By Jason Long
When it comes to marketing your imaging center, there are a lot of ongoing efforts you can use to get more business, but what about the quick and easy strategies that make a big difference?
It’s the 80/20 rule: 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts.
Small changes can have a big impact if you know what to do. If you get these basic items covered, you’ll be ahead of the curve. Here are the top 10 most effective, easy ways to increase profitability for your diagnostic imaging center.
1. Print high-quality referral cards
Many imaging centers print and distribute referral card to providers, which they can give to patients. If you’re not doing this yet, it’s time to start.
If you’re creating your cards in Microsoft Word and printing them in the office, odds are they could stand to be updated. It’s inexpensive and quick to get your materials printed through a service like VistaPrint.
Pro tip: Save time and make your print material look great by using a pre-built template.
2. Follow up with physicians by phone when you see abnormalities
Physicians help your business by referring patients. Making sure you’re looking out for them will make your relationship stronger. A quick phone call from the radiologist to give a doctor a heads up about an abnormal image or exam result will show you’re willing to take some extra time out of your day to lend a hand.
3. Improve the referral process
Just like a patient satisfaction survey, a few quick questions can help you find the pain point of using your referral system or be aware of a gap in communication amongst your team. Improvements in traditional referral systems could increase physician satisfaction as well as the quality of care a patient receives.
For example, using a HIPAA compliant, cloud-based referral system will not only eliminate the need for phone calls and faxes, it also lets providers schedule the appointment in just a few clicks. Even better, with some systems, physicians can save common exam types to their “favorites,” so there’s no more searching.
4. Send patients a satisfaction survey
Satisfaction surveys not only help you understand how a patient viewed their visit; it gives you an opportunity to directly address any unhappy patients. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to request referrals and reviews from satisfied patients.
Pro tip: Use a survey system that sends out a satisfaction survey automatically after an appointment via email or SMS text. This is not only easy for the patient; it also eliminates the need for distributing paper surveys.
5. Encourage patient to patient referrals
Physician referrals aren’t the only way to get new patients in the door. Happy patients are more likely to refer their friends and family to your facility. Thank your patients and ask how their experience was at the end of their appointment. If they are happy, ask them to tell others about it.
- When a patient fills out a satisfaction survey, that’s the perfect time to ask them to refer their friends and family.
- Ask patients to post a note and mention you on their personal social media accounts.
- Give patients something to leave with, even if it is just a branded pencil or lollipop.
Make sure you’re not giving too much away though! Check out a blog post on Stark law information for diagnostic facilities here.
6. Ask for reviews
Online reviews are crucial to any healthcare business, and the best way to get them is to ask. Making the review process fast, simple, and easily accessible is key to getting reviews. Using a review request system to automatically reach out to patients after an appointment makes it easy for them to give you a great rating without going out of their way.
7. Return calls quickly
Of course, right? But you know how it goes, maybe it’s at the end of the day, or maybe you return calls as voicemails are received, or maybe some of your staff is sick. It could be a dozen different things, but consistency in service is always the way to win. Find a way to make sure you have a clear process in place to get both patient and physician calls returned as quickly as possible.
8. Use a mobile queue app for a better patient experience
These days, people don’t like to wait unnecessarily, and who can blame them? Apps like QLess allow patients to virtually check in on their phone where they can see the wait time, or let you know they are running behind. If they can stop and get gas or a coffee instead of sitting in the waiting room they will be more likely to come back to you next time around or talk you up to their friends.
9. Add small touches to the waiting room
Waiting is sometimes unavoidable, so make your waiting room enjoyable. Spend some time sitting in your waiting room, and think about what you would want as a patient. Offer water or coffee, an assortment of reading materials, and pleasant decor. Even simple things like the space between seats can make your patients more comfortable. Take a look at this Pinterest board for some ideas!
10. Research your market and assess your progress
No matter what strategies you’re using in your marketing efforts, setting clear goals and checking in on your progress is vital to your overall plan. Researching your local market and making informed decisions on where to target your efforts reduces risk and improves your overall likelihood of success.
Spreadsheets can be valuable, but are prone to human error. We advise our clients to use a HIPAA compliant RIS-integrated reporting system that provides easy to use visual analytics. A cloud-based system will make it easy to view your graphs and charts securely any time anywhere.
Using these simple yet powerful tricks, you can keep your referring providers happy, increase patient retention, and gain new patients.
Jason Long is the CEO of JH Media Group based in Atlanta, GA, and has been helping independent diagnostic imaging facilities grow their patient base, local reputation, and online presence for over 10 years. JH Media Group provides software systems to diagnostic groups to increase positive online reviews, streamline referrals, provide RIS-integrated analytics, and educate patients and physicians. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.