For healthcare marketers, new patient acquisition is the name of the game. The healthcare industry is unique in the fact that every patient has an ailment that needs correcting, and the concept of marketing to ailing people can feel problematic at times. However, ailing people need care, and new-patient acquisition drives the bottom line for hospitals and specialty clinics, so acquiring new patients is an absolute must.
Read on to learn what you should be including in your patient-acquisition model.
For many, health is a chief concern in life. Because of this, potential patients take their healthcare decisions very seriously, often combining online research and word-of-mouth reviews on healthcare providers to form their opinions and make decisions. In light of this, hospitals and clinics should ensure that they are doing whatever they can to drive word-of-mouth referrals back to their institution. There are several ways this can be accomplished.
When there are several specialty clinics in an area, patients tend to do their research. In fact, BrightLocal found that 86 percent of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and 91 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that positive reviews that patients leave on your clinic's Facebook or Google Business pages count as personal recommendations in the eyes of potential patients. Encouraging your satisfied patients to leave positive reviews on these pages could be all the boost you need to see a substantial increase in your clinic's patient-acquisition rate.
This one may seem simple, but you'd be surprised how few hospitals and specialty clinics follow up with their patients in the weeks following their visits. The simple act of reaching out to connect with existing patients can make them feel cared for in a way that few other marketing tactics could accomplish. For bonus points, you can use your follow-up as an opportunity to prompt your patients to fill out an online review for your institution. With any luck, your follow-up will give them a better opinion of your clinic that will lead to a better overall review.
Following an analysis of 7 million published physician reviews by Healthgrades and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Advisory Board reported that the most important factor in patient reviews was the amount of face-to-face time patients got with their physicians. Alongside other key factors, such as bedside manner, comfort, compassion, patience and personality, this demonstrates that consumers view healthcare more as a personal interaction and not simply a medical transaction. Knowing this, hospitals and specialty clinics would be wise to do what they can to make interactions with their patients as pleasant as possible, because, while care is important, patient experience is what drives word of mouth. Check out 4 Key Takeaways You Should Get From Your Patient Surveys for an in-depth look at how you can gauge patient satisfaction.
Whether you're a large hospital or a smaller specialty clinic, new patient acquisition is the lifeblood of your organization. By focusing on the patient experience, your institution can increase the quality of your care, drive word-of-mouth referrals and, ultimately, acquire more new patients through the resulting increase in brand reputation.