Archive for January, 2014

Online Presence Considerations

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

onlinepresenceTo achieve an online presence, it is not enough just to create a website for your practice.  Your website must be visible to search engines to gain viewers and drive traffic to your site.  Search engines gauge content added to a website, as well as the number of hits it receives.  The more traffic your website receives, the higher it will appear in a search engine list.

 

Therefore, you should post updated content on a regular basis, not just add or subtract physicians and other providers once a year.  It is also important for people to click internal links on your website.  Your ranking could be hurt if a person just views the main page and leaves.  Social media sites, such as the programs listed below, are free and potentially powerful tools that can help funnel more traffic to your site.

  • Facebook is a social networking site where people can connect and interact with individuals (friends) and businesses.  The tone of your Business Fan page should be light and friendly.  Facebook marketing for businesses revolves around furthering conversations with clients/patients.  I advise posting related articles, images, videos, etc.  Google +, a site similar to Facebook, promotes the same fun, casual atmosphere for sharing photos, videos, and links.
  • A Twitter account can be used to broadcast, or tweet, short (limit of 140 characters) updates on the web.  I suggest using a mix of serious, “official” tweets and fun, quirky tweets – and be sure to “re-tweet” positive patient comments.  Twitter is a marketing tool that revolves around dialog and communication, so remember to interact as much as possible.  I would, however, advise that you set a policy not to answer patients’ medical questions via Twitter.
  • YouTube is the number one place for sharing video content, and can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool.  Focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos, such as stretching and simple strengthening exercises.  Since YouTube is owned by Google, using the tool on a regular basis has the potential to push your site up the search engine ladder.
  • Foursquare is a location-based networking website for smart phones and other mobile devices.  Users can “check in” at local venues and share information and tips, as well as connect with friends.  These check ins can be linked to the user’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Remember, your patients carry their smart phones all the time, so they have constant Internet access.  Your online presence can be helped, or hurt, by patients’ comments. Next month we’ll discuss how to manage a negative review.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | No Comments »

Marketing Analysis Starts with Accumulating Monthly Data

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

marketinganalysisI advise practices to produce monthly financial reports to review progress towards goals and depict trends – good or bad, as either can be helpful. These reports should also contain non-financial data that show doctors and managers how things generally stand.

The following is the sort of data that can be easily collected and used to help you make decisions such as expanding your services, adding a doctor, etc.

  • Number of patients seen
  • Number of new patients seen
  • Number of referrals received, by referral source
  • Major surgical procedures performed
  • Minor surgical procedures performed

One cannot confidently structure a practice or properly target promotional efforts without knowing the practice’s status. Consider the old adage, “did you fail to plan, or is your plan failing?” Marketing starts with research and analysis.

"match numbers with your plan"

Record those numbers most relevant to your practice on a monthly basis.  By monitoring these numbers over a period of months/years, you will begin to observe trends. If you have taken the time to set some goals and build a plan (see “Focusing on Your Future”), match those numbers with your plan to gauge your practice’s performance.

With careful monitoring of your practice’s on-going performance, changes can be better considered and evaluated. The appropriate information items for your practice, both for the month and year-to-date, can be recorded and tracked in a simple spreadsheet. This simplifies data entry and analysis. Just as with the manager’s weekly summary (see Use a Weekly Summary to Keep Informed and Up-to-Date), this information automatically becomes a comparative report that can assist you in making informed decisions for your practice.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Marketing Analysis Starts with Accumulating Monthly Data

Hiring New Employees

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

hiringHiring a good new employee starts long before you advertise the open position. First, you need a thorough understanding of the job. For example, what characteristics would an applicant need to perform his or her duties well? Make a checklist of what you require in an ideal candidate, such as specific skills and education. This information will help you write a job description to attract that “right” employee. Think of the job posting as a type of matchmaking; you are looking for someone who really wants to work for you, and can also fulfill your needs. Don’t rely solely on newspapers when advertising a job opening. Encourage your employees to recommend people. Talk positively about your practice wherever you go and ask your employees to do the same.

Prepare for interviews with prospective candidates by writing a series of questions you want to ask, such as further details of educational background, previous job experience, salary requirements, reasons for leaving past jobs, and general likes and dislikes in the workplace. I also advise writing a description of your practice, including information about the work environment, values, and goals. Explaining to the candidates about the type of people you hire and the culture you have created can help you and the candidate determine if he or she would be a good fit with your practice. Asking the applicant to explain why he or she is a good choice serves a duel purpose. Not only is the answer itself useful, but the applicant’s ability to pick up cues from your description also demonstrates his or her problem-solving acumen. Finally, provide a five-minute notice before closing an interview. People often reveal something important about themselves at the last minute.

"... see how each candidate scored"

Take notes during each interview and write down your impressions. Then, review your checklist of requirements to see how each candidate scored. Taking the time to do this after each interview will help you remember each individual applicant when you are ready to make a hiring decision. If you are undecided about two or more top candidates, you can always conduct a second interview to reassess each applicant’s qualities.

Before making a job offer, follow up on the references supplied by your final candidate(s). An interview may only test the applicant’s ability to interview well. A reference check, however, can ascertain a potential employee’s work ethic, abilities, and past performance. Be advised that due to legal regulations and/or company policies, some employers may only provide dates of employment and salary history.

In summary, the more effort you put into the process, the fewer problems you will have after the candidate is hired. It is easier and less expensive to hire the right person the first time than it is to repeat the process or deal with an employee who is not suitable for the position.

Terms and Conditions

Statements and opinions expressed in the Newsletter, Preferred Talk, are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of DT Preferred Group, LLC. DT Preferred Group, LLC makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. In publishing this Newsletter, neither the authors nor DT Preferred Group, LLC are engaged in rendering medical or other professional service. If medical advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. DT Preferred Group, LLC will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. This policy is subject to change at anytime.

Tags:
Posted in Practice Management | Comments Off on Hiring New Employees