Communication and technology are the key to evolving your healthcare practice in these unusual times. There’s some simple things you can do to evolve now, that will help your medical practice thrive later when we are on the other side of this crisis.
1. Take Stock of your Marketing
Do an audit of your marketing. Nothing too detailed, just a birds eye view of what’s going on. What’s working and sending you new patients – and what isn’t? Cutting marketing can cut the lifeblood of your practice. But cutting marketing that’s not working is worthwhile for sure.
If you’re already working with a marketing agency or have a trusted consultant, give them a call. You initially brought them onboard to help you make sound marketing decisions to build your business and they can help you now, too. If they’re a good egg and truly have your best interests at heart they’ll help you scale the correct things back, if anything, and advise you of what to focus on, even if it potentially affects their own bottom line.
Do you have enough of an online presence? Can people find you online? While you’re probably aware of the many wondrous benefits of a well-functioning, easily findable, informative, mobile friendly AND secure website, it is definitely the time to make sure your website is working for you. Your online presence matters. Every new patient counts.
2. Take Control of your Messaging
Right now, I suggest to press the STOP button on your regular, automated, run-of-the-mill marketing. Realign your messaging, taking current happenings into account. Make sure the communications coming out of your business are relevant for today.
Here’s some thoughts:
- Check & update your social media posts if you schedule these ahead of time
- You can ‘pin’ a facebook post at the top of your profile if there is a specific COVID-19 message you want everyone to see
- Check & update your automated email campaigns
- Check & update your Google Ads campaigns
- Update your Google My Business profile to reflect operational changes and make use of the special COVID-19 post feature
- Update your website messaging
By taking control of the messaging and communications coming out of your business, you’re showing patients you care, letting them know you’re aligned with what’s important to them and you’re staying across current events.
3. Take Charge of your Patients
Lead your patients. Communicate proactively. Let them know how you plan to operate during this time. Patients will expect changes and the best thing you can do is keep your long-term and new patients in-the-know. Send the SMS’s. Write the emails. Reach out and connect, maintain the trust you’ve built over time.
Let them know:
- What are the specific telehealth options you have in place?
- Will contact response times be delayed and by how much?
- What specific social distancing measures are in place?
- Are you reducing the number of patients you allow inside your waiting room?
- What are the other precautions are you taking?
By taking the lead you’ll be helping your patients feel more at ease.
4. Take Action with Technology
In 2020, your practice can’t afford not to have online bookings. Patients prefer online bookings because it allows them to choose a convenient appointment time at the exact moment they’re ready to book the appointment rather than fitting in with your opening hours. In fact according to HotDoc, 1 in 2 online bookings are made after hours. Additionally, patients get frustrated at having to wait on hold and fit in with select appointment windows over the phone with your team. If you’ve been contemplating integrating an online booking program with your website, the time is now.
Automated Appointment Reminders
Automated reminders are an effective method for reducing no shows at your practice. With online booking software like Hotdoc, utilising an in-built reminders feature prompts patients to confirm or cancel their appointment and to reschedule when appropriate. Along with a range of other features like new patient registration forms and pre-qualifying forms for care plans, booking automation software can improve the patient experience and reduce pressure on your admin team, saving you time and money.
Telehealth appointments have become the key to medical centres and healthcare practices surviving the Coronavirus. While telehealth has become a necessity for many practices as a means of survival, it’s likely to prove itself as technology that will help healthcare practices thrive once we are through this period.
Virtual appointments and virtual care may indeed become a preference for many patients and practitioners in clinically appropriate situations post-COVID-19 too. Embracing telehealth is likely to become an essential component of practice success in the very near future.
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