Marketing of Physician practices is a very responsible and careful process which deals directly with the patients / health care, covering all activities related to practice promotion and includes managed care initiatives, practice literature, print or broadcast media advertising, health care seminars, and rapport building activities with potential referral physicians. Physician practices have historically avoided advertising and mainly focused their marketing strategies on building and maintaining good community relationships.
Till recent past, physicians considered marketing an un-appropriate activity — and of course some still do. For them, it may be a low profile activity like that of used-car sales person hawking their goods, or of tacky roadside billboards. But it doesn''t have to be that way. However, today''s health care environment is forcing physicians to consider new marketing alternatives -- including advertising on the Internet or using internet resources alongside traditional sources.
A well designed physician marketing plan should contain:
Latest tactics to Develop Referral Physicians Chain
Direct to Patient Promotion – i.e. Brochure, Literature, Demo CD etc.
A Managed Care Strategy
Practice Expansion Objectives
Time Labor/ Requirements
Resource to calculate Return on Investment
Practice marketing is important for all Physicians especially those where managed care referral services are less stringent. In most cases, patients have a choice of service providers. "Word of mouth" patient and colleague referrals are among the most valuable sources of new patients. Therefore while marketing is like slick ad campaigns, it also means consistently paying thanks to physicians who refer patients to you and providing excellent care to your patients (along with little touches like remembering their birthdays, marriage anniversaries etc.) and letting the community know who you are and what services you offer.
Having a good relationship with patients and other physicians are the most important components of any physician-practice marketing strategy. Constant changes in health insurance coverage have made patients more aggressive consumers of health care information. Increasingly, this means patients are using internet to seek answers on their treatment. Health plans have responded to this demand by offering online information and services to their members and general masses as well.
Physicians are now more exposed to the pressures surrounding specific patient requirement. They have always treated the patient as an individual, however, there is a unanimous consensus from healthcare consultants, government health departments and gatekeeper agencies concerning the importance of the patient''s viewpoint and that everyone involved in healthcare must be more responsive to patient need.
Physician marketing must be organized on professional style and should not have resemblance like that of other professionals, such as attorneys. In medicine, personal image and reputation are everything and marketing to patients should focus on compassionate individualized care, credentials, education of the public, and outcomes. Different specialties require customized market specific tactics and a good marketing plan also defines managed care initiatives and objectives.
Physicians will often realize that they need an effective marketing plan in response to competition. It is strongly believed that a marketing plan should be in place for every practice regardless of size or competitive profile. The plan must be proactive anticipating new market trends and developments, such as competitive threats or changes in the managed care policies etc.
The impact of e-commerce and other Internet activities can be seen on the complex relationships between physicians, other clinicians, hospital and otherity providers, payers, and patients and their families as well as on manufacturers, distributors, and others in the supply chain. This has made a new culture of mutual cooperation, understanding and a sprit to work together.
A physician practice website can be as simple as listing the contact information and a short description of the practice, or as complex as providing online scheduling / appointments, chatting and secure e-mail messaging for patients. The most important aspect of a practice website is to accurately represent the practice''s philosophies and style to assure potential patients you are the right practice for them.
A reasonable budget and financial resources should be available to run the marketing campaign and if needed it may also be suggested that physicians may contact to pharmaceutical companies to run their marketing campaign and if appropriated physician or his team may also be a part of that. It may be possible that many physicians do not like this proposal but in present scenario, where multinational pharmaceutical companies have tremendous power to exert influence and pressure on various levels, having availability of huge budget physicians are forced to move on that way to shape their marketing strategies side by side of those companies.
Physician Marketing practices are now an essential part of their services business and increasing competition globally is forcing them to apply all latest marketing tactics in their profession to divert patients toward them. The rapid growth of medical information on the World Wide Web and through online services such as America Online and CompuServe presents challenges and opportunities for physician-patient relationships. Other than internet, traditional ways are also available such as conducting seminars and inviting the current and past patients, colleagues, and government officials and top brass of profession, using Print media and broadcast media to advertise the services and specialization, the Physician has and of course a good personal image when treating the patient.