Times have changed
The days of friendly neighborhood family doctor were extinct. Today’s practice scenario is vastly
different from that of the past decades. In the 1970s and ‘80s no commercial advertising was
needed to market practices. It is mainly because the practices aimed to acquire patients from
geographically proximate areas and because the referrals were through word of mouth of the
existing clientele. 1990s saw the practices advertising in local newspapers for new patients
acquisition. Although this widened the patient base, there was no fierce competition yet.
Furthermore, the concept of polyclinics or multi-specialty hospitals was not caught on furiously then.
Hence, operations management was comparatively easier.
In recent times, unprecedented changes have taken place in every walk of life. Physicians practice
scenario was not immune to it either. Higher costs, highest competition, individual decision making
by youth, proliferation of digital medium, digitally misinformed patients, ever-increasing demands
for increased quality care and world moving towards online presence are major pressure points now.
Practicing and marketing the practice are no more a catwalk.
Looming threats to your practice today
Identifying the myriad challenges lurking around every corner and surmounting them in the bid to
boost the practice are the biggest time and cost-consuming factors of the healthcare industry
worldwide. Though there are horses for courses, the common thread connecting all practices
irrespective of the size and location are these looming threats.
In tune with times, the healthcare practices have been corporatized to the
hilt where big players either acquire small clinics or start the satellite clinics in various locations.
Most of the practices acquire latest technology equipment, making a particular practice first among
equals very difficult. Hence practices have to make efforts to distinguish themselves among the
contemporaries. No practice today affords to let the guard down. Well-informed by internet,
patients can switch over to other healthcare providers anytime, resulting in decreased collections.
Tough income generation
Though the patient numbers have increased, continued overheads
threaten to keep the revenue flat. These include investment in infrastructure development (such as
building, machinery and equipment), labor costs (training, salary and social security measures), ever-
expanding statutory regulation standards (compliance of which puts pressure on time and
resources), and tightened insurance norms (reduced margin, additional outstanding days), which
gobble a sizable part of the income.
Dramatic growth in online rating in the recent decades made the healthcare
professionals to sit up and take note of the patients’ power to say anything they want and anywhere
they want. Reviews gained more important than websites for practices. Online reviews directly
affect the number of new patients. It looks like that impact of negative review is more than that of
positive reviews. While the positive review enhances the chances of patient traffic, the negative
reviews do severe damage to hospitals’ reputation in turn revenue.
While overall these threats are to be handled and fended off by the management, practice
marketing companies can definitely share a considerable chunk of this burden. When the healthcare
providers work to find ways to deal with some of the pressure points such as scarcity in skilled and
experienced workforce, cutting cost and regulation compliance processes, practice marketing
professionals can lend a huge helping hand in managing other challenges by ramping up a practice’s
online reputation, providing heightened visibility for that practice, thus influencing patient
treatment decision choice in favor of a particular practice. As visibility and reputation are the keys to
increased patient numbers and revenue, availing online reputation management services of a
Practice Marketing Company goes a long way in boosting patient volume, augmenting patient
engagement and retaining patient loyalty.
Practice marketing in patient treatment decision
Every day, 30% potential patients are looking for trustworthy healthcare providers. How to impress
them to choose your practice? Practice marketing plays a major role at this crucial juncture. First,
practice marketing enhances your online visibility across a spectrum of websites, social networking
sites, blogs and other web locations. Second practice marketing boosts your reputation through
deriving positive reviews, offsetting the effect of negative reviews and pushing your rank up in digital
searches by potential patients.
When a person encounters an illness, he/she is suggested various care providers by family,
friends and acquaintances, based first person or third person care experience. In addition to these
word-of-mouth referrals, the potential patient looks for best and affordable treatment on the
internet. The search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo scrambles a list of top-ranked practices for
the potential patient to peruse. These lists include branded review sites, branded websites of
practices, and branded social networking sites. The potential patient goes through all reviews at
multiple sites, based on the online reputation decides on a physician or a hospital for their
treatment. Then he/she comes for enquiry and then patient conversion takes place.
Hence timely employment of practice marketing services aids in patient treatment decision
choice in your favor by directing them to discover you digitally and then impress them with your
Win over this scene with wisdom
Surmounting the looming threats and providing highest quality patient care on the one hand and
maintaining an online presence and ramping up reputation relentlessly on the other put the
healthcare practices between sea and hard rock. Would the practices be striving to generate income
staving off competition and complying regulatory norms, while keeping an eye on reputation
successfully? It is more or less handful. If the latest buzz is to be observed, healthcare practices have
offloaded their online reputation management to professional practice marketing services who have
the requisite skill sets, technical expertise and experience. It is the most prudent way, engaging a
professional digital marketing services company instead of spending one’s own precious resources.
The changed times that brought with them increased complexities for doing a business, especially in
the health care sector, prompted the healthcare professionals to take a critical look at their
methodologies of running and marketing their practices. The looming threats of modern times set
the decision-makers of the practices at edge. In addition, the power of patients’ reviews to affect
new patient numbers is overwhelming. In this multiple challenges scenario, professional practice
marketing services have sprung up as a boon. There are available dozen a dime. But it is imperative
to choose companies that have specialized online reputation management strategies in their
portfolio because since beginning till date the reputation of physicians, later hospitals, was the
primary driver of patients towards the particular practice. Hence choosing a credible company to
take up your online reputation management lifts most of the weight off your shoulders in the uphill
task of making your healthcare practice a runaway success.