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by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

3 New Strategies for Patient Acquisition


By creating a website, maintaining a Facebook page, and keeping your online contact information up-to-date, it’s fairly easy to make sure patients in need can find and reach your practice. And by supplementing those efforts with a bit of paid advertising or search-engine-optimization services, you can be more likely to stand out online compared to competing practices in your community.

But with all of those efforts above, you’re simply enhancing your ability to be found by patients when they need you, and hoping to see them pick you over your peers. That passive approach can work, but it neglects many factors that drive patients’ choices in one direction or other.

After patients find you online, why should they select your practice over others? What makes you a better option? Why should they believe in you? Deploying patient acquisition strategies designed to drive preference, trust, and value (not just awareness) can make the answers to those questions clear to prospective patients. Here are three approaches to try.

Present The Right Message

At issue is the insurer’s approach to coding for risk adjustment: MA plans are paid more for enrolling high-cost patients (and less for those in good health). High-cost patients are identified if a health care provider selects to use Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) codes – a specific subset of ICD-10 diagnosis codes.

If you browse a selection of medical practice websites, you may have trouble telling them apart. Stock photos and boilerplate content about “compassionate care” don’t reflect the reality of most healthcare experiences. And yet, they’re inescapable in the healthcare-marketing landscape.

Break through the noise by developing messaging that reflects what your practice stands for and what makes it unique. Spend time considering what you do, how you do it differently, and what makes your services more valuable than those of competing practices. Find ways to bring authentic visuals into your online identity. With a more thoughtful, engaging online message and brand, you’ll be more likely to be preferred by target patients.

Share Your Expertise

Patients are some of the internet’s most ravenous content consumers, but healthcare professionals are often hesitant to share clinically relevant information online - either because they don’t see the value, or are fearful of guiding patients’ thinking.

But in today’s online marketing landscape, you are what you know… and people want to know what you know before they make an appointment. Try blogging about common problems people come to your practice for, or conducting video interviews with doctors or nurses and sharing them on social media. In doing so, you’ll become more likely to earn patients’ trust.

Highlight Patient Experiences

Never forget that the patients seeking you out online are already in a tough spot. If they’re searching for a provider in your specialty, it likely means that no one in their lives was able to refer them to a trusted practice. (Worse, it can mean they already got a referral that didn’t work out so well.)

Recreating the personal-referral experience online can go a long way to winning patients’ preference and trust. Try incorporating testimonials into your website, or encouraging happy patients to review you on Yelp or ZocDoc. Have your clinical professionals engage with new audiences on message boards to discuss how they handled patient problems. Ultimately, bringing more of the encounter experience online can be a recipe for patient acquisition success.


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by Antonio Arias, MBA, CHBME

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