Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 Types of Services Physicians Can Use to Build their Practice

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Running a successful medical practice requires a lot of time and effort, and a small, private practice can’t always afford the luxury of having a dedicated staff member assigned to each job. This leads to several employees wearing multiple hats, which can prevent them from providing the best service possible. The physician should be able to give patients their full attention without being distracted by untangling financial webs, scrambling to fix network crashes, or worrying about how to promote their practice online

Fortunately, there are several companies that now cater to these smaller medical practices, providing managed services for multiple clinics and allowing those clinics to focus their attention on patient care.

Billing Services

The financial side of running a small business is already complicated, but adding in factors such as health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid makes things even more complex. Fortunately, healthcare billing services like athenahealth are specialized in navigating this tangled financial web.
These types of services are more than just financial software. They employ experts to handle claim submissions, manage insurance denials, and post payment, along with other services. Some services will even coach healthcare employees and help them to identify problem areas to improve the practice’s financial results. The goal is to reduce the time between the patient’s visit and when the practice receives its payment while decreasing the hassle the practice’s employees face at the same time.

Managed Security/IT

Medical records contain some of the most sensitive information there is about people, and that information needs to remain private and secure. That’s why it is absolutely crucial that healthcare practices have a secure network and storage solution for all of their patients’ records, as well as their own business-related information.
At the same time, a small practice can’t always afford to hire a full-time IT employee or team to handle all of the regular network management and security tasks that are necessary. To address this issue, there are managed security and IT companies, such as GCS Consultants, that specialize in handling the technology needs of small businesses.
Many of these managed services cater specifically to medical practices and are thus familiar with the compliance requirements medical practices must meet. Such services often extend beyond just security, too, including network support and IT consulting. They tailor their services to match the specific needs of each practice, meaning the healthcare and office workers are able to focus on giving the best care to their patients.

Medical Practice Growth Platforms

Many healthcare professionals don’t really think about marketing their practice, but to grow any sort of business, it’s important to make sure that people know about them. Medical practice growth platforms like PatientPop are a great option for physicians to build their online presence and streamline their communication with patients.
These companies work behind the scenes to ensure that medical practices show up at the top of search results, social media sites, and more of the most common methods patients use to find a new doctor. They also streamline the process of booking appointments, sending reminders to patients to make sure they arrive on time. After the appointment, they contact the patient again, asking for feedback and distributing those positive reviews across review sites that other potential patients will view as they seek out physicians in their areas. Finally, in order to keep patients coming back, they will send out reminders when it’s time to schedule another appointment.
Essentially, the goal of growth platforms like this is to automate the growth process, requiring as little effort from the healthcare workers as possible. This frees them up to focus on patients without getting caught up in administrative tasks, allowing them to do the job they originally signed up for—caring for their patients.
For more information on digital innovation in health care and our 2016 ePharma Summit, please visit our webpages via Knect 365: ePharma Summit.

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About the author:

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America. You can follow Greg here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Healthcare Marketing: Adapting in the Digital Age

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As more consumers seek out healthcare providers independently of that of their employers, there is a noticeable, and growing, shift in the market space. Healthcare providers are forced to find ways to market to consumers directly.

In September 2015, Forbes published an article, The New World of Healthcare Marketing: A Framework For Adaptation, detailing much of that shift and what marketers can do to bridge the gap between Health Care Providers (HCPs) and consumers.

"As consumers take a more active role in their healthcare decisions, marketers must listen and adapt in order to remain relevant. To frame this shift and identify some of the key takeaways for healthcare marketers, we turned to Brent Walker of c2b Solutions, a company that consults with healthcare organizations on marketing and sales strategy solutions with a focus on generating deep consumer insights. "

Walker goes on to list three areas he feels has influenced this shift:
1. Demographic – As baby-boomers age and encounter chronic conditions, there is an increase in demand for health services which impacts costs to providers.
2. Legislative – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandating access to healthcare for all.
3. Technological – The growth of digital media and information that is readily available to consumers. 
And with consumer-driven healthcare becoming the primary focus for HCPs, marketers are forced to think about three key implications for changes to come.

1. Massive investments are required
2. Business models must change
3. New competitors are entering

As for which areas healthcare marketers need to focus on to counteract this change? Walker again notes four areas and questions Big Pharma companies may need to ask themselves to re-strategize and implement new marketing efforts.
1. Data: What data does your company already have, or will need, to strategize on reaching a new target while catering to your current customers?
2. Systems: Do you already have systems in place to integrate your data? Is it usable? And, can marketers easily integrate consumer insights to strategize?
3. People: Does your company have the bandwidth and experts on the team to execute on new marketing initiatives?
4. Processes: Identify areas for growth and how to measure effectiveness of individual marketing tactics. 
For more information on digital innovation in health care and our 2016 ePharma Summit, please visit our webpages via Knect 365: ePharma Summit.

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