The new year is officially here and with it come plenty of predictions & resolutions. We’ve become a big fan over the years of Dr. Larry Emmott and his blog on technology and we love his delightfully witty post on what (not) to predict for 2012. Having spent the past few years as change-agents in the healthcare space, we recognize these anti-predictions are all too often true. Still, our tireless optimism and careful insight recognizes that more doctors do see the light every year when it comes to using the web to grow their practices. So, here are 5 simple resolutions to get your practice on track for a great 2012…
You know those patients who come to you as referrals? Larry was right – they typed your name into the Google in order to find your contact info so they could request an appointment. And, when they did, they likely saw a bunch of other websites (which you don’t control) that are using your name to advertise for other doctors. If you don’t have an online presence yet, you need to get one before you miss out on even more new patients. Then also consider upgrading your foot-powered medical devices, because it’s 2012 people!
How many people do you know that don’t have a mobile phone? Cell phones are ubiquitous and, quite simply, the most effective way to reach your patients. Stop wasting money on postage for a appointment reminder postcard that’s going straight in to the trash 3 days before their appointment. Send a text message to your patient’s pocket or purse a couple hours before their appointment and watch your no-shows decrease by over 20%. Then, take it a step further by enabling your smartphone-equipped patients to find you on the mobile web with a website that works on iPhones & Androids.
Your practice was built on referrals. You know they work and you know they bring in quality patients. A mere 5 years ago, the only way to get these referrals was by uncomfortably pleading with your patients to tell all of their coworkers about you. Now, with the advent of social networking on sites like Facebook, you can automate & scale these same genuine word-of-mouth referrals online. And, for those skeptics out there who don’t think it really works, we recommend you ask for feedback from any foreign dictators who are spent last year attempting to fend off civil uprisings - we’re pretty sure they now have a better understanding of the power of Facebook!
Most practices experience churn with their patients. People move away, change insurance, etc. – it’s inevitable. But, what about the patients that simply forget or push off their regular checkups? Recall software can reach out to patients at set intervals after their last appointment to make sure your patients stay your active patients. And, the best thing about these online services is that they are completely automated, so you don’t have to remember to do a thing aside from providing your patients with excellent healthcare.
Many practices look at technology as a horrible nuisance that’s going to involve them having to do more work. In fact, only horrible technology makes more work – good technology makes life easy! There’s online software available that can automate everything from appointment reminders to patient satisfaction surveys. Using it will give you & your staff hours a day to do far more important things like
play Angry Birds get paid on insurance claims.
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