Using Web Technology for Patient Referrals

December 15, 2013
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According to Pew Internet & American Life Project Study, 72 percent of Internet users have gone online in the past year specifically for health-related information. With the potential of that number going up, it’s important for healthcare providers to be using the Internet, particularly their website for leads and referrals.

According to Pew Internet & American Life Project Study, 72 percent of Internet users have gone online in the past year specifically for health-related information. With the potential of that number going up, it’s important for healthcare providers to be using the Internet, particularly their website for leads and referrals.

Using the web to get patient referralsThe first step to recruiting new patients online is to define your goals and marketing budget in advance. Are you looking to build brand awareness or want to showcase a new procedure in your facility? These goals should help determine how to get qualified leads to your website and as a result, more patients into your healthcare facility.

Here are some ways to use the web to turn new patients into long-term, loyal patients:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – According to Google, 77 percent of patients used a search engine before booking a health-related appointment. SEO are strategies, techniques and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in search engine’s like Google, Bing or Yahoo. There are many factors that go into properly optimizing a website, but in general, if your website isn’t search engine friendly, there is a good chance patients won’t find you.

Healthcare Databases – More and more niche health-oriented social websites are popping up allowing people to recommend healthcare professionals and book appointments. ZocDoc and Vitals are good examples. Make sure your facility has a profile page on each of these platforms with detailed, accurate information to ensure patients searching for services you offer can find you with ease.

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Social Media and Content Marketing – Social media and creating great content can be extremely beneficial in spreading news and information about your services and facility. This type of marketing can also lead to recommendations from friends and family quickly as they are the most trusted sources for referrals. Social media is also a faster marketing channel than direct mail and telemarketing. A word of caution, marketers need to be mindful of HIPAA and privacy laws when posting health information on social media sites.