It’s unavoidable in the modern age; any business that doesn’t have an online presence of some sort is missing out. The medicine and healthcare industry is no different. Patients are now well accustomed to performing all kinds of personal administrative actions online, from buying products to booking appointments for various services.
That’s why it’s no surprise that they hold the same expectations when it comes to their medical care. People now expect it it to be easy to get information and take actions like making a medical appointment from their phone or computer. To get your practice up to speed, here are three simple tips for improving your online presence.
#1. Encourage and respond to online reviews.
If people look to online reviews for something as simple as a restaurant to dine at or some shoes to buy, you can bet they’ll be looking even more closely at reviews for medical providers. In fact, in a Doctors.com study, 60% of respondents said they had chosen one provider over another based on a positive online reputation.
First, you should always be monitoring your patient reviews on sites like Yelp, Facebook, ZocDoc, and RateMD. Ensure your office information is complete and accurate on each site. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. For positive reviews, you should thank the patient for taking the time and express delight at their positive experience.
For negative reviews, you should never fight or argue. Take the humble approach; apologize for whatever inconvenience they faced, and let them know you’ll work to correct the issues they pointed out. If their review contains an inaccuracy (Ex: If they complained that you don’t accept one type of health insurance when you actually do), gently correct it for the benefit of other patients who may read that review.
Finally, make sure to encourage your patients to submit reviews for you after their appointment. You could simply have a sign asking for this in your office, or you could email them afterwards with a link to your page on a review site. Not only can more reviews help you bolster your online presence and gain new patients, but they can also be instructive. Negative reviews are a learning experience and can help you improve your practice.
#2. Optimize your website.
Having a well-designed and easy-to-navigate website for your practice is an absolute must. It should:
- Be aesthetically pleasing and well organized.
- Contain all pertinent information about the backgrounds and specialties of you and any other doctors in your practice.
- Be mobile-friendly, since a large portion of your patients will likely be searching for you via a mobile device.
- Make it easy to contact you. If you allow appointment bookings online, great! Put an easy-to-find link to this on your homepage. If not, make your phone number and office hours easy to find instead.
The more informative and easy to use your website is, the more helpful it will be to patients.
#3. Consider starting a blog.
A strong blog can produce real ROI for your practice, and it’s fairly easy to outsource so you don’t have to spend much time on it personally. The benefits of a great blog are twofold. First, it will demonstrate your authority in your field, and can help build trust among patients and prospects.
Second, if done right, it can boost your SEO rankings. If the proper keywords are used, over time your practice will appear higher and higher in search results. If you’re at or near the top of search results when someone is looking for a practice with your speciality in the city where you’re located, you’re sure to get more patients.