There are many phrases in healthcare that have imprecise meanings. Patient engagement may be at the top of that list. Patient engagement as it relates to marketing often means this: engaging patients outside the normal practice/provider pathways to gain patients’ loyalty and give them a vested interest in practice’s success. Patients who become an engaged advocate for your brand are a truly irreplaceable resource. The following are ways to increase patient engagement in your practice and use patient advocates to help build and defend your brand.
Customer Relationship Tools
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools have become an integral part of the EMR systems in today’s medical practices. They can help provide appointment reminders and keep notes on patient’s lives and personalities. In order to truly leverage the information in these systems, practices need to be diligent on keeping these records updated. The following is a clip where a dentist insists on talking to a patient about a “fun date” he went on five years ago. That is patient engagement gone wrong! Use the tools you already have for helpful, and sincere messaging. Call patients when they are due for immunizations, are coming up on their annual physical, or simply to check in. Show that you are using the tools to care for them better!
Social Media Engagement
Getting positive feedback on social media can be challenging. We all sound off when we have been given bad service, but are not as passionate when we receive high-quality care. Nudge your patients in the right direction by creating a patient engagement campaign. Run an OBGYN practice? I bet those mothers would love to share their newborns’ photos. Sports Medicine? Ask for an update when they get #backinthegame. Be creative to find a way to encourage positive interactions on your social assets.
It’s important to grow these social relationships because your satisfied patients more often than not will help come to your defense when the inevitable unhappy customer takes to the practice’s page. One patient defense of your practice is worth five hundred well-written replies from you.
The best way to endear your practice and physicians to your patients? Meet them outside the office. Community events are the perfect way to create an easy and fun meet and greet for current and potential patients. Aligning the events with your practice goals increases the chances of making the right connections. Find fun runs, fundraisers, and charity events that tie well with your specialty and create a presence that will engage your patients. Recruit staff that is excited about the opportunity, and pay them for their time to ensure patients see a motivated and friendly face.
Patient Engagement Going Forward
Increase patient engagement by correctly using the tools you already have and always choose to see patient interactions as a marketing opportunity. Be successful and you will create patient advocates that will help build your customer base and keep your reputation intact.