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The top 3 factors influencing how patients choose your health care practice

When building your practice, knowing what factors influence how patients find you and ultimately choose to be treated by you is critical. As a health care provider, you focus on treating patients and providing the best care possible. The business side of health care may be of less interest to you. However, to effectively grow your practice, it’s essential to know how new patients find you and why they chose to see you for care versus another provider. This is true whether you own your practice or are a provider in a larger practice or hospital. Your long-term professional success relies on your ability to attract and retain patients.

What are the best ways to attract new patients?

Health care marketing is a big business. The U.S. health care advertising market reached $21.3 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach $28.1 billion by 2027.

As a health care provider and perhaps a practice owner, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the marketing channels being utilized to market to potential patients, including websites, social media, paid advertising, SEO, email marketing, video, TV, radio, direct mail, billboards, and many more mediums.

Unless you have unlimited time and resources, which most of us do not, utilizing the proper marketing channels is essential for getting the greatest return on your marketing investment.

What are the optimal marketing channels to attract new patients?

Depending on the source, you will discover varying results. A reputation management company will tell you it’s all about patient reviews. A social media company will make you believe it’s about your social presence. A website development company will recommend a robust online presence. An established provider might credit a strong referral network. You might consider your expertise in your field to be the determining factor.

In reality, it’s a mix of all these elements alongside your credentials, training, practice location, and, most importantly, your ability to foster strong relationships with your patients. Without concrete data, knowing the most crucial marketing channels is challenging.

According to the 2021 RepuGen Patient Review Survey, the top three most important factors when a patient selects a health care provider were:

  • Online reviews
  • Referrals from another trusted health care provider
  • Referral from family or friend

Given that RepuGen is a health care reputation and review management platform, these survey results could be considered biased, or the study could be regarded as flawed as they had a vested interest in the results. However, there is much supporting evidence from various sources that support these findings.

How do patients find and ultimately choose their health care providers?

As a health care consumer yourself, how do you find your providers? Do your selection criteria track with the results found in the RepuGen survey?

Action item: For the next three months, ask each patient you treat how they found you and why they chose you as their provider. This can be done in just a few minutes during a regular visit – either in an informal conversation or via a quick patient survey.

Track the results, and look at the end of the three months to see what patterns emerge. Determine the top three factors that influence new patients to be treated by you and then focus your marketing efforts on those channels. This is a simple and effective technique to achieve the greatest return on your marketing investment because you target channels your patient population has identified.

Marita McCahill is the founder of practiceGRO, a health care growth strategy consulting firm. She is passionate about developing, implementing, and executing creative programs to help health care practitioners build brand awareness, improve patient relations, and scale their practice. She can be reached on Facebook and Instagram @practice_gro.

Nowhere in medical school do they teach personal branding and how to grow your practice by attracting more of your ideal patients. Marita identified how a niche online course could address this learning gap, and practiceGRO Marketing 101 was born! In this eight-hour, self-paced, CME-approved course, she breaks down all the marketing jargon to the crux of what you need to understand and identifies the necessary actions to grow your practice exponentially.  

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