The newsLINK Group - Marketing Your Medical Practice

Editorial Library Category: Medical Topics: Marketing Title: Marketing Your Medical Practice Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Marketing any medical practice is a somewhat controversial thing. Medical professionals, like many other professionals, have traditionally enjoyed a high degree of trust and respect within the U.S. Editorial: Marketing Your Medical Practice 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Marketing any medical practice is a somewhat controversial thing. Medical professionals, like many other professionals, have traditionally enjoyed a high degree of trust and respect within the U.S. At the same time, many doctors do not reciprocate that trust when it comes to marketing professionals. This might be a simple matter of being uncomfortable with self-promotion. It is difficult to get into medical school, after all, and the training that follows is both extensive and demanding. Why isn’t the mere fact of being a doctor enough to build or maintain a successful practice? Perhaps the better question is one you might not have considered. Why should it be enough? Building a practice means building a business; as such, all the rules of building any business inevitably apply. The medical training you have received might be first-rate when it comes to helping people solve health problems. But it did not teach you how to run or build a business. And as it turns out, this is a really bad time to be unprepared for that side of your profession. U.S. medical practice is changing because the current system is unsustainable. As the U.S. continues to age, the need for medical care is increasing, and so is the cost. The old paradigms are not effective anymore, and as a result, approximately 25 percent of all medical practices are struggling. Even if you wanted to, you are not going to be able to continue to do things the way they have always been done. If you want to build your practice, you are going to need more than a hospital affiliation and a number in the ever-diminishing white pages of the phone book. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not invalidated the need to market your practice. Yes, more people are likely to seek medical care when they have insurance. However, there are also many practices competing for patients, and not all practices are a good fit for all patients. You will be able to attract more suitable patients, and your revenues will be better, if you have an appropriate marketing plan in place. Networking through medical organizations and other associations will also be important because the ACA rewards team- based care; that is, you can benefit when other doctors make referrals to your practice. No matter what the size of your practice is, you are facing strong competition from hospital systems, walk- in retail clinics, urgent care facilities, and other private practices. Some of that competition is obvious, such as when practices buy advertisements, and some of it is subtle, such as when they hire practice representatives. If you want to find potential new patients, you have to let people know who you are and why your practice is the best choice for their medical care. The best way to compete is through patient-centered service. When you think about it, personal anything is usually the way people define luxury. That’s true for food, clothing, and houses; it is especially true when it comes to medical care. Update your facility regularly with fresh paint or wallpaper and new, professional furniture. Teach your staff how you want them to treat patients, and put systems in place so that your staff can handle the increased volume. Once you do have a lead, it’s largely up to the medical staff whether someone will stay with your practice. If you can’t give people top-notch medical help, quickly and efficiently, they will probably go somewhere else. Medical practices are businesses. Just as medical training requires a specific skill set, so does marketing. You can have the finest medical training in the world, but if you don’t know how to communicate your worth as a doctor, you simply won’t be as successful as you could be if you understand the principles and practices of marketing today. To run your office, you can hire an office manager. To grow your business, there is no smarter move than to find someone with marketing expertise. Marketing is a necessity. You have to do it, but you don’t want to overdo it. The thing to remember about marketing any medical practice, however, is that there is nothing shady or fake about doing it well. If you are an excellent doctor who works hard and delivers the