And How Your Medical Practice Should Adapt Its Marketing
We have experienced a medical crisis unlike anything in a century. Not surprisingly, then, because medical professionals have been confronted with never-before-seen medical challenges, they have adapted, forging new paths in the provision of healthcare services. Here are some of the key trends that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Practitioners are exploring new growth opportunities—In general, medical professionals have seen a decline in office visits, which has led to a corollary drop in reimbursement rates. In response, many medical professionals have looked for ways to increase the scope of their practices. Common strategies have included:
- Offering additional ways to provide services, such as virtual care and home health services
- Adding additional treatment modalities or expanding the scope of narrowly-focused practices
- Acquiring competing or complementary practices
Medical specialties that have experienced increased visibility during the past year and a half include cardiovascular care, orthopedic care, and primary care.
There has been a rush to provide virtual healthcare, or telehealth—The pandemic forced medical professionals, legal experts, and medical ethics professionals to work out the challenges that HIPAA poses for distance or virtual healthcare. Furthermore, as office visits declined because of social distancing requirements, more and more providers saw the writing on the wall—go virtual or go home. Insurance companies have also worked closely with providers to make the reimbursement process less daunting.
There is a greater awareness of the socioeconomic and ethnic disparities in healthcare services—The medical data from the pandemic paint a very clear picture, one where minorities and the poor fared far worse than the rest of the population. This has helped medical professionals, policymakers, and others see the need for new approaches to help narrow that gap.
What Can You Do in Your Practice to Adapt to the New Trends?
It’s long been said that where there’s a crisis, there’s also an opportunity. Here are some of the ways you can build your medical practice on the trends that have evolved over the past 18 months:
Make certain that it’s easy for existing and prospective patients to get information about you and your practice, as well as current topics of interest:
- Make certain your practice website is up-to-date and try to add fresh content, such as blogs, on a regular basis. That will help boost performance with search engines.
- Listen to the concerns of patients, and proactively provide information to answer their questions.
Look for ways to make it easier for patients to get the care they need and to see real improvement in their lives:
- Provide accurate, timely, and easy-to-understand information to help patients find you and to engage in activities that improve their medical condition.
- Share the stories of other patients (without identifying them, of course) who have had positive results.
Improve your communication at every level:
- Make it easy for patients to schedule a visit.
- If there are documents that need to be filled out, send them to patients in advance, so that when they come in, they are seen in a timely manner.
- Be willing to send a reminder text message or make a phone call to ensure that patients don’t forget their appointment.
Make certain patients understand that virtual appointments are an option:
- As COVID numbers go back up, you can expect that fewer people will want to come to your office. Make certain patients know they can schedule an appointment from home. Post on your website and include a reference to telehealth in your answering service or voicemail.
Pay attention to online reviews:
- The power of online reviews continues to grow. Ask your patients to post a positive review. Consider using reputation management software to compile and respond to online reviews.
Consider using video on your website:
- A video helps new patients put a face to a name and can personalize your message.
- Videos are also easy to pull up on a mobile device.