With a lot of cities around the country growing at a rapid pace, you’re probably constantly wondering why your practice isn’t filled to the brim with new patients. You might even be throwing a lot of money at marketing tactics that just don’t seem to be generating any traction, causing more frustration. Or, in the worst case scenario, you might have a competitor right down the road that seems to always be packed and thriving while you sit and wonder how they do it.
While there’s not a single answer that we can give as to why patients aren’t choosing your practice, there are a few major things to look at that don’t all involve your marketing. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you try to determine why patients aren’t choosing you!
Is My Reputation Clean?
Good reviews are essential, and that’s a simple fact. However, they’re not the only contributing factor a clean reputation for your practice. In fact, negative reviews (or the responses that go with them) are almost just as important!
When looking at your reputation online, it’s important to make sure that you’re checking all avenues possible for someone to leave a review. While Google and Healthgrades are two of the main focuses in the healthcare world, there are still dozens of other sites that may contain reviews or general chatter about you and your practice. You’ll want to make sure that you’re aware of your sentiment, and have properly responded to any and all negative ones that you deem important. By responding to them, you’re letting the general public know that you do care about what your patients say, and use their feedback to get better. People looking for your practice are going to use this information to make their decision, and may decided against your practice if your reputation is a bit messy.
Keep in mind that the reviews for both your practice and your providers can have an impact as well! If you have any doctors that have recently moved to your practice from a different one, make sure you’re doing your due diligence and checking out their reputation as well. If it’s not up to par, you may want to take a look at some reputation management techniques that can help keep you in a good light for potential patients. Most often, the reviews for your providers will be more focused on their overall demeanor, whereas those for your location will be focused on the staff, cleanliness, and general feel of being in the office. Either way, they’re important, and if not managed correctly can lead a patient to not choose your practice.
Do I Seem Trustworthy?
Medical professionals can potentially have a very large impact on a person’s life, which makes a nice, smiling picture, great testimonials, and a warm tone can go a long way. Simply put, people want to trust their doctors, and what better way to get a good read on them than looking at their online presence?
As you’re promoting yourself online, make sure that you come off as someone that you’d trust. However, be warned that you should not be playing too hard into one aspect of trust while letting others fall to the wayside. For example, while you may think someone would trust a doctor with hundreds of medical journal publications and an ivy league education more than another doctor, that’s not always the case. Keep in mind that there are many different types of people out there, and some find trust in different things. It’s important that you try to appeal to each of these people as it can result in a new patient for you and your practice.
Focus on building levels of trust throughout the whole patient experience. On your website, make sure everything that shows your practice seems comforting, as that’s typically what people will want from their medical facility. Your background can also certainly help, but not just the scholarly aspect. Instead, focus on things that make you relatable like your family and hobbies, or perhaps even the languages you speak. Last, but certainly not least, make sure that you’re welcoming them to contact you for more information by either coming in or giving you call (or even requesting an appointment online)!
Is My Patient Experience Personalized?
Automation is a driver of many different process right now, and that’s a huge win for most medical groups. But for actual patients, the idea of everything being automated can be a bit of a shock. Instead, use automation to your advantage and personalize your communication with the patient, or simply add the human element back in.
In using automation, look for software that can auto fill names of patients from your EHR for email or calling purposes. Even if it’s a robo-call or templated email, adding in the name of the patient will allow them to feel as if you’ve taken time to get to know them. At high volume practices, it may be nearly impossible to remember every detail about a patient, so use your resources to your advantage. Keep notes accessible (and HIPAA compliant, of course) so that you can quickly understand the backstory of your patient as they call or email in. At the end of the day, you don’t want your patient to feel like just another number as this could lead to a negative review that may cost you dozens of potential patients.
As we’ve discussed before, the human element is really a key driver to your success, and can be used with the element of personalization to create a an amazing patient experience. No, you don’t have to roll out the red carpet every time, but use verbiage that really supports the importance of the potential patients to the practice; starting with your website. Don’t make everything about “us” or “we,” but rather tell what you’re going to do for the patient. As they feel more personalization, they’ll feel invited to call you, and learn more about why you may be the right provider for them.
Do I Give off a Warm Feeling?
The idea of warm fuzzies is a real thing, and it shouldn’t be treated lightly! Yes, medical spaces need to be clean and sterile, and that’s to be expected. But, potential patients understand that they may be spending a significant amount of time at the practice and that is what translates to looking for things in their environment that give off a warm feeling.
Starting with your space, make sure to highlight the areas that people would be intrigued to see. Let’s face it, everyone knows that the exam room is going to be pretty standard and unchanging. However, your waiting room might be more inviting, or perhaps your building has a particular spot that gives off a great vibe. Use those things to your advantage! Don’t post a whole gallery of pictures of the exam rooms, but do post pictures of your smiling staff in areas that are clean and comfortable looking.
Going along with that smiling staff is the personal feeling. While you don’t necessarily have to push a cheesy smile into every photo, make sure that you come off as inviting. Perhaps it’s by simply writing a bio that’s more personalized, or maybe by showing a photo of you in a less sterile setting. At the end of the day, patients want to get to know their doctors, and not just from a 10-year-old headshot. Make sure that they understand who you are and they’ll be more likely to request an appointment. From there, you can use your personality to keep that patient happy for a long time!
Are My Credentials Highlighted?
As we mentioned above, you don’t want to make this the main focus, but it certainly is something that you’ll want to make sure is easily found on your website and listings, as it can essentially help to cover a lot of bases.
Adding your credentials and affiliations to your site and listings can allow you to further personalize the patient experience, develop trust in the patient, and give off a warm feeling (as people definitely want to know that their doc is the best)! In addition, putting things at potential patients’ fingertips can help make the whole process much easier for them to find the right doctor, and who doesn’t want things to be a bit easier?
Instead of constantly asking what more you can do, or consistently thinking those patients that chose a different practice made the wrong decision, take some time and look back at these questions and see how many of them you can answer in a positive light. If you’re not able to do so, perhaps it’s time to reflect for a while on what you can be doing to ensure your patients are seeing the real you! If you need help, Practis is always here. Give us a call or contact us online today to see how we can help potential patients find you!