9 Ways The Power Of Community Can Grow Your Medical Practice

james Maskell headshot

Are you looking for easy healthcare marketing tips to help grow your medical practice? Building a strong community connection as a practitioner is one of the most valuable ways to attract and retain new patients. You can increase both, patients and patient satisfaction by leveraging one crucial human connection: community involvement. We’ve laid out nine specific strategies to help you harness the power of the community around your medical practice. Read on below!

Creating a strong sense of belonging around a medical practice requires time, passion, and a willingness to meet people where they’re at. Hectic schedules and limited insurance provider networks can make community involvement feel like the last priority on a doctor’s list — when really, it should be the first!
More and more data has made it abundantly clear how much we all need more genuine connections in our everyday existence – and how devastating the impact of loneliness is on our health. (1)

Did you know?
According to a 2018 Survey, loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – making it even more dangerous than obesity. (2)(3)

Engage your community: nine strategies for growing your medical practice

There are actually a lot of ways — both online and offline— to harness the power of the community around yourself as a physician. Check out these nine simple strategies to connect with your local community, augment more patient referrals, and generate a committed patient base.

James Maskell talks about the power of harnessing your community in order to grow your practice. There are 9 tips we discuss to help you.

1. Offer group medical visits

Sometimes the idea of taking on a new health journey alone can be daunting. By offering group medical visits, where a practitioner sees a group of patients with the same condition in one appointment, patients and practitioners both benefit. Not only can more patients receive treatment, but it also helps healthcare providers avoid clinical burnout. Group style visits also allow practitioners to spend more time with patients compared to one-on-one appointments.

Did you know?
Group visits have even been shown to improve patient health. A study from 2013 found that among diabetes patients, group medical visits helped reduce glycated hemoglobin (HBA1c) levels. (4)

The educational and social components of group medical visits also give patients hope by helping them build stronger coping skills and improving adherence to at-home treatment plans.

2. Start an online dialogue by blogging

Blogging is a great way to start a conversation with members of your community on health-related topics before they make an appointment. More and more patients, practitioners, and clinicians are self-organizing online communities where they talk about health. A regularly updated blog on your medical practice or professional website gives you more opportunities to connect with your patients. What you publish and write about, helps build your brand and shows who you are. By consistently blogging about topics that include your case studies and trends your patients are interested in, you can establish yourself as a leader in the field locally and beyond. Try and post at least one to two times per month.

practitioner sitting with a couple and shaking the man's hand

Let referring patients know how much you genuinely appreciate their help in the form of a phone call, email, or handwritten note.

3. Up your referral game

A simple thank you goes a long way for medical practice referrals. Always be sure to let referring patients and colleagues know you are grateful for their help and ask them how they found you. A ‘thank you’ letter for a patient referral is an easily executed idea, especially if you create and save a template for it.

You may also want to consider adding referral cards to your community connection repertoire. By having small cards —separate from your business cards— that have simple messages such as “Spread the Wellness” along with your office information, your patients have a way of helping you grow your practice. With referral cards, you are less likely to lose out on people trying to spell your name or find you via a search engine.

4. Ask patients and colleagues for reviews

A huge portion of patients will read online reviews about a healthcare provider before making an appointment at your office or clinic – even if they are referred by a family, friend, or colleague. Don’t be afraid to ask your patients and referring doctors to give you a positive review online. After all, your connection with your patients and fellow physicians is often the most satisfying part of the medical profession! (5)

You should always capitalize on the power of happy clients and colleagues to help spread your name in the form of referrals. It is also an excellent way for you to be able to get feedback on how patients see you, which is also quite valuable for improving patient satisfaction.

practitioner sitting at desk, holding up supplements and looking into a camera

Uploading videos directly online will likely increase the number of shares and overall interactions. Videos will also help your blog posts!

5. Get on social media

Are you on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter? Because everyone in your community is! Social networks provide further chances to engage and share information and ideas with your patient base and other local businesses. The essential element of maintaining a successful online presence is frequent and consistent posting.

And as Mark Zuckerberg says, Facebook is all about connections. Worldwide, there are over 2.32 billion monthly active users on Facebook (MAU) as of December 31, 2018. Having a professional Facebook page for your medical practice will give you the ability to engage with existing and new patients. Posting personal tips, news, vlogs, podcasts, and other factoids of information will help encourage followers. (6)

If you are regularly posting on Facebook, there’s a good chance your followers will keep you in mind next time they need a doctor.

6. Give patients keepsakes imprinted with your office details

Everybody loves promotional freebies- especially things you can imprint your office details on. Examples include stress balls, tote bags, pens, water bottles, sunglasses, calendar magnets, hot and cold packs, coffee cups, tissue packs, thermometers, branded pocket first aid kits, headbands, or pens.

Inexpensive promotional ‘swag’ items literally put your information in the palm of a patient’s hand they can walk around with. And unexpected patient perks are a great way to gain likability and build relationships with people! These seemingly random acts of kindness, in turn, may lead to patients talking about or posting about their down to earth and cool practitioner on social media.

practitioner sitting with patients, all looking at an iPad and engaging in conversation

Seek opportunities within your community to be a thought leader on health and wellness – speak, advise, and get involved.

7. Organize or get involved with local wellness events

By being involved and setting up health-centric community events, you can quickly establish yourself as a local wellness authority. Engaging your community by organizing a bike race, 5k, walk-a-thon, flash mob, or content to promote your medical practice can be extremely rewarding on a professional and personal level. If there is already some sort of popular event a lot of community members take part in annually, you can jump on the bandwagon and hold a social media competition in celebration of it.

Holding a health fair with featured local vendors where you offer free screenings, food, and other medical services is another great way to harness the power of community!

8. Become a contributor to a local news source

Have you ever considered reaching out to a local news outlet to be a regular health contributor? Local journalists are always looking for a trusted medical expert to provide legitimacy and context to stories. And gaining exposure by being cited in the media as a credible and established medical source is one of the best ways to attract new patients.

You can also sign up for online services such as ProfNet and Help a Reporter Out as a medical expert. This will allow you to gain access to media queries and also give you a platform to pitch stories of your own to journalists.

9. Send an email newsletter to patients

If you are already writing a blog, sending out a monthly email newsletter is a great way to regularly engage with your community. Start capturing and keeping track of email addresses and contact information. You can begin by finding subscribers from your existing client base, community wellness events, and your social media followers. As well, email newsletter help you stay engaged with your patients. Sometimes patients ask a question that you wish you could spend all day talking about and researching further. Questions you’re frequently asked can make for great article topics.

Use a mail service such as Constant Contact or SendInBlue to create newsletter templates, and start by sending out a newsletter that includes recent blog posts, images, and links back to your website. This strategy is sure to get you more appointment requests and referrals! (7)(8)

Any of these community-connection strategies can independently help you cultivate your patient base, but ideally, you should try implementing more than one.

Start connecting with your community today

Connecting with the local community is the best use of a practitioner’s time out of official office hours.

Doctors who take the time to build relationships with their community are rewarded unexpectedly with a deeper appreciation of what it means to be a doctor, to be a human being, and how their caring actions —not their technical ability— are so meaningful to patients. (5)

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