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Tag Archives: Online

How to Find Out What Your Patients Want Online

How-to-Find-Out-What-Your-Patients-Want-OnlineBIG

Did you know that 77% of online health seekers began their last session on a search engine? When you’re marketing your healthcare practice online, it’s important to anticipate what your patients are looking for – that way, they find you and your practice online! As with any business, having an idea of what your customer needs and wants makes it easier to create an effective online healthcare marketing plan that will get you the results you want. But is it possible to really know what your patients want from their healthcare provider online? Here are a few tips to help you answer that question:

Stick to Your Expertise and Services

Whether you run a medical, dental, physical therapy or veterinary practice, no one knows what you can offer better than you. Start by promoting your own knowledge and services to help attract the patients you want online. If you find that patients want more than what you offer, you can consider expanding your services and expertise then.

Pay Attention to Online Reviews, Questions and Comments

If you’re on an online review site like Yelp or have a business page on Facebook, be sure to pay attention to the comments and reviews you receive. Did anyone leave a follow-up question on an article you posted? Has anyone asked if you provide a certain service that isn’t explicitly promoted on your site?

Reviews, both positive and negative, can also provide insight into what it is your patients are looking for. Paying attention to them gives you the opportunity to tailor your content to what your patients want and add SEO optimized content to help more patients find you online.

Poll Your Audience

The quickest way to find out what your patients want from you online is to ask them. Poll your patients on what specific content they’d like to see more of or see if there’s a specific medical topic that you haven’t covered that they’d like to learn more about.

Know Your Competition

Another way to find out what your patients want online is to see what your local competition is offering. Check out the websites and social media pages of other healthcare practices in your community – what do they offer that you don’t? And is it something that patients in your area are looking for? Most importantly, is it something that you can offer them? If so, then you know how you should tailor your content going forward to attract those patients.

Create a Brand

Developing a brand identity and establishing who you are as a medical practice will, in a way, give your patients what they want. Having a clear message about your practice will help you establish who you are to your patients and give them a clear perspective of who you are, as well. When we’re choosing a business to go to, we do so because they represent something that we’re looking for. Having your own clear message will help you attract the patients that you want online.

At Practice Builders, part of our many services is to help our clients establish a brand identity. If you’d like to learn more, contact one of our healthcare marketing consultants at 800.679.1262.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How to be Present Online for Your Healthcare Practice

How-to-be-Present-Online-for-Your-Healthcare-PracticeBIG

Mindfulness and “being present” are popular catch-phrases. You probably see these terms and ideas come up a lot in both medical and lifestyle content. There’s definitely something to be said about remaining “in the moment,” and this is a strategy that can help when you’re planning and maintaining your healthcare marketing plan. With so many other medical, dental, veterinary and physical therapy practices out there, it’s important to run your online social media accounts and website to the best of your ability to stay ahead of the competition. Here’s how you can stay present online to market your practice:

Always Reply

Don’t you hate it when you have to wait hour or days for a friend to reply to a text message or an email? The same can be said for your patients and potential patients when they’re waiting for a reply online. Make it a point to check up on your social media accounts once a day so you can reply promptly to direct messages or mentions and avoid creating any bad blood.

Make Social Media a Designated Role

Replying every day to messages is important and it will be even easier if you assign someone on staff to do it as part of their duties. Making your online presence a priority will help keep you “present” since it’s part of a staff member’s daily tasks.

Keep a Schedule

Not posting to social media or on your website regularly can make your site and account look dead and inactive. You’ll run the risk of losing followers and your spot in their online lives. How many people are going to come back to check for content if they haven’t seen anything new posted in a while?

Life gets hectic, especially at a medical practice. Part of staying present is making time for it, which is why keeping to an online marketing schedule is so important. It’s best to post on social media a few times a week. With blogs, you should be posting content on a monthly basis at the very least.

Use the News and Trends

What better way to stay present than to pay attention to the health items that are trending? Try keeping daily alerts for news items, shares, retweets and blog posts that focus on your health area of expertise; sharing and retweeting those items will help keep you active and present online.

Have a Brand and Consistent Messaging

Creating a brand, mission statement and consistent messaging will help keep you present online. By having something to say and a goal for your healthcare practice, you can stay consistent through all of your marketing techniques both online and off.

Make Social Media Important

One of the best ways to stay present online is to make social media an important part of your healthcare marketing strategy. If you make it a priority, the other steps listed above will naturally fall into place.

Did you know that we can help you build a brand and a social media marketing strategy to promote your practice online? Contact us today at 800.679.1262 to learn more.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

It’s Time to Increase Your Online Content for 2016

Its-Time-to-Increase-Your-Online-Content-for-2016BIG

Have you been adjusting your healthcare marketing plan to suit the new trends for 2016? According to a number of different articles, increasing your online content is going to be a major trend this year for online marketing.

The rise in social media has also seen an increase in online content, so brands (dental, medical and veterinary practices included) will have to shift their content slightly to stand out from the crowd. Here are some tips for increasing your content this year:

Start Creating Long-Form Posts

Most blog posts max out at 500 words. Because of the nature of the Internet and the increase in short attention spans, short content was the golden standard. In 2016, however, more and more brands are creating long-form 1,000-word posts to stand out from the competition.

If you haven’t started a blog already, you should add one to your website in order to harness the benefits long-form posts could have on your marketing strategy. In terms of topics, you can use your own professional expertise to create long-form informative articles for your audience.

It’s Time for Video

If you haven’t already added video to your practice’s website, now is the time to do it. Did you know that videos average 62% more engagement than photos? Engaging online video will help update your healthcare website design, but it will also keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to online marketing trends and can help broaden your scope when it comes to deciding on new topic ideas for content.

Use Engaging Graphics

You’ve probably seen infographics used by other businesses or on sites like Pinterest. The reason they’re so popular is that they’re packed with important information in an easy-to-read visual manner.

Using an infographic can help you pass on important health information to your patients in a fun and engaging way. Infographics are also a way to help your posts get more likes and shares on social media.

Do you need to add more content to your website or social media accounts? Contact us at info@practicebuilders.com to learn more about how we can help create a healthcare marketing plan that’s right for you in 2016.

Medical Healthcare Marketing

How to Deal With Negative Online Comments

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Having social media accounts for your medical or dental practice as part of your healthcare marketing strategy is a great way to grow your brand by connecting with your audience. For networking sites like Facebook, your followers can leave comments about your practice or on the links and status updates that you post. This can help you address immediate concerns and foster a more personalized relationship with your patients and potential patients online.

While the comments sections tend to be mostly positive, there are times when someone on the Internet will leave a negative comment or review about your practice. Although these instances are usually isolated events, if they become common they can have a negative impact on the online reputation that you’ve built for your practice. That’s why we’ve put together a list of strategies that you can use to ensure that you manage negative comments in a positive and productive way.

Be Respectful

Maintaining a positive reputation and establishing a professional brand is a common goal for many doctors and dentists. That’s why negative comments can feel so annoying and offensive, especially when you are working so hard to market your practice.

It’s important to maintain a level of professionalism and respect when responding to avoid making a negative comment look worse. Treat negative comments as potentially legitimate issues that may have been communicated in a bad way. Keep calm and employ a professional, polite and respectful tone when responding to avoid escalating the issue and causing more bad blood.

Resolve Issues

A negative comment or review may simply be a miscommunication. If the issue can be resolved, make the effort to correct it. If not, sometimes issuing an apology can smooth over misunderstandings.

Avoid Arguments

Heated discussions in a comments section can quickly get out of hand. Avoid arguing with a negative review or comment. If the comment is offensive or overtly angry, it may be best to just not engage. You can speak with a moderator on the networking site to have the comment removed rather than getting into a lengthy discussion that can quickly spiral out of control.

Create a Standard Response

Another great strategy is to create a standard corporate response for negative comments when they come up. This can help you resolve issues quickly while maintaining your professionalism to avoid hurting your online reputation.

Train Your Staff

You’ve probably already trained your staff to deal with verbal complaints; training them to response to negative online comments is no different. If it’s unfamiliar territory to your staff, a training session will make them professional experts when it comes to online comments.

Do you have an issue with negative online comments or reviews? Our online reputation management system may be helpful. For more information, contact one of our healthcare marketing consultants at 800.679.1200 or at info@practicebuilders.com for more information. We’re here to help!

Practice Builders

Attract More Patients With a Better Online Reputation

Today’s patients have become increasingly smarter in terms of choosing the right healthcare practitioners for them. The rapidly growing trend is checking out a doctor’s or dentist’s online reviews before arranging a first consultation. Whether you are a doctor, a dentist or an ancillary health provider, it’s more important than ever to solidify your practice’s reputation online.

What people read about you online largely determines how they assess your medical or dental practice. A good review is a plus-point, while a bad review can do serious damage to your reputation. For doctors and dentists to remain competitive in the healthcare industry, it is important for them to maintain good online reputations. A solid strategy for online reputation enhancement and management is no longer optional. It’s a necessity.

Remember, a disgruntled patient or a sneaky competitor could be saying something negative online against you. One bad review may be shared with another user, which in turn may also be shared with another user. As a result, there will be an exponential rise in the number of times the bad review is shared. The same holds true for good reviews.

Online reputation management is about shaping people’s perceptions. This process involves mitigating bad reviews, facilitating and managing good reviews and maintaining a strong online presence with an easy to navigate, patient-friendly website.

Practice Builders

How Doctors Should Handle Negative Online Reviews

If your first question is, “How do I get a negative review removed?” you should know that it’s not easy, regardless of which online review site you’re dealing with. Each site has its own rules and most major sites make removal almost impossible. But you do have recourse. Here are some tips for getting a negative review removed…

Take a Positive First Step

Review the site’s policies and terms of service (TOS). Once you understand the site’s dispute/removal policies, your next step should be to contact the reviewer by phone, if possible, and ask for any insights that may help you resolve their problem. The easiest way to get a negative review removed is to politely ask the reviewer to remove it. If that does not work, then craft a carefully written response. Your first public response to a negative review is critical.

Avoid HIPAA problems by not revealing ANY details about the patient you are responding to – in your response post, emails or texts. Apologize to the reviewer for the negative experience that fueled their review. Offer to correct the problem immediately, if possible. If you have already corrected the problem, share the steps you took to ensure better patient care or service in the future. Your goal is to win back that dissatisfied patient with a caring, thoughtful response. Your public response can also demonstrate to potential new patients that you really care.

If you see the same negative comments repeated in multiple reviews, use them to improve your practice. Not only will this reduce future negative reviews, it will give you a competitive advantage by making your practice more attractive to patients. The one silver lining in negative reviews is that they often provide a different perspective on what may not be working in your practice. If patients frequently complain about long waits, impersonal treatment or rude staff members, you may need to address those issues and avoid future negative reviews.

More Ways to Beat Bad Reviews

Here are four potentially surefire methods and conditions for having negative reviews removed. Just remember that the burden of proof is on you.

TOS violations – Every review site has a TOS policy where they list what’s allowed or disallowed. The TOS, for example, does not allow personal attacks on you or your staff, including defamatory or derogatory comments about race, religion, disability, ethnicity or other factors. Contact the review site and let them know you believe there is a TOS violation. Many review sites use a ticketing system that’s programmed to look for certain words. If you mention “TOS violation” in your subject line or message, your comments will go directly to someone who deals with TOS violations and improve your chances of having the review removed. Also reply directly to the review stating that it is a violation of the site’s TOS and you have requested it be removed.

Legal violations – Highly offensive or illegal posts can be grounds for removal. Examples of legal violations are threatening, racist or sexist comments, graphic language or content or content that is a copyright infringement. Google offers specific advice for submitting complaints about such legal violations.

Slander by competitors – If an unscrupulous competitor slanders you on a review site, you can often have the review removed or hidden. One way to prove your claim is to show that the reviewer’s email address belongs to a competitor or someone who works for that competitor.

Erroneous reviews – Sometimes customers write reviews for another practice on your page by accident. Sometimes patients write stellar reviews but accidentally click one star instead of five. Contact the reviewer using a polite, professional tone and explain the situation, and they will often amend the review or remove it. Reviewers can always update/amend/remove their own online reviews.

  • Always check to make sure the reviewer is really a current or former patient (if not, simply post that “This false review is not from my current or former patient.”
  • Always contact the reviewer calmly, politely and nicely.
  • Always attempt personal contact first, in person or by phone.
  • Always try to understand their frustration or why they are upset.
  • Ask them to remove or at least modify their review.
  • Always provide proof that a review is false using clear, unemotional facts, but…
  • Never divulge ANY personal information about ANY patient in ANY public medium, including websites, posts, review responses, emails or text messages as this is clearly a HIPAA violation.

Find a Partner in Online Healthcare Reputation Management

Handling online reviews can be extremely time-consuming. You would much rather devote your time to patient care. That’s why Practice Builders offers myPracticeReputation, a complete solution that streamlines the whole online reputation management process. Monitor your online reputation 24/7, capture positive reviews from your patients and automatically publish them on the Internet.

You will be able to see all of your online reviews and reputation management activities on one convenient dashboard. This technology even automates sending “please review us” emails and simple instructions to your patients, streamlines the review process for them and much more. With myPracticeReputation, you will gain more positive reviews and make those few negative reviews look more and more like outliers.

You can immediately request your complimentary Online Reputation Assessment by clicking here. Your assessment will include all the reviews that you have ever received on all review websites – including some you may not even know about – as well as your reputation score, which is on an A-F scoring basis. Overall, you will be able to see what patients are saying about you on the Internet, which is priceless (click here to start).

Learn more about Practice Builders and the benefits of using myPracticeReputation by emailing us at info@PracticeBuilders.com, calling 800.679.1200 or visiting myPracticeReputation.com.

If you wish to comment on this electronic newsletter’s content or subject matter, please email the editor at: hedgar@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Are Online Reviews Making You Feel Unfairly Judged?

If you are one of the many doctors, dentists or other healthcare professionals lamenting the proliferation of online patient reviews and review sites, then this newsletter should give you some comfort. You are not alone. And there’s professional help waiting for you in the form of healthcare practice reputation management partners and programs.

If you think patients are poorly equipped to review the quality of your care or expertise, you are in very good company. Many doctors and dentists feel the same way. Yet, patient reviews continue growing in popularity as consumers challenge the idea that their doctors or dentists are the best sources of reliable treatment information.

Sadly, many consumers use the review site Yelp to rate health providers the same way they rate plumbers. Instead of calling out a doctor over inadequate care or a misdiagnosis, patients are far more likely to complain about long wait times, difficulty getting appointments, insurance and billing errors, the practitioner’s standoffish bedside manner or the office staff’s rudeness.

In the worst cases, doctors, dentists and other health providers have threatened or filed lawsuits against patients who post negative reviews on Yelp. Some have even tried to sue Yelp itself. Be warned, however. The track record for such lawsuits is very poor, with courts typically ruling in favor of Yelp and the healthcare consumers.

Making the Grade

Though Yelp’s health reviews began in 2004, more than half have been posted in just the past two years. These reviews attract millions of views monthly on Yelp’s site alone. So far, health providers have earned an average of 4 stars. Medical doctors have earned fewer 5-star reviews than other health professionals, and the average doctor reviewed gets 3.6 stars. Chiropractors did far better on average, with ratings of 4.5 to 4.6 stars out of 5.

While some providers (think physical therapists and dentists) actively seek out patient reviews, doctors have been trying to suppress reviews for years. They believe a visit to the doctor is typically more complex than a visit to a dentist, physical therapist or chiropractor. The typical visit to a dentist or physical therapist is for a specific service. The patient’s expectations are usually clear, and results are more easily measured than the results of a typical doctor visit.

Doctors also scored lower on Healthgrades, which focuses solely on health providers, though the difference was smaller than on Yelp. Unlike Yelp, Healthgrades has not allowed general consumers to post comments. Patients who post on Healthgrades might soon see different questions based on the type of doctor they visited. Healthgrades believes this will provide more useful user feedback.

In addition, the American Medical Association encourages patients to communicate their concerns directly to their doctors instead of posting online reviews anonymously. The AMA believes, rightly so, that finding the right physician is more complicated than finding a good hotel room, and smart patients should use the best available resources to make such important choices. The association has called on people who profile physicians to give them the right to review and certify the accuracy of their information before distributing a practice profile or placing it on the Internet.

The AMA understands that your online reputation is critical to the success of your practice, that you need to incorporate online reputation management into your practice and that monitoring and managing your online reputation is not something most physicians can do on their own.

Turning Minuses into Pluses

Services such as Practice Builders’ myPracticeReputation (mypracticereputation.com) not only help you combat negative reviews legally, ethically and in HIPAA-compliant fashion, but also help you generate more positive reviews from satisfied patients and monitor your online reputation.

Start managing and protecting your online reputation by talking to a Practice Builders’ healthcare marketing consultant today. Call 800.679.1200 for more information and a complimentary reputation assessment.

If you wish to comment on this electronic newsletter’s content or subject matter, please email the editor at: hedgar@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

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

Why Bad Online Reviews Hurt Your Practice

Do you have your medical, dental or veterinary practice on an online review site like Google+ or Yelp? If you don’t yet, you should.

Stats show that 44% of Americans who use the Internet look for information about healthcare professionals online. So these review sites can offer some benefits that your social media accounts and healthcare website design can’t always help you with.

These online review sites are a way for your patients to express how they feel about your practice. If they give you good and positive reviews raving about their experience, this is an easy way to gain referrals from people you haven’t targeted. The elusive 44% of American web users who are researching your practice are more likely to book a first-time appointment with you if they see glowing reviews.

But there is a flip side. If your healthcare practice is incurring negative reviews, then you’re alienating that 44% and missing out on gaining new patients who can help increase your reputation and revenue stream.

Too many bad reviews will ruin your reputation. That’s why online reputation and review management should be an essential part of your healthcare marketing plan. But even if you’re dealing with bad reviews already, you can turn it around:

Encourage good reviews

If you have a few regular patients who keep coming back and are happy with the service you provide, encourage them to post a review online. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Add a link to your online review page in all your email correspondence, encouraging regular patients to leave a review.
  • Follow up after an appointment and, if your patient is happy with their experience, promote your online review site for them to leave a positive review.
  • Offer incentives, like a free dental cleaning or discount on another healthcare service, for patients who leave positive reviews.

Respond to negative reviews

A number of these online review sites also provide an opportunity for you to respond to negative reviews. There may be an explanation and, if not, you can apologize for the issue and encourage the patient to come back and re-experience your practice. They may not, but by being contrite about a misunderstanding, it may encourage people reading the site to give your practice a chance.

Did you know that we can help improve your online reputation and help manage it on online review sites? For more information, contact one of our healthcare marketing consultants at 800.679.1200 or by email at info@practicebuilders.com.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing

Your Most Qualified Patients Are Online

Doctors, dentists and veterinarians looking for a winning strategy to attract the most qualified local patients or clients need today’s most effective tool … a strong online presence and a carefully planned digital marketing strategy. Traditional healthcare marketing can drive search behavior, but digital healthcare marketing is what drives action such as making appointments.

According to the latest statistics from Netsertive, 88 percent of patients looking for healthcare information or practitioners start with search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! Traditional healthcare marketing – on TV, radio and billboards, or in newspapers and magazines – cannot, by itself, deliver qualified patients. What’s currently most effective is a mix of digital and traditional strategies.

Think of traditional dental or medical advertising as a method of stimulating a potential patient’s search behavior by driving them to your digital offerings – your medical or dental website, Facebook or LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel or blog. If the patient is sufficiently impressed with your content and services, he or she will make an appointment.

According to Netsertive, 94 percent of patient searches are conducted using smartphones and 44 percent of mobile users ultimately make an appointment. That kind of success is no longer possible using only traditional healthcare marketing strategies. The new bottom line: You must be found online to attract qualified patients, and local mobile search helps you close the distance between your medical or dental practice and your patients within five miles or less.

Medical, Dental Practice Marketing