Digital technology and the soaring cost of healthcare services have revamped the healthcare landscape. In this new era, patients are digitally empowered healthcare consumers who have a never-ending thirst for information and stay actively involved while making their healthcare decisions.
The consumer decision-making journey is comprised of many moments when they are open to different perceptions and influences. This metamorphosis has raised the bar of competition in the industry and, as everywhere else, only the fittest will be able to survive here, as well.
Across all industries, technology has enabled brands to put their customers at the forefront. The virtual mediums of interaction which were unimaginable a few years ago have made communication faster and easier. Needless to mention, it has also broken down barriers to entry for competitors. To thrive in the competitive marketplace, healthcare brands will need to hinge on effective branding strategies for attracting new patients and to grow their business. Maintaining strong brand equity, differentiating healthcare services from competitive offerings and focusing on positive customer experiences are the basic essentials for healthcare practice’s to survive in today’s competitive healthcare climate.
Below are 3 ways through which healthcare providers can maintain a healthy brand image:
The patient-centric approach
A patient-centric healthcare approach in this digital era means a revised definition of quality. The services in healthcare are no longer limited to just cost as consumers now evaluate quality and experience in the same equation. It’s very important for healthcare providers to adopt the patient-centric approach for surviving in the vast competitive ocean of healthcare services. It revolves around continually questioning patients to assess their needs and the effectiveness of the care they are receiving. Based on the inputs, analysis is done and outcomes are implemented to provide the best experience to patients. Chances are high that satisfied patients will turn into your brand’s advocates and may bring you more appointments and a positive reputation. Patients are digitally empowered healthcare consumers who have many other options to choose from if they aren’t satisfied with the quality of care and healthcare services provided to them.
Reach out to your target patients through digital channels
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
This approach is parallel to marketing a product on the Internet. Your patients are the new-age digital health decision-makers. It’s imperative to get their attention where they make their decisions, i.e. search engines on the Internet, social media and physician-review websites. Consider taking some time away from your practice to study the digital “body language” of your target patients/potential patients.
Make sure you have a well-designed website that is updated regularly. Have an active profile on all major social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and review websites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMD and so on. Engage and communicate with patients/potential patients on these platforms. It will not only give you the advantage of being visible online, but your online engagement will help develop a positive online reputation.
The best way for healthcare providers to embrace this approach is through focusing their efforts on fulfilling patient needs, wants and desires by listening, responding, providing and adapting.
But how often do you reach out to your patients? Successful enterprises and businesses don’t just communicate with prospects and their existing customers on special days. It’s very important to communicate frequently with your patients and know what they think and feel about your practice. By encouraging open communication, you can build positive relationships with your patients, which in turn will help you understand what they feel about the services offered at your practice. It’s possible to combine email, face to face, social media, physician-review websites and phones for connecting and communicating with your patients. Carefully analyzing and proactively tracking what services patients look for regarding their health needs can provide an insight into their minds.
To innovate and evolve with the changing mind-set of patients and an effective communication strategy is indispensible in today’s competitive world and is a vital key to maintaining a strong brand image.