So, how much are cancelled appointments really costing you?
In our increasingly busy world, patient no-shows and cancelled appointments are a costly reality for many practices. Cancelled appointments result in hours of valuable staff time spent trying to reschedule those appointments and fill the now open appointment slots. It’s taxing, time consuming work that costs you a ton of money, time, and patient satisfaction. We’ve seen this again and again with the practices we work with.
To calculate the financial cost of a no-show for your practice, take your average number of patients you typically see in a month, multiply that by your average no-show rate, and then multiply that number by your average cost of an appointment.
No-shows are costing your practice a ton of money. You’re not just losing money in missed appointment revenue, though. You’re also losing money in your staff’s valuable time.
So, how can you reduce no-shows and cancelled appointments?
A study by the Internet Journal of Healthcare Administration found that email reminders provided an immediate and dramatic improvement in patient no-shows. Overall nonattendance rates decreased by 36%. Email isn’t the only form of communication creating a lot of noise in healthcare, though. This research summary by Dr. Vishal Mehta states that text messaging is “now the most used communication tool on the planet, exceeding email and instant messaging” and 62% of patients prefer this method of communication. This study also found a decrease in no-show rates due to text messaging.
So, how can you take the combined power of email and text messaging and reduce your cancelled appointments and no-shows, all while saving time?
Our patient appointment reminder products were created to help you reduce no-shows and cancelled appointments. We provide you with the ability to communicate with your patients in the way that works best – text messaging and email. We automate the entire process from appointment reminders, to waitlist management, and rescheduling appointments. So, you save more time and money.
Get started with Medical Site Solutions today!
Ok, so yes…Medical Site Solutions is in the business of helping doctors grow their business by creating beautiful medical websites, providing awesome patient education tools for physicians, and implementing the latest SEO and reputation management strategies (just to name a few). But even if you ARE the best doctor within your specialty and a total genius…well…it simply doesn’t guarantee you won’t lose patients. Especially this day in age, with social media and online reviewing sites (like Yelp, Health Grades, Rate MDs, and Vitals) becoming more prevalent than ever! So my next questions to you as a physician are: Have you lost a patient recently? And if so, why? Was it avoidable? What could you have done differently?
A big part of our business here at Medical Site Solutions revolves around practice and physician reputation management. We read literally thousands of online physician reviews every year and sometimes we sign on clients that have a less than stellar online reputation. Having read a bazillion doctor reviews over the years within a wide range of specialties, we were able to create a succinct list of the most common patient issues that we see again and again from online reviews. The list below outlines the top reasons doctors lose patients (in no particular order):
1. Long Wait Times with No Apology
Sometimes, it’s inevitable that the office is running behind on appointments or the schedule has been too overloaded on a particular day. However (and we can’t stress this enough), it is SO important that this isn’t a habitual occurrence within your practice. Because let’s face it, NO patient wants to wait long. Patients may tolerate a wait if they are happy with the level of health care you provide. And first time patients may accept a wait if the doctor has a great reputation. However, after a patient has waited a long time and the doctor greets the patient without acknowledging or apologizing for a long wait, you can be sure the patient will be ticked off. Often ticked off enough to write all about in when they review your practice!
2. Conversely, Rushing a Patient Once They Finally See The Doctor
The other issue we see again and again is rushed patient appointments. Think about it: Your patient has been waiting over an hour to see you. He finallyyy gets into the examination room to see you, but you’re behind and rush thru the appointment to try and get caught up. REALLYYY bad idea! Having a rushed appointment makes your patient feel uncared for and may ultimately lead to losing said patient. Combine offering no apology for the long wait AND rushing the appointment and TA-DA!! You have the perfect ingredients for a nightmare of an online review!
3. Disrespectful Staff
This is a biggie and one of THE MOST COMMON complaints we see over and over!! Seriously!! It doesn’t matter if you are the best freakin’ doctor or surgeon or medical genius on the planet if you have a rude or lazy staff running your practice! That’s just the BOTTOM LINE. The overall patient experience is SO important and your staff is a HUGE part of that experience. If your staff is rude and disrespectful to patients, they will most likely not come back. This includes everyone who has ANY patient contact among your office staff (i.e. nurses, receptionist, technicians, billing staff, PAs, etc.). If it comes to your attention that patients are experiencing rudeness, it may be time to think about re-staffing…after all, it’s your reputation on the line!
4. Doctors Who Allow Their Ego to Get in the Way of Patient Care
If you have a patient who seeks additional medical advice from another provider, don’t take it personally. Better yet, be a team player and work in conjunction with any other physicians to help solve your patient’s issue. Always remember, the first priority should be your patient’s care. We often see reviews by patients who feel that their doctor got ticked off or had a defensive attitude towards them after finding out the patient was seeing other doctors. A patient in pain just wants to find out as much as they can and sometimes that means talking to more than one doctor. Try to remember that this often says nothing about your skill as a physician, but says more about your patient and the journey that they must take.
5. Doctors Who Have a Poor Bedside Manner
Everyone knows that doctors, like all humans, come in many different personality shapes and sizes. Some doctors are very blunt and straightforward, others more clinical and subdued. Some doctors are outgoing and sociable, while others are more the nerdy, scientific types. Whoever you are as a physician, it is important to consider cultivating a good bedside manner. TONS and tons of reviews mention the doctor’s bedside manner and mention it as a deciding factor in whether or not they choose to continue seeing said physician. Trust us, patients DEFINITLY notice doctors who walk in the room and spend a rushed 5 minutes with them, spend most of the time looking at a computer screen, make little to no eye contact, talk condescendingly or rudely to the patient, interrupt the patient, etc. The most important thing is to make each patient feel cared for and to truly make them feel as if you are hearing them.
6. Outdated or Dreary Office Space
The bottom line is this: virtually no one likes going to the doctor’s office in the first place. So if your office space and waiting rooms are outdated, bare, unwelcoming, or cold feeling, you are sure to make your prospective patients uncomfortable and unwilling to visit twice. We’ve mentioned it before, but we’ll say it again: it all comes down to the OVERALL patient experience, and like it or not, your office is part of that experience. So create a welcoming, more enjoyable experience by sprucing up the patient spaces with art, having comfortable and attractive seating, having a flat screen on in the waiting room, bringing appealing light into the space, or having music play softly. This helps make your patients feel welcomed and cared for the moment they step into your office.
Medical Site Solutions offers Ophthalmology and LASIK website designs with captivating video backgrounds. Websites with video backgrounds are proven to increase call-to-actions from online visitors.
Choose from many website layouts, videos, images, and colors schemes. Our goal is to make eye care professional websites stunning in design, easy to edit, and most of all affordable. To accomplish this goal we preload our websites with content and images specific to ophthalmology and LASIK. Using the online editor, users can rearrange, add, edit, delete, or modify just about every component.
We offer a FREE 7 Day Trial. Go to: medicalsitesolutions.com
Call us today at 888-993-1992 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to request a trial ophthalmology or LASIK website.
Below are the critical components necessary to create a high converting website:
2. Authority/Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
After you’ve grabbed the visitor’s attention, it’s now very important to explain your unique selling proposition and establish your authority and/or expertise. Why are you the authority? What makes you different? Why should a patient make an appointment with you versus your competitors?
Now that you’ve grabbed the visitor’s attention and established your USP, visitors want to know that other people like them have had a great experience. By adding a patient testimonial on your homepage, it validates your claim to be an authority. Patient testimonials also make visitors feel more comfortable because it reduces the unknown fear of uncertainty. This ultimately leads to more inquires.
4. Personability and Trust
Visitors are more likely to book an appointment when there is a personal touch on your homepage. Simply adding your photo with a personal message or video will increase the probability of converting an online visitor to a patient.
You can build added trust by adding icons and badges such as medical societies, awards, & recognitions.
5. Call To Action (CTA)
Having an effective call to action is an essential part of any website. A call to action provides the following: focus to your site, a way to measure your sites success, and direction for your users.
6. Lead Capture Magnet
For your lead magnet, you want to have a one-click downloaded document (cheat sheet or a top 10 list) that solves one problem completely. Once they’ve given you their email and downloaded your awesome content, you then send them to a thank you page. At this point you can start sending emails about promotions, education, and services until they finally pick up the phone and call for an appointment.
7. Contact Information and Interactive map
It is extremely important to make your contact information highly visible with one-click actions to call or email your practice. It is equally important to display your map location with directions.
1) Get your happy patients to leave glowing 5-star reviews on google One of the biggest relevance factors Google is looking for are your business reviews. If your business is rated highly (and often), Google automatically assumes you’re relevant.
2) Ensure all references to your business online include correct NAP (Name, Address, and Phone).
This is important because every time there’s a contradictory reference to your business online, Google sees you as less relevant.
Check these listings:
3) Get featured in 10 extra local business directories.
4) Make your new reviews an obvious part of your Google listing. Give potential patients EVERYTHING they need to make a decision when they first visit your website.
5) Give Potential Patients EVERYTHING They Need To Make A Decision When They First Visit Your Website.
6) Offer services that other specialists in your area have ignored.
7) Create online advertisements through social media and banner ads.
8) Offer coupons and other specials to bring in new clients.
9) Give special discounts to clients who refer new customers.
10) Hold customer appreciation days. You’ll build stronger relationships with your clients, which can help increase referral business.
Recently, a team member here at Medical Site Solutions had an issue that needed medical assessment. Yes, we talk to TONSSS of health care providers in the medical industry every day because, well, we’re in the business creating medical websites for doctors. But in this case, our team member (let’s call her Jennifer for this blog’s sake) was in the position of being simply, a patient. Jennifer came to work the next day and was all but raving about the doctor she had visited. Her patient experience was awesome. And it got us thinking more about doctors (as if we already don’t spend 150% of our existence thinking about them…haha) and what makes a truly great one. There are so many doctors, physician, surgeons and health care providers out there…but what makes one better than another? Is it their bedside manner? Is it the building of a rapport? Is it their experience or knowledge? What separates the wheat from the chaff? We decided to conduct our own little survey of patient experiences to come up with what we believe are the top ten qualities of a great doctor from the patient’s perspective. This involved talking to several recent patients (like Jennifer) and discussing why they liked or didn’t like their doctor or experience, reading a ton of Yelp reviews for some of the top doctors in the area (and some of the lowest ranked doctors), and formulating our own conclusions based on our research.
Here are the top 10 qualities of a great doctor that we came up with:
1) Great Communication
Being in the medical website design business, we talk to A LOT of different doctors and health care providers across a wide range of specialties. It’s actually quite fascinating on multiple levels. You see, in addition to fulfilling a need, a big part of our job entails problem solving. And in order to effectively help doctors solve their problems and meet their online needs, we end up asking a ton of questions and listening to the various issues they face within their specific specialty. Interestingly enough, across the board (and regardless of medical specialty or subset specialty), we hear one common grievance again and again: patients are often diagnosing themselves and forming conclusions based on their internet research. Most of the doctors that have voiced this frustration to us feel like they are competing with Google when it comes to their patient’s education. And as one doctor recently said to us: “A lot of the information and ‘education’ on the internet isn’t even accurate or is outdated and just freaks my patients out. So by the time they come in to see me for a follow-up, they’re convinced that they’re in a disease state much worse than the reality.” And the thing is…we get it. Most of us are probably guilty of researching a random condition or symptom at some point or reading a blog and taking it for fact. Let’s face it: Google has the uncanny ability of making even the most normal human into a raving hypochondriac. You can see where health care providers would get frustrated and perhaps not a little annoyed.
At Medical Site Solutions, we pride ourselves on offering our doctor and physician clients access to some of the best patient education resources available. Our website packages can come with the inclusion of a health library specific to your medical specialty, patient education videos, and even waiting room TV videos. You may also choose to provide your own education by writing original content. Many health care providers choose this route because they want their patients to get descriptions of disease states and practice specific surgery (or procedure) information directly from the horse’s mouth. You, the doctor are able to educate your patients based on YOUR practice and knowledge. And bonus: because you are creating original and unique content when you go this route, you’re giving your website’s SEO a boost!! A total WIN WIN if we do say so ourselves!
Unfortunately, no health care provider can definitively stop their patients for researching medical issues on the internet. However, by providing as much of your own patient education via your medical website, you can help circumvent much of the misinformation and outdated “education” that patients are embracing these days. Directing patients specifically to your website for patient education resources (whether it be a Health Library, online Videos, or your original content) could save you a ton of time, energy, and frustration. Think about every time you hear this at a patient appointment: “But I read on the internet that…” That inevitably leads to a lengthy discussion where you, the doctor, must disprove or debate already formulated conclusions formed by your patient. This leads to longer appointment times spent with patients, patients who are convinced they know more about the situation than they actually do, and a frustrated physician who has tight schedule as it is. And let’s face it, time is money. The great news is we’re here to help. Let us help you efficiently and effectively provide streamlined education to your patients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you enhance your online patient education.
Every doctor wants to have a beautiful, highly effective website and online presence. But having an effective medical website doesn’t mean having one that’s simply visually stunning. In a perfect world your website would not only be beautifully designed and user friendly, but also extremely SEO friendly so that your website is capable of higher search rankings. So how does original and/or recently added content specific to YOUR practice and area of expertise help with SEO? Well, the reason is this: Google (the proverbial king of search engines) will rank your medical practice’s website higher in the search results if your website contains unique and/or recently added content. As we stated in our last blog, Google ranking is all about relevance, authority and trust. Google loves websites that contain pages full of high quality, rich content that is new, relevant, and original.
Here at Medical Site Solutions, we provide websites that come conveniently turn-key with specialty specific content and images. This means that all of our websites come with the option of using our prewritten content. We offer prewritten content for the most common services and procedures within each specialty as well as specialty specific photos. We provide this preloaded content as a baseline or a foundation from which physicians may add-to or create their own content. Doctors have the option to use or modify our preloaded content as they see fit. Or they can easily create their own 100% original content using our online editor.
Here are several tips and options for increasing SEO with original content:
♦You can choose to use our already written, preloaded specialty specific content (i.e. general descriptions of the most common procedures within your specialty and relevant photos), but in doing so, make the content uniquely your own. That means, using parts of what we have and tweaking our content so that it is more specific to the services, procedures, and protocol specific to YOUR practice. Implementing this option simply means that doctors may use our preloaded content as a baseline or foundation from which to create their own content.
♦Adding a weekly or monthly blog article (original content) on your website can dramatically increase your SEO. Each time you create a new post you are adding a new page to your website. Search engines love seeing FRESH, original content.
♦Adding original videos and/or images to your website also has an enormous effect on your SEO. Important note: make sure all videos and images added are SEO optimized to get the full benefit.
♦You can also opt to use NONE of our content, but just use the website design/layout. At Medical Site Solutions, you have the ability and option to create 100% original content on your website. This could involve creating your own links, website headers, website categories, website page names, procedure and service descriptions, using your own photos, and the list goes on and on. It’s may be more work for you in the beginning, but in the end, you’d have a website that has 100% original content. And here again, our preloaded content can help by giving you a jumping off point to form your own content ideas…to get the creative juices flowing, as they say!
You could purchase a website from us and simply insert your practice name and contact information and nothing else. You’d still have a user-friendly website, rich in content and truly stunning in design that is SEO friendly. If you’d like to further strengthen your website SEO to attract more patients (i.e. increase traffic to your site), you should include as much original content as possible. After all, Google tends to reward medical websites for doctors that are authoritative, original, and unique in content. All of our website designs give our clients the capability to be as original as they’d like with their content creation.
A ton of the bigger medical website design companies (the ones that charge thousands of dollars for medical websites for doctors) like to slam the smaller guys like us by convincing doctors that buying gorgeous and affordable websites like ours is a big no-no. They see that we are providing viable, effective, user-friendly, highly functional websites at a fraction of what they charge, and quite frankly, they don’t like the fact that they are losing business to companies like ours. Their main argument is that by offering preloaded content, doctors may have the same content as others, thus offering little SEO success. Original content is just one of many factors search engines use to determine page ranking. A medical website could actually have 100% original content but rank lower than a website that has duplicate content. In fact, Google’s Andrey Lipattsev (Search Quality Senior Strategist) has adamantly stated that Google does NOT have a duplicate content penalty.
The bottom-line is that Medical Site Solutions offers an affordable way to create an incredibly beautiful website with original content that is both SEO friendly and effective. Contact us today at (888) 993-1992 for more information on how we can help you create a unique and gorgeous new website for your medical practice!
Have you ever wondered why some websites rank higher than others on a search results page? Or why some websites show up on page one versus page two of the results? Have you ever noticed that sometimes a small business with relevant information can rank higher than the Wikipedia page with the same related content? In this blog, we’ll take a look at Google’s top ranking factors and how you can help YOUR medical practice obtain a higher ranking than your competitors.
If you read our last SEO blog (Search Engine Optimization: An Introduction) you may recall the various definitions we mentioned for Search Engine Optimization. But just as a refresher, SEO is defined by one source as a “methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine” (Webopedia). A search engine, for instance, like Google. The former CEO of Google once reported that Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine which sites rank higher in the search engine. That’s right…OVER 200!!! Here’s the thing: the process of SEO and search engine ranking within Google revolves around three main principles: Relevance, Authority, and Trust.
Google employs complex mathematical algorithms that rely on over 200 clues or signals to determine the relevancy of a website. These determine how your medical website will rank in online searches. Yes, these algorithms are complex, but the great news is, as long as you remember those three principals stated above (i.e. relevance, authority, and trust), you can help your medical practice push its way to the proverbial front of the classroom in search results.
These three principals are the focus and core of Google’s algorithms and can be used to your advantage in obtaining higher rankings:
The bottom line is this: If Dr. Competitor on the other side of town has more of the above factors featured on his website than you do, his website is more likely to rank higher than yours. We will be discussing each of these above ranking factors in depth within future blogs, so stay tuned! Also, Medical Site Solutions offers various tiers of SEO packages for ALL our medical website designs. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your medical practice achieve your online goals for 2017!