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3 ways your online presence could benefit from spring cleaning

Spring is here!

For consumers who have been stuck in the house all winter, spring means a glorious return to enjoying the warm weather and fun outdoor activities.

It’s no wonder then that spring is one of the busiest seasons for doctors as appointments surge. All the newfound time spent outside provides ripe opportunities for trips to the doctor’s office, for allergy flare-ups, playground and sports injuries, and general post-hibernation check-ups.

Is your practice ready to handle a busy spring this year? Here are three ways to refresh your online strategy for spring, making office operations as smooth as possible while also maximizing appointments:

Clean up your listings

When was the last time you updated your practice’s data? Have you added any new providers, new locations, or services? Changed addresses, adjusted hours, or gotten a new phone number? If you answered yes to any of the above, awesome! Change is good. If you updated these on your site, even better.

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But you may be missing another step: web-wide syndication.

During the busy season, when many practices experience an influx in volume, new patients will be searching for you. In an ideal world, they would find your address or phone number directly on your website, with freshly updated, accurate-to-the-minute contact information. Unfortunately, you can’t control how and where folks search, so it’s crucial that your information be consistent across all of the different sites patients are searching across, including:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Yelp
  • RateMDs
  • Healthgrades
  • Vitals
  • Wellness
  • Healthline
  • Yellowpages
  • Facebook

By ensuring these third-party sites contain the most accurate and up-to-date information about your practice, you won’t miss out on potential new patients.

Also, with up-to-date listings, you can rest easy when it comes to winning new patients in this busy season. In spring, outdoor adventures may find people out and about relying on a quick mobile search when accidents occur — and in these situations, location is key. If an ankle is sprained on the baseball field, for example, they’ll want to find a doctor fast and nearby. Don’t miss out on these new appointments by having incorrect listings information.

Refresh your reviews

It’s nearly impossible to overestimate how important patient reviews are to your website. According to a recent survey, 84% of consumers use  online reviews to evaluate physicians [1]. This isn’t too surprising given the amount of time we spend online and the ease with which people can leave reviews on nearly everything these days. What is surprising, however, is that 44% of consumers say a review must be written within the last one month to be relevant[2].

What does all this mean?

If you’re not displaying reviews yet, try to make it a priority to integrate them soon into your website as well as the most popular healthcare sites mentioned above.

If you do have reviews, aim to cultivate a steady stream of them. It’s not enough to have random remarks from a few months or years ago. Patients want to see what your practice is consistently like from people who have actually been there so they can gauge what your culture is like before booking that appointment. Even a good review from two years may be misleading — a snapshot of a different time.

Sort out your online scheduling

Speaking of appointments, by the year 2019, it’s estimated that two out of three medical appointments will be self-scheduled[3].  This trend will only continue to grow as technology expands, so it’s important to have scheduling options on your website. Not only because patients will soon come to expect them, but also because of the simple fact that offices close — and the internet doesn’t. Making appointment requests available after hours is just good business.

Another way to expand your presence online is to embed “make appointment” buttons on third-party sites as well. As we discussed above, since you can’t control how patients find you online, it’s good to bring your A game to wherever they are.

You’ve invested a lot of time and energy getting patients up to the decision-making point around scheduling an appointment — don’t lose them at the last stage when they have to find the time to make a telephone call and then potentially wait on hold. Having online scheduling options gets you through the last mile.

Finally, online scheduling benefits not only patients with ease and convenience, but your office as well. The benefits of modern scheduling systems can streamline workflows for your staff, automatically sending out reminder emails, calls, and texts, as well as logging confirmations. It also saves time for your front desk receiving calls from patients that don’t qualify because your office doesn’t accept their insurance. Smart online scheduling options enable patients to pre-filter their insurance and reason for visit, saving time, energy, and constant explanations.

To kick-start your practice’s spring “refresh,” use our free scan tool to see what areas of your online presence need the most improvement.

[1] https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2016/11/28/five-strategies-better-engage-patients-online/  

[2] https://storage.googleapis.com/wordpress-www-vendasta/2016/08/50-Stats-You-Need-to-Know-About-Online-Reviews-white-label.jpg 

[3] https://newsroom.accenture.com/industries/health-public-service/two-in-three-patients-will-book-medical-appointments-online-in-five-years-accenture-predicts.htm

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