Android Finally Beats iPhone in U.S. Sales – What does that have to do with Increasing Patient Volume???

June 24, 2010

We can no longer ignore the 50 million smart phone users (and growing) if we are going to be effective marketers.

Here is a link to a short post I wrote about this previously. Since the time of that post, the trend has accelerated.

In number recently tabulated, in the first quarter of 2010, Apple secured a 21% market share, Android surged to 28%, and RIM’s BlackBerry held strong at 36%. And just wait a minute before things change:  Microsoft is due to launch their groundbreaking Windows Phone 7 phones and HP may re-launch Palm’s WebOS with new hardware and enough money to break into the big time.

Want another terrifying stat?? 70% of searches are online in 2010. That means you are probably irrelevant 30% of the time if your website is not mobile friendly.

These type of phones are media machines and studies show our ads have much bigger impact on devices than online or even on TV.

The future in nowtime to get our smartphone program together.



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.


Increasing Patient Volume Through Call Center Technology

June 14, 2010

I laughed the other day when I received an automated voicemail that said, “You have an appointment with…’with your doctor.'”

Not very personal considering they didn’t even go the extra mile to state the name of my physician or the time of the appointment. Lesson learned: those standard voicemails actually matter (especially when they’re a waste of time rather than helpful). Which is why being aware of the latest in call center technology is important to increase your patient volume.

Your healthcare system’s call technology should be making your patients’ lives easier.

Check this out: A study of medical appointments and no-show rates conducted at Johns Hopkins determined that, “Published average show rates (SR) are 58%; young patients and those with low income patients are more likely to not show up. ‘I Forgot’ is the most common reason for a no-show.”

No one wants patient forgetfulness to be a contributing factor to decreased patient volume. Especially when it’s a problem with an easy solution: automated appointment reminders (via text or voicemail).

Here’s a brief checklist to review. How many of these areas are you confident you’re employing the most efficient call center technology to? The communication surrounding these categories should be valuable and convenient to your patients, which are important factors to consistently increase your patient volume.

  • Patient Payment Tracking & Billing
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Office Location/Hours
  • Medical Alerts
  • Prescription Status  & Renewal Reminders
  • Lab Results
  • Annual Checkup Calls
  • Share

    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? 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.


    Increasing Patient Volume Through Online Empowerment

    June 9, 2010

    When you work in healthcare, it’s just as important to understand what you cannot offer your patients, as it is to know what you can. To build patient volume, you need to have a greater awareness of your patients’ needs in contrast to what you’re able to fulfill. And in the case of providing emotional support to patients, you can indirectly offer your patients empowerment by directing them to online support groups.

    So, how does this build patient volume? By increasing patient satisfaction.

    It’s proven that online communities benefit patients (some of which may be too sick to leave home) by providing a high level of privacy, intimacy and empowerment in the comfort of their own homes. For patients suffering from rare diseases, it’s possible to connect with others dealing with the same issues.

    Healthcare providers should acquaint their patients with the availability of free online support groups as a way to connect their patients with others in similar situations. While it’s important to communicate that online communities should not be used for medical consultation, it’s a great way to meet the emotional needs of your patients.

    I thought this NY Times article did a great job of conveying the benefits of online patient communities.

    While this is not an exhaustive list, here are patient networks you should become familiar with:

    PatientsLikeMe – Patient network for those with life-changing conditions

    HealthCentral – Clinical resources and networks based on condition

    Inspire – Support groups and recruitment for clinical trials

    CureTogether – Peer connections and progress tracking

    Alliance Health – Portal for a variety for social health networks

    Disaboom – Social network for those living with disabilities

    Ning – A general social networking site, but patients can find and create their own support networks on a topical basis


    Will a Voice of the Customer (VoC) Program Increase Patient Volume??

    June 7, 2010

    A survey by Forrester Research says over 60% of large North American companies now have a voice of the customer (VoC) program. This can also work for hospitals… as long as the information is used to really relate to the patient and we are willing to actually change the way we do business.

    A wise businessperson once told me that if your patient believes that you profoundly understand them you will never hurt for patients or referring physicians. That is the type of place everyone wants to take their business.

    Voice of the customer (VoC) is a term used to describe the in-depth process of capturing a customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions.

    Much has been written about this process, a lot of it is corporate-speak and not particularly helpful, but it starts with the many possible ways to gather the qualitative information –  traditional research techniques like focus groups, or individual interviews, psychographic studies, plain old customer surveys or whatever, etc. You focus on the customers’ experiences with you or competitive alternatives. Insights, not data, are gathered.

    Forrester Research says here that there are six critical pieces of this process

    1. listening
    2. interpreting
    3. reacting
    4. monitoring
    5. culture and alignments
    6. governance and organization

    These last two are where you really make organization changes.

    In hospitals,  your “Would Recommend” score on the CMS data (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service) tells the story of whether your clinical volumes will increase – no matter how much money you spend on branding or marketing. Read more about managing patient experience.

    As a hospital marketer one of the most important things you should be managing is the patient experience.

    Maybe your marketing team taking the leadership to actually start a formal VoC program is a way to get your whole organization on board with critical patient experience changes.