During the changing times brought upon physicians due to COVID-19. Practices that were unable to open faced difficulties with staffing, financing, and a sudden inability to treat their patients in a conventional way. Thankfully, due to telemedicine, many practices were able to see patients in a safe and effective way. It was a new era of medicine.
Telemedicine opened doors to a new way of healthcare, and physicians were immediately forced to adapt. This meant moving their practices from brick-and-mortar offices to online profiles and virtual telehealth appointments.
As physicians adopt new ways to practice and treat patients, there are a number of other concerns to physicians and aspects of taking their practices online that are of utmost importance.
Optimizing Your Practice During COVID-19
Boosting Your Digital Footprint
Due to COVID-19, internet searches have increased by 73%, with over half being related to medical searches. This massive leap into the digital space has created an urgency for physicians to carefully manage their online presence. Online presence is one of the first things a potential patient will see when they begin searching for a new doctor. In fact, 7% of all internet searches every day are healthcare-related, meaning there are approximately 70,000 searches each minute. Boost your digital footprint by doing these few things:
- Making sure your website is up to date
- Claim and Optimize all local listings with specific information related to COVID-19
- Be active and sharing relevant information on social media, especially Facebook
- Keep your patients educated and informed with original blog posts and content
Managing and Monitoring Your Online Reputation
Local listings can be a wonderful thing for physicians. However, some physicians do not agree. Local listings like Google My Business, WebMD, and Vitals allow patients to leave ratings and reviews based on their experiences. While this can be very positive for many doctors, there will inevitably be a patient who is unsatisfied and takes to the internet with their review. Local listing reviews cannot be edited or removed by the physician, which is why many people look at reviews and online ratings before making an appointment.
As a physician, the best thing you can do for your practice is to monitor and manage all the online reviews and ratings, both negative and positive. Replying to both can build stronger relationships with your patients, and help set the record straight for any negative reviews. In the case of a negative review, encourage the disgruntled patient to take their complaints offline by calling or emailing someone at your practice who may help diffuse the situation.
Act as a Resource Center
When patients are unable to see their doctor in person, questions tend to arise. Even if they have telehealth visits scheduled, create a blog or an area on your website where you can provide educational resources to your patients. Include topics like the types of treatments you provide and how they work, conditions you specialize in, and how your practice is operating under COVID-19 and CDC recommendations. Make the articles direct and educational – not too technical, so your patients can understand and be informed. A blog is a great way to boost your digital footprint since original content catches the eye of Google, making you found easier online.
Improving Patient Engagement
More than anything right now, your patients want to feel safe and healthy. Communicate with your patients about facts regarding the pandemic and how your practice is handling that information. Keep them informed of your hours, any change in services, and what measures you’ll be taking to keep everyone healthy during this time. Engage with patients via email marketing campaigns, social media, and local listings. Make sure someone is available by phone to speak with patients who are not online or want to speak in person. This attention to detail will set you up for success.
It goes without saying, but if your medical practice is not offering telemedicine services during COVID-19, there is very little chance that it will be successful. The demand for online visits is higher than ever and patients are relying on these kind of visits with their doctors to remain healthy and socially distant. There are two things that telemedicine provides your practice:
- A secure future. Regardless of what happens with COVID-19 in the coming months, your practice is set up for success. Many reports and healthcare officials claim that telemedicine is the future of all healthcare.
- Run a cost-effective practice. Telemedicine is more cost effective for practices, since they do not need a large staff or even a large office space to accommodate their patients. Reducing office size and staff can help reduce overwhelming overhead costs. It also allows physicians to see more patients during their day in an efficient manner. This attributes to the overall ROI of your practice.
Optimizing your practice with strategies to grow during COVID-19 can be done rather simply and when done properly, sets you up for great success. If you need help or advice on growing your practice, contact the team at Quor Health today.