Monitor your physician practice’s performance and revenue stream with ImagineAnywhere™!
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Monitor your physician practice’s performance and revenue stream with ImagineAnywhere™!
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.com, healthgrades.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.
Long 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.
Healthcare reform ups the ante in terms of expectations, attempting to measure (and pay) in a world of quality, where patients are “cured” the first time around and the effectiveness of their physicians determined by whether they accomplish that goal. Value-based compensation models, while still functionally vague, are the intended mandate and represent a quantum change from current fee-for-service models.
The “new” model of healthcare comes on the heels of recent reimbursement cuts, the implementation of “5010” (the new format for standard electronic Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act transactions), the threat of penalty for failure to submit quality data codes compliant with Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), confusion regarding changing Meaningful Use requirements, an often hostile environment of Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audits and even more confusion over how to function with future payment systems. In our new world, the quality of healthcare will improve based on objective measurement and the “value” of the patient experience, all at lower cost for those paying the bill.
Better healthcare for less cost? The demand for more service, higher standards of accountability (while at the same time simplifying administration), and increased levels of compliance reporting usually go hand in hand with higher costs. Practices are rapidly facing the need to upgrade technology and personnel skills, with perhaps a greater reliance on support from consultants and professional organizations to help them navigate the waters.
This type of contradictory, disruptive messaging tips the balance of certainty and stability, puts us on high alert, and allows for fear, uncertainty, and doubt to set in. Some of the credible surveys conducted in 2011/2012 show physician morale at an all-time low, with many providers considering the safety of employment over practice ownership and others even considering a change in career.While this should come as no surprise given an increasingly hostile business environment, it would be unfortunate and further add to the predicted physician shortage in the future. In fact, solutions to this crisis are actually within reach.
Radiology is usually viewed as a “behind the scenes” specialty, where contribution to the patient’s circle of care is consultative and supports those physicians with direct patient contact. While radiologists could in theory support the concept of “value” in medicine, they in fact have little control over how their interpretations are used to drive improved outcomes. At the same time, as quality becomes the watchword, insurance companies in some parts of the country are attempting to steer patients to lower cost providers without consideration of quality. How does radiology move then from the perception of being a “passive” specialty in regard to patients, potentially treated as a low-cost commodity and therefore, able to maintain some level of control over its destiny?
Alan C.Kay stated, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” What can this look like for radiology?
This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published an improved rating for Ankle–Brachial Index (ABI) screening for in adults at risk for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). Their September 3, 2013 "I statement" recommendation for ABI Screening for Peripheral Artery Disease and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment With the Ankle–Brachial Index in Adults has improved since their last "D Recommendation" Statement in 2005. This is good news for those radiology practices with active Interventional Radiology (IR sections). It reinforces the need for more clinical research in this area.
This improved recommendation helps support The American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association released joint practice guidelines recommending the use of resting ABI for detecting PAD in patients at increased risk.
According to the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR):
"Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), is a very common condition affecting 20 percent of Americans age 65 and older. PAD develops most commonly as a result of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which occurs when cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming a substance called plaque inside the arteries. This is a very serious condition. The clogged arteries cause decreased blood flow to the legs, which can result in pain when walking, and eventually gangrene and amputation.
Because atherosclerosis is a systemic disease (that is, affects the body as a whole), individuals with PAD are likely to have blocked arteries in other areas of the body. Thus, those with PAD are at increased risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms and stroke. PAD is also a marker for diabetes, hypertension and other conditions.
PAD may also be caused by blood clots."
Those who are at highest risk for PAD are: