Insights on Healthcare Marketing

August 7, 2018

Your practice Web site is one of your most powerful marketing tools. When was the last time you surfed it? 

Most patients — current or prospective — turn first to your Web site for key information about your practice, including phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses. Is your site up to date?

July 25, 2018

A nationwide study by Cigna earlier this year found that loneliness was at epidemic levels in our country with half of Americans reporting that they feel lonely. 

It is no secret to those of us in the medical community that there is a strong link between physical and mental health. Social isolation can negatively impact health in a number of ways from increased stress and inflammation to disrupted sleep to a weakened immune system.

July 17, 2018

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of a heartfelt, personal “Thank You” and have made it a tenet of my professional and philanthropic life.

I recently read in Tom Peters’ latest book The Excellence Divide where former Campbell’s Soup CEO Doug Conant sent 30,000 handwritten thank-you notes to employees during the 10 years he ran the company.  

And Peters, an internationally acclaimed business consultant, author and speaker, goes on to share that for more than 40 years, he has made it an annual ritual to personally make 25-50 thank-you calls between Christmas and New Year’s.

These are two extremely busy leaders in the business world. If they can do it, so can we. Who have you thanked lately? 

 
June 26, 2018

Time to go out and meet a potential new referral source.
Time to handwrite a personal thank-you note to a new patient or referral source.
Time to call a patient after a procedure or difficult illness to see how they are feeling.
Time to get involved with a community organization.
Time to personally thank your top referral sources on a regular basis.
Time to reach out and apologize when something goes wrong or someone must wait too long.
Time to recognize a colleague or staff member who does a great job.

Often it is the little things that create the deepest connections and propel your practice the most.

 

June 13, 2018

One of the most powerful quotes I’ve read in a long time:

“Your customers will never be any happier than your employees.”
                        — John DiJulius, Entrepreneur and Customer-Service Guru

Think about it. Health care is a service, an experience. And it is dependent upon human interactions and relationships. Your employees ARE the face of your brand. Are they happy?

 
June 6, 2018

Have you ever seen or received one of those coins or notes that says, “Caught being good?” 

I love the concept. We’re all familiar with random acts of kindness. Why not perform random acts of acknowledgement?  

In our busy, digital world, it is easy to feel invisible. So, take notice! Show appreciation. Let someone know you see them — that what they are doing truly matters. It can be a staff member, a colleague, a referral source or a community partner. It can be something small (sometimes this can be the most powerful kind of recognition) or something large. 

Recognize …

June 6, 2018

Have you ever seen or received one of those coins or notes that says, “Caught being good?” 

I love the concept. We’re all familiar with random acts of kindness. Why not perform random acts of acknowledgement?  

In our busy, digital world, it is easy to feel invisible. So, take notice! Show appreciation. Let someone know you see them — that what they are doing truly matters. It can be a staff member, a colleague, a referral source or a community partner. It can be something small (sometimes this can be the most powerful kind of recognition) or something large. 

Recognize …

May 30, 2018

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  — Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Empathy. It is the experience of understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own. It sounds soft, but in the “disconnected” world in which we all live and work, practicing empathy is actually strategic.

May 22, 2018

Rainy days. They can be pretty miserable, and we have certainly had more than our share lately in Central Florida. However, they also provide your practice an opportunity to shine and make someone’s day a little brighter through a small random act of kindness. Here are a few we’ve come across in our community:

May 15, 2018

I recently read where fewer Americans agree with the statement that “most people can be trusted” than at any time in the past 40 years. Yet, building trust is critical to any successful business relationship, and I would argue especially in the business of delivering healthcare. 

So how can you build trust with your patients, referral sources and even your staff? I believe there are four basic steps:

April 30, 2018

Every day your organization has choices:

  • Bait and switch or honest advertising.
  • Trickery or transparency.
  • Empty promises or fulfilled truths.
  • Scripted responses or genuine conversation.
  • Broken links or technology that transforms.
  • Endless phone loops or extravagant human welcomes and assistance.
  • Lengthy on-hold wait times or prompt responses.
  • Buried rules and exclusions or clear communication.

Too many organizations today make the wrong choices. The consequences? Angry patients, negative reviews, low retention and a skeptical market. They put all of their energy and resources into acquiring new patients rather than delighting the ones they have. 

March 14, 2018

Everyone wishes they had one. And at times, it seems as if some practices believe that an experienced, savvy marketing team has the tools to make marketing miracles happen for them.  

They don’t though. In fact, there is very little, if anything, your marketing team can do for you if your practice is not personally invested. And by that, I don’t just mean financially, I mean spending time, focus and energy. 

Because at the end of the day, truly successful marketing is about relationships and experiences. And while a good marketing professional can lay out a fantastic plan, help open doors, spark connections, and provide you with creative and compelling tools, the true power of success lies within you and your team. 

 
March 6, 2018

How does your practice welcome a new physician? Too often, I find new physicians are “baptized by fire,” immediately thrown into a busy practice after just a couple of days of “orientation.” They are provided policies and procedures, but do they have an opportunity to learn and embrace the culture of your practice? Do they fully understand expectations and accountability? Have you engaged them in practice marketing? Have you provided them the tools to market and grow their practice?

Here are a few tips to improve the on-boarding process:

February 15, 2018

To market or not to market? Sure it is a choice, and you can certainly choose not to make the investment, but at what cost? 

Too many practices wait to market until there is a specific problem or need — new patient visits are down, patients are leaving the practice, a new competitor has moved into the neighborhood, they lose a key insurance contract, satisfaction scores are suffering, etc. 

Successful, forward-thinking practices incorporate marketing into their everyday business, even if everything is going well, to stay ahead of the curve. They proactively and continually build and nurture relationships with their staff, patients, referral sources and community:

January 29, 2018

Too often in both my personal and professional business experiences, I see inflexibility — staff members who are so focused on the rules and procedures, that customer service suffers. 

Rather then bending just a tad to meet a customer’s needs (especially a loyal, long-time one), they will stand their ground, pointing to a policy or sign. I’m not talking about customers who take advantage of the system — I know they exist. These are customers who have a one-time need or request due to a special or unforeseen circumstance:

November 28, 2017

Whether it is moving or retiring, when a physician leaves your practice, it impacts patients. And often in a more personal way then you might realize.  

Patients, especially those who have been with your practice for many years, become attached to “their” physician and feel a true loss when he or she leaves. How you communicate this change, acknowledge their loss, and help them to smoothly transition their care to another provider can make the difference between retaining them in your practice and losing them to a competitor. 

Here are a few practical tips:

November 16, 2017

Too often I find that physicians and health care workers talk above or around their patients: 

November 6, 2017

False advertising. We all know what it is. It is when a company makes promises, and then the actual product or service falls far short of delivering on those promises. 

You can say you have expert physicians, deliver the best patient care, have the latest technology or provide the highest level of service, but if a patient comes for a visit and isn’t greeted warmly or is kept waiting too long or no one explains what they or doing or why, that negative experience will speak louder than any of your words.

Invest in showing your patients and community by:

October 26, 2017

What do your referring physicians really think about you and your practice? 

Have you ever asked? 

One of the first things we recommend when working with a new client is that they allow us to interview some of their referral sources — both their top referrers and a few who perhaps don’t refer as much as the practice would like them to. We ask the client to contact the referral sources first to seek permission and open the door for us to contact them. This approach allows us to have open conversations with these referring physicians, asking them about their experiences and opinions with the practice — the good, the bad and the ugly. And the result is honest feedback and recommendations that we can take back to our client to help them improve. 

October 18, 2017

In healthcare, we have worked hard in recent years to make patients feel more “connected,” whether it be patient portals, electronic health records or smart phone apps. All of these things can certainly enhance connection and the patient experience. However, they MUST be supported by human connections — by real relationships with you and your staff. A warm welcome, a nurturing visit, someone who remembers you and what is most important to you, an unexpected follow-up note or call. These are the personal connections that have always been and remain the heart of good healthcare.

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