A discussion with a career coach and marketing expert, long-time business associate Michelle Pijuan on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of using new digital technology for medical practices. The discussion was broadcast live on the PracticeForces Facebook page on the 4th of March.
I just tried calling a physician a couple of times, and all I got was a voicemail. That’s time wasted in reaching someone who would have been easier to reach had they been using an online appointment booking app. Could your patients be thinking the same of your practice?
How Digital Technology Can Improve Patient Experience
Digital technology solutions have been in the medical industry for years. Using web-based apps, patients can use their mobiles to book appointments, view their medical reports, and see how much they owe their doctor in copay deductibles. It used to be that you arrived at the doctor’s office an hour earlier than the scheduled appointment to fill the patient information and Medicare forms. But, thanks to the internet, you can now do that on the mobile at your convenience prior to your arrival.
However, it’s no longer just about offering your customers the option of reaching you through the internet. Offering online appointment booking and online messaging services has become an important factor in evaluating the overall patient experience.
If you are a physician practice that has more clients than you can handle, digital technology can be a tool to be more accessible. For instance, Telemedicine is a great opportunity to offer consultations remotely, at a place and time convenient to your patient. It’s an effective way to service patients who may have a substance abuse problem or are physically incapable of making regular doctor’s visits. Incidentally, the global telehealth will hit $130B by 2025, and roughly half of the market will be within the US alone. In the past patient, confidentiality has been an issue with mobile apps, but the level of security offered by healthcare apps has improved significantly.
Existing Gap in Client Expectation and What Physicians Deliver
Despite these and other amazing benefits, many physician practices have been slow adopters in using web-based technologies to smoothen the doctor-patient interface. According to my co-host for this discussion, Michelle Pijuan, “If you are not playing in the online field, you are off the field.” According to her, a Harvard Business Review study revealed that 77 percent of people expect physicians to offer an online appointment booking service, and 47 percent research a physician practice online ( for patient reviews) before booking an appointment. And that’s so accurate. Today, anyone who is mobile phone savvy, regardless of their age, is highly likely to check Google Review before they book an appointment with a new physician.
Comprehensive Solutions for Managing Your Medical Practice
If, as the owner of a physician practice, you don’t have the time or the knowledge to make the transition to technology, don’t worry. There are services such as TeleMed and PatientPop that can serve as one-stop shops for all your patient-interface needs. These portals can help improve your website rankings, manage your online reputation, optimize website content, and offer a virtual patient interface.
Social Media Presence is a Must
Your website and social media accounts are a great way to build your personal brand, especially if you are part of a group practice and see yourself working independently in the future. Use it to not just connect with your clients but to add value. The key is to know which social media platform will work best for your client base and knowing what type of content your clients will find engaging.
One of the challenges, most businesses face, and physician practices are no exception, is creating the content itself. As Michelle advises, any content you create for the online space must be simple, valuable, and visual. If you have someone from your staff who can manage your blog and social media content, then that’s great. But if not, then hire or contract someone to do that for you.
In the end, making the shift to digital platforms to handle your patient-interface processes and promote your physician brand requires a change in mindset. But once you surround yourself with the right technology partners, the leap will be easier than you realize.