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Tag Archives: Medical

4 ways to get your medical staff into PR mode

We all have a lot of responsibilities at work.

Between long hours, busy schedules and important patient matters, it can be tough to get your medical staff involved in marketing. Budget cuts also mean health care marketing departments have to stay creative with their outreach efforts, all while keeping an eye on costs.

Here are a few quick ways to get medical colleagues involved in your PR program. They might even enjoy it:

1. Develop a speakers bureau. Handpick a small group of well-spoken, amicable doctors who can speak to members of the media. The participants will feel special for being chosen, which will enhance their commitment to your efforts.

Ask the participating doctors which hot topics they can address, then pitch those stories to journalists. Be sure to create a formal—yet brief—program overview so your medical staffers know what you are looking for and what their role will be when representing the organization in media interviews. 

2. Hold media training classes. Some medical staffers might be intimidated by the thought of talking to a reporter. To ensure that they feel confident in their abilities to interact with journalists, hold a brief prep program, including HIPAA guidelines.

Your session could include the dos and don’ts of media interviews and how to respond in concise, punchy language that’s easy for laypeople to understand. Assuaging the group’s fears will make them more comfortable with PR, and it might inspire them to become involved in your initiatives.

3. Encourage content sharing. When communicators post content to your hospital’s social media properties, do you ask your staff to share it? Employees provided a powerful engine for marketing via social media.

Consider sending internal emails when major press announcements are made. Invite co-workers to share the news with their own networks, too.

4. Capitalize on your email signatures. Electronic messages are an effective way to share links and news with current patients and business connections.

Ask your staff to add a link to your company’s newsroom in their signature line so the people they email can see the great coverage your hospital is earning. It’s subtle, and it works.

Amanda Guagliardo is an account coordinator at the boutique branding and PR firm, Vitamin. The original version of this post was published on the company’s blog, Living Organism.

This article was first published in April 2015

HealthCareCommunication.com

Breathe life into your medical practice website

A lot of doctors only see their website as a digital business card to explain what they specialize in and where they’re located.

 

Done right, your website funnels patients into your office and establishes you as a thought leader.

 

Here are nine elements to develop on your website to attract new patients and grow your business:

 

1. Content

Your website has the potential to be your best salesperson and a marketing machine. It should be built strategically, with clear goals in mind that focus on:

  • Increasing patient volume
  • Establishing you as a medical authority
  • Educating your patients
  • Building trust with your prospects
  • Providing better quality of care

 

2. Unique value proposition (UVP)

One of the most important things your website should communicate is your UVP. The way you arrive at your UVP is by establishing your niche—knowing which treatments you excel at and which patients you help better than any other doctor. Once you’ve identified these core strengths, you can hone your website’s messaging to reflect this unique positioning.

 

Here’s an example from the Southern California Reproductive Center, a clinic that specializes in in-vitro fertilization.

Thought leadership on a medical website

 

3. Focus on the user

People land on your site looking for solutions or to learn more about why you’re a better option than your competitors. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to find and consume the information they need.

 

Common impediments to avoid include:

  • Duplicate content. Don’t recycle the same content across all of your sites without adding any unique value other than swapping out the logo and contact information.
  • Generic content. In an industry that revolves around personal treatment, your content needs to educate, engage and build trust among your prospects.
  • Information overload. Too many options overwhelm your visitors and make your calls to action impossible to find. Clarity and simplicity are key. Keep it simple and the message will be that much more helpful.
  • Bad writing. Your website content needs to be written for the user. Communicate benefits. Don’t talk down to your readers or go over their heads with technical or medical jargon. Find a way to communicate urgency when necessary without fear-mongering.

 

4. Offer more than a “contact us” or a “consultation request” button

Many of your website visitors are not ready to make a decision. They are researching options and evaluating you as a possible candidate to help them.

 

Turn more of those anonymous visits into leads by giving visitors something of value in exchange for their contact info:

 

  • Guides explaining complex procedures for new patients
  • E-books detailing treatment options and protocols
  • HIPAA-compliant case studies or patient success stories
  • Q&A-style webinars to answer common questions

 

This free e-book from HeartValveSurgery.com is an effective way of converting patients who may need some more information before committing to a surgical procedure.

 

medical ebook landing page

 

5. Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is about more than using the right keywords. There are “on-page” and “off-page” components that you have to get right:

 

On-page

  • Make sure all content is indexable, including images, videos and plugins
  • Make sure your link structure is crawlable
  • Use friendly URL structures
  • Optimize pages, title tags and meta-descriptions
  • Avoid duplicate content

 

Off-page

  • Build quality links
  • Share and promote your content
  • Optimize for local and mobile search (see below)

 

6. Optimizing for mobile

Approximately 58 percent of mobile users search for local businesses on their smartphone daily; 89 percent search weekly, and 70 percent of mobile searches result in action being taken within an hour.

 

Mobile optimization factors that promote a positive user experience include:

  • Larger, legible fonts
  • Fast load speed
  • Bullet lists and pared-down text
  • Simpler navigation and fewer internal links
  • Fewer images

 

Make sure you have a responsive website that is easy to read, navigate and interact with, like this one from the Migraine Relief Center:

 

migraine relief center mobile responsive website

 

7. Optimizing for local search

Like mobile, local search has a unique set of ranking factors that you should be aware of and optimize for. Local search involves any keyword that is geographically qualified such as, infertility treatment in Santa Barbara.

 

Ranking well for local searches hinges on the following:

  • Optimizing the location page(s) on your website (especially important for practices with multiple locations)
  • Links back to your site from other trusted local websites
  • The accuracy, volume and consistency of your practice’s business listings across select directories on the web

 

Read a more in-depth study on local ranking factors here.

 

8. Patient testimonials

In-depth “patient success stories” can have a huge impact on converting on-the-fence prospects into patients.

 

The La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Center features several patient testimonials on their website. Each patient offers insights into:

  • Why they chose to get surgery

  • How they felt before and after their procedures

  • Other aspects of their experience

 

patient testimonials medical website

 

9. Not blogging strategically

Strategic blogging is centered around an in-depth understanding of your ideal patients and what they’re searching for online.

 

Your blog should:

  • Develop “ideal patient” profiles
  • Determine the challenges they have and the questions they’re asking
  • Provide information regarding keywords used to search for answers

 

The Migraine Relief Center struck gold with their post on daith piercings for migraine relief that saw over 115,000 views from organic searches alone.

 

daith piercing migraine relief medical website

Remember, your website is your best salesperson and a marketing machine. Make sure it’s working to help build your practice and drive patients to you.

 

Shareef Defrawi is president and founder of Bonafide. The original version of this article appeared on his blog.

HealthCareCommunication.com

Top 25 Ways to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice

Top 25 Ways to Attract More Patients to Your Medical Practice

Marketing is essential to the success of any business, and medical practices are no exception. For a medical practice to grow, a doctor should see 30 to 50 new patients every month. Moreover, to attract new patients, a practice must offer competitive services at reasonable pricing. Retaining existing patients also demands hard work and dedication.

While it is important to maintain a relationship with your existing patients, it is equally important to grow your practice and add new patients. Of course, there are the usual ways to achieve this, including marketing techniques and referral programs, but there is much more you can do. Here are some proven ways to help you grow your practice and add new patients:

1. Know your target audience: Before you reach out to potential patients, you need to understand your current patients. Take a look at your office records and observe the average age, gender, profession and location of your existing patients. This data will help you find the best marketing techniques to promote your practice and attract new patients.

2. Train your team: Your team will get to interact with your patients before they meet you. So train your staff to present a great first impression and address patients’ questions regarding your practice. Your staff should not only know about the services you provide but also offer specific details such as pricing, equipment used during procedures, what to expect during a consult, etc.

3. Follow up with patients: Most of the practices spend about 90 percent of their resources to attract new patients. However, retaining existing patients is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to grow your practice. Also, nurturing relationships with existing patients will increase referrals.

4. Build a mobile-responsive website: Having a modern and easy-to-use website is critical for the growth of your practice and for attracting new patients. Make sure your website is responsive and works equally well on mobile devices. The objective of your practice website is to educate your potential patients so they can make an informed decision and call your clinic for an appointment. Creating a relevant and informational website is probably the most important marketing tool at your disposal.

5. Start a blog: Blogging adds fresh content to your site and also helps with SEO. Consistently posting relevant and original content on your blog shows that you know your practice and are happy to keep your patients informed. You may provide wellness tips, announce local events and share updates about your practice. You can promote the blog using Twitter and use it to engage with existing and potential patients.

6. Host contests: Contents can be an excellent way to get your target audience to know about your practice. Offering prizes and giveaways in exchange for spreading the word about your practice may bring you plenty of leads.

7. Encourage online reviews: Reviews are one of the most efficient ways for attracting new patients and growing your practice. Encourage your patients to share their feedback in an online review. You can do this by sending a follow-up email thanking your patients for their visit and encouraging them to review you online. You can offer discounts or free services to motivate patients for posting online reviews for your practice. With the patient’s permission, you can also make their reviews public by sharing them on your practice website. It will not only help in maintaining patient relationships but will also get your name out there.

8. Connect with the community: Connecting with your community will give you an opportunity to educate people and expand the list of potential patients. You can host a seminar for kids on how to care for their health and ensure hygiene. Parents will not only appreciate this but will also consult you when they need a doctor.

9. Stay active on social media: When your current patients “like” or “share” your content on social media, their entire social circle sees it. That can direct user traffic to your page and may help generate leads. The trick is to share informational content that is relevant to your target users so that more and more people feel motivated to share your content.

10. Monitor your online presence: If your practice has some negative reviews, look for the most common reasons for the complaints. If the review sites allow, make sure you respond to both positive and negative feedback to show that you care. The more positive feedback you can collect, the more calls you’ll get from potential patients.

11. Embrace technological advances: Young patients are keen on having a technologically connected healthcare experience, and you can easily achieve it through cost-effective technical updates. For instance, instead of calling your clinic, patients should be able to download their lab results from your portal. If patients are satisfied with the convenience offered by your clinic, they’ll be more likely to refer other people to your practice.

12. Be responsive: Always staff yourself adequately if you notice an increase in the number of patients. Recruit extra staff to expand your existing services and, if possible, add new services to meet the needs of new patients. You can promote the new services strategically to the target audience. By meeting local demands in a strategic and timely manner, you can increase the number of patients and grow your practice.

13. Deliver quality service: There is no way your patients will refer your practice to others if they aren’t satisfied with your attitude and services. You have to show real interest in your patients. Your manners and the look and feel of your clinic are extremely important. You must be able to communicate well with your patients and make your presence positive and uplifting.

14. Be flexible: Your office hours and appointment schedule must suit that of your patients. If your patients need early morning appointments, lunchtime or evening hours won’t work for them. You have to make yourself available at their convenience.

15. Ask for references: Patients usually don’t refer unless you ask. The simplest way to ask for references is to inform your existing patients that you have room for new patients or that you are adding new services. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations and don’t forget to thank them for referrals.

16. Become a referrer: Fostering relationships with other doctors is a two-way street. Other doctors will be interested in referring patients to you if you’ve been referring patients their way. It is always best for the patient to refer them to the best-in-class doctors.

17. Send email reminders: Emails are one of the best ways to remind patients to come by for scheduled checkups. You can schedule follow-up emails after each appointment to ensure your patients never miss their checkups. You can also stay in touch with your regular patients throughout the year with hygiene tips, health news and updates about your practice.

18. Use email marketing: Email marketing is not an efficient method of staying in touch with your existing patients. But you can use emails for sending reminders, promotional offers and general updates about your practice to your existing patients.

19. Invest in local SEO: Make sure you include local SEO strategies in your marketing mix so that your practice shows up in local search results. This is because when potential patients are searching for doctors and medical services online, you want your practice to come up with the first few on top. Having your practice website appearing in the top five slots of a search engine is essential for attracting new patients.

20. Get listed in local online directories: More than 70 percent of people searching for medical professionals make their selection based on local listings in online directories such as Google+, Yelp, White Pages, etc. Listing your practice in an online local directory is a great way to steer targeted traffic to your website.

21. Generate media exposure: The right amount of media exposure can attract a large volume of new patients and increase the branding of your practice. Generating media exposure requires time, effort and a thorough understanding of how each media works. When done properly, media exposure can bring tremendous results for your practice.

22. Post real pictures of your staff: Personalize your practice website and make it an extension of your clinic. Instead of using stock and generic photos on your practice website and social media profiles, post real-life pictures of your team and office. Real-life images will display the comfort of your clinic and add some personality to your practice website.

23. Re-engage past patients: Set up a system for monitoring patient appointments and sending reminders to those who have been missing their appointments for a particular period. Even if a patient seems reluctant to return to your practice, you might convince them to come back with a few small gestures.

24. Take all cases seriously: Always answer patient calls, especially emergency calls, promptly. If patients are suffering and you are not available for them, they will never come to see you again. If you are available for patients in times of an emergency and go above and beyond for them, they will not waste a minute in spreading the good word about your practice.

25. Brochures and business cards: Brochures kept in your office or mailed to potential and existing patients can be an effective marketing tool. Information available in catalogs can be an educational tool that creates awareness about your practice. Moreover, displaying business cards in your reception area will keep your name intact, and patients will have access to your contact information for future reference.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Food and Drug Administration final guidance protects medical devices from hacks

Device makers should develop “a structured and comprehensive program to manage cybersecurity risks” even after their products are sold. The FDA has been criticized for making suggestions instead of strongly regulating medical devices.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Fresh eyes will judge tool woes at Detroit Medical Center

State regulators and the Detroit Medical Center have agreed to bring in a consultant to ensure that surgical instruments are clean and sterile.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

SEO: What it is and why it matters for your medical practice.

SEO: What it is and why it matters for your medical practice.

SEO, or search engine optimization, can sound intimidating for doctors and medical practices, but it doesn’t need to be. Patients’ first instinct for finding information, including what doctor or medical practice to visit, is to go online. If you want to increase your revenue by attracting new patients and engaging your current ones, then you need to pay attention to SEO. A strong SEO game will help patients see you first online.

What Exactly is SEO?

Here’s the bottom line for SEO: It’s how people find you through search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. If you incorporate the keywords on your practice website that patients tend to type into their search bar, then your site will show up on the results page. The closer the match between your page’s content, particularly those keywords, and the search terms a patient enters, the better.

Simple Steps to Get Started

1. Find relevant keywords. Think about your patients, what they are looking for and what they would type into the search bar. It may be helpful to ask yourself: What do most of your patients come to you for? What types of questions do your patients frequently ask you? You can also use Google’s free Keyword Planner to help you find common search terms. This should help you focus in on keywords to use throughout your site.

2. Develop content. When patients search online, they are looking for helpful information. One way you can give patients helpful information is in the form of a blog on your site where you use your keywords from step 1 above. For instance, if you are a dermatologist, your page should provide information on topics your patients will find useful, like acne treatment or eczema. Blogs increase your opportunities to provide information, use your keywords and, in turn, increase your site’s chance of popping up in your patients’ searches.

Things to Remember

As you improve your SEO game, keep these concepts in mind:

1. Search engines and search engine result rankings are ever-changing. This means you can’t go on autopilot with your SEO efforts, and you shouldn’t get too hung-up on where you rank at all times. Stay up-to-date on the topics patients are searching, but don’t obsess about making sure your practice comes up first with every single search engine.

2. Content takes the cake. SEO for doctors does require strategy, but it is just a way to help patients find you online. It does not replace relevant, quality content on your website; it just helps patients find your practice, read your content and contact you for more information.

We know SEO can be confusing. But when done correctly, SEO really does increase your revenue. For customized help with SEO, email us at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

Feds deny marijuana for medical purposes, spurring online backlash

Hashtags (no pun intended) went haywire Thursday after the federal government announced it would not reclassify marijuana.

The decision means patients will continue to be denied the drug for medicinal purposes. Marijuana will remain a “Schedule 1” classification, in the same category as heroin and LSD. Cannabis has had the same designation since 1970, when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act.

#Cannabismediciinal #NORML, #Alzheimers #LowTHC were among the subgroups most opponents of the news used to express outrage over the decision. Some comments—and even a YouTube video— were laden with offensive language condemning the news. Here are a few safe comments to share:

DEA_ruling_criticaltweets

The Washington Post reported:

In an announcement in the Federal Register and a letter to petitioners, the Drug Enforcement Administration turned down requests to remove marijuana from “Schedule I,” which classifies it as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use” in the U.S. and precludes doctors from prescribing it.

Faced with an escalating opioid epidemic in the United States, President Barack Obama has said he believes marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol. Still, a post from U.S. News & World Report said:

The Obama administration will keep marijuana on the list of the most dangerous drugs, despite growing popular support for legalization, but will allow more research into its possible medical benefits, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced…The agency opted not to reclassify marijuana after a lengthy review and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department, which said marijuana “has a high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use.”

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said: “We are tethered to science and bound by statute.”

The issue has elected representatives fired up, too. More than half the states have legalized pot for either medicinal or recreational use. According to U.S. News & World Report, the National Conference of State Legislatures on Wednesday adopted a resolution asking the federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule I.

[RELATED: Learn new strategies to tell your story with social media, images and video]

Smoke and suffering

Research has shown that a few components of pot are promising treatments for epilepsy and chronic pain. Some people use it to relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but there has been no proven research.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center called the DEA’s decision “deeply disappointing.” He said the scientific data overwhelmingly indicated it should not be listed as such a dangerous drug.

In New Jersey, NJ.com reported:

Limited studies inside and outside the country have shown cannabis can reduce pain, nausea, and muscle spasticity. But it remains taboo among most physicians who want to see more rigorous studies demonstrating its benefits, and fear they’ll jeopardize their license to prescribe medications.

Hundreds of people commented, with a wide range of opinions:

DEA_ruling_NJcomments

The one change the DEA did approve Thursday involves research. The agency will end its decades-old monopoly on marijuana production for medical research. The Los Angeles Times said the DEA would begin allowing researchers and drug companies to use pot grown in places other than its well-secured facility at the University of Mississippi.

The American Medical Association media reps offered this brief statement about Thursday’s news:

The DEA’s decision to provide an additional supply and variety of marijuana to support research needs can assist in the clinical study of cannabis for medicinal use. The AMA supports this approach, as well as easing administrative barriers to conduct research on cannabis.

(Image via)
HealthCareCommunication.com

Henry Schein’s medical sales boost Q1 earnings

Henry Schein experienced a strong first quarter as sales climbed across its segments.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

21 ways to market dental and medical practices

It’s not always about slick and pricey tech campaigns. Health care communicators can reap impressive results from some basic patient engagement and outreach. 

RELATED: Turn your health organization into its own media outlet.

This infographic offers numerous ideas to market dental practices, and most can be applied to any medical office. Some fundamentals are common sense and behaviors that busy practitioners might forget. For example:

  • Give gift cards for patient referrals.

  • Make follow-up phone calls after long procedures. (Even better, have the doctor call the patient.)

  • Ask one patient a day to provide an online review.

  • Schedule a free community lecture.

  • Learn patients’ names.

  • Answer the phones so they don’t go to voicemail.

Take a look, and see what other easy things you can do to promote your practice and/or specialty:

(View a larger image)

21-Ways-to-a-More-Profitable-Dental-Practice1

(Image via)

HealthCareCommunication.com

Physicians ‘Missing the Mark’ on Shared Medical Decisions

Nearly 90% of patients say they prefer to make a final decision about surgery on their own, or on their own "after seriously considering" their doctor’s opinion."

HealthLeadersMedia.com – Physician Leadership News