It’s one of the things you most dread hearing from your patients’ mouths:
“I already know what’s wrong with me. I Googled it..”
When patients start doing web searches to answer questions they have about their health, you just never know what they will come up with.
If YOU are the expert, ...why are they turning to the web to provide them with a diagnosis?
It isn’t that you don’t want to answer their questions, and it isn’t that your patients don’t want to get your advice.
Rather, it comes down to accessibility. The internet is at their fingertips all the time, while getting in to discuss it with you may require a game of phone tag or even a wait time of somewhere between a couple hours and two weeks.
Improving your level of effective patient communication and the quality of the education you are providing is the answer. Here are a few ideas on ways to make it happen.
1. Start sending quality e-Newsletters.
Newsletters sent digitally have more than one benefit to patient communication and education.
It keeps you top of mind. Rather than defaulting to the internet, you’ll be the first resource they think of when they have questions.
It’s effective. Most of us check our email all day long. If the information you provide is relevant to them, they’ll read it!
It builds trust. The more they trust you, the less likely your patients are to believe something they find online without coming to you.
It offers a quick and easy way for your patients to communicate with you. It’s common to forget about tasks we need to get done until we’re lying in bed, and your patients that intend to call and request an appointment or ask a question are no exception.
The ability to quickly respond to an email they receive from your office is a lot more likely to generate scheduled appointments.
2. Proactively send educational content to targeted groups of patients.
No matter how you choose to do it, you should really take steps to implement patient grouping so that you can target the content that you send in your newsletters to the patients who will benefit from it.
For example, you could create a group of female patients within a certain age group, or patients with children under a certain age. Once you have the patients grouped, you could create e-Newsletters with articles that address common issues for that age group (like questions and answers regarding Ovarian cancer detection or ideas for getting your children to brush their teeth for more than 10 seconds.)
Providing targeted information allows you to possibly side-step the need for patients to look up the addressed concerns elsewhere.
Plus, you’ll establish yourself as the resource they trust the most. When they know you are willing to answer their questions, they are less likely to ask the internet at large, instead.
3. Use a patient portal.
For heaven’s sake, don’t make them call your office to ask a question. With a patient portal, they can send you secure messages just as quickly as they can look something up and get advice from an anonymous e-“expert”.
You can also use the patient portal to house past newsletters and educational material, so your portal becomes a resource in and of itself.
4. Offer point-of-care opportunities for education.
You may not know what group(s) best fit each patient. While they wait, give them the opportunity to select from various education campaigns (that is, a series of newsletters you’ve created for certain groups or about a specific topic.)
For example, if you have a digital check-in tool, use the ability to show them what their options are and sign up to receive the newsletters that pertain to their circumstances. If you aren’t using a digital check-in, consider including a document that lists options that they can select from. Your staff will have to manually opt patients in if you are doing it this way, but the benefit is still valuable to your patients.
5. Ask them what they want to see!
Even with targeted content to grouped patients, there is no way for you to know exactly what information your patients would like to be receiving from you. Use the automated surveys that (hopefully) go out after their appointment or send the occasional one-time patient questionnaire to ask them what information they would like to be getting from you.
Eliminate the need for your patients to trust the internet. They’ll be healthier for it, and so will your patient loyalty!
Going to the Bahamas this month? We are!
The IACA (International Association of Comprehensive Aesthetics) show is happening at the Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island Bahamas on July 24-27th, and we’ll be exhibiting at booth 22.
Solutionreach is included in the show’s impressive workshop lineup. Our course will teach attendees how to increase their revenue and reduce their overhead by utilizing technology to drive new and meaningful relationships.
The fast-paced course will take you to advanced levels of practice marketing.
Even if you’re already using Solutionreach, this workshop will expand your use and knowledge of advanced tools and features that will keep you on the leading edge –allowing you to convert everything you know about NMD into action!
Learning Objectives for the Workshop:
• Maximize your use of technology to target market – sending the right message, to the right patients, at the right time.
• Learn about new marketing campaigns and newsletters that will create more awareness, advance your patient education, and increase patient referrals.
• Become an expert at using powerful SEO tools that can improve your “Webutation” and expand your reach through video testimonials and patient surveys.
The workshop will be led by Joseph Stith, an expert in adopting new technologies in dentistry. He has been speaking and coaching dentists on success strategies for expanding their practice and improving their bottom line for over 25 years, and he was one of the first consultants to adopt Solutionreach when we launched in 2000 (then Smile Reminder.) Joseph is now the Director of Business Development and Product Engagement at Solutionreach.
New customers can take advantage of special show pricing, so head on over or send your friends to visit with Mary and get details.
We hope to see you there!
Once a week, our engineering team sends an email to all of the Solutionreach employees. These emails are titled “SR Platform Release Notes,” and they provide a run-down of all the improvements, fixes, or additions to the platform that have been completed since the last update.
At the bottom of today’s email was a little surprise:
One more thing…
A classic news story from 2003.
The text links to the youtube video below. It’s a news clip from 2003 featuring Solutionreach, before we changed our name from Smile Reminder.
Talk about Throwback Thursday!
Catch an entertaining glimpse of what Solutionreach looked like in 2003.
Spoiler: there are pagers!
As we see in the weekly engineer emails, our platform is continually evolving and growing more robust.
At the end of the day, though, the main purpose of the platform has never changed:
We’re helping practices communicate better with their patients.
In the process, they are also increasing their efficiency, their revenue, and—most importantly—their number of happy, healthy patients.
What’s all the hype about Google My Business?
More importantly…how does it affect you?
First things first, let’s remember why the word “Google” should be in your vocabulary to begin with.
Your practice is a small business. As such, you efforts to generate new patients, and engage, educate, and retain the ones you already have, should be focused on the same things that other small businesses are focused on: showing up online.
Google has many services to help you build your online presence.
While these services are greatly beneficial for business in general, one of the big challenges has previously been figuring out how to use that online presence to attract business from local audiences.
As a healthcare practice, generating local business happens to be right up your alley.
The Google My Business Solution for Local Businesses
With Google My Business you can now create and manage the various business listings for your practice that are spread across the web from one location, making local visibility a lot less of a hassle. That includes Google Search, Google Maps, Google Places, and Google+.
The increased visibility of these popular platforms will make it a LOT easier for patients to find you, especially those searching for nearby practitioners on their mobile phone.
So How Does It Work?
Google My Business does more than just give you a place to list your practice information. There are tools included with the all-in-one platform that can make a huge difference for your online presence, your marketing initiatives, and—thus—the success of your practice.
Follow the link below to learn about a few must-haves for your practice’s Google My Business account.
**Keep in mind that Solutionreach supports customers in building their online presence, with a great emphasis on Google services. This includes things like claiming your Places page, designing your page, populating reviews through your page, understanding what/when/how to post, how to boost SEO, etc.
At Solutionreach, we want to give our customers the same feeling that we help you give your patients.
That is, we want to make every customer feel like they are our only customer.
It’s why we have always included unlimited training and support with our platform, from live, dedicated Solutionreach representatives. We take customer service seriously.
Our customers love it. We know, because they tell us!
Just the other day, Susy from Dr. McEvoy’s office called in to tell how “absolutely happy and thrilled” she is with Solutionreach. She even told us that she is so ecstatic about our program that it “isn’t even funny!”
We get unsolicited comments like these from our customers a lot, but we loved Susy’s excitement so much that we decided to turn the actual call into an animated video!
Here it is, in all it’s live (unprompted) glory!
It’s a really real phone call. Really!
Brought to you by Aaron, the resident Comic Genius at Solutionreach!
Even the most financially successful practices deal with a lot of frustration when faced with no-shows.
After all… who wants to lose money and waste time?
Automated appointment reminders to patients will make a big difference when it comes to decreasing missed appointments.
However, there’s more you can do!
Our representatives and our customers tell us that the more practices customize their messaging, the better of a response they get and the more no-shows start disappearing.
Taking the time to meet the specific needs of your practice and of individual patients can go from decreasing no-shows to nearly eliminating them! Each practice has unique needs, and so does each patient. Your Solutionreach messaging allows you to cater to both. Are you?
Here is a list of some resources that will help you learn what your customization options are, and how you can start making the most of them!
Brought to you by Aaron, the resident Comic Genius at Solutionreach!
In a perfect world, patient confirmations wouldn’t be necessary, because every patient would always show up.
In a perfect world, people wouldn’t make appointments they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep.
Oh sure, they all initially intend to keep their appointment (since they bothered to schedule it.) Things come up, we get it. But understanding doesn’t ease the pain of a no-show.
This is why practices send appointment confirmation requests to their patients. Getting patients to say they are coming increases their commitment, and decreases the likelihood that they will stand you up.
However, patient confirmations have benefits that aren’t contingent upon a “yes” response. Take a look at some of the “silver linings” of receiving a “no”, and make sure you’re using them to your benefit!
Silver Lining #1: They are more likely to reschedule their appointment.
Sometimes patients simply can’t make their appointment, but the one that responds to your confirmation request with a “no” is a lot more likely to reschedule than the one that just doesn’t show up. The conversation is already started by their response, so you can use it to give them the opportunity to find a better time. It sure beats calling them a dozen times trying to reach them after they no-show.
Silver Lining #2 & #3: You have time to fill the spot.
This is a two-part benefit:
#2: You don’t miss out on the expected revenue.
If a patient doesn’t respond to your confirmation request, you have little choice but to leave the spot open and hope they show up. When you know that the patient will miss their appointment before they miss it, you can use automated wait-list messaging to quickly replace the cancelled appointment and avoid missing out on the scheduled revenue.
#3: You get to boost patient satisfaction.
When you know you’ll have an empty spot, you get to make someone else’s day. Patients that can’t get in right away usually understand, but when you tell them that you’ll call if something opens up they don’t really believe you. When you use ASAP messaging to immediately send a mass notification to your wait list, the patient that really wants that appointment will be quick to write back and call “dibs.” Their patient satisfaction just increased, and so did their loyalty.
Silver Lining #4: You can take advantage of the break.
Just because they haven’t confirmed doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. Whether or not you hear back, you still have to make sure someone is smiling behind the front desk. On the other hand, if they tell you they aren’t coming (and you don’t have a patient waiting to snag their spot), you are free to take a long lunch, work on this month’s newsletter, crank up the music, or grab a short nap before your next scheduled appointment.
Silver Lining #5: You know they’re listening.
Whether they respond with a yes or a no, any response at all tells you that your patient outreach is doing its job - reaching them. It also tells you that they are the kind of patient you want to keep around; they’re considerate enough to not just leave you hanging.
Asking your patients to confirm is an important pre-appointment task, but remember that it can be just as beneficial to your office when a patient responds with a ‘no’ as when they respond with a ‘yes’.
Could you be doing more to make your patient appointment reminders more powerful and effective?
Solutionreach messaging gives you a wide variety of options for customization.
Especially if your practice hasn’t taken advantage of the unlimited training available to any and all office staff members, it’s possible that you are unaware of the capabilities available to you.
Every practice is different. Each has its own focuses,specialties, and strengths. The following list is far from all-encompassing, but can help you consider a few important points as you choose how the Reminder settings for your practice should be configured.
Remember that you can always change your default settings, and override them for individual patient preferences.
Our goal is to help you succeed. If you find yourself confused or unsure about what/how to implement changes, call your dedicated team of Client Success Representatives! You have unlimited training and support - use it!
We are anxious to help you customize the platform to meet the unique needs of your practice - and your patients!
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