Running a medical imaging centre is a delicate balancing act – you have to ensure that you are running a profitable business while providing a healthcare service that shows dedication and care.
Marketing for a radiology clinic is also tricky since you have to maintain a patient-centric approach while complying with healthcare laws, most prominently, HIPAA. However, having a marketing strategy that is focused on patients can help drive better results and reduce time spent on marketing. It’s worth it to carefully consider each marketing channel and message to build trust, establish your credentials, and how you can benefit your clients.
In this article, let’s learn about patient-centred care and how you can use this approach to shape an effective digital marketing strategy.
In healthcare, a patient-centred care model requires healthcare practitioners to consider the patient’s best interests when shaping the care that’s provided to them. For radiology clinics, this means they need to improve the quality of care and focus on the patient’s needs to improve the overall patient experience.
How can a patient-centred care approach work with your digital marketing efforts? It is not as difficult as it sounds. Patient communication and compliance with HIPAA laws in all of your digital marketing efforts are great starting points to drive your marketing strategy.
Effective patient communication
When seeking services from a radiology clinic, there’s no doubt that patients will have a lot of questions. Finding quality healthcare services is a daunting process, and radiology clinics need to keep this in mind when communicating with their patients.
Effective patient communication is very important to a successful practice. It establishes your authority while gaining patients’ trust. This requires easing patients’ concerns with clear guidance, trustworthy information, and caring communication from the healthcare provider.
In your communication efforts, whether in your digital marketing messages or when patients contact you directly, it helps to:
- Acknowledge patients’ worries and provide clear information with a sense of care and dedication.
- Provide straightforward and trustworthy information, especially about your services, facilities, and credibility, so that patients can feel empowered to make a visit.
- Attend to your patients’ expressed needs, including answering any questions that patients may have about medical imaging and, specifically, your services.
These principles should be applied when you communicate with your patients in every channel and not only when they visit you at your clinic. This means providing clear and trustworthy information on your website, having Frequently Asked Questions on every page, promptly answering patients’ questions via emails, phone calls and direct messages, etc.
Patient-centric communication can greatly improve patient satisfaction by making your patients’ health journey easier. Something as simple as this can show your dedication and quality of care, which can also cultivate your business’ reputation in the long run.
With healthcare marketing, in particular, there are many privacy laws that you need to comply with, including HIPAA, which states that a covered entity cannot sell patients’ protected health information to a third party without their expressed consent. Since a lot of digital marketing channels require tracking and segmenting populations in order to effectively market to them, there are a lot of HIPAA considerations that you need to factor into your digital marketing strategy.
Due to the concerns around healthcare privacy and security, many healthcare marketers have been reluctant to implement digital marketing strategies. However, with some careful management of patient data and patient’s authorisation, you can still run an effective digital marketing strategy while having your patients’ interests at heart.
Email marketing with patient privacy in mind
Email marketing has become more powerful in recent years. It has evolved from being a simple monthly newsletter to a more automated drip campaign that can bring patients into your clinic. This is a great way to share information, build relationships, and renew interest in your services, all at a minimal cost.
When working with an email marketing solution, radiology clinics must ensure that these solutions can manage and HIPAA-compliant email marketing campaigns. In addition, you should acquire patients’ authorisation before emailing them. This is simple enough; you can have an opt-in form on your website when patients make an appointment booking.
Of course, when you get patients’ authorisation, you must ensure that their data is properly stored and protected.
Then, you can segment your patient list into smaller groups based on the services they seek, their age group, or how long since their last visit, and tailor your email message to fit with their specific needs. Tailoring the message will make your email more relevant to their needs, which will increase your chance of success.
Another way to use email marketing is to create a drip campaign, which is a series of automated email messages that help you follow up with a patient after a visit, which can include post-visit care instructions, how long they can expect results, or help them schedule a check-up.
This shows patients that you care about them and helps you maintain a relationship with your patients post-visit while keeping your marketing cost low and your ROI high.
Patient-centred social media marketing
Social media is another great way to effectively communicate with your patients and let them feel heard. A great thing about social media is that it is a two-way channel, meaning you can directly talk to your patients, answer their questions and listen to their concerns.
This is a good way to build trust and rapport with your patients, help them get to know your values and available services, and allow them to feel confident in your ability to provide quality medical imaging services.
While paid ads on social media also require you to comply with HIPAA laws regarding patient privacy (especially when you use retargeting and custom audiences), you are allowed to post freely on your profile (on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and let potential patients come to you. This requires you to publish quality content and provide trustworthy resources for your patients, but the plus side is: you don’t have to spend any money on ads.
Investing in quality content that really addresses your patients’ needs is a key pillar of patient-centric marketing. You should make sure to publish content at a regular interval, have engagement activities on social media (a Q&A live stream on Facebook or a Twitter takeover by a radiologist, for example), and include the link to your appointment booking page when relevant. This way, you can track your return on investment in terms of how many leads are generated.
In healthcare marketing, keeping costs low and maximising return on investment is very much about building a trusting and productive relationship with your patients. That’s why a patient-centred approach is an excellent way to help your radiology clinic be a top choice among local patients while still complying with privacy laws.
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