How to handle your elective business when your procedures are postponed during the Covid-19 response.
Don’t panic, PLAN. Depending on where you practice, you may already be cancelling surgeries, procedures and other billable items. It’s heartbreaking, given all the time and resources you, your staff and your patients have put into getting ready for procedures. What are the next few weeks/months going to look like for your practice? What can be done to continue to see patients? Is there a way to keep your pipeline full, so that you can get back up and running as soon as the restrictions are lifted?
Here are a few suggestions from a medical marketing agency that has spent years working with elective cases. Now is no time to panic, it’s time to PLAN. If you are wondering what you can do during your downtime to be ready for your practice to get back up and running, please read on.
Precautions Take all of the precautions needed now to make sure that you, your staff and your patients are safe. Make sure that your social media, website and other marketing pieces explain to your current and potential patients that you are taking precautions. Explain what those actions are and make sure that patients have the ability to reach out and discuss their concerns. Remember, they are generally already anxious about procedures and now they have the added worries of a highly contagious virus that could have active cases at the hospital where you practice.
Long term thoughts Start now planning and working on what you can do now to be ready when business does resume. What is your current marketing plan? Do you have one? Have you been too busy to create videos and blogs with any consistency? Can you go ahead and get a bank of videos and other content that is relevant for now and after you are back to business as usual. Can you use technology to continue to “see” patients virtually? Does your staff have the training they need to offer stellar customer service? What business books had you read lately?
May I suggest a good read? If Disney ran your hospital by Fred Lee. Talk about a wake-up call to what patients now expect and how they react to the experiences around your care. Healthcare is no longer just about taking care of the physical needs of the patient. They can now review you online and many of those reviews turn negative because of how they perceived interactions that happened while under your care. Most of this plays out online and given the importance of patient privacy, you are left in a position that makes a public response difficult, if not impossible. This book should be read by everyone in your practice who has contact with patients. Just a few changes in patient interactions can make a huge difference in their understanding of their treatment and care.
Activity that moves you forward- Take some time to write down your notes on your long-term thoughts. What can you do now, during this downtime to come out of this setback ahead of the curve?
If you don’t have a marketing plan, start one.
Write some blogs or articles that explain who you are and why you are the one that patients should see.
Do a Facebook live or have a family member shoot a video on their phone. Everything doesn’t have to be professionally shot and edited.
If you aren’t currently set up for telehealth, what can you do to facilitate consults and follow-ups while still adhering to any restrictions in your area?
Offer your staff resources that can empower them to be customer services superstars when business gets back to normal.
Network This is going to look very different for the next few weeks and even months, however, the internet is a great resource for this. I’m not just talking about LinkedIn and other ways to stay in touch with other professionals. Have you heard much about 3rd party backlinks? There are plenty of resources that can get you basic backlinks, but do you have a plan for relevant backlinks? What kind of partnerships or sponsorships are out there that will let you showcase your knowledge to a community that hasn’t found you yet? What industry website can you advertise on that will help you reach new audiences?
I know that this is a lot to think about and you are already currently flooded with information and questions from administrators, employees and patients. If you are thinking about making some marketing decisions, whether that be creating a strong plan, getting a consultant to look over your current programs or finally pulling the trigger for a social media or video campaign, MD Integrated Marketing is available to help. As a full service agency, we have staff and programs that can facilitate most programs remotely during the Covid-19 restrictions.