Almost one year ago, COVID-19 turned the healthcare industry upside down. The global pandemic challenged businesses and tested their ability to adapt. Despite unpleasant circumstances, medical practices directed their attention and efforts towards offering telemedicine appointments and services.
Telemedicine in High Demand
However, while still seeing patients, many practices went into “survival mode” to keep their practice open and thriving. This meant cutting out a lot of overhead expenses and minimizing staff that was non-essential to daily operations. Telemedicine offered greater flexibility in hours while reducing costs. Physicians did not need additional staff during these appointments and could see more patients in a shorter amount of time. In fact, some practices saved half as much in costs when switching to telemedicine.
Telemedicine suddenly turned into a highly sought-after essential business. Although there were infrastructure concerns and issues with telemedicine platforms, this quickly-adopted solution was better than no solution at all.
Entering “Growth Mode” After COVID-19
In recent weeks, many parts of the country have entered various reopening phrases, which allowed hospitals and practices to return to a somewhat normal operating capacity. Well-checks and elective care appointments are being scheduled again, and physicians face the choice: to continue using telemedicine or eliminate this platform.
This means a transition out of “survival mode” into growth mode is necessary for many practices and healthcare providers. Fortunately, patients are primed for change after this past year, when our sense of normalcy was disrupted. Now is the time to determine how your practice will grow and shift as state regulations allow businesses to open.
Comprehensive End-to-End Patient Experience
Patients maneuver their healthcare choices by what is available online. If your local listing profiles, social media profiles, website, and digital marketing strategy are lacking or unfocused, it is an excellent time to re-evaluate.
The patient journey needs to include touchpoints to help educate and guide toward proper care.
- Broadcast your services and your safety measures in place during COVID-19
- Capture appointments via online scheduling platforms
- Streamline patient communication with text reminders and personalized emails
- Cultivate authentic feedback and patient reviews
These are important to any business’s growth, but mostly as we reemerge from a national emergency. Taking time to educate consistently, inform, and even comfort patients can make people feel more confident in their healthcare.
For providers to ensure their end-to-end patient communication is successful, consistent goals and deliverables with proper branding and verbiage are crucial. Have an adaptive, integrated, and secure system that gives patients access to their healthcare records, histories, and dashboard to communicate directly with their care providers.
This level of attention to detail gives patients and physicians an open and engaging platform to communicate, narrowing the gap in care and treatment plans. Providers gain greater insight into their patient’s activity and history, while patients are more closely monitored and receive personalized treatments.
Increase Patient Communication
Narrowing the gap in the patient experience includes an increase in patient communication. This may mean ramping up appointments with a reminder phone call, text check-ins, or follow-up emails. Now, as offices reopen, send voice and text information about what patients can expect upon arrival and what your office procedures are according to local COVID-19 protocol. Ensure your patients of the safety measures you’re following and any specific procedures your practice has for check-in, arrival, or even waiting room cleanliness.
In this case, the more information you can provide, the better. This will ease the nerves of anyone wary about going to in-person appointments while simultaneously streamlining check-in and waiting room processes.
Differentiate Yourself from the Competitors
In these early phases of reopening businesses, your local listings, website, and social profiles must highlight how you are operating. Use patient reviews to establish the social proof that is needed to get your practice to the next level. As you gain more patients and the number of positive reviews increases, the other efforts you make to improve your practice’s online reputation will also increase.
Even replying to negative reviews will help set yourself apart from the competitors. Publicly addressing any issues makes you and the practice look more trustworthy and allows you to negate any false information about your practice.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Whether you are using telemedicine, analytics, tracking software, or a third-party agency, understanding how to grow after a year of being in survival mode is critical transitioning out of lockdown.
Having done any of the above, you are likely to start seeing growth right before your eyes. Instead of being tempted to look back and refocus your efforts elsewhere, don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Working on patient engagement, developing clear and continuous communication channels with patients, and working to build your appointment book should be your primary concerns!
As things are reopening and there is a “light at the end of the tunnel.” Looking to the future and deciding the best fit for your practice will create a clear path for growth. If navigating this kind of strategy and implementing changes in your practice seems like a challenge or if you would like to see where there are gaps in your current digital marketing strategy, contact the team at Valet health. Our services include email communication planning, patient education through content marketing, and optimizing local listing profiles for maximum accuracy and effectiveness.
Learn more about creating a Growth Mode Strategy