Embracing Medical Apps to Increase Patient Volume

June 22, 2010

According to recent news, texts and apps can improve the health of your patients. With readily-available apps ranging from fitness routines to weightloss programs, there are undoubtedly questions about what this means to hospitals and physicians in relation to patient health. But, the lesson to be learned is that patient care and internal operations can be improved by embracing medical apps. Adaptations are what make it possible to increase your patient volume.

So, if you’re ready to jump in head first, it’s time for a crash-course in medical apps healthcare professionals need to know. These tools can improve your healthcare system and build better relationships with patients to ultimately increase patient volume.

Epocrates ($0-$299): Epocrates is a suite of apps that enable users to check medication dosing, interactions, whether the drug is covered by the patient’s health plan, and more.

AirStrip OB (Free): Lets obstetricians monitor patients’ statuses, such as baby’s heartbeat, remotely. Requires the AirStrip fetal software suite to be installed at the hospital.

Dr. Rounds ($24.99): By keeping track of patients–when and why they were seen–this app assures that any daily visit, consult, or procedure charge is accounted.

Care360 Mobile (Free): Physicians can e-prescribe as well as view patient allergies, lab results, medication history and potential drug interactions directly from the iPhone or iPod touch.

Allscripts Remote (Free): Doctors can review a patient’s summary while speaking with the patient on the iPhone, quickly access prescription details and send up-to-date patient summary information directly to emergency rooms.

Full Code and Full Code Pro ($.99-$1.99): Allows EMS personnel to record the critical interventions during a cardiac arrest.

For more detailed information on how professionals rate these programs, check out this article on Fast Company.



Understanding Your Social Media Customer Will Increase Patient Volume

June 21, 2010

People turn online first when looking for healthcare information. Understanding the social customer will allow you to engage with them to increase patient volumes.

Here is what you should know about the social customer:

  • learns about new products and brands through social channels and trusts her social network to provide honest feedback about it, as opposed to a brand’s one-way advertising message.
  • is savvy, doesn’t respond well to unsolicited SPAM in her social networks or overly promotional tweets, but is open to relevant information that meets her needs at that particular moment.
  • expects brands to be present and active in the same social venues where she hangs out, listening to her feedback, whether it’s negative or positive.
  • expects you to listen and engage with her, not only when it coincides with an e-mail blast or new feature release, but rather when she needs you. And you better respond fast, in real-time, or she will either move on to a competitor, or tell her friends about her bad experiences.
  • Because the social customer can talk to a brand through many channels at the same time, she expects everyone she talks to from your company to have the same background on her issue. For example, if I complain about an airline on Twitter, I want the representative who engages me there to know my itinerary and the full history of our interaction through various channels.

Bottom line: The social customer owns the relationship, and you need to earn her trust.


Use Social Media to Create a Regional/National Reach AND Increase Patient Volume

June 17, 2010

Social media tools allow you to generate thought leadership on a local, regional and national level with a limited marketing budget and time expenditure.

Unlike traditional marketing tactics which take large budgets and time commitments to reach a national audience, social media allows you to achieve the same goal in a shorter time with a small financial commitment.

Sounds too good to be true. Social media allows you to engage with your specific target audience at the moment they are looking for information. Take yourself for example, where do you go when you are looking for information? I go to the web.

Being Found Online and Creating Thought Leadership

Follow these five easy steps and you are on your way to being found and famous online. If you do it right, you will convert the traffic into increased patient volume.

  • Create a strategy:  This is the guidepost for your social media program
  • Identify your tools:  Start with 4-5 basic tools
  • Create a routine:  This is a behavioral change and you need to commit to making that change in behavior
  • Content is king:  Start writing. Relevant content is the secret to success
  • Inspect:  Set-up inspections not only of the metrics, but of the effort you and your team are putting into it. What’s measured grows.

Remember, it is not going to be easier tomorrow and you have lots of relevant information people are looking for. Take that information and turn it into patient volume.


Communicating with Social Media is the Norm, Using it Will Increase Patient Volume

June 15, 2010

I say over and over, the way people communicate today has changed. Consumers expect information to be available at the moment they want it.  If you aren’t “in” the conversation – you don’t exist.  Social media allows you to be found online, participate in the conversation and increase patient volume.

A recent study shows 48% of people check Twitter/Facebook during the night or as soon as they wake up.

The study goes on to show that 1/3 of people have replaced traditional news sources (TV, newspapers) with Twitter and Facebook.

Are you on Twitter and Facebook? What are people saying about you? If you aren’t online, you can’t participate and influence the conversation.

Developing a Social Media Plan

If you aren’t online or aren’t active online, getting started is easy. The key is to take the time to develop your framework and strategy. It all starts with asking yourself these questions:

  • People: Your target audience
  • Objective: What you want to accomplish
  • Strategy: Plan how your relationship with customers will change
  • Technology: Decide what social media technologies to use

Once you have the answers, set-up a 60-day plan to get yourself started. Your framework can last you years and allow you to meet the consumer expectation’s of participation in the conversation.


With The Right Strategy, Social Media WILL Increase Your Patient Volume

June 11, 2010

Over the last five years, the way people communicate has dramatically changed. More than ever you have powerful social media tools of influence, if used correctly, you will generate traffic which you can convert into  increased patient volume in specific areas.

Don’t know where to start…Start with defining your focus and strategy. This will ensure you stay focused on driving the right patient with the right payer to the right service line.

Forrester Research created an acronym to help keep you on track. P.O.S.T.

  • People: Your target audience
  • Objective: What you want to accomplish
  • Strategy: Plan how your relationship with customers will change
  • Technology: Decide what social media technologies to use

This sounds simple, but it is the key to a successful social media strategy. Today’s world is full of bright shiny objects. Your strategy will keep you on course and give you the opportunity to take advantage of new technologies while driving patient volume.

One thing is true, the way we communicate is going to continue to evolve, but it is never going back to the way it was before. Now is the time for you to engage and influence your target audience through social media.

Finance will thank you.


Case Study: 4 Hospitals Using Social Media to Increase Volume

June 10, 2010

Social Media is an essential tool to build long-term relationships with patients to increase patient volumes. Don’t think it is possible?

LaunchYourMovement.com showcases 4 case studies of hospitals using social media.

Proactive Outreach

1. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CEO Paul Levy blogs to run a better hospital. Not just for marketing. Truly to get his hospital to run more efficiently and transparently. Rarely will you find a CEO who is such a prolific/transparent writer (and who has such a trusting board). The rest of us benefit from his writing, and more importantly, his efforts in change management.

2. Geisinger uses Twitter/Facebook to recruit gastroenterologists. Why not, if 70% of doctors search for jobs online? Successful recruitment of 1 of the 3 doctors is attributed directly to Geisinger’s Facebook page.

3. Lifespan reaches out to patients and family personally through Twitter. Read the description of how it used Twitter to proactively reach out to patients and family who were visiting its hospital. Patients typically have 2 responses: surprise that the hospital is on Twitter and sincere appreciation for its reaching out personally to them.

4. Ob/gyn practice uses Twitter and Facebook (17-page study in PDF format) to educate patients and facilitate patient-to-patient interaction. With an average of only 8 minutes to spend per patient, these doctors wanted a way to provide deeper and richer information to their patients. They also realized that the interaction among patients is important, too.


You CAN Increase Patient Volume with Social Media

June 3, 2010

You can build profitable patient volume with social media strategies. But you aren’t. And if you don’t learn how to do it soon, you won’t be nearly as valuable to the community you serve.

Here is an article worth a quick read from Healthcare Finance News. Social media for hospitals: Without it, ‘you don’t exist’ | Healthcare Finance News According to Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communications and the media manager for the Mayo Clinic, hospitals that don’t adopt social media are missing a huge opportunity to build their brand. “Only 10.3 percent of hospitals are currently using social media…” Holtz says, and “healthcare and financial industries are late to the game, but analysts say they will account for the greatest growth in social media by 2014.”

I know you have all kinds of valid excuses for not using social media: how to control it, target specific DRG’s, execute it, and measure the results.

BUT I can tell you that all of those things are much easier to handle than you now imagine. I have seen comprehensive and targeted social media executed for our healthsystem clients within 60 days or less.

There are three things you want to make sure you consider when you start to expand your social media program:

  • Automation – see this previous link about the free or cheap social media automation software available to make distribution of your content easy
  • Comprehensive program: This is much more than website, blogging, Facebook, Twitter. There are hundreds of great sites you can use the automation to distribute your content
  • Clearly Defined Metrics: I always say, “What’s measured grows; what is measured and reported grows exponentially.” You can monetize social media, there are many ways marketers are doing this
  • Assign a Team Leader to execute: we have found that an automated system takes only two hours a week to maintain. But the content needs someone to ride herd over the contributors.

You must have a social media program our you don’t exist. Today is a good day to get started.