If you're opening a new practice or want patients to find you more easily, put your practice on the map! Registering to be found is one of the key building blocks to an effective local marketing strategy.
Start by creating a profile that accurately describes your mission, services, and contact information.
Then claim your profile at these sites:
1) Google. When you open a new practice, sign up at Google My Business. This is one of the first actions you should take because listing with Google can literally “put you on the map” (Google Maps) and get your practice hours, phone number and location shown on the map results. Once you're in their system, you can add photos and videos to enhance your information. In addition, Google offers the option to add posts to your listing, noting any specials, new services, or events. You can even feature your latest blog. These posts can help your practice stand out -- and you don’t have to pay for this feature.
2) Bing Though Google is the dominant search engine, 1 in 5 people use Bing, to complete and verify your profile on this search engine as well.
3) Yahoo comes in third for search engine usage. Now Yahoo has partnered with Yext on their listings and they try to confuse you into paying for the Yext service, but if you look closely and scroll down past the paid options, you can still obtain a free listing.
4) Yelp – a surprising number of people look at Yelp reviews for healthcare practices and providers.
To claim your listing, first check here to see if your practice is already listed.
Then if your practice is not yet listed, click ‘add your business to Yelp’, enter your information and submit.
Please note that you will need to confirm the email address you provide to complete your business submission.
If your practice is already listed, here's how you can claim it.
5) Patient review and rating sites are also important – Check your profiles at sites like HealthGrades.com, ZocDocs, Vitals.com and RateMDs.com
In addition, depending on your practice type and situation, there are other sites and organizations that may be worthwhile to consider. If you are willing to pay a fee, local groups may also offer listing opportunities -- for example, listing with your local Chamber of Commerce is usually worthwhile.
Remember to verify and maintain accurate information on search sites. This is important whether you're in a new practice or one that's well established.
Once you are registered, set up a schedule to review your listings on a regular basis to make sure they reflect the current state of your practice. Be sure to reflect changes in practice hours or services and check for new reviews. Four Tips on maintaining your online reputation.
For help with creating or maintaining your online presence, call Broad Reach Marketing for more information.
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Social media and review sites are here to stay. In fact, 47 percent of patients check a provider’s online status before scheduling an appointment and 24% of physicians reported getting new patients from social media.
So like it or not, your profile is out there and you’ll get reviews.
How do you protect your online reputation?
First of all, be proactive to avoid getting negative reviews.
Emphasize keeping in touch with patient needs and perspectives. Timing is important -- the key is to give patients a chance to give feedback and comment to you first -- before they broadcast it on social media. Having an option for patients to flag and address concerns in the office will help improve the patient experience; reducing the chances of the patient airing that issue online.
Patient satisfaction feedback can also be complimentary; helping highlight what you and your staff are doing well. There are many ways to obtain and measure it, either in the office or immediately following the visit or service.
But even the best practices occasionally get negative feedback, so be prepared. How you handle the response affects your online reputation as well.
What are the keys to handling a negative review?
Act Promptly. Monitor reviews of your practice. Although it might be tempting to ignore a bad review, it's not going to go away. If an unflattering review or complaint comes up, it needs to be addressed right way. But before you answer, take a step back and try to see the situation from the patient’s perspective.
Respect Privacy. It’s important to be careful of any HIPAA protected information. Even if the patient shares their medical information, make sure you don’t confirm or deny its validity. Ask them to contact your office, and if the patient identified themselves, contact them privately to discuss.
Acknowledge their viewpoint. If there was a misunderstanding or mistake, apologize. Show them what is being done (or has been done) to address the situation. Often, once you solve the problem with the patient, they’ll take down their post.
Be courteous and professional. While it may be tempting to answer a rude post with the same tone, or hide, delete or even ban a reviewer, it’s much better to show the reviewer that you care about all patient opinions. Always thank patients for taking the time to share their opinions and let them know you value the feedback they provide.
There are some exceptions:
If a review contains libelous statements or is from a person who has never visited your practice, have them taken down immediately, before it causes any damage. If you send them a clear explanation as to why the content is problematic and why it is important for the content to be removed, most review sites will take down any libelous statements; legal action can be used as a last resort.
In this world of social media and reviews, it’s important to keep your online reputation positive. Get regular feedback from your patients and encourage them to leave you reviews. A variety of reviews can dilute any negatives. It will also give individuals researching a better perspective of whether your practice will be a fit for their needs.
Thanks for reading!
Broad Reach Marketing provides practical, effective marketing for healthcare providers and other professionals. Contact us if we can help you with branding, patient satisfaction or communication processes.
According to the Journal of Medical Practice Management: of those patients that rated their healthcare providers with two or fewer stars, only 1 in 25 claimed their physical examination, diagnosis, treatment, surgery or health outcome as the reason for their dissatisfaction.
Patient's negative perceptions sited poor communications, disorganization, excessive delays, indifferent staff and communication frustrations.
In an environment where rising costs and increased competition for patients is prevalent, this fact is important because:
Due to these shifting dynamics, surveying and montoring your patient’s satisfaction and perspectives is becoming a necessity for successful healthcare providers. This enables you to learn more about what’s important to your patients and the best way to communicate and engage them. You only have a short time with each patient; the focus is on their health. If they had a bad experience trying to get hold of you or other non-health related problems, you most likely won't hear about it. But a dissatisfied patient may tell others, post a review or leave your practice. Give them a chance to give their feedback! The information gleaned from a well designed and implemented survey process can be invaluable to your practice’s future success.
The good news is that conducting a custom patient satisfaction survey can be done with minimal time demands on you and your staff. Then, once you become aware and understand your patients perceptions of your practice, you can put actions and processes into place that leverage their positive impressions and diminish the negative ones.
For more information concerning successful methods for obtaining patient feedback and implementing enhancement processes, please contact us at Broad Reach Marketing Services.
I was driving along the other day singing along with one of my favorite songs when a good friend called. Pat was going bonkers on the phone because it had been one of those days … the type we all can relate to.
Pat’s day had started off fairly well until 1 PM when her manager called a meeting to discuss the up-and-coming trade show. Gerard (Pat’s boss) had just decided to change the theme of their booth based upon a passing comment by one of the VPs. So instead of the planned fishing theme, it was now to be a golf theme equipped with an electronic driving range and free Arnold Palmers for anyone driving the ball more than 200 yards!
To make matters worse, Pat lamented, during Gerard’s animated description of what he wanted -- a get a reminder that my physical is in an hour!
There should have been plenty of time, she told me, but the meeting dragged on. Finally it was over, and Pat jumped in the car, figuring there was just enough time to get to the appointment. She had to make it – after all she had waited 2 and a half months to get in!
While she continues her story, I can visualize my friend frantically thinking through all the arrangements that need to be made for the booth while driving to her appointment, and see her getting more and more frustrated as there seems to be only one color of traffic light – RED!
Upon arrival, Pat runs into the waiting room and up to the receptionist who is talking on the phone and pounding on her keyboard, obviously not happy with the person on the other end. Finally, putting the phone down she looks at Pat and says – do you have an appointment?
Exasperated, Pat responds, “No, I just thought I would stop in and see if you were having a great day like mine?” The receptionist whose nameplate read Molly – didn’t crack a smile and just said, “name and time please”.
So Pat, feeling a little sheepish about her snarky comment, smiled at Jolly Molly and said “Pat, I’m here for a physical.” Molly then proceed to take forever pounding on the key board again (kind of like an airlines assistant) and then pronounced: “You were scheduled for 3 pm and we only hold appointments for 15 minutes … and we charge for missed appointments.”
Pat, slowly starting to boil over, responded, “Well according to YOUR wall clock it is only 3:12 so I guess I made it.” Molly glances at the clock and then says, “I’ll let it go this time - take a seat.”
Then the interminable wait begins …
Pat waits and waits and is just about to check to see if they skipped over her name when finally, a young nurse comes out and guides Pat to the exam room where the air conditioning is blasting. The nurse asks her a list of questions then hands her a paper gown so she can disrobe.
Sitting on the exam table with her lips turning blue, Pat waits some more.
Finally, the doctor comes in and says with a grimace, “Been one of those days,” glances at her chart and asks her all the same questions the nurse just asked.
When Pat finally busts out of the office, even though she received good news about her health, she was frustrated enough to call and vent.
And the ironic part of it is – Pat really respects her Doctor! As she blew off steam, I realized many of us have had experiences like that at some point in time. That was confirmed that evening when I was reading an article in the current Journal of Medical Practice Management which revealed that only 1 in 25 patients that rated their healthcare providers with two stars or fewer is unhappy with his or her physical examination, diagnosis, treatment, surgery or health outcome.
The other 96 percent of patient complaints cite poor communications, disorganization, excessive delays, indifferent staff and doctors’ bedside manners as the cause for dissatisfaction. Hardly anyone was discouraged with the actual quality of care received.
Given the increasing usage and reliance of patients on Physician internet scoring and review sites, Doctors have an increasing need to understand the site’s metrics and their patients’ perspective on their experience.
Online reviews and patients’ perceptions can often be improved once the feedback is gathered, analyzed and small adjustments are implemented in the way an office operates.
At Broad Reach Marketing Services, we support Medical Professionals and their staffs in gathering insights on patients’ perceptions, developing action strategies, and implementing changes that facilitate the future health of their practices.
Let us help you get the positive ratings that your patients, staff and you desire! Call us or click here for ways we can help
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