healthcare digital marketing

Searching for healthcare providers online was already growing before the Covid-19 pandemic began. Since it began, medical offices have offered a wider range of services and appointments, including virtual group and individual appointments. The last two years have forced most patients to learn to engage with doctors and other medical staff online through patient online interfaces, telehealth, virtual appointments, and online searches and referrals to find new healthcare options. These changes have accelerated the move toward online health services, and why digital marketing for healthcare management is so important.

What is Digital Marketing for Healthcare Management?

Investopedia defines digital marketing as any marketing strategy that makes use of mobile devices, the internet, and social media to reach potential customers.

When applied to healthcare management, digital marketing is used to promote providers and healthcare groups, and also to communicate with patients to schedule and remind them of appointments with providers. Many healthcare organizations have large intranet systems on virtual private networks (VPN) that link all of their offices and healthcare facilities for doctor/patient communication, patient monitoring, and communicating medical test results to both providers and patients.

These intranets haven’t eliminated all communication issues because of HIPAA privacy requirements (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required “the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.”), and other legal issues, but it has significantly changed the nature of the doctor/patient relationship.

  1. You Need an Easy-to-Navigate Website

Your medical facility most likely already has a website, but is it easy to use for people who have little training online? Even if you have a minimal public website describing what your practice does, and a list of contact information for each medical provider who works there, you need to consider that the people who need you most might not be very good at navigating online.

Did you know that over 80% of patients search for medical services and communicate with healthcare providers on their smartphones? What this means for healthcare organizations is that your website needs to be mobile-responsive and mobile-friendly. Without these qualities, your patient interactions online degrade rapidly.

Additionally, once patients arrive on your website, it needs to be as easy to use as possible. When you do have appointments with patients, ask them how they access medical information to discover any who are having trouble with your patient interface (or don’t even realize you have one).

  1. Leverage Local Search Marketing

Whether or not you are familiar with Search Engine Marketing (SEO), this is the primary way new patients find you and your medical office. This is true for the spectrum of medical specialties including dentistry, physical therapy, surgeons, nursing homes, and mental health professionals.

If your healthcare practice isn’t easy to find on search engines, patients will have a difficult time finding you. Your online listing must have your name, address, and contact information at a minimum. Google and other search engines create their local listings and online maps from what you put on your website. They will move your website towards the top of their list if you have clear information that indicates you are near the search location and meet the other search criteria (type of doctor, etc.).

SEO can also help you find the type of patients who need your healthcare services but aren’t familiar with your specialty, or aren’t sure which practice to visit. You can help them by offering in-depth content-marketing posts about your specialty to educate them and help them feel more comfortable with your practice before they ever come in to see you. Some medical practices are able to have telehealth or virtual appointments for simple follow-ups or initial meetings.

The more relevant information you can provide on your website, the higher the chance is that a search engine will make it easier to find your website. Since healthcare is primarily a local business, because patients usually want their doctors near where they live, striving to appear at the top of local search results pages (SERPs) will substantially boost your visibility.

  1. Reputation Management Online

As a medical care provider, it’s crucial for you to have a good reputation online and offline. Unfortunately, the internet and social media are hotbeds for gossip, both beneficial and detrimental to someone’s reputation. Additionally, many internet searchers read patient reviews before selecting a new healthcare provider.

With this situation in mind, actively monitoring your reputation online is a wise choice. One study by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that 60% of consumers think that doctor rating sites are “somewhat important.”

There are several techniques to raise your online reputation, but it’s also a good idea to respond to negative patient comments so you can resolve issues with them. Resolution helps your reputation by showing that you care about patient problems and truly want to help. It may be that due to HIPAA, you can’t resolve an issue publicly. If so, other reputation boosters can help.

Surveys can be conducted online automatically when patients leave your office. You can text them or email them to everyone after an appointment with you.

You can also improve your online reputation by sending patients a link to a review form after they’ve completed their visit. Many patients will fill it out if it only takes a minute or two.

Healthcare Digital Marketing Management

Digital marketing for healthcare sounds pretty intense and complicated. How can any physician, nurse, nurse practitioner, or other medical professional possibly find time to manage their online reputation or update their website to meet this challenge?

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