Most dermatology practice managers already have a full plate of daily tasks, such as overseeing scheduling, patient registration, billing, and collections functions. While these responsibilities alone are enough to make for a hectic week, many practice managers are now being asked to assume the additional responsibility of logistics for their organizations’ marketing programs.
The push for better marketing in the healthcare space is relatively new. However, it is becoming increasingly important. As the competition for patients grows, consumers demand more service-oriented experiences, and organizations are struggling to capture more of each ever-shrinking reimbursement dollar. A strong marketing program can draw patients into a practice and keep them satisfied, which can elevate an organization’s reputation, increase revenue, and prevent leakage.
Despite marketing’s potential benefits, practices must also take care as they establish a program. A badly executed marketing strategy can do more harm than good. If a practice does not have the right tools in place, the effort can overwhelm staff and fall short in reaching their goals.
Using Technology to Streamline the Process
As dermatology practices work to implement a robust marketing program and avoid overtaxing staff, they may want to consider how technology can relieve some of the burden. Here are some key characteristics to look for in a marketing solution, as these demonstrate that it seamlessly weaves function into day-to-day operations and delivers on expectations.
- A focus on meaningful data delivery. Comprehensive data is a foundational element in a good marketing program. As such, a technology platform should provide actionable data that can be used to promote the practice. This may include information about referral sources, conversion rates, number, and types of procedures, seasonal fluctuations, and so on. Using this data, staff can see how patients are discovering the organization and what types of procedures they are receiving. With this info, practices can design campaigns that build awareness and attract customers. For example, they can offer targeted promotions on certain procedures and focus communications about these opportunities to those patients most likely to be interested in them. The practice manager can also check the performance of current marketing initiatives, reviewing reports that reveal how many patients came to the organization as a result of a particular activity. When costs are entered into the system, the practice can gain an appreciation of each activity’s ROI and determine whether a particular strategy is worth the cost.
- Interoperable with existing solutions. A marketing module that plugs into the practice’s medical record is essential. This way staff can easily perform marketing tasks without having to boot up and log in to another program. In addition, an integrated tool uses the data that registration and clinical staff enter into the patient record to generate marketing reports that guide activities. Provided a practice is diligent about entering referral sources, patient communication preferences, and procedure types—and some electronic medical records can be designed to require staff to enter this information—it can create rich reports with little additional effort.
- Cultivates referral relationships. A key opportunity to drive traffic into a dermatology practice comes from the referrals that stem from relationships with other providers. A well-designed marketing solution helps foster these connections. For instance, a report that shows the top referring physicians and associated revenue. Using this data, a practice manager can reach out to referring physicians and confirm they have the information they need to continue recommending patients. This may include sending out referral cards with the practice’s contact information or providing promotional materials that explain specific procedures or highlight a scheduling number. Such direct communication can further solidify relationships and help establish the practice as a true partner.
Empowering practice managers to add marketing tasks to their role is important given today’s evolving healthcare dynamics. With the right technology, practices can seamlessly incorporate this function, laying the foundation for a strong marketing program that builds awareness, communicates quality, and boosts revenue.