Social Media, Organic SEO, and Automation Puts a Lid on Physicians Operating Expenses

Social Media, Organic SEO, and Automation Puts a Lid on Physicians Operating Expenses

Posted By Samantha Crane: February 12, 2013

Current economic climate does not inspire any confidence, and is unlikely to change anytime soon. Things will probably get much worse before they begin to get any better. All this is definitely bad news to small and medium businesses. Your healthcare practice, classified as small business, will be no exception to this rule. In such a situation you got to make the best of all available resources at your command. As medical professionals you ought to repurpose and redesign your expenses and yet meet all your service delivery commitments.

However, reducing operational costs need not necessarily mean slashing advertisement and marketing spends. Savvy use of technology, leveraging the power of new media platforms, and redesigning your online medical marketing efforts will see you through these tough times.

MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) and ACMPE (American College of Medical Practice Executives) studied data from over 2000 multispecialty groups with close to 47, 000 doctors and found that Physician owned practices spend close to $530, 000 per doctor while Hospital owned practices spend around $390,000 per doctor each year. The difference in annual spends is because hospital owned practices enjoy economies of scale while their private counterparts don’t. However, operating expense per doctor in physician owned practices has gone up by only 1.3% when compared to 6.5% in hospital owned practices. Clear indication, individual physicians with private practices are keeping a tight rein on operational costs.

Keeping operating costs down is not just a prudent business practice, but an essential survival tactic. So, how can we achieve these near impossible goals without sacrificing your customer outreach programs? Well, let’s explore some of the options:

What is ruled out?

Billboard advertising, radio, and television spots are out of the question. Not only are they prohibitively expensive but do not reach targeted audience. Second, measuring the performance of such ad spends is in the realm of speculation. You are never sure what is working and what is not.

Paid internet advertising and PPC campaigns are reserved for those with endless resources. Search engines are no longer technology companies; they have now metamorphosed to big advertising companies. Their primary aim is to separate you from your money. To top this, paid search and PPC do not guarantee any results.

What’s in?

  • Organic SEO: This perhaps the best and most productive option available to small business like healthcare. Cash outlay for Organic SEO is not much, but the returns are phenomenal. Organic SEO should be a major part of your online medical marketing efforts. However, being a specialized field you will require the services of an ethical SEO company.Time taken to reach top rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages) is more, but is not abnormally longer when compared to paid search. A good SEO company that uses ethical white hat techniques should get you to your goals within the first year itself.
  • Social Media: Social media is no longer a sunrise media platform. It is now a mainstream media platform where people share information, pictures, videos, and recommend services. Smart and technology savvy physicians are already using social media like Twitter and Facebook as effective communication tools to keep in touch with patients. Such interactive media platforms make two way communications between patients and doctors possible.Your healthcare practice would do well with an optimized social media presence. When your existing patients recommend your services to their friends, the message is also visible to friends of your patient’s friend. This force multiplication comes at no cost. Second, search engines like Bing are now going to index content on social media sites like Facebook. This gives your healthcare website yet another avenue to show up and mop additional traffic. However, social media optimization also calls for a fair degree of expertise and hiring the right firm to manage your social media presence will likely determine your success on this exciting platform.
  • Automation: Physician owned practices can make significant reductions in rental and employee costs. Electronic health record management systems eliminate the need for storage space and physicians need not hire administrative staff to manage physical records.

These are some of the measures you can take as a private practice physician. Remember you do not have economies of scale that hospital owned practices have, and as such every penny saved is a penny earned!

 

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