Every physician should ask themselves two questions: How many new patients am I getting each month and what can I do to increase that number? Long gone are the days when patient referrals were enough to keep medical practices going. Not only are there more choices for anyone looking for a new doctor; there are also more public venues for patients to share their experiences. Unfortunately, they are more likely to share the ones that are negative.
How Most Patients Find Doctors Today
People increasingly turn to the internet first when they need a new doctor. This is in large part due to the growing use of cell phones and the ease of searching for anything from any location. The growing number of physician review websites have also contributed to the practice. Simply searching for a doctor’s name or an area of practice will bring up lots of information and reviews.
While some of these sites use something like a five-star rating system, many also include other details that new patients find important. Some of the top things patients look for in a doctor, clinic, or hospital are:
- Types of insurance they accept
- Proximity to their home
- Extent of services performed in-office
More than any of these, people want a doctor with a positive reputation. They are going to put their health and, possibly, their lives into this person’s hands. They want to know that they can trust them to give them the best possible care. That’s why an “okay” reputation isn’t enough.
Many of these review sites also allow former patients to make comments about their personal experience. That’s where these sites can end up doing harm to a doctor’s reputation, even if they don’t deserve it. The fewer unhappy patients a doctor has, the easier it is to maintain a good reputation. It only takes one bad review to do a lot of damage. Sometimes these reviews aren’t even accurate or real.
The fact is, different doctors have different beliefs and approaches to healthcare. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to find someone who is a good fit. Even though a patient didn’t agree with something a doctor did, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a good doctor. That’s one reason that all physicians need to take an active role in their online reputation management.
Start With a Professional Quality Website
Failing to have an informative, current website allows other people to tell your story. Give new patients a good place to start learning about you and your practice. Provide the basic information about your services, the types of insurance you accept, and give directions to your practice. If you provide in-hospital procedures, list your affiliations. But don’t stop there!
Search engine optimization (SEO) and content continue to be essential components of any website. The same is true for any medical practice. Some experts believe that content is the most important thing on your website. Others argue in favor of SEO. The reality is that it takes the right balance to bring more visitors to your website and get them engaged in what your practice is all about.
Implement Social Media
Many businesses, including medical ones, take the advice of having a social media website to heart. The problem is that they make it their only online resource. There are lots of tools that you can use to connect with your target patients. You can interact with patients and address negative comments before they get out of hand. Without understanding the tools available to you and the best ways to implement them, your reputation can get out of hand before you know there’s a problem.
Read Your Own Reviews
The best way to find out what your patients are saying is to read their reviews. You might be surprised to learn what some of their experiences are like. It isn’t just your expertise in your area of medicine that determines your reputation. It’s everything that the patient experiences from the time they first contact your office.
Sometimes doctors don’t realize their patients’ dissatisfaction with long wait times, scheduling issues, or treatment by the support staff. Sometimes patients change doctors rather than deal with a rude receptionist. These types of issues are the easiest ones to resolve. Make the necessary changes to address these issues. Then post the changes on your website.
Patients don’t always reach out to doctors directly. You can change that by asking them to review you. This helps keep opinions out in the open where you can deal with them head-on. It also lets your patients know that you value their opinion and want to provide them with a more positive experience.
Marketing Your Medical Practice
Reputation management for doctors is important for patient retention, but it’s also necessary before your marketing strategy will work to grow your patient base. The best marketing tool you have is your list of happy patients. Do you know how to make the most of this valuable asset?
A positive reputation is a good start for growing your practice. The next step is to get the leads needed to continue bringing new patients into your practice. Many doctors work in highly specialized areas of medicine. That means that you only have a select number of patients that require your services. Do you know how to market your practice effectively?
Obi1Media has gotten impressive results for doctors in a variety of specialized areas of medicine. Our medical clients have seen increases in lead flow by as much as 400%.
We understand the unique needs that every doctor, clinic, and hospital has. By focusing on healthcare needs, we have obtained in-depth knowledge and expertise that results in fast, impressive results. We understand how your business works, and how to market it.
Contact Obi1Media to learn more about our services today. We offer a wide range of digital marketing strategies and services that can help your healthcare practice grow. Get more leads, increase your revenue, and enjoy a greater rate of success!