Times have changed
The days of friendly neighborhood family doctor were extinct. Today’s practice scenario is vastly different from that of the past decades. In the 1970s and ‘80s no commercial advertising was needed to market practices. It is mainly because the practices aimed to acquire patients from geographically proximate areas and because the referrals were through word of mouth of the existing clientele. 1990s saw the practices advertising in local newspapers for new patients acquisition. Although this widened the patient base, there was no fierce competition yet.
Furthermore, the concept of polyclinics or multi-specialty hospitals was not caught on furiously then. Hence, operations management was comparatively easier.In recent times, unprecedented changes have taken place in every walk of life. Physicians practice scenario was not immune to it either. Higher costs, highest competition, individual decision making by youth, proliferation of digital medium, digitally misinformed patients, ever-increasing demands for increased quality care and world moving towards online presence are major pressure points now.Practicing and marketing the practice are no more a catwalk.
In tune with times, the healthcare practices have been corporatized to the hilt where big players either acquire small clinics or start the satellite clinics in various locations. Most of the practices acquire latest technology equipment, making a particular practice first among equals very difficult. Hence practices have to make efforts to distinguish themselves among the contemporaries. No practice today affords to let the guard down. Well-informed by internet,patients can switch over to other healthcare providers anytime, resulting in decreased collections.
Tough income generation
Though the patient numbers have increased, continued overheads threaten to keep the revenue flat. These include investment in infrastructure development (such as building, machinery and equipment), labor costs (training, salary and social security measures), ever expanding statutory regulation standards (compliance of which puts pressure on time and resources), and tightened insurance norms (reduced margin, additional outstanding days), which gobble a sizable part of the income.
Practice marketing in patient treatment decision
Every day, 30% potential patients are looking for trustworthy healthcare providers. How to impress them to choose your practice? Practice marketing plays a major role at this crucial juncture. First, practice marketing enhances your online visibility across a spectrum of websites, social networking sites, blogs and other web locations. Second practice marketing boosts your reputation through deriving positive reviews, offsetting the effect of negative reviews and pushing your rank up in digital searches by potential patients.
When a person encounters an illness, he/she is suggested various care providers by family,friends and acquaintances, based first person or third person care experience. In addition to these word-of-mouth referrals, the potential patient looks for best and affordable treatment on the internet. The search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo scrambles a list of top-ranked practices for the potential patient to peruse. These lists include branded review sites, branded websites of practices, and branded social networking sites. The potential patient goes through all reviews at multiple sites, based on the online reputation decides on a physician or a hospital for their treatment. Then he/she comes for enquiry and then patient conversion takes place. Hence timely employment of practice marketing services aids in patient treatment decision choice in your favor by directing them to discover you digitally and then impress them with your reputation.
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