2021 Patient Marketing Strategies for Private Medical Practices [Webinar Transcript]

Note: This content was originally discussed in a webinar. Find the Full Webinar recording here:

https://gentem.com/lp/2021-patient-marketing-strategies-private-medical-practices/

Hi everyone. Thank you for joining my name’s Omar Khateeb. I’m going to be your host and presenter and speaker today for this fantastic webinar where we have a really great presentation for you. I’m going to give it a little bit of time. Let everybody kind of file in. We have people coming in from all different time zones and of course, different practices who are getting ready to close up.

We decided to do this at the end of your day. Make it a little bit easier for you so you can kind of sit back, relax, maybe grab a little snack and something to drink. And enjoy this presentation. Now for those of you who might have to hop off a little early, we will have this presentation available for you on demand and recorded so that way you can watch this with your team and make sure to stay tuned, because we’re going to have some very special offers during this presentation. 

So 2021, a patient marketing strategies is brought to you by trackable med who’s a fantastic group that I’ve known for awhile and who provide fantastic marketing services for private medical practices . So my name’s Omar Khateeb, I’m the director head of growth at Gentem Health. And I’ll tell you a little bit more about us as we get started. So now, if you look to your right, you’ll see on your platform, you have a variety of different things to play with. You have a chat, you have offers, you have videos, you know, so if you have any questions, feel free to drop it in the chat and then we’ll Look at those during the live Q and A, so you can either send it to everyone or send it only to me. And I’ll answer those questions during our live Q and a. So without further ado, let’s go ahead and get started. 

So the agenda we’re going to kind of go through a variety of things, but first things we’re going to start to understand is how do we make decisions and how do patients make decisions. We’re going to take that knowledge and start understanding the Google digital patient journey, which is a study that was done by Google and then understanding how do we influence that digital journey? And then lastly,  which is, you know, a lot of people’s. Or the social media tactics, but in order for these tactics to be good, you have to have sound strategy.

So let me give you a little bit back background on me. So I’m first generation American. I was born in El Paso, Texas. My father was a surgeon who was in private practice. He had a varicose vein clinic, but also did general surgery. Went to university of Texas of El Paso. I did biology and chemistry.

And then I went to medical school before withdrawing and then going and building a career in surgical robotics. So I’ve spent a good amount of my career helping a lot of private medical practices, market themselves, market a technology they’ve invested in, and I’ve used a variety of different channels to do this. So I’m hoping to not only impart that knowledge on to you today, but more importantly, give you the latest tactics and strategies that many people are not aware of. 

Now real quick. Something I want to tell you is Gentem health is the group that I’m with, the head of growth there, and essentially what we do is we simplify and we accelerate provider reimbursements. Now the problem that most people find in private practices is that, you know, they’re struggling quite a lot when it comes to complexity on predictability when it comes to reimbursement. So it’s something that my father even experienced, which is submitting reimbursement to a payer and waiting many days, weeks, even months to get paid and sometimes not in full and essentially what our solution is is that we’re a technology enabled service and platform and we are looking to transform this entire experience by essentially influencing and streamlining this end-to-end billing and revenue cycle process. And what makes us very unique is that what we offer to medical practices is the option to even advance payments to them. 

Now, If you look at the general reimbursement process, and again, this process you can see up above is pretty complicated. What Gentem essentially does is takes this process and really simplifies it down there at the bottom. So we make it streamlined. We accelerate it and we try and increase your reimbursements as much as possible.

And to jump into the webinar. This is the offer we’re providing. So this is our special offer. If you look at that offer button right there. Oh, wow. And, I can see that many of you have found it cause I’m just seeing the clicks kind of start to go up. So whether you’re watching this on demand or, you’re attending live, click that offer button, our offer’s that we’re giving a free revenue cycle and claims analysis for all attendees.

And if you become a new customer before March 15th, we’ll actually give you a free month of our service and technology for free, which is quite a deal. So make sure you check out that offer.

The Digital Patient Journey

So now let’s get into the part that you’re all here for. So when it comes to marketing and patient market, how do we make decisions?

Well, the one thing that I like to tell people is, if you look at this picture, a lot of times, our mind is very much like this image here. You have an elephant and a writer. The writer on top is the conscious mind. That’s what we think we’re using. But reality, the subconscious mind is what’s controlling everything. And we kind of divide this house like this conscious mind, you think of logic, you know, reason and analysis, et cetera, but the subconscious, which is really driven by stories, right, and emotions. That’s really what drives decisions. And it’s something that’s very important. We have to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with patient marketing.

So how do patients choose where to go? Well like anybody, they jump online. They go and search for things and engage with things on social media. And I think as a provider, especially in a medical practice, this can be very daunting because the idea is, well, how do I compete with all these big brands? How do I make sure I don’t spend so much money on patient marketing? How do I make sure I get to the patient before they even think of perhaps finding me? Because if you leave it up to chance, that’s not what happens. Well, a while back, there was actually a study that was done with specifically orthopedic practices and they pulled a little over 4,000 patients and they asked them, do you know this doctor. Of the people who said, yes, I know this doctor, they asked if you know this doctor, would you choose them? What was surprising was that only one in four people who knew the doctor decided to choose them. So the researchers of the study said, well, okay, why is that the case? Well, the reason why is that there are three specific things that helped patients decide whether they’re going to pick a doctor or not. Number one, the practice had a new physician. Number two, the practice was offering a new subspecialty, something different, like a new orthopedic procedure or a new technology that was being used like robotics. And again, that’s taken me to the last part, which is number three is a new technology. One thing that you should notice about this, it all has to do with novel. Things that are new. That’s something that consciously and subconsciously we’re very much drawn to. So that’s one thing that I want you to keep in mind as a theme as we go through this. 

So keeping those things in mind, what do we do about the digital exchange? Well, the digital patient journey was actually something that Google did with a third party called compete. And they did this back in 2012. And many of you might be thinking, well, isn’t that a long time ago? The point is that this patient journey has not changed. Now, although this was done specifically with hospitals, the same thing actually applies to medical practices. I just happened to use this study because it’s probably the biggest and most comprehensive one.

But for the most part, these same principles are how patients not only find hospitals or medical, but also medical practices. So when it comes to that, the one thing that we all know is that, you know, patients are now very active when it comes to finding and picking their healthcare and their provider. Okay. And when you look at the patient journey, it starts very much like this, and this is what everybody thinks of. You have symptoms, you look for a diagnosis, you get treatment, and then you recover. But what Google did is they looked at this and they mapped it out in this way. Starting first with search and web content, family and friends, mobile and tablet devices, online video, and then later physicians and TV and newspapers. This is what essentially influences the patient journey. And more specifically Google found these specific areas are what are most important search mobile and online video. And let’s dive into each one of those to really understand them.

Well, when it comes to search, right? Search is something that is very impactful for patients, but it’s not the way that you often think.  Most patients, if you see 57% of them, they use search just to find general information. They’re not looking for discovery of new hospitals or practices and not trying to consider anything specific, just for general information.

And if you think about it, when you have a problem, your mind doesn’t immediately jump to a solution. Right? Your mind jumps to, well, what problem do I have? You look for general information. And so patients always start their search on a non-branded term.  If you look at this pie chart here, 49% of them focus on disease first. Right? What disease do I have? After that it’s symptoms. But when they get towards the end of their surgery journey, the patient is searching general information that they’re learning about the disease. Then they’re learning about the symptoms towards the end of that journey. When they make an action.

That’s when they land on a branded term, meaning they land on the name of hospital, they learned a name of a medical practice, maybe a specific surgical procedure. Right. So think of it like that. You start with a problem and you’re assigning a name to your problem. And then as you go through a search path and you get to a solution, that’s when you start coming up with brand names, right?

The problem is that a lot of medical practices have it the other way around. They focus on having the patient find the brand names. And of course, what ends up happening, especially for practice managers and office managers, because you spend a lot of money trying to promote your practice, and then you have nothing to show for it.

That’s because you have that flipped the other way round. You have to find ways to promote information so the patient can land on your website and learn about their disease, their symptoms, and then they eventually learn about your practice. 

Don’t Forget About Mobile

The next thing is mobile, right? Even in 2021, mobile is something that people often underestimate the value of.

Now I’m going to show you something that is definitely something that influences a lot of medical practices. They see a slide like this, which is very true, this is from Google, that patients that are using a variety of devices when it comes to search 98% of it is done on laptop and desktop. So a lot of practices decide, Hey, you know what? Let’s optimize our marketing and our digital ads and everything. Let’s focus only on desktop, right? And some practices, actually, many of them, when I speak to them, they have their Facebook ads targeted only for desktop because they say, Hey, Omar, you know, most of these patients when they’re researching, right, they’re doing most of it at home on a desktop and not doing that at work on mobile.

Part of that is true. However, Mobile is a constant search companion throughout the day. So even though they might be spending a smaller percentage of time on mobile researching, that’s something that’s a catalyst throughout the day. They spend a little bit of time checking things at work, maybe while they’re at home with their friends or out.

All right. So using mobile is a very important thing because essentially, while yes, desktop is the primary channel of function, mobile is used throughout this process as a way of checking in to share videos, to look at things right. And if we look at how they use mobile devices, right? The mobile device research is 35% of them end up watching videos almost three times more than people who are watching on computers, which is very odd.

You wouldn’t think that, but more of us. And actually, I would imagine, I would say that this number has gone even higher because mobile video has really been optimized in the last five, six years. And when it comes to scheduling an appointment, taking action, many patients end up using mobile to do that. So it’s very important that while yes, maybe more patients are using desktop to search and get information. You have to find ways to optimize for mobile. Meaning not only do the social media ads, you run mobile friendly, but do you have mobile options, for example, on your website, if a patient lands on a page two sign up for a free consultation or scheduled appointment, is it mobile optimized? Does it fit so they can read it easily. They can type things in. Is there an automatic form, fill these things lower the barrier and lower friction so that the patient can take that action much easier, you know, and the last part of the digital patient journey is how online video informs and connects.

Use of Videos for Medical Marketing

Okay. So as we all know online video is a very key part of research. But even to this day, I see so many medical practices who have only one video. One video isn’t going to be enough. And again, while this is specific to hospitals, the same thing goes for medical practices. A lot of patients use video to get more informed about not only the hospital, but the medical practice that they’re going to be seeing, the doctors they’re going to be seeing the surgical procedure they might be interested in. You know, and many who don’t end up watching a video they’re unaware of the practice. Right? Think about how many times you became aware of something because you watched a video, whether it was a 20 or 30 second video on Instagram, or maybe a five or 10 minute video on YouTube and what kind of videos are patients looking for? Well, they’re looking for a variety of things, but more specifically, patient testimonials. If you look on the left, I did a search for open heart surgery. And as you can see here, Florida hospital and Providence, first thing I have is patient stories because people remember the rider and the elephant, the elephant is a subconscious mind.

It has to do with emotions and stories. People want to see stories. They want to see that, Oh, that person is just like me. They’re in the same situation as me or that person is just like my mother or my father, and why they ended up watching was, you know, again, obtaining information to understand.

But again, this is all framed in the context of the story. All right. And what do they end up doing when they watch these videos. They often share it, right? They talk about it with friends and family, and they’ll share that video. That’s why doing things on YouTube and also having the same video on Facebook. Two separate platforms. You don’t want to be posting on YouTube and then taking the link on YouTube and posting on Facebook. If a social media platform has a function for video. Upload the video natively. So that goes for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, to an extent, right? If it has the capability to upload videos, upload the video, don’t provide links.

Now the big question, when I look at something like this, and this is something that every medical practice thinks is like, well, Omar, how can we influence all these different areas? I mean, those are a lot of different places to influence. How can we get ahead of the competition?

Well, that’s where influencing this pathway and this journey with social media really comes into play.

Influencing the Patient’s Digital Journey

So there is a psychologist named Robert Cialdini and he wrote this book called Pre-Suasion. And what he essentially talks about in this book is that if you’re able to put information ahead of the moment of persuasion, you’re able to influence how somebody makes a decision.

One of the examples was they had a wine shop and they wanted to influence more people to buy German wine, which is very hard to do. You think about French wines? Napa Valley? Time-wise no one buys German wines per se, but they played music, German music in the wine shop. And of course. German wine sales took off. So we take that same principle and we apply it to the digital patient journey where essentially before this whole pathway starts with search and online video and mobile, we find ways to use social media to influence that pathway.

Now I’m going to use an example. That’s actually a real one. This is my father Mohsin Khateeb and his vein clinic, which he’s now retired, but when it was functioning a few years ago it was the Khateeb vein center. And he actually used these same social media principles to influence this pathway. Again, if we go back to this pathway and look at it, If we take social media out of it, it becomes very daunting. Right? So how do you create all this content and how do you optimize for keywords and AdWords and everything for search before getting to all that?

How do we Pre-Suasion it? We do it through social media, right? So the first thing that my father did was he actually shot a video and the video that he used communicated to the patient who they were. So with varicose veins, it was more often than not, they were female patients. And there were patients who were on the go, they were teachers, they’re standing up and he showed that in the video.

Are you, you know a woman who’s always on the go, always on their feet, you’re a business woman, you’re a mother, you’re, you know, a homemaker. Whatever it might be. So that way I find the person, right. It resonates as a story. But then at the same time in the same video, he used a specific thing that all his patients would describe varicose veins, which is varicose veins felt like barbed wire around the legs. So in that same video, which I wish I had, I couldn’t show it here. It showed that patient, you know sitting on a bench and saying, you know, the pain of varicose veins feels like barbed wire. And of course it shows us a very graphic image of the legs with barbed wire wrapped around it. It was a fantastic video, because it had a patient story within it. And of course show how my father’s practice was able to help. 

So what do you do with a video like that? Well, first start on Facebook. You want to post this on Facebook, and upload it there because again, a lot of temptation is to take a YouTube video that you upload on YouTube and take the link and put it on Facebook. That’s not going to work. You want it, upload it on Facebook because Facebook is going to optimize for it. What I recommend is put the video on your Facebook, right? Write a very simple title. Don’t use the words do you feel this because Facebook decreases your reach. So we put varicose veins feel like barbed wire, we can help, and then go and pin that video to the top of the page. The reason why is that every time someone lands on your page on Facebook, and think about how many patients are active on Facebook, that’s the first video that they’re going to see. They’re going to learn about a big problem that they have. It’s going to resonate with them. And more specifically allows you to show your practices on how you help them.

Targeted Ads on Social Media

Now, the next thing I want to focus on is when you have a video like this, you see that little blue boost button. Now you can get very sophisticated with Facebook ads. You should hire an agency to do that. Trackable med provides great services for that, but if you’re an office or practice manager and you just need to do this yourself, click that boost button. Okay. Here’s the first thing you’re going to do. Focus it on your city and a 50 mile radius. So again, my father, when he was practicing, was in El Paso, Texas, we focused on El Paso. Don’t focus it on the state of Texas because the larger geography you go, the more money it costs, it becomes harder. So we focus it on El Paso, Texas and then the age range I put the age from 35 to 65.

Now many of you might ask, well, Omar, you just said that this video is focused towards, towards women, right? Why do you have both men and women selected here? Think of it like this. When you boost this video and you pay a little money so that it can, you know, go in the form of an advertisement on Facebook, not only do you want your patient in this case, the target was you know female patients, but maybe the patient’s spouse, maybe their uncle, maybe their, son or daughter. We want to optimize this because if it’s not the patient who sees it, maybe it’s a family member or friend who sees it and shares it with them. All right. And when you do this, it gives you an option to put a button, go in and select the button and put the button to be “learn more”. Right. And the learn more icon will allow you to put a website in there.

Take your URL to your practice website, and even better, if you have a page on your website that’s for free consultations or scheduling appointments, put that in there to make it one less click for the patients to, look for.

Now, when it comes to targeting on the ads, right? Targeting has to do with the interest. What interest do these people have when you want to boost this? Now you can type in vein , but be sure to check what something is. So for example, bad veins came up. Right. I made sure to check that on Facebook. I just did a search bad veins. Isn’t talking about medicine, it’s actually a rock band. So make sure if you see something that is a little bit broad and generic, research it before you select it. But we did select vein and deep vein because those were clinical interests on Facebook. And then on top of that, I thought, you know, I thought about what profession does this patient often have for my father, a lot of his patients who came in, many of them were teachers, right? So we went ahead and selected teachers. 

Improving Lead Generation and Bookings with Social Media

Now, I know this is the moment that you’ve all been waiting for. You’re very excited, social media tactics. So how do we take this strategy that we just put together and how do we put it in the form of social media tactics? Okay. Let’s start with some very nice Facebook tactics.

Okay. So if people start liking your posts, and this is something that many people don’t even realize you can do if they like your posts, you know, that button where you can click to see who’ve liked the post, click that, and then you can directly invite those people to like your page. That boosts the visibility of your page and it also helps boost that post up because Facebook sees that as more people engaging with the post. The next thing is comments on your posts. Now, a lot of people feel nervous about this. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to do. All you have to do is once you do a post on your Facebook, leave a comment like interested or great practice. The reason why you want to do that is that it’s social proof and people like to mimic other people.

So if someone sees that another person left a comment, they’re more likely to comment. I often did this for my father. And I did it even at other companies where I would leave a comment saying, “Hey, a really interesting can, where can I find information”, that way I was able to go as the Facebook page and comment back on my own comments saying, Hey Omar, thank you for your question, you can get more information here. When people see that the number of comments start to go up and it was something I was really impressed by. It was a great tactic. I still use that till today. 

YouTube tactics. Now this one’s very interesting. So once you post your video on YouTube, use a description to add information about your practice. This also optimizes for things called search engine optimization, SEO, which is how people find you. Google owns YouTube. So it’s good to have a video up on YouTube for also hashtags, which I’m going to show you. 

So this practice did a great job by putting all their information about them, put a link to their practice, they put information about the practice owner, where they can call, where they can book. All kinds of this is fantastic. One area they left out though is the use of hashtags, something that many people don’t realize that YouTube, like any social media platform, uses hashtags. So when we did a search for hashtags to use varicose veins, there was a thousand videos, only a thousand videos, right? Varicose veins treatment. Look at that only 156 videos exist on all of YouTube with that hashtag. So think about how many patients go and search varicose veins treatment and how easy it is for you to rank on those videos. This is how you start optimizing and ranking high with a YouTube video. 

Now, the last thing that I’m going to tell you about is Instagram tactics.So when it comes to Instagram, you want to search the various hashtags on Instagram that your patients might be looking up. So we type in varicose and we see different ones that come up hashtag varicose, hashtag varicose veins, hashtag  varicose veins treatment. We made sure to follow them. Follow them, not only from your personal profile, but also on your practice profile. So whoever uses the practice Instagram profile, you can see the different posts from that hashtag to start getting ideas. Plus you’ll see the top and most recent posts. Now, when you start making a post, okay, here’s what you want to do.

Let’s say we get ready to upload a post. And as you can see here, this is something that many are familiar with. This is what you see on Instagram, right? Scroll to the bottom right before you’re about to make your post and you’ll see something called advanced settings. This is a new tactic. Click advanced settings, and there’s this thing called write alt text. Now this is actually designed for people with visual impairments. However, Instagram is actually starting to optimize this more because more people are starting to utilize this. So this is one secret area of SEO with an Instagram. So once we, once we click there, you can start typing in alternative texts.

So I type in those hashtags I see, without the hashtag of course. So I typed in varicose veins, varicose veins treatment, vein treatment. That starts optimizing it. And then after I post, the last thing I do is I’ll go on the post and I’ll copy paste all those hashtags. So now I’ve left as a comment, these hashtags, which optimizes the post to be seen on these various channels, which patients end up following and checking in on because they’re trying to learn more.

So once we do that, now we can see that the entire digital patient journey has been Pre-Suaded and influenced using social media at different areas. So when the patient decides to start searching for a problem or searching for a solution, somehow they may have come across your content on social media, whether it was in the form of an ad or per something that was being shared from their friends and family.

Q&A Session

So, that is the presentation today. Thank you very much for your attention. And again, you know the offer is there for you to click on. We’re doing a free revenue cycle and billing analysis from Gentem. If you become a customer within the month of March 15th then you’re able to get the one month for free.

One of the big reasons why we’re doing this webinars is that for many of our customers who started utilizing our services to optimize and streamline their revenue cycle management and medical billing, they found that we’ve actually increased their revenue from reimbursements. And with that extra revenue they asked, Hey, how can we start to invest more in patient marketing?

This is why we teamed up with trackable med to do this webinar. So with that being said I’ll take a look at the questions, go ahead and start filling them in. So we have a few questions coming in. I’m going to give a few more minutes for people to submit their questions and it looks like some people are pretty shy.

So you’re submitting the questions directly to me. That’s completely okay. All right. So first question here which is: 

Omar, what is the best channel to use to grow a private practice? 

So that’s, so that’s from John in Texas. John, thank you very much for your question. So it really depends, but what I would say is if you’re a new private medical practice, I would focus on the big three that I just mentioned, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Those are the bare minimum. I wouldn’t worry about things like, and cause a lot of physicians get worried, like, should I be on Tiktok? Should I be on this? And that you can get to the other channels later on. What I would recommend is focusing first on the, on the main channels where you know, all the patients are.

Facebook and Instagram, which are, you know, Instagram is owned by Facebook. So those two go together, but they have different platforms and of course, or YouTube, that’s what I would focus on. It’s a great question, John. 

All right. Next question is Jane. Jane, who’s a private practice manager in Seattle. Thank you, Jane, for the question. 

So the question that Jane asks is, should we be investing in SEO? 

That’s a great question. So for those of you who don’t know, SEO is search engine optimization specifically when you think of Google ads, you know, AdWords. I think SEO is important to invest in, but what I would tell you, Jane, is before you invest in SEO, make sure that you have a website that can be optimized. If somebody searches for a keyword in your area and lands on your website, is your website optimized? Meaning, is it easy for patients to figure out what you do and what you offer and scheduling appointment? And more importantly, make sure that you’ve invested first on content.

So, you know, a few good videos, some blogs, and more specifically a presence on social media, because if you don’t do that first, to be honest, running ad words, and SEO is a bit of a waste of time and money. If you don’t have those other foundational pieces set up first, but thank you very much for your question.

All right. Let’s see. I, it seems like I have a few questions that are actually quite similar, so I’m going to try and loop them together. 

Should you use TikTok to promote your medical practice?

So I’ve had a number of people ask specifically about Tiktok. So Tiktok  is a very viral platform. So for those of you who don’t know of Tiktok, it is a short form video platform that’s become very popular in the last few years.

Many of physicians and medical practices are on there. I would say this, it’s going to depend on your patient. So if you, for example, in a certain specialty and you happen to know that a lot of patients are on there, I think it’s perfectly fine to be on Tiktok and utilize that channel. However, that being said, keep in mind that the main channel that people are usually using for search, not to say Tiktok, isn’t used for search, are Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Those are the main social media channels when it comes to search and more specifically, keep in mind, Google owns YouTube. So there’s a reason why when you do a search on Google, that all the videos that pop up, they’re not on Vimeo. They’re on YouTube. So keep that in mind.

Discussion with Zed of TrackableMed

Okay. I’m going to move my camera here and check out a few more questions. And let me see if my host co-host can also join. I don’t know if Zed, if you can hear me, I’m not sure if you’re able to join still.

Sure can. 

All right. Hey Zed, how’s it going?

It’s going well, great presentation. 

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Yeah. So I was going to say, I was going to ask what are some, you know, cause Zed you’re the founder of trackable med and the CEO, and so you’ve dealt with a lot of private medical practices, so, if you don’t mind, I kind of want to interview you a little bit. But what are some key questions that some of your practices end up asking? Cause I feel like you guys are the experts and so you’ve dealt with so much patient marketing. What are some big problems that access is usually. 

A lot of the times, the practice, they tend to focus on themselves or the therapy too much. And what I liked about what you had pointed out was there we go you know, in your presentation, you talk people. They search the disease, they search symptoms and they search treatments. A key is that the practices spend time talking to patients about the patient, not look how amazing I am, look how amazing our practice is. It’s really that emotional connection that helps that decision being made by the patient. When it comes to problems they run into, one would be one of the questions that you got to think of is John, what channel? Because it’s confusing, you know, where do you start? And another thing is. Can the practice, from a capacity standpoint, handle the incoming response. We see on average, practices miss about 42% of all incoming phone calls. If you’re investing in driving new patients, it’d be pretty good to answer those phone calls. So that’s the main stuff that comes up. 

Got it. Yeah. And I completely agree. I think that’s the thing that many people seem to miss is that, and it’s very similar to a lot of companies, which is, there’s such a temptation because it’s easy to do, which is to focus on marketing your product and service. This is what we do is how good we are, et cetera. And it becomes a lot more abstract when people think of, well, why would I market and talk about the problem? But again, if you guys think about that digital patient journey I showed you, it has to do with marking the problem so that if someone is learning about it, they’re learning about it through you. And then as a result, that’s when you’re able to offer the solution, you know, something related to this is that you guys also do things specific. And not to put you on the spot here, but just because I think it’s something that’s so important that I wish my father had access to back when he was in practice, but specific to call centers. And when patients call in, can you talk like a little bit about that? 

Sure. We found out, honestly in the beginning we were a company that were helping practices get new patients. And we learned that a lot of these calls were going unanswered and it’s really, it’s not the practices fault, practices are hard to run.

It’s hard to staff. The person at the front desk is dealing with patients checking in and they’re calling you know, primary care physicians. There’s just a lot of stuff going on. And so, so many calls get missed. So what we did is we created an appointment setting call center within trackable med.

And what was important to me was someone that could connect with a patient. You know, if you answer the phone “doctor’s office, please hold”, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Right? So the approach that we take is connect emotionally with patients, talk to the patient about their symptoms, understand them. I mean, who do you trust? Do you trust somebody who understands you? So we do some goofy things. It’s worked out pretty well. We pay all of our operators $50 for every book they read on psychology and sociology and behavior change. And so you get a really top notch experience on the phone and we answer as the practice. That way someone goes from 42% of calls getting unanswered, now all calls are answered. So that conversion, it goes way up and then they get to collect more. 

Yeah. And I’m happy. So I’m happy you mentioned that because you know, this is the thing and, one of the things I love about Gentem, for Gentem, you know, our big thing is focusing on really streamlining all the revenue cycle and medical billing. And so when we ended up doing that for a lot of our practices, of course their revenue goes up. And so now, I mean, they’re very happy that we’re not only increasing the revenue, but increasing the time that they get it. So now that they have a little bit of this money, many of the better practices decide, “Hey, with some of this money, let’s start investing that back in the practice”. And of course marketing starts to come up, but these kinds of things I think this is where, you know, scaling your practice on the growth side makes so much sense, which is not only does it, do you invest on content and advertising, but more specifically when you have inbound coming in, what do you do with it? Right. Because not every patient calls and sets an appointment that shows up. So there’s a lot of drop-off, a lot of no shows. So that’s essentially, those are essentially leads for practices. And that’s how I think practices need to think. Is that correct?

It would be. Yeah, absolutely. You know, the practice is a bucket with a bunch of holes in it. Right? And you try to fill a bucket with holes, water’s going to leak out. You got to do your best to plug as many holes as possible. One is phone calls. One is reimbursement. I mean, imagine if someone increases how many calls the practice answers, and then increases the amount they’re reimbursed for the services that they’re providing patients. You could beat somebody who just tries to start marketing first. You know, it’s, if you plug those holes your practice gets better. 

Absolutely. And I think, you know, this is one of those things where you don’t need data to sort of reverse engineer and think things through, but think, you know, for those of you who are practice managers and office managers, how many times a day do you get busy? Let’s say helping staff or dealing with the patient, a call comes in. You’re not able to get it. So is it far-fetched to think that whoever was calling him was trying to schedule appointment, they couldn’t get to you. So you decided. Let me just call somebody else because I need to just get this taken care of now. So that’s something to keep in mind. I think when you optimize for things like this, even if you capture just one patient, that one more patient pays the cost of optimizing for certain areas like this, and then, obviously, and then some, you know, absolutely. 

Is that, what are some other key areas that you feel that your practices seem to be coming to you for help on, and partly I’m selfishly asking this for our practices.We’re watching this right now, too. 

One frustration within a practice is you can be busy without being efficient. So well, we can ask a practice, how does your schedule feel? Well, it feels full. I’m overwhelmed. But then you find out that there is no design behind the patient’s schedule. It’s whoever calls gets in. It doesn’t matter what they’re dealing with. It doesn’t matter what the therapy is. So there are ways to structure your patient’s schedule so that you’re thinking about treating patients the best way, but also creating a very successful practice on the economic side where you’re structuring your practice. So you’re getting patients in quicker and you could actually pick and choose the symptoms you want to see. I think in specialty medicine, sometimes people believe they have to show up and deal with what shows up where, because they’re relying on primary care to just refer patients. And what patients do primary care typically refer? Usually not the best. They’re sick of seeing them. So, if you go out and you say, okay, this is the type of patient I want to see. I want them to be dealing with these specific symptoms. Then that’s really where we can get in laser focus and fill someone’s schedule with the exact type of patient they’re looking for, which means you can have a practice that was busy generating this much revenue and you can actually bring down how many patients that they see, if that’s what they want for their lifestyle and generate this much revenue. And those are the kinds of things to think strategically within the practice and what’s important to the practice and their day-to-day life. You know, someone may be towards retirement is going to be different than someone just getting in, but to think about it on purpose, I think that’s the key. You don’t have to just show up and twiddle your thumbs and kind of hope that the wind provides, you can create on purpose what the practice looks like.

Got it. Yeah. And it makes so much sense as well. I think we got pretty much all our questions covered. Part of it, it has my camera. I don’t think we have any more questions that, 

Nope. I don’t see any that we’ve missed. 

Wonderful. Wonderful. Well, just want to thank everybody for your attention. And of course attending again. For those who are attending live, you can click that offer button, go ahead and click that and claim that free revenue cycle and billing analysis. It’s a fantastic one. I think a lot of practices are really surprised to learn how much money that they end up leaking in revenue from reimbursements and. How much they should be getting. But go ahead and click that. If you’re watching this on demand, you can either click the offer or just look below the video. There should be a link. But that said, you know, my name is Omar Khateeb with Gentem Health. Thank you very much for your time. And Zed thank you so much to you and TrackableMed for partnering with us on this great webinar.

Note: This content was originally discussed in a webinar. Find the Full Webinar recording here:

https://gentem.com/lp/2021-patient-marketing-strategies-private-medical-practices/

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