The healthcare industry is shifting towards a patient-centric system. This is a huge cultural change for practices used to a physician-centred model, however with patients more inclined to take charge of their own record — and predisposed to research symptoms and treatments — the shift to patient-centric healthcare is an organic one.
As the demand for patient-centric healthcare increases and medical professionals adapt to this change, the need for clear internal marketing is more crucial than ever for sustaining and growing a medical practice.
What is internal marketing?
Internal marketing is essentially your strategy to tap into the power of your established patient base and build your practice from the inside.
When developing a medical practice marketing strategy, internal marketing is the first step you should take to generate patient referrals. This is vital because online reviews – the digital age word of mouth — carry more weight than ever before.
The modern patient expects prompt and excellent service from their medical practice as they would any other service provider. Patients demand impeccable service from any business that takes their money and healthcare is no different. If you’re not providing the service they expect they will go elsewhere. Worse still, they could go elsewhere and hit your reputation with brutal reviews that put off potential new patients.
When you receive bad service you make sure someone knows about it and your patients are no different. The most common patient complaint is being kept waiting – it makes patients feel unvalued and that’s counterproductive.
How internal marketing can help
Your internal marketing is about creating and communicating a culture. It is also about with whom you wish to communicate. Internal marketing goes beyond practice staff, it’s about talking to patients and creating brand ambassadors. Internal marketing maximises the full patient referral potential of the influential audience you already have. Your strategy should deliver results in follow-on services, converting inquiries into new patients, and retaining the existing patient base.
Internal marketing is tried and tested, often low cost with high return on investment, low risk and simple to implement. However it takes time to build and see results so not only is the correct strategy vital, you must also commit to seeing it through.
There are many ways to market to your existing patient base such as:
- Electronic communications: SMS appointment reminders, follow-up calls, or reminders for annual check-ups.
- Engaging collateral and TV screens.
- Surveying patients to identify expectations and meeting them.
Medical practice internal marketing is a project that requires consistent implementation and the highest standard of patient service from practice staff. Basics such as phone coaching and reception area protocol are often overlooked yet these are the areas in which many patients feel their practice is found wanting.
Successful internal marketing is supported by your staff, and allows you and them to better understand and meet your patients’ needs. Practice staff need to feel engaged as integral parts of the process if they are to become practice ambassadors. Consider introducing rewards for referral generation. You use personal and professional development to encourage staff to become key influencers in patient-centric healthcare.
Truly understanding your patients is necessary for successful marketing strategies. For more information about planning and implementing internal marketing to position your practice as a future leader in patient-centric healthcare speak with Vividus on 07 3482 4262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.