Let’s face it…Healthcare marketing can be tough. After all, you’re already spending 25 hours out of every 24 dealing with patient care, electronic health records, ACA regulations and HIPAA codes. It can be overwhelming.
Adding to this the anxiety of violating government compliance issues, it’s no wonder that health marketing lags behind marketing that we see in other industries.
Yet, if you enter the health marketing arena, you stand a great chance of reaching your patients and attracting prospective patients as well. According to Pew Research, about 72 percent of internet users search online for health information. So, if you engage in health marketing, you strengthen your brand, increase your visibility and grow your practice.
Create and disperse content that is valuable, captivating, and relevant to your audience. Patients want to be educated and informed but in a manner that is not dry and boring. Let your personality shine through. Engage the reader.
Content can be published through:
- Website copy
- Helpful resource lists
- FAQ sheets
- Tip sheets
Having this information online will boost your sphere of influence and garner viewer praise. Studies also show that 92 percent of consumers worldwide admit to trusting earned media above all other forms of advertising. What does that percentage translate to you? And you’re just looking for the people in your geographical area. These numbers can really add up!
Create a Buzz
Research what your viewers are interested in. Going to chatrooms and forums online will give you a key into the questions and problems that your audience is struggling with. You can be the hero who provides the solutions to these problems.
Surf the net and social media sites to see what health conditions and issues are trending. Talking about them allows you to ride the publicity tide. You can be shared among family and friends of the readers (even go viral). Just remember, the issues you discuss should be relevant to your audience. That means, it must be in sync with your practice, your service and any procedures or products that you provide.
Avoid Risks and Fines
You’re probably eager and enthusiastic at this point to start creating content and putting it out there. Whoa, there are a few items we need to discuss first.
HIPAA compliance is a must! This means that anything you post can not be specific to a particular patient. Even though you may be answering a question online, you must answer it in general terms (which others can be helped by as well). If someone truly needs a question answered, direct that person into making an appointment. You also cannot have a person identifiable, even if you haven’t listed a name.
Content must be accurate. If information is not correct, the FDA can punish you by giving hefty fines.
How to be Free of Disaster
- Check HIPAA guidelines. They are issued regularly and are easily obtained through their site online.
- Take note of the regulatory guidelines in your area. This too, you can obtain online. The Joint Commission releases rules and regulations as they are updated.
- Form a team for review of your content to ensure that there are no violations.
While health marketing may be challenging, it is not something that should be avoided. Healthcare is the second most-searched-for service online. Patients are surfing the web for information. Why shouldn’t it come from you? Start slowly and make a plan of action. As you improve in one area, you can add the next bit to your marketing plan.
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