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The online healthcare consumer is majorly impacting the healthcare industry. They are shopping around for healthcare services and physicians the same way people shop around for hotels, restaurants, and running shoes. Their journey begins at a search engine, like Google, where they enter an injury, medical conditions, or specialty that, with luck, will lead them to you. Ninety-six percent of people who find you on the internet won’t connect to your practice website directly. They will start at a search engine – like Google. They enter your name, your practice, a specialty, or a medical condition into the search field and Google will decide if your website matches the search criteria – if it thinks you don’t match, it won’t show your name in the list.
Understanding the importance of a strong digital presence can be the difference between success and failure in today's healthcare landscape.
There are many technical factors that impact SEO, from the keywords used on your page to the way your site is structured. Your site may already employ some of the techniques required to rank highly in search engine results, but be lacking in others. Therefore, a thorough assessment of where your website stands currently is critical to understanding how it can be further optimized for improvement. With strong, well done programming, your site will show up higher in the results page on a given search.
If you haven’t noticed things have changed! The patient that once came from another physician referral source is now a healthcare consumer, shopping around for the right doctor, practice and procedure, just the way they would shop around for a car or new pair of running shoes. If your online reputation is not impressive, chances are the consumer will choose another practice. Statistics show that 92% of internet users read online reviews, and 89% of people say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions – this is true for healthcare and physicians too!
The difference between just 4 and 5 stars is critical to some patients looking to make an appointment.
Your online reputation is the first thing patients see when visiting your practice online. Studies show 80% of consumers trust an online review as much as the word of mouth recommendation that comes from their closest friends. When patients leave your office, they go online and share their experience with the digital world. If their experience wasn’t good – either with you, another provider or your front office staff – other potential patients are going to hear about it, and chances are a poor review will cost you patients.
Once a patient finds your practice online and has made the decision to make an appointment, the hard part begins. You MUST make scheduling the appointment as quick and easy as possible. Many practices spend thousands of dollars to attract new visitors to their website or social pages to only find out those potential patients are not making it on the schedule.
The online healthcare consumer’s expectations includes instant engagement and/or immediate response. Also polite and engaged medical staff on the first call. In todays online environment if the phone is not answered they will simply call the next listing on Google. When a potential patient is left on hold for more then 2 minutes, they simply hang up and call the next provider.
Getting leads is easy, turning them into actual patients is the hard part.
Various tools are available for tracking and analyzing the success of all the marketing efforts you’re using to move requested appointments to actual appointments. It’s important to establish a CRM tool and call tracking system in order to know where your marketing dollar is best spent. Many of the tools have userfriendly dashboards that anyone can pull information from.
Claiming all of your online listings on top directory sites like Google and Yahoo – Vitals and HealthGrades is critical to successfully being found online. Make sure the providers names, contact information, and addresses are accurate in all practice locations. Your listing on Google My Business is especially important, because many other directory sites use it to populate the information on their own pages. Add as much information about you and your practice that you can. We often even film 3D tours for our clients, giving them the best possible edge with Google.