Insights on Healthcare Marketing

A Few Ideas for Creating a More Patient-Centric Office

1. Incorporate art.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or even original.  Just choose items that will surround your patients with beauty or nature to help them mentally escape their worries and medical concerns – at least temporarily.  One physician I worked with was an amateur photographer and decorated his patient rooms with bright, lively photos he had taken on his various travels.  Not only did this help to enhance the warmth of his exam rooms, it really added a personal touch and forged conversation and connections as patients often asked about the photos. 2. Use color.  Nothing is more sterile or boring than a white wall.  Choose colors that are warm and inviting. 3.

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There’s No Place Like Home

When we’re worried, stressed and don’t feel well, we all yearn for the comforts of home.    Unfortunately, for too long, medical practices and institutions have ignored this basic need.  In recent years, there has been a ton of research on creating “healing environments,” and I’m happy to see that this is starting to trickle down to medical practices as well, causing a shift in the approach to medical office décor. It is becoming much more patient centric as it should. So what does décor’ have to do with marketing?  Everything!!! Your décor and the impression and feelings it gives your patients when they walk in your doors is all a part of their experience and thus, your brand.

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Ten Ways to Nurture One of Your Greatest Assets

Behind every great physician is a motivated, appreciated and empowered staff. Noted marketing guru and change-agent Seth Godin calls them “Linchpins” (which is also the title of his latest book if you are looking for a good read).  Here are a few tips on keeping your team in tip-top shape. 

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What Referring Physicians Want

Here are six things referring physicians want: 1. To feel as if they’re part of the team.  Report to them promptly and send their patients back to them. 2. To be kept informed.  Send a thorough response – a detailed, diagnostic report – for every referral.  Include an executive summary at the beginning of the report. 3. To be able to reach you.  Be available to referring doctors.  Have a dedicated phone line for them and set aside a specific time each day to return calls.  When appropriate, provide them your cell phone number as well. 4. To get their patients in to see you in a prompt manner.  Schedule referred patients as quickly as possible.  Set aside a block of time in your schedule each day for these referred patients – and let referrers know about it. 5.

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A Refresher: Nine Ways to Enhance Customer Service

While the ideas listed below are nothing new, in our time-crunched world, they too often go ignored.  

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Eight Tips to Enhance Patient Communication

1. Build a Web site that represents your practice in a patient-useful manner. 

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Build Your Roadmap

If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know how to get there.  Sounds simple enough, but all too often, I have seen healthcare organizations journey into marketing without their map:  a well-thought-out strategic plan. 

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Do Your Homework

Just like you would never walk into a job interview without researching your prospective employer or perform a surgery without reviewing the chart, don’t jump into healthcare marketing without first doing a little homework. Find out who your target audiences are, what they want and how they perceive your practice.   Look Inside.

  1. Evaluate your own data.  Who are your patients?  Where do they live?  How did they hear about you?  Who is referring to you most/least?  What are their specialties?  Where are they located?
  2. Survey your patients and referral sources to determine what they think about your practice.  What do they like most?  What do they want to see changed?

Look Outside.

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The Matrix — “Or” vs. “And”

You’re opening a new office or your practice is adding a new physician or you have added a rapid track for urgent care.  So how do you best communicate this to your patients and referral sources?  Do you send a letter? Or do you run an ad?  Or do you put an announcement on the home page of your Web site? Or do you set aside some time to make personal visits or community presentations?  Life sure would be easy if there was a single, surefire strategy for success or if we had the time and money to do everything thing we want.  However, as we all know too well, we live in a complex world without an “easy button.”  And of course budgets are always tight and so is time.  What works?  The matrix.

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The Gap

Your brand is your promise to deliver a healthcare experience for your patients that is specific and unique to your practice.  You’re essentially making a promise no one else can make.  This requires that you recognize several things: 

  1. What patients want -- both in the functional delivery of care and their emotional relationships with your practice.
  2. An honest evaluation of what you currently provide.
  3. An accurate understanding of what your competitors offer. 

Compare and contrast these three, and the spaces in between are what we marketers call “the gap.” And this gap = your opportunities to build and strengthen your brand.

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