Medical Practice Marketing – Best Practices For Attracting New Patients Using Health IT Capabilities

Effective marketing is a key play for any business, regardless of industry. Attracting new patients to a medical practice is no different. Most often, physicians market their credentials, emphasizing their education, board certifications, experience, and hospital affiliations. Also, many physicians establish relationships with other providers to create a referral network and many practices encourage existing patients to refer friends and family to the practice.While this marketing approach is considered a proven best practice within the medical community, current technology offers another marketing lever that few physicians are using. Health IT and technology investments and capabilities can be a powerful competitive advantage.Health IT systems like electronic health records (EHR) technology are designed to achieve two basic fundamental objectives: First, they enable physicians to deliver more efficient, higher quality care to patients. Second, these systems simultaneously provide patients with greater control and more convenient access to their health care.So why aren’t more physicians and medical practices educating and marketing their capabilities to new and existing patients?While the final answer to this question will require further study, I do know that in the not so distant future, patients will become more familiar with medical technology and the impact it has on their health. As this awareness builds, it will play a more significant role in how patients decide which physician to choose for their care.With the last thought in mind, here are a few best practices that physicians and medical practices could adopt to better educate their existing patients while effectively marketing to future patients:First, create a tab on the physician or medical practice website called Technology. This section should be dedicated to list all of the technology the physician or medical practice utilizes for patients care along with the benefits to the patient. This tab can also be used to announce new technologies, capabilities and system upgrades.Second, educate existing patients. Physicians or medical practices may produce and distribute a handout comprised of the same information listed on the Technology tab of their website. The physician or medical practice may update their patient handout as updates to the Technology tab are made. This best practice could be a powerful approach to leverage in order to educate and retain existing patients. Knowledge is power!Also, the following examples illustrate how physicians and medical practices can showcase their technology capabilities and announce upcoming enhancements on the Technology tab of their website:Develop a tag line to serve as the header of the Technology page of your website that speaks to the identity of your practice. An example of what this header may look like:Excellence in Medicine… Patient Driven Physicians… Superior TechnologyUpon developing the identity tag line for your practice, list all of your technology capabilities and upcoming enhancements followed by a brief description highlighting the value or benefit your technology investments will bring to your new and existing patients. An example of what this list may look like:Electronic Health Record (EHR) – Our physicians deliver exceptional, efficient and accurate care that can be easily transferred to your Personal Health record (PHR) or to other providers allowing immediate access to your medical history.Paperless office – No more forms! Patients will be provided a computer tablet to provide new and updated information upon arrival.Patient Reports & eNotifications – EHR allows for automated examination and lab results for your review at the conclusion of your office visit and via our online patient portal.New!… eClaims – Insurance claims are processed immediately upon conclusion of your office visit. In most cases, you will no longer have to stop by the business office resulting in saving you time and money.Coming Soon… ePrescriptions – We will soon be providing electronic transmission of your prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice. We will save you time by not having to wait at the pharmacy. Launch Date: November 1, 2011.Put these proven best practices to use and see your practice thrive and grow.Good luck!