Digitalization has brought a lot of changes in healthcare. The sphere of a physician-patient relationship has evolved from direct communication at the physician's practice to interaction on digital platforms. With an increasing number of patients referring to the Internet to make their health decisions, this trend is here to stay. For the good interest of your practice and digital reputation, it's important to embrace this change.
A better patient experience now starts with a better online experience
With these recent changes, healthcare services have become similar to any other sector such as hospitality, airlines, restaurants, and so on. The successful entrepreneurial physicians has leveraged the the concept of online marketing to tap the target segments and build his brand equity. To attract new patients in this digital era, it's imperative to think like patients and provide them solutions according to their needs and preferences. The focus in healthcare has shifted to providing "patient-centric" care and patient experiences begin much earlier than when they turn up for a consultation. Patient experiences start counting right from where the health decisions are made, such as finding a provider on the web. Physicians and hospitals need to think from patients' perspective to grow their healthcare businesses.
Think like a patient while communicating
Put yourself in the shoes of your patients to find out effective ways to fulfil your patient's needs, wants and desires. It's important to frequently communicate with your patients to know what they think and feel about your practice. By encouraging open communication, you can build positive relationships with your patients, which in turn will help you understand what they feel about the services offered at your practice.
It's possible to combine email, face to face, social media, physician-review websites and phones for connecting and communicating with your patients. Carefully analyzing and proactively tracking what services patients look for regarding their health needs can provide an insight into their minds. To innovate and evolve with the changing mindset of patients and an effective communication strategy is indispensable in today's competitive world and is a vital key to maintaining a strong brand image.
Think like a patient while posting online content
A key component of digital healthcare marketing is to create an influential physician-patient communication that inform, influence, and motivate patients to make better health decisions to improve their quality of life.
Online marketing experts suggest posting educational and informative material on social media as it holds the promise for improving patient engagement and empowers them to make better health decisions. Physicians should leverage social media to educate patients. Patients can benefit from the use of social media through education, obtaining information, networking, performing research, receiving support, goal-setting and tracking personal progress.
You can frequently post information to promote healthy behavior, motivate people to achieve their health goals, and increase awareness about general conditions and disease prevention. Providing quality health information on various social media channels will increase your online visibility and can create a sense of trust and reliability about your practice among patients and readers who could be potential patients in future. You can extend the reach and coverage of your brand and be in touch with your patients even if they aren't visiting you. This helps build loyalty along with a positive reputation, and these can be the determining factors for growth of your practice.
Think like a patient while getting your website designed
Your online presence is a new patient portal, and a well-designed responsive website can definitely serve as an excellent gateway to attract new patients to your practice. It distinguishes your practice as a brand from the crowd of thousands of others and helps you to stay ahead of the competition.
These are just some ideas to begin with. You can explore, innovate and strategize your marketing plans by thinking through the eyes of a patient. This will ensure that your patients — current and new — get a correct impression about you, your practice and your online reputation.
Manish Chauhan is Digital Marketing Manager at myPracticeReputation which is an easy-to-use reputation management solution for physicians to help monitor, protect and promote their medical practices at all times in the simplest way possible.