Physicians often feel that marketing or branding their medical practice is unnecessary. Perhaps they think that by being a doctor they have a built in identity or they have plenty of patients. This does not even take into consideration the anticipated influx of new patients being thrust into the patient pool by Congress over the next few years.
In reality, physicians who own their own practices see themselves as someone who was “called” to be a doctor. Their medical practice is their career or profession but they rarely think of it as a “business.” The fact is that basic marketing principles that apply to other businesses also apply to the healthcare practice owners.
Medical professionals who own their own practice sometimes think that marketing or advertising is inappropriate or even unethical. This is especially true for physicians who began their medical practice before advertising was as prevalent as it is today. The fact is that marketing and branding a medical practice can do more than generating more revenue and patients. It can help patients who are best suited to your practice, as well as other physicians wanting to make a referral, identify with you.
Most physicians have had no formal business education, training or experience in running a business before opening their first practice. Other than perhaps the new generation of recent graduates from medical school who are entering practice, most physicians are unfamiliar with how to make their practice more noticeable through social media and making their website more relevant to search engines.
Social media can create interest in your practice and allow you to interact with existing or potential patients. It can also connect you with other physicians seeking to make a referral. LinkedIn is a social media tool that can boost your name recognition and your practice’s online image. Facebook can be an interesting place for patients to obtain reliable information or supply input about your practice. YouTube can provide you with a great opportunity to provide a virtual tour of your office and allowing patients to see pictures of you and your staff. Twitter can provide you with information about your followers and give you a venue to provide breaking news about your practice.
Maintaining a professional and informative website can also be an important tool in marketing your practice, allowing new patients to find you on the web and providing information to current patients. many physicians also have blogs, where they provide information on current issues in the healthcare world.
Marketing your medical practice is really no different than marketing any other small business or firm. The same proven strategies that work in other industries apply and are successful in the healthcare industry.
However, marketing a medical practice may have legal and ethical implications due to the many requirements physicians face in terms of providing medical advice over the internet, the formation of a doctor/patient relationship, and staying in line with state licensing boards. Before beginning an effort to market your medical practice over the internet, it is advisable to consult with a Georgia lawyer experienced in healthcare law.
Attorney Kevin S. Little has been practicing law for nearly 20 years and has extensive experience with closely held businesses, healthcare and other service professionals.
Contact us at (404) 685-1662 to schedule a confidential consultation.
What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?, Business2community.com, Article by James DeBono, December 3, 2012
Marketing a Medical Practice is Different
*Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice.