Tuesday, September 02, 2014
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Social Engagement for the Medical Industry

In this ever changing landscape of social media, the medical world is seeing the benefits of using social media as a marketing tool. Many physician groups are using Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to grow their practice and earn patient referrals. From the small country doctor, to large hospital groups, the use of social media is becoming a powerful way to engage patients.

So what is social media and how can it help my practice? Social Media is, in its purest form, interaction among people and is used to share opinions, ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears. It is an open door into their lives inasmuch as they allow it, creating a unique opportunity for a medical provider to be able to engage their patients. Engaged patients are more likely to follow the advice of their medical professional, keep appointments, seek out new information on their health, and therefore, have better medical outcomes. Using social media allows your practice to be active in the care of your patients outside of the typical visit. Through the use of Twitter, Facebook, and the multitude of physician rating sites you can provide valuable information directly to a multitude of people without being intrusive. Examples could be as simple as a tweet reminding your followers to use sunscreen on a holiday weekend, or placing a post about a new medication or treatment on your Facebook site. You could write a blog on some of the cutting edge treatments available for your specialty or can be as simple as wishing your patients a happy birthday. Subliminally your patients will then have you top of mind and will most likely have a higher degree of regard for you. As a medical provider you have a front row seat into some of the most personal aspects of your patients’ lives and is a vehicle for you to be on the forefront with them and no longer out of sight or out of mind.

While it was slow to adopt, the healthcare industry is quickly moving towards social media as an avenue to not only market, but to have a meaningful impact on the lives of their number one asset- their patients.

Social media is most likely already a part of your patients’ lives. While they are “Tweeting” and “Liking”, you have an awesome opportunity to engage and empower them to become involved in their health. The returns for both you and your patients are immeasurable. Here at IMAGINE, we are committed to helping you navigate this ever changing world of social engagement. Feel free to contact me directly for more information on how IMAGINE can develop a strategy for you to become a more social part of your patients’ lives.





Rob Gomes is a 20 year veteran of the Internet Marketing Industry. Serving as the SEO Manager at IMAGINE, Rob is constantly studying and putting into place key strategies to assist in the marketing efforts of our number one priority – our clients.

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Blog - IMAGINE Team

The Use of Physican Rating Websites Increasingly Influences Patient Acquisitions

Patients are increasingly researching doctors, the question is: are they finding your practice, or your competition’s?  “It’s important that when patients go to search for a service or procedure online, that your practice comes up,” explains Katie Robbins, Director of Marketing for Charlotte Radiology at the May 2014 Radiology Summit.  If and when these patients see your practice online, are they viewing positive or negative information?  With sites like RateMDs.comhealthgrades.com, and vitals.com, patients who have visited your practice are given a strong voice that can loudly influence how online potential patients are viewing your practice.  Having positive online reviews and testimonials is vital for your practice reputation.

Due to consumer demand, health insurance companies are expanding their healthcare networks and patients (now more than ever) are being given the go-ahead by their insurance companies to choose which in-network doctor they visit with no referrals needed.  Blue cross Blue Shield of NC’s top three health insurance plans offer patients the ability to visit specialty doctors with no referrals. 

Not requiring referrals gives patients the right to choose, and many online savvy patients are whipping out their smart phones, tablets, and laptops to start picking their best option.   “When I found out I needed surgery, I immediately went online to search for the most qualified and well rated doctor,” stated Patti Galloway, a mortgage loan originator in Charlotte, NC.  Patti chose the doctor with the highest patient satisfaction scores and this trend is continuing to increase. 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA) ( Zylke, 2014;311:734-735,) word-of-mouth referrals and referrals from partnering physicians currently surpass doctor rating website referrals, but the numbers of patients who are using them is continuing to rise as many of these sites are still gaining traction.

While patients will continue to turn to resources online to uncover their best option for services, practices need to be aware of how their doctors are rated and develop strategies to increase positive patient reviews.

 About The Author

IMAGINE'S Joya Sain  Joya is on IMAGINE’s Sales & Development team where her ultimate mark of success is growing her clients’ practices using targeted strategies and cutting edge software to increase their patient acquisitions and give doctors maximum medical reimbursement. 

Blog - IMAGINE Team

googlemedLong gone are the days when the medical world could just rely on referrals from their colleagues.

Two things have spurred this catalyst: the first being the advent of a digital age in which consumers can have research at their fingertips to help with decisions that they used to leave to the "professionals." The second being the Affordable Care Act, wherein now, the freedom of choice in providers has opened up new levels that have not been seen before.

This creates a whole new world, not only for the patients, but now also for the providers. First, one must consider how truly competitive the medical industry is and understand that anything that can create an edge over the competition should be looked at. In days past, a practice could rely upon basic marketing principles, such as the Yellow Pages, radio, newspapers, and word of mouth. Now, however, the internet is arguably the most important marketing method that you can have. Just having a website is not enough, though. You need to appeal to your potential clients and you must engage them.

SEO, Social Media, and Reputation Management are now the tools that need to be employed to develop a reputation as a provider of choice. What these tools will do for you is make you stand out in the sea of information on the search engines as well as help you to build trust. Having a high ranking in the search engines is important as the typical person will only search so far before making their choice. The social media portion is important in that it helps you to provide valuable information to your patients and potential patients, yet it also allows you to engage them on a more personal level, creating trust. Your competitors are likely already doing things like this and should you decide to ignore it, you are, without a doubt, falling further and further behind.

There are many modalities and complexities when it comes to Internet Marketing, least of which being Google's constant changes and tweaks to its algorithm. What you should realize, though, is the need to develop keywords and terms that specify your specialty and practice and build upon that. Secondly, engaging the public-at-large with info that is relevant to their needs and tying everything back together will position your practice as an authority.

This is accomplished by utilizing keywords and targeting them through correct use on your website and developing backlinks that lead to your site. Additionally, develop appropriate content and utilize social media to increase the exposure that your practice is receiving. This, however, must be done correctly and remain compliant with the terms of service of the search engines. Failure to do so can lead to diminished rankings and even a ban from the search engines. Can you afford that to happen to your practice?

In closing, here at IMAGINE, we have a group of experts ready to assist you in this area. We are committed to your success and the success of your internet marketing efforts. Feel free to contact me directly for more information on how IMAGINE can help develop the strategies that will work for you.



Rob Gomes is a 20 year veteran of the Internet Marketing Industry. Serving as the SEO Manager at IMAGINE, Rob is constantly studying and putting into place key strategies to assist in the marketing efforts of our number one priority – our clients.

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Blog - IMAGINE Management Team

patientpaycomicGiven the current state of today's healthcare reform, it's clear that optimizing patient collections is becoming an increasingly important topic.  Neglecting to collect from the most difficult payor – the patient – could be jeopardizing your overall revenue.  Unfortunately, the days of "just write it off" are becoming more and more fleeting as medical providers are finding it harder to justify the loss of profits from patient payments.

By the end of 2014, an estimated 20 million new patients will join the healthcare system and up to 80% of these new patients could be at high risk for non-payment.  One-third of U.S. workers have high-deductible insurance plans, with out-of-pocket payments totaling up to $6,350 a year for individuals and $12,700 a year for families with healthcare exchange plans.

With so much money on the line, it's important to consider your payment programs.  Are you waiting 6, 12, 24 months (or longer) to get paid, hoping the patient will actually make their payments? Or do you require payment in full at the time of service, putting a possible financial strain on the patient while risking the loss of their business on future services?  Have you had to increase your costs by hiring more staff to deal with growing A/R issues?

Whatever strategies you may be employing, remember this is your patient who is living in your community, and your reputation, as well as your revenue, is always on the line.  In December 2013, CareCredit was ordered to refund $34.1 million for deceiving the terms of healthcare credit card enrollment that affected more than one million consumers, tarnishing their creditability and public image.  Being cautious of payment programs that seem "too good to be true" and making sure your organization is aligned with a reputable, well-respected partner is key, as is reading the fine print.  There are several payment programs available that will lend to the patient and pay your doctor up front, BUT if the patient stops paying their monthly bill, that initial payment will get taken back plus an additional service fee at your expense.  So, while payment programs can be a great way to collect, make sure to do your homework and ask the correct questions from the beginning to save time, hassle, and hidden costs.

If your patient A/R is growing and you'd like to learn more, feel free to contact me to discuss how IMAGINE can help.  We've designed a program to qualify the majority of patients with a non-credit score based application, providing paid funding in full within 72 hours and no recourse to you due to neglected monthly payments.  I'd be happy to discuss the program details and alleviate any concerns to see if this would be a good fit for your practice.



Nick DiCristo has been with IMAGINE since 2012 and is the friendly face that leads the way to developing new business and strategic partnerships in the healthcare market.  Serving as Vice President of Business Development, he continues to explore key issues within the industry to find solutions and improve product offerings for IMAGINE's number one focus - its clients. 

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Blog - IMAGINE Management Team

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