Combatting Dr. Google

dr googleHave you heard of Doctor Google?  Your patients have.  She is one of the most famous doctors on the planet.  Almost every one of your patients consults with her before they contact you.  Dr. Google only performs house calls, so her hours are convenient.  She does not charge your patients for her advice, but her advice changes every time you ask her about your symptoms.  She never pinpoints what is wrong, leaving your patients to guess what they have and self-diagnose.  But the funny thing with Dr. Google is that people trust what she says and they are not seeing you because of it.

If you want to stop losing your patients, you need to make some changes to your practice.  The world of treatment is changing and you cannot afford to be left behind.  To combat Dr. Google and her team of copycats, Dr. Facebook and Dr. Twitter, you need to turn your practice into a Learning and Service Center.  Partnering with a company like Halo Health and its vendor and the tips below will help.

The first thing you need to do is Improve Your Website.  If you want to keep your patients from searching for advice, you need to make sure they can find the information they need on your website.  You need to invest in a robust education section on your website that explains your specialty, the services you provide, the common symptoms of the diseases you treat, and information on how to know when to make an appointment versus running to the emergency room.  If your website provider is not able to help you, you may want to contact Visionline Media.  Visionline Media has tons of experience improving your patient’s web experience.

The next thing you need to do is Master Social Media.  Right behind Dr. Google in trust are her partners, Dr. Facebook and Dr. Twitter.  Posting a photo of a rash gets lots of home remedies, amateur diagnosis, and other misinformation.  You need to focus on these social media sites along with YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram and build a presence so your patients reach out to you here first.  Take the time to develop interesting content that explains your specialty, the diseases you treat, the symptoms of each disease, and treatment options- very similar to the website.  But in this format, you can explain in more detail using photos, presentations, videos and other fun things that humanize your practice.  You also need to respond in a timely manner to private messages and have your appointment software linked to your sites.  Again, Visionline Media can help you here.

The first two items are passive items that can very easily handled by a third party vendor. Once you have an initial meeting or two, they become automated programs. The next two involve some effort from your team.  Personalize Your Service and Invest in Telehealth.  The more touch points you offer to your patients, the more they will respond to your first.

Personalizing your services is very easy.  In addition to sending birthday cards, appointment reminders, and newsletters, start to focus on reaching people based on their disease states.  Send targeted emails to your diabetes patients with tips, recipes, and exercises.  Do the same for each group.  Make sure your office calls after every visit to make sure your patients do not have any questions.  Send them a copy of your notes and an action plan.  Send them planning tools for their appointments, things like food journals, exercise logs, sleep logs, etc.  Anything that gets them thinking about your practice as the go to for their health.  There are great third party software programs like Infusion Soft that can automate this.

 

 

The newest form of house calls, Telehealth, is a burgeoning field.  In order to capitalize on this trend, you need to invest in making your office telehealth friendly.  Patients need to have the confidence that someone will answer their emergency calls during off hours and be able to discern whether they are having a true medical emergency or something that can wait until morning.  Getting a simple telehealth program from Skype or a more robust one from Telehealth Services will enable you to safely and securely diagnose the situation.  Share the duties with your partners so you are not on call 24/7.

Lastly, you need to improve your patient experience at the office.  You need to turn your waiting areas into education stations.  Invest in digital patient education in your waiting, exam and in patient rooms.  Work with a company like Halo Health who customizes the content so that the only message your patients hear is yours.  Tell your patients about your services, your community involvement, your ancillary service providers, and your staff while they wait.  Give them tips on how to live healthier, feel better and be more productive.  Deliver this information on HDTVs which is we all know is a format patients are used to viewing.  Inform your patients on all of the extra services that they receive by working with you- and how you are the only resource they need to manage their health.

You should reach out to Halo Health as they have extensive experience in helping practices achieve these goals.  It is very unobtrusive to your practice and seamless to your patients.  The best part is that many of these activities lead to “billable events”- appointments, referrals, better conversations with your patients, and more.  Many practices have seen great returns on investment (ROI) (5X or more) for as little as $10,000 per year.

Contact me (jim@haloheals.com) or call our office (856-520-8655) to see how we can make your office the go to resource for your patients.  If you want to learn more, visit our website at www.haloheals.com. Do more than work with an education company that pushes pharmaceuticals and retailers on your patients.  Work with one who understands how to combat Dr. Google.

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