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Joel Headley

How Healthcare Providers Can Connect with Patients Out of the Office

As a provider, you connect with your patients in your office, but have you thought about how to deepen your relationship with them outside your practice?

For many, the annual well-check or regular follow-up appointments are skipped because they’re just not prioritized the same way a sick or injured person might want to visit the doctor.

Improving your relationship with your patients outside their appointment window can make follow up appointments natural and create more meaningful interactions when they are in your office. Let’s walk through some of the basic opportunities you have to connect with your patients beyond the exam room.

Website

It almost goes without saying, a website is necessary to deepen relationships. It is foundational to connect with your patients. And while you think it may be a less than personal way to interact, know that your online image and branding starts with a strong website. Here you can add educational content to help your patients understand the unique value you bring to the table. Additionally, it can supercharge some of the other opportunities mentioned below.

Newsletter

If you have content you want your patients to know, use email to connect with them. You can highlight additional services you provide, especially if they are new or not well understood. Try something with a regular cadence (monthly or quarterly is probably about right).

To develop content for your newsletter, highlight events, recent blog posts, or recent health news that are important to your patients. Short summaries of the links you provide give context and can showcase your practice personality. Depending on the content, you can either link back to your website’s recent blog posts or ask people to book an appointment with you.

You’ll want to incorporate these best practices, as laid out by Beth Kahlich:

  1. Don’t send one newsletter to everyone; focus your newsletter to the right audience.
  2. Keep it concise and relevant.
  3. Use text to communicate your message in the body of the email, rather than send an image or PDF.
  4. Put a clear call-to-action (e.g., Book Now!) right at the top rather than burying it at the bottom.
  5. Create a subject line that describes the content of the newsletter rather than a generic one.

Social

Social profiles like Facebook or Twitter can powerfully connect practices and patients. Depending on your specialty, you may have patients interested in following your updates through social media. Weight loss clinics may want to send daily notes of encouragement through social media. Other practices may want to promote mindfulness with reminders to take time out.

Appointment Reminders and Feedback

Patients want to hear from their providers, especially if it is to remind them about upcoming appointments or to provide their feedback on their appointment. Provide opportunities for patients to get organized by giving them clear ways to confirm or reschedule their appointment as necessary. And then, if they want to give you feedback, make it easy for them to either praise your practice or vent if they didn’t feel like their visit met their expectations. Either way, you’ll get valuable feedback to improve your business.

With website being your communication hub, using newsletters, social posts, and targeted emails for reminders and feedback will deepen relationships and allow relationships with your patients to flourish.

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Joel Headley
PatientPop Director of Local SEO and Marketing Joel Headley is the brains behind our Local Search column and resident expert on optimizing our client websites for the best possible rankings. He brings over a decade's experience working at Google on various product areas, including web search and local search. While working on Google Maps and its local listing product (now called Google My Business), Joel collaborated with Google’s product team to improve the data structure and feedback to business owners about their listings’ performance.

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