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As cheesy and overused as that phrase is… it’s hard to deny. Information has the power to make or break your practice; but in this day and age, the name of the game is information control. There are plenty of ways to practice controlling information that comes in and out of your office so that patients are not only well-informed about what’s going on at your practice, but also to ensure they will keep coming back.

Spreading Information

With more than 70 percent of patients going online before consulting a physician, it’s obvious patients want to know what’s going on with their bodies. They want to be as informed as possible, so your practice should help them achieve that goal as easily as possible.

Posting information about your specialty online and in your marketing materials is essential. You can offer tips, trends and related news on your website and through the various social media channels you’ve hopefully established by now. The more prominent your presence is online, the better. Remember, too much information is better than not enough.

Not only will posting information help position you as the expert in your field, it will also help your SEO and thus your improve your position on Google.

Not only will posting information help position you as the expert in your field, it will also help your SEO and thus your improve your position on Google.

Ideally, you want to create a spot where patients can find information regarding symptoms, causes and treatments all in one place. Handing out brochures and flyers is also helpful in spreading the word about your practice. A hard copy of your marketing materials is great for prospective patients because they now have the luxury of not needing to memorize every detail right off the bat. Instead they can tuck it away for future use or even pass it along to a friend or colleague. It can be a little pricey for printing, but the return on investment (ROI) is worth every penny.

Clueing Patients In

Keep current and prospective patients up to date with what’s happening at your practice.  You can do this via e-newsletters and/or your social media channels, a “Latest News” tab on your site and even an old-fashioned display board in your office…yes, these still work.

A note of caution: be sure not to overwhelm your patients with too many newsletters and online postings. Patients want to hear about your practice, not feel like you’re cramming it down their throats. Send out newsletters either monthly or quarterly, not weekly, and only include large announcements or special offers.

A general rule of thumb we share with clients is to think about what you’d like to read and include those things.

Some topic ideas to cover in your newsletters are: new services that your practice is offering, new equipment, new specials, a fun contest or even something as simple as the delicious new blend of coffee that patients can enjoy in your waiting room. The goal at the end of the day here is to be top of mind if and when they need you.

Perhaps as equally important as your online presence is your presence in the local community. Keep patients informed about what community events you’re attending around town and why they should attend. This is a perfect spot to mention clubs or organizations you sponsor, let them know what events you’ll be at and even how they can get involved in the future.

Responding and Correcting Bad Information

Fotolia_57304563_S-300x200gets posted online. Sites like RateMDs.com or Healthgrades.com are useful for patients searching for a doctor that will meet their needs; but when false information or unfair comments are posted, your practice can suffer. Something like an incorrect address or the wrong office hours can anger new patients so be sure to correct all inaccuracies as quickly as possible.

They say that word of mouth advertising is more powerful than any other form, and as the internet plays such a huge part in our daily lives, it’s no surprise that user comments are today’s version of that medium. A glowing review or comment from a patient about their visit to your office can do wonders for your practice, but a negative one can tarnish your once sterling reputation.

Some sites give you the opportunity to respond to comments and you should take advantage of this if something unnecessarily harsh was posted. When responding to comments, however, there is a fine line you must walk. Patients are, of course, entitled to their opinions, but when it borders on libel or is just plain false information, you have the right to say something in response…just make sure it’s done sooner rather than later. Responding several weeks or months after the fact only proves you don’t care. At that point, it’s better to leave the review alone entirely.

Being Open to New Information

Always remember to be open to new information coming in, just as you are open to sending new information out.  Pay attention to feedback from patients, staff and other doctors. There is always room for improvement, so take suggestions for change seriously.

If there is a more efficient way to do something at your office, don’t be afraid to try it out. If it wasn’t as streamlined as you had hoped, you can always return to your original ways. The important thing is you remain open to improving your practice on every front and take suggestions from every angle. You’d be amazed at what listening can do every now and then (and so would your physicians).

Controlling the information about your practice that is distributed in print and online is easy if you continue to stay on top of the game and follow the tips listed. Remember, if you build it (in this case, your presence online and in the community), they will come.

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