Most of your medical practice’s operating hours are spent working with patients. From check-in to exam room time, to checkout, to phone calls, there is an abundance of productive patient interaction.
But when medical practices do not take the time to harvest insights provided by patient preferences and circumstances, prime opportunities to prosper are overlooked. In this blog, we share how taking the time to better understand the technology-driven patient experience can contribute to the success of your medical practice.
How Understanding Patients Benefits Your Practice
There is a myriad of reasons why it is worthwhile to understand the needs and desires of your patient base. For example, patient loyalty can no longer be thought of as a given in the new age of healthcare consumerism.
Competition within the market continues an incline as patients use convenient tools like Google search on a mobile device to “shop around” before choosing a provider. By developing an intimate understanding of patient needs, you can have a better handle on what it means to be an effective healthcare provider.
- Increased patient satisfaction — When patients feel that their healthcare providers understand and care about their needs, they are more likely to be engaged with their care plans, leading to better care outcomes.
- More effective marketing — Understanding your patient base can help you develop more effective marketing strategies for your medical practice that can increase engagement and loyalty. You can target your marketing efforts to the specific needs and preferences of your patient base, which helps you bring in patients that are more likely to stay with your practice long-term.
- Improved resource allocation — Understanding your patient base can help you allocate your resources better. By identifying the most common health conditions and needs of your patient base, you can more efficiently coordinate your resources to increase care effectiveness.
- Increased revenue — When patients are satisfied with their healthcare services, they are more likely to return for future services and recommend your services to others. This can lead to increased revenue for your healthcare organization.
Understanding your patient base better can lead to improved patient outcomes and improve the quality of care they provide and grow their patient base.
Strategies to Better Understand Your Patients
The objective of better understanding your patients is to gather information and use it to best inform various areas of your medical practice. This all centers around research. Here are ways to get the insights you need to improve your medical practice from top to bottom:
- Identify research objectives — What do you need to know to understand current or potential patients? What resources are available to get this information?
- Conduct staff and patient surveys —Conducting interviews is one of the best ways to know what patients think and how they perceive your care quality overall. Patients are not usually forthcoming with their feedback, so it is productive to ask them for their opinions directly. Asking staff for candid, anonymous feedback about what sentiment they have heard from patients helps complete the picture.
- Gather patient sentiment from other sources — Social media and online reviews are other sources to gather patient feedback.
- Analyze patient feedback and interpret data — What areas are you doing very well in, and what areas need to be addressed? Where are the opportunities to improve?
- Use electronic health records (EHRs) — EHR data can establish patterns among your patient populations that may provide insight into what needs are in the most demand. Monitor patient outcomes to evaluate your practice’s level of care quality.
- Conduct market research — Conduct market research to understand your local healthcare market and what your target patient is looking for. Identify your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses. There must be a better understanding of patient needs and wants to stand up to competition and grow a medical practice.
Research into the needs of your current and future patient population makes a lot of headway when looking to understand your patients in a way that informs your operations strategy overall. But all the data analysis in the world is no substitute for building meaningful connections with your current patients. What is sometimes referred to as “bedside manner” is how providers can better understand patients as individuals.
How to Apply Patient Base Understanding Findings to Business Strategy for Medical Practices
Two essential ways to apply patient understanding insights to medical practice business strategy is to better retain patients or attract new patients. Here are ways to leverage valuable knowledge of patient needs and wants to encourage patient loyalty.
- Know your audience — This will help you create marketing messages that are tailored to their specific needs and concerns.
- Use visual content — Visual content such as images, videos, and infographics can be a powerful way to communicate healthcare messages to consumers. Use visual content to simplify complex healthcare concepts, highlight key benefits and outcomes, and create a more engaging and memorable experience for consumers.
- Provide value upfront — Provide content that offers valuable information, tips, and resources that can help them better manage their health and wellness.
- Address pain points — Healthcare consumers are often seeking solutions to specific pain points or health concerns. Create marketing messages that offer realistic solutions. This will show consumers that you understand their needs and are committed to helping them improve their health.
- Focus on outcomes — Healthcare consumers are often looking for outcomes, not just treatments. Create marketing messages that focus on the benefits and outcomes of your healthcare services. This can include improved health, increased quality of life, and reduced healthcare costs. Also focus on outcomes for your current patients. Positive outcomes can also generate positive reviews from current patients that build consumer confidence that can contribute to increased patient volume.
- Emphasize how your practice offers convenience — Healthcare consumers are often looking for healthcare services that are convenient and accessible. Demonstrate the convenience of your services, such as online scheduling, telemedicine, and extended hours.
- Be accessible — Healthcare consumers are looking for healthcare providers that are accessible and responsive. Make sure that your marketing messages provide clear contact information and a prompt response to inquiries.
- Be authentic — Avoid making exaggerated claims or using marketing jargon that can cause consumers to question your credibility. Healthcare consumers are looking for authentic and trustworthy healthcare providers. Create marketing messages that are honest, transparent, and informative.
By creating marketing messages that are tailored to the needs and concerns of healthcare consumers, healthcare providers can connect with consumers and build long-term relationships that drive engagement and loyalty.
What do Consumers Respond Positively to with Healthcare Advertising?
To further refine your messaging to current and future patients, it helps to understand what resonates with them. Here are some examples of what today’s healthcare consumer values when it comes to medical care.
- Empathy — Patients want to feel that healthcare providers understand their challenges and are committed to helping them achieve their health goals. Patients more than likely have dealt with physicians who are patronizing or dismissive and they are looking for a provider who “gets” them.
- Emotional resonance — Messaging that speaks to their values, fears, and aspirations can be more effective than purely informational messaging.
- Trustworthiness — The internet makes it difficult to hide mistakes that businesses make, including medical practices. Patients will use publicly available information to their advantage to make sure your practice is reputable. Current patients also look for consistency and follow-through when they receive care.
- Personalization — Like convenience, personalization is one of those elements of modern consumerism that impress patients. What ways can you make your offerings be individualized so that patients get a sense that your service is tailored to their needs?
- Clarity — Medical practices should avoid using complex medical jargon and instead focus on using simple, easy-to-understand language.
- Educational value — Consumers respond positively to healthcare content that provides educational value. Tips, insights, and educational resources can help consumers make informed decisions about their health and impart to audiences that you want them to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves.
- Call-to-action — Prompts that direct a specific action, such as scheduling an appointment, can be more effective than passive messaging.
Understanding your patients should certainly help you improve the overall quality of care, but it can also enhance your messaging, particularly with digital marketing. From educational content patients need to make the best decisions to personalized text messages, there are many ways to use an intimate understanding of your patients that encourages loyalty.
Summary: Medical Practices Should Take the Time to Understand Patients Better
Understanding your patient base is crucial for healthcare providers to provide effective healthcare services. By collecting and analyzing patient data, conducting patient surveys, using EHRs, building relationships with patients, analyzing patient feedback, monitoring patient outcomes, and conducting market research, healthcare providers can gain a better understanding of their patient base and make informed decisions to improve healthcare services. Additionally, creating effective content messaging for healthcare digital marketing can help healthcare providers engage with their target audience and grow their patient base.
Sharpen Your Medical Practice Messaging with Specialized Healthcare Digital Marketing
You know your patients better than anyone else ever could, but are you using this to your advantage? With healthcare marketing, you can leverage these insights to help you engage your current patient base and attract patients who are the best fit for your practice.
Learn all about how powerful digital marketing strategies usher patients into your medical practice doors by downloading our eBook!