Patients now have infinitely more choices and online information when it comes to shopping around for healthcare these days. Forget the phone book and billboard ads, patients can find everything they need to know about you, your practice (and your competition) from their couch. Every day patient acquisition becomes more difficult, and as we all know retention impacts revenue of healthcare systems and providers (even more so in large, competitive markets). Do you have a strategy in place for engaging patients online and influencing their decision making?
A study the looked at 15,000 healthcare facilities and individual doctors online listings across the web revealed some shocking statistics:
- 68% of listings had a name related error.
- 29% of healthcare facilities lack accurate phone numbers.
- 48% of listings had basic address errors.
- 32% lacked an online local listing (which is 3.6 times greater than the unlisted average of other businesses).
This is made even more serious when you consider that in the healthcare industry, there is no room for error. Minutes can mean the difference between life and death, yet nearly a third of all facilities and practitioners lack any local listings, and close to half of healthcare listings that do exist have significant inaccuracies.
Address Your Online Presence
Online presence consists of accurate name, address, and phone number information across sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Bing, etc. It’s important that you not only represent yourself online as a educated and knowledgeable physician, but you also need to humanize yourself, too, by paying attention to this data that reaches patients first. Here’s how to approach your online presence:
- Location data must be managed.
- Location data must have a source of truth.
- Location updates must post in real time.
- Patient satisfaction always starts with search.
Understanding these fundamentals will improve your online presence, and therefore impact the number of patients you see walking through the door at your practice.
Websites like Healthgrades, Vitals, Wellness, and ZocDoc exist so your reputation among patients is public information, therefore helping a perspective patient choose the right care for them. Healthcare providers can begin to proactively collect hundreds of new patient reviews on these top healthcare sites, as well as sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to build an online reputation that brings in new patients. Proactively manage your online reputation by prompting current patients to review you online instead of waiting for them to do it on their own volition. Managing your reputation across so many review sites can become cumbersome quickly, but don’t be intimidated. IDigital can help and is proven to produce quick results for you or your practice’s online reputation.
While the healthcare industry in general has growing to do in these areas, many healthcare providers have begun to recognize the critical importance of online presence, and are making major investments in comprehensive technology solutions that work for them.