by Jared Jost, Vice President of Marketing, PatientPop

Ninety percent of health care providers are currently in a competitive market, according to a PatientPop survey, and nearly four in 10 describe their situation as highly competitive. This should come as no surprise to physicians who run their own practice.

With the proliferation of urgent care centers, walk-in clinics and telehealth, it’s become increasingly more challenging for practices to attract new patients. The solution for 2020? Adapt to the mass online migration.

In a 2019 patient perspective survey, three of four people say they’ve looked online for care, but that’s just the start: patients are assessing doctors, sharing feedback, seeking medical information and regularly making appointments. This instant access to information, coupled with established online “shopping” habits, have fueled today’s consumerization of health care.

The digital tactics you implement now can dictate your potential growth over the next decade. Here’s how to begin improving your online presence and effectiveness.

Claim your online listings

Every practice is listed across a variety of online directories and health care websites – Google, Yelp, Facebook, Vitals – where patients check everything from your location to your most comprehensive services. If you haven’t claimed your profiles, you can’t control what prospective patients see, including inaccurate information.

Claim your profile on review websites and listings directories, prioritizing sites that are most visible and familiar to you and your patient base. Within each profile, list your business essentials (name, address, phone number). Share details about providers, services and staff. Add photos. Build trust at first sight by bringing your practice to life.

Optimize your health care website

You have the most control over your health care website, so take advantage of it. Identify services for which you most want to be found and create a single webpage for each. Stay consistent with the terms you use for symptoms, services and your approach to treatment.

Then, create a webpage for each provider, and include those key terms you’ve established elsewhere on the site. Develop a blog with a fresh page for every post (one post per month, at minimum).

All this website production tells search engines you have relevant, well-organized, authoritative information that can satisfy patients’ search queries – and position your site to rank well in search results. You may not move the needle immediately but you’ll be on your way.

Offer online scheduling

Don’t force interested patients to pick up the phone to make an appointment. Give them the convenience to do so online, right where they find your practice. Online scheduling should be a must on your own website and the functionality also exists on many listings websites.

Focus on reputation

When choosing a doctor, patients consider reviews the most influential online resource: In a 2019 PatientPop survey, 70 percent of patients said positive reviews are important or very important.

A strong reputation impresses across three key review elements: total number of reviews, average star rating and frequency of reviews. To boost all three, you must start by asking your patients for feedback. They are far more likely to submit a review when asked, and the majority of patients have only shared positive experiences.

Monitor your reviews daily and respond to patients’ negative feedback. Doing so is critical because nearly all review readers (97 percent) also read how businesses respond, according to research from BrightLocal. Additionally, PatientPop research shows the rate of patient satisfaction roughly doubles when negative comments are addressed. Just make sure your replies are prompt, polite, professional and free of protected health information (PHI).

Put it all together

Taking on any of these actions can help nudge more patients toward your practice. But the real practice growth occurs when the entire patient journey is addressed, from the first time a person searches online for care through receiving post-visit communications. With an all-in-one service to guide the way, practices can attract and satisfy more patients in 2020.

PatientPop is the leader in practice growth with the only all-in-one solution that empowers health care providers to improve every digital touch-point of the patient journey. As experts in the health care technology space, PatientPop makes it easy for providers to promote their practice online, attract patients and retain them for life.

To instantly see how you compare to other practices in your local area and specialty:

Jared Jost is vice president of marketing at PatientPop, the market leader in health care practice growth technology. He has deep expertise and experience implementing integrated marketing campaigns, and helping businesses achieve their revenue goals.

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