Insights on Healthcare Marketing

In Others’ Words

Never underestimate the power of a happy patient.  We all know that “word of mouth” can be our greatest source for referrals.  Now just imagine if you amplify that voice? Patient testimonials, whether in print, video or online, can be one of your best marketing tools.  They allow you to communicate your strengths through the words of others.  They provide you that ever-so-valuable third-party endorsement.  Not just some celebrity or talking head speaking about how great you are, but a REAL patient who had a REAL problem and experienced exceptional care. Want to take it up a notch?  Identify patients in your practice who are: 

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What do you say? The two most powerful words.

Thank you. Two simple words that your mother taught you. Words that are not said nearly enough.  Yet they can go a long way toward strengthening your staff, retaining your patients, increasing your referrals and boosting your reputation. Who to thank? 1. EVERYONE on your staff 2. Your partners and colleagues 3. Your patients 4. Your referral sources 5. The hospital nurses and staff you interact with whether it be in surgery or on the floor 6. ANYONE who contributes to your success Want to take it a step further?  Make it unexpected and tie an action to the words: 

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Will you be my neighbor?

Do you exist or do you engage? English poet Alfred Tennyson once said, “I am a part of all that I have met.”  You may think I’m referring to the explosion in social media and boosting your online presence and involvement.  And while this is certainly critical, I am actually taking a step back in time.

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Are you a satellite or a neighborhood?

For many medical practices, opening another office is a great way to improve access and availability.  And we are frequently asked to assist our clients with establishing and marketing a new office.  While there are many creative and effective ways to achieve this goal, perhaps the most important boils down to one simple question:  What are you going to call it?  Too often, we hear the word “satellite” while the current office is referred to as the “main office?”  What message does this send to the community you are trying to better serve?  What feelings does this evoke?  How much better does it feel to go to a “neighborhood office” or a “community office?”  Now I feel like you care about me; you’re a part of where I live and what I know.

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The True Power of Social Media in Medical Marketing

“Pro-sumers” turn to the Web for almost every purchasing decision in their lives, and they no longer see healthcare as being any different.  Increasingly, the burden of healthcare costs is shifting from employers to individuals.  And because they are paying more out of their own pockets, they are also spending more time scrutinizing their healthcare decisions. Yes, they want a qualified doctor. But you know what?  More and more, physicians, especially younger ones, are board-certified and fellowship trained.  That’s become an equalizer.  So now, the consumer is thinking if you and the five other doctors in my community have the same training, what is it about you?  Is it your volume?  Your service?  The way you care for your patients?  How you call a patient back?

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Paddles Dragon Boat for first time

Saturday in Orlando at the Orlando Rowing Club, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined the Warriors on Water Pink Dragon Boat team for a an hour's practice.  Lots of benefits of fitness and wellness for all.  Engaging the city of Orlando with a dragon boat which is a gift of Women Playing for TIME is another way to raise awareness about defeating cancer as it affects women, their families and friends.  See marketing comes in many packages - even on Lake Fairview on a Saturday morning.

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Throw away the cookie cutters. The 4th A: Accomodation

Today’s “pro-sumer” patients expect that you will accommodate them.  They want convenience and genuine concern for their well-being – someone who understands their unique, individual challenges and makes it easy to get the personalized care they need. They don’t want cookie-cutter care.  They want customization. They want to feel engaged and personally recognized during the time they are connected with your practice. So with all the demands on your practice, how can you take the time to provide more customized care? I would argue it is not so much a matter of time, but an attitude of consideration and thoughtfulness.

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Social Media in Healthcare is NOT a Fad

Marc Middleton and I had a wonderful audience this week at the FL MGMA State Meeting in Orlando.  We enjoyed a brave and progressive group who wanted to learn and discuss social media and healthcare.  

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The Buck Stops Here — Accountability

So you have taken steps to increase access and availability?  What’s next?  The 3rd A -- Accountability. Patients want someone who will take responsibility and provide accurate answers and explanations. Typically, they are already anxious and under stress when they turn to you. Often, they are experiencing a health problem. They have questions and concerns, and are looking to you and your staff for answers and solutions. They don’t want to get passed from one person to another. They expect leadership, assistance and guidance in navigating what can be a complex maze.  One example of how many healthcare providers are addressing the need for accountability is the rise in care coordinators or care teams.

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Taking Action Part II — Improving Availability

In my last two posts, I talked about the 4 A’s of effective medical marketing today – access, availability, accountability and accommodation. Today, let’s delve more into #2 – availability and how you can incorporate it into your practice or organization. Availability Do you offer convenient appointment times?  How long do your patients typically wait both to secure an appointment and in the office?  Are your physicians and staff approachable and easy to talk to?  Do they handle phone calls in an unhurried and compassionate manner?

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