Patient engagement via social media and digital marketing are vital for growing medical practices, says health care marketing consultant Jennifer Dally, of Attune Marketing Group in Powell, Ohio.
Speaking at the 2018 annual meeting of the Large Urology Group Practice Association, Dally said the physician-patient relationship is about more than diagnosis and treatment. What patients want most is connection, which “brings peace of mind.” Transparency, active listening, trust, convenience, customer service, and good communication are among the attributes that patients say establish connection, Dally says.
“We expect a certain level of experience in general as a consumer, and that has translated into the health care world as well,” she says.
Attempts to improve the patient experience can be simple. For example, Dally says, when physicians wrap up a patient visit, they can say to a patient, “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”
Physicians need to understand that patients already have been on a medical journey before a medical encounter. “I’m trying to give them context of the journey patients take before they arrive at their practice and what could they do to influence that journey.”
She emphasizes 4 essentials for every medical practice: a website; search business listings; social media engagement; and review management. A website must consider patients’ needs, not those of the practice. All websites should enable patients to pay bills online and to schedule appointments, as well as provide a link to a patient portal, she says. Website content should be produced with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. The goal is to have a website rank high on search engine results pages. This determines how patients or physicians find a practice “in the digital landscape,” Dally says. High Google rankings matter a lot, she says.