The coronavirus pandemic has upended healthcare in a variety of ways, including nonelective specialty care practiceswhich care for those with chronic illnesses. As a result, many have been concerned that those with chronic medical conditions may not be getting the routine care they need—partly due to fear of coming into the office and being exposed.
In the current environment, it’s more important than ever to establish yourself as an expert and differentiate yourself as a thought leader who helps patients feel safe. In this way, your specialty expertise and referral marketing can go hand-in-hand to connect with the patients in your community who need you. The following strategies can help you do it.
Establish yourself as an expert.
As a specialty practice, you hopefully have an established brand that highlights your expertise. If not, now is the time to create one. When doing so, you’ll want to clearly capture why you’re the best in your field and how you’re doing business differently than competitors. Additionally, in the era of COVID-19, it’s critical to address patient safety concerns in some way—which may help you stand out from other practices which fail to do so.
Differentiate yourself as a thought leader.
As you likely know, differentiating yourself as a thought leader within your field is an essential component of success. As part of your brand, be sure to highlight accomplishments which demonstrate why and how this is the case.
Additionally, in the evolving era of COVID-19, you have a unique opportunity to show off your leadership skills when it comes to keeping patients safe. Two ways you can do this are to communicate how your practice is following guidelines for healthcare professionals published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and how you’re integrating telemedicine into your practice. The former includes safety measures specific to those practicing within ambulatory care settings and the latter includes the use of telehealth modalities as described by the CDC:
- Synchronous: “This includes real-time telephone or live audio-video interaction typically with a patient using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. In some cases, peripheral medical equipment (e.g., digital stethoscopes, otoscopes, ultrasounds) can be used by another HCP (e.g., nurse, medical assistant) physically with the patient, while the consulting medical provider conducts a remote evaluation.”
- Asynchronous: “This includes ‘store and forward’ technology where messages, images, or data are collected at one point in time and interpreted or responded to later. Patient portals can facilitate this type of communication between provider and patient through secure messaging.”
- Remote patient monitoring: “This allows direct transmission of a patient’s clinical measurements from a distance (may or may not be in real time) to their healthcare provider.”
Patients may not be aware of all the ways you can support them using telehealth, so be sure to include items such as:
- Screening for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Providing low-risk urgent care for non-COVID-19 conditions.
- Providing coaching and support to manage chronic health conditions.
- Monitoring clinical signs of certain chronic medical conditions.
- Engaging in case management for patients who have difficulty accessing care.
- Following up with patients after hospitalization.
- Delivering advance care planning and counseling.
- Accessing primary care providers and specialists for chronic health conditions and medication management.
- Participating in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other modalities as a hybrid approach to in-person care.
- Providing peer-to-peer professional medical consultations (inpatient or outpatient) that are not locally available.
Make the most of referral marketing.
According to 2019 data, 304,395 people in the Huntsville area visited a specialist within the specified 12-month period. Within this data, we found the following to be the three most common ways that a patient finds a specialist:
- Physician referrals
- Family and friend recommendations
- Insurance directories of approved providers
The first demonstrates the importance of establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field, as previously discussed. When colleagues know who you are and can trust your expertise, they’ll feel more comfortable referring their patients to your practice. You can optimize these dynamics by increasing awareness of your skills and expertise, and building key relationships with those who influence patient decisions.
The second underscores the critical nature of patient satisfaction when it comes to referral marketing. In fact, indicates that “44 percent of consumers choose their healthcare provider based on personal recommendations, and that these recommendations drive a consumer’s selection in health more than in any other industry.” Patients who are thrilled with your services can become effective brand ambassadors who tell their family and friends how wonderful you are. You can support these dynamics by nurturing relationships with patients already within your practice and ensuring they know how much you appreciate the opportunity to care for them.
The third referral source—insurance directories of approved providers—may be a little more complex, depending upon the nature and structure of your practice. However, a critical component within the approval process will include your credentials and reputation—which you’ll have covered by establishing yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field.
Partner with the best to optimize your efforts.
At AMG Healthcare Marketing, we’re experts in specialty practice marketing, since we own the largest healthcare audience in Alabama through our own online sites and publications. With our unique insights into the local patient market, we can provide digital marketing solutions that will optimize your efforts. Through our offerings, we can help your practice:
- Tell your story from a local perspective
- Reach more patients through AL.com—which is Alabama’s largest and most trusted local news source.
- Increase performance—through the use of digital ads and sponsored content on AL.com, which drives better results than digital network advertising.
- Tightly target relevant audiences using HIPAA-compliant data specific to population health.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your practice, let’s talk.