities immediately access video taken from the clinician’s body camera to determine what transpired in the examining room.

If body cameras are effective in policing and racial profiling, can health care benefit from the technology as well?

Steven Strauss, a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, raised the issue in an op-ed published in Monday’s Los Angeles Times.

Leaving aside patient outcomes, there are also highly credible accusations that medical staff have groped and sexually abused sedated patients . Body cameras on doctors and nurses might well prevent such incidents, or provide evidence if they did occur.

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MedCityNews.com reported that the video cameras could also address claims of inferior medical treatment for minorities:

In general, African Americans and other people of color receive inferior medical treatment, leading to higher death rates. David Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard, who has researched this issue, writes that blacks and other minorities receive fewer diagnostic tests, fewer treatments, and overall poorer-quality care — even after adjusting for variations in insurance, facilities, and seriousness of illness.

Physicians’ body language and minority patients

According to the Huffington Post, a recent study of body language as it relates to physician communication and patient care proves Williams’ point. Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study’s senior author, said her team analyzed audio and video recordings of doctors who interacted with black actors. The actors were asked to portray dying hospital patients. The providers knew they were involved in a study but didn’t know what the researchers were looking for, HuffPo reported. The result? African-American “patients” received less-compassionate care from real doctors than did their white counterparts.

Barnato said: “Although we found that physicians said the same things to their black and white patients, communication is not just the spoken word. It also involves nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, body positioning and touch.”

The Huffington Post goes on to say the research suggests the doctors in the study let their black “patients” down.

When interacting with whites—explaining their health condition and what the next steps might be—the doctors in the simulations tended to stand close to the bedside and were more likely to touch the person in a sympathetic way. With blacks, the doctors were more likely to remain standing at the door of the hospital room and to use their hands to hold a binder—a posture that could make them appear defensive or disengaged.

RELATED: Fine-tune your internal communications measurement and earn buy-in for your team.

Still photos and social media expose elderly abuse

Video cameras aren’t the only tool that can be used to improve patient care. Consider the repugnant activities of numerous staffers at nursing homes nationwide. Many have been convicted of breaking abuse and privacy laws when they posted photos on Snapchat and other photo-sharing platforms. The Chicago Tribune reported a few months ago:

The incidents illustrate the emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy and, at the same time, its powerful potential for capturing transgressions that previously might have gone unrecorded. Abusive treatment is not new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexually assaulting residents, sedating them with antipsychotic drugs and failing to change urine-soaked bedsheets. But the posting of explicit photos is a new type of mistreatment — one that sometimes leaves its own digital trail.

One facility, Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Washington modified its internal communication policies after an incident in 2014, according to the Tribune:

In a statement, PrestigeCare said it fired the employee, alerted authorities and instituted new, stricter cell phone and social media policies. “We take these situations very seriously and are thankful that our own internal procedures alerted us so promptly to the issue.”

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Communicators, do your crisis plans include this aspect of social media policy and employee culture? Are you coaching providers on body language as it relates to patient care? Where do you stand on the introduction of body cameras in medical situations?

HealthCareCommunication.com

Improve Your Online Communications

Doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers are often accused of having poor communication skills. From illegible written prescriptions and patient instructions that don’t match the average patient’s reading grade level, to overly clinical content, patients may come to expect less than satisfactory communications from their providers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Whether you are a doctor, dentist, physical therapist or other ancillary health provider, you can improve your patient communications. Since many potential patients will find you on the Internet first, here are some tips for improving your web communications:

Get to the Point

Keep your communications brief and focused. Current and potential new patients today have short attention spans. Write too much or use too much clinical language and people will leave your website quickly for greener pastures.

Use a Friendly, Casual Tone

Your communications should be professional, but friendly and casual in tone. Using plain language complete with contractions and popular expressions throughout your text is a good way to help patients feel that you are speaking their language. It’s what we call “the language of the consumer.” The point is to help potential patients reading your content to feel connected to you and comfortable.

Use Twitter Hashtags

Hashtags are a way to connect to a specific target audience on social media and bring your practice to the attention of potential new patients. If, for example, you are a gastroenterologist, you might use a hashtag like #gidisorders or #crohnsdisease to attract people seeking more information about those topics.

Put the Patient First

One of the most powerful yet easy-to-use words in the English language is the word “you.” If the very first line of your communication does not contain this word, you risk losing your reader. Too often, healthcare web content starts off talking about the practice or the practitioner, instead of the patient or the patient’s needs. If you make it all about you, then readers will assume it’s not about them.

Our healthcare marketing consultants can help you develop a communication strategy and healthcare marketing plan to help you attract the patients you want. For more information, call 800.679.1200 or email info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

How to Improve Your Web Communications

Doctors and dentists can get an unjustified reputation for having bad communication skills. After hearing jokes about illegible written prescriptions to bad beside manners, patients may come in to your practice expecting to get the cold shoulder or to be spoken down to.

Even if that’s not the case at your medical or dental practice, you can take extra steps to ensure that your communications attract patients and give you and your staff a great reputation. Since many potential patients will likely find you on the Internet first, here are some tips on ensuring that your web communications are top-notch:

Use a friendly tone

While you want to be sure that your communications are professional and showcase your healthcare knowledge, it’s also important to use a friendly tone. You can do this by using plain language or interspersing contractions, modern slang or popular sayings throughout your text. You can even try throwing in a joke if the context is clear. The choice is up to you, but the point is to make potential patients reading your text feel familiar and welcome.

Be concise

Try to keep your communications as short as possible. This will ensure that you don’t have people leaving your website because the text is too long, intricate or boring. Plus it will help you stay on message so you can communicate your mission for your practice to your audience clearly and effectively.

Use hashtags

On social media, and especially Twitter, hashtags are a way to connect to a target audience or community and to bring your post and practice to the attention of others. Be sure to use them with purpose so that you can always attract your target audience and keep your communications focused.

Our healthcare marketing consultants can help you develop a communications and healthcare marketing plan that can help you attract the patients you want. For more information, contact us at 800.679.1200 or by email at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Infographic: Consumers eager to use tech to improve health

Smartphones and wearables are driving a significant behavioral shift in consumer health and wellness, says Gil Bashe, executive vice president at Makovsky Health.

An infographic on today’s wired patient reveals important insights for health care marketers.

For example, when downloading and using health apps, patients want informative and functional programs to:

  • Manage diet and nutrition (47 percent)

  • Receive reminders for medication (46 percent)

  • Monitor symptoms (45 percent)

  • Track physical activity (44 percent)

The full infographic can be helpful as you plan your marketing and PR initiatives.

(View a larger image here)

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(Image via)

HealthCareCommunication.com