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Who Do You Like to Work With?

Posted By Wendy Bauerschmidt, Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

If you could clone your ideal patient, who would that be? It may be a compilation of characteristics of different patients. What would he or she be like? Be as specific as you can in identifying the patients you really love to work with. If you get stuck, think about the patients that you are energized by working with, or with whom you really feel as though you are fulfilling your purpose. Your ideal patients often lie beyond a demographic bucket, look for the common values or personal qualities. For example, willingness to take responsibility for lifestyle choices or valuing health may be a common characteristic of your ideal patients.

As a doctor, you were probably trained to help, serve and heal any and all who are sick. As a practitioner, it may be scary to think of leaving out anyone who could benefit from, and pay for, the services that you provide. I am not suggesting that you turn anyone away. I am suggesting that in your marketing message you consciously encourage your ideal patients to make an appointment. This will make your marketing easier and more effective. It will likely make your practice more gratifying.

So, back to your ideal patient. What is it that he or she is looking for? Why do they come to you? What are the health benefits or life changes that your ideal patient desires?

In the next post we’ll look at how you can use this info to add spark to your business card.

Tags:  practice marketing 

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A Simple Marketing Tip that is Hard for Some Doctors

Posted By Wendy Bauerschmidt, Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"Honey, do you have any of my business cards?” My husband Mike asked at a recent dinner party we attended. As I have many times before, I pulled out the card holder with his cards that I always carry in my purse and handed him a few.

I have learned to always have some of my husband’s business cards in my purse, stash some in the glove compartment of his car, my car and in a drawer of the console next to our front door so that we (translation – I) can grab some on the way out the door.

A common tool, if not badge of identity, for the corporate professional, it was hard for me to understand why it is not second nature for my husband to carry his business card. I have observed this phenomenon is true of many physicians I have met, regardless of their specialty.

My husband explains that as an ER doctor cards weren’t necessary – people were literally dying to see him. Other specialists are accustomed to getting all the referrals they need from insurance provider lists. An integrative medicine practice is different. Since patients often pay out of pocket, you have to convince them to invest their hard earned cash. A well designed business card can be the first step in the process of getting a prospective patient to know, like and trust you.

In the next post we will talk about how to design your business cards that will have patients hungry to see you – without appearing cheesy or salesy.

In the meantime, please share tips on how you remember to carry your business cards or where you stash them so that you always have them readily available.

Tags:  member benefit  practice marketing 

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Practice Building is about Serving More Patients

Posted By Wendy Bauerschmidt, Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to build your practice isn’t something that you probably learned in medical school. You probably didn’t need to at the time. Simply becoming part of the insurance company’s provider networks and being on call was all that was probably required to have the phone ringing off the hook and the waiting room filled to capacity.

That practice model has its trade-offs. If you have an integrative practice, chances are that a good portion of your services are not covered by insurance, or you may not accept insurance at all. This different practice model requires a more proactive method of patient recruitment.

Many integrative physicians aren’t comfortable with marketing. After all, it’s not something that you were trained to do. You are trained to serve, to heal. That’s precisely why I would make the case that it is important that you learn practice building skills and become comfortable with a few techniques that work for you.

It’s important because your mission is BIG. The more people you serve, the more you can heal. Teaching more patients about healthy lifestyle choices creates a ripple effect that increases your impact. These are worthy goals.

The goal of these blog posts is to support you in this worthwhile endeavor by giving you tips that you can implement easily and to support you in taking consistent action. We also encourage you to share strategies that have or perhaps have not worked for you.

Tags:  practice marketing 

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Marketing Help for Integrative Practitioners

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 9, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Are you looking for help to market your practice? Don’t know where to start? GetWellnessPatients.com can help!

GetWellnessPatients.com is an instant marketing system where all practice marketing is done for health care practitioners; from building your website, to search engine optimization (SEO), to social media. The system is completely customizable and there’s no work for you. Through a five-fold attack: SEO, website enhancement, social media, offline ads and an e-mail marketing system, GetWellnessPatients.com promises to take care of all your marketing needs for you.

GetWellnessPatients.com founder and President, Pat Necerato began in health care marketing by providing personal fitness consultations to health clubs. After helping various chains increase their membership numbers and rise to the top, Necerato decided to continue studying marketing and start his own business to help podiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, and now integrative physicians reach their marketing goals.

Perhaps you have a beautiful website with a high ranking on Google, but if it’s not bringing you new patients, it’s missing the mark. GetWellnessPatients.com uses lead generation tools to turn your traffic into actual leads. Not only do they capture the leads but through e-mail blasts they do the follow-ups for you too.

GetWellnessPatients.com has three different packages for you to choose from; Standard, Ultimate, and Premium. With the Standard package GetWellnessPatients.com will do your website and all your e-mail marketing for you. They’ll follow-up with leads, do your newsletter, and reactivation system, it’s a great place to start. The Ultimate package does all of that, but also includes extensive market research to get your SEO higher. GetWellnessPatients.com will look at the town you practice in and determine what residents there are searching for. For example are they looking for ‘holistic,’ ‘wellness,’ or ‘integrative?’ Once GetWellnessPatients.com determines the key words people are searching for, they then saturate your website with them. They will also get you higher rankings on about three search engines in addition to Google. With the Premium package you get even more. The market research is more extensive, not only do they study the city your practice is in, but they research the surrounding areas as well. This is a huge perk for integrative practitioners because the services you offer are life-changing and people are willing to travel great distances to receive these therapies. With the Premium package you will also be placed on about ten additional search engines, which will really get your rankings higher. Learn all about GetWellnessPatients.com by watching their 90 second demo video on the website at www.getwellnesspatients.com.

One New Jersey doctor began using GetWellnessPatients.com and without putting any work in himself immediately started receiving around two new patients a week. Another practitioner received 15 new leads in his first week of using the system, which turned into 10 new appointments, additionally earning him an extra $7000 in revenue. You may view all the testimonials at www.getwellnesspatients.com.

No matter what your specialty is GetWellnessPatients.com will help you customize a marketing system that will work for you. Call John Marrone with GetWellnessPatients.com at 1-888-857-2621 (ext. 1) and tell him you heard about the system from ACAM and receive 10% off your activation! John is familiar with ACAM physicians and is more than happy to personally consult you for all of your in house marketing.

Tags:  integrative medicine  practice marketing 

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Market Your Practice with Facebook

Posted By Michelle Schiavo, Thursday, August 11, 2011
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Social Media is a great tool for health care providers to reach out to their patients and the public beyond their practices. Leading the way in Social Media is Facebook with over 750 million active users.

While some physicians and health care practitioners may be wary of creating a Facebook presence, it’s really a great way to disseminate information, connect with patients, and even grow your practice. Should Your Doctor Be On Facebook? is an article written by an NYC doctor about Facebook etiquette for physicians and is a great reference for practitioners new to Social Media.

Your Facebook page should represent your brand and the best way to do this is with a "Fan Page”. You may have heard of Facebook "Groups”, but they are a bit limited in terms of security and messaging capabilities and you’ll find a fan page to be more beneficial for marketing purposes. When visitors become fans of your page it displays on their "Wall” informing their "Friends” who may then also become a fan of your page. Additionally, fan pages are indexed by external search engines such as Google, whereas group pages are not.

ACAM member, Shira Miller, MD, has done exemplary work with her Facebook page. Shortly after its creation, her page boasted over 5,000 fans. How did she do it? By creating a unique page, communicating with her fans, and sharing her expertise on a consistent basis. Dr. Miller’s practice focuses on menopause and andropause, so that is the information she shares on her page. By providing a certain niche, in Dr. Miller’s case female and male hormone information, she’s setting herself apart and attracting a segment of the population that could potentially come into her practice and become new patients. Visit Dr. Miller’s Facebook fan page here.

There are over 900 million objects (pages, groups, events, and community pages) that people interact with on Facebook. The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events. With so many brands and companies represented on Facebook, how do you make yourself stand out? You’ll notice on some pages, for example on Dr. Miller’s page, there are unique elements that are not found on other Facebook pages. When you arrive at Dr. Miller’s page, you don’t see the standard Facebook wall showing updates and conversations, you see a large picture of Dr. Miller, a description of who she is and what she does, and a request to "like” her page. In order to gain access to her page, visitors must click the like button and become fans. This fan-gating feature is called a "Landing Page” and is a great way to increase your fan count.

You can create a landing page as well as many other unique touches with the use of apps. ACAM’s Facebook page is a prime example of a page that’s utilized apps to add more creativity and functionality to a page. Through custom apps, fans of ACAM may connect to ACAM doctors on Facebook, the ACAM website, ACAM Integrative Medicine Blog, and more all right from our Facebook page. Visit our page here and see the different elements we’ve added that you too can add to your page.

There are apps already built into Facebook that you can access at no charge. Or for a fee you can partner with a company that has designed customized apps for Facebook in user-friendly formats. Most of these companies have various price plans depending on the number of fans a page has.

Companies to consider:

NorthSocial
SocialAppsHQ

Questions? Or looking for a little assistance with your page? ACAM’s Marketing Team is happy to help! Please contact Michelle Schiavo - Social Impact Coordinator for ACAM at: michelle.schiavo@acam.org.

Tags:  practice marketing 

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Enhance Your Practice with E-billing

Posted By Michelle Schiavo, Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
As technology continues to advance the healthcare industry, physicians are discovering the benefits of electronic billing. Reduce your staff's billing administration time and consider switching to electronic billing. Kareo, an Irvine CA based company can help.
What is Kareo?

Kareo is a web-based medical billing and practice management software program. CEO, Dan Rodrigues founded the company in 2004 and had two goals: to create a software that is affordable and easy to use.

In the past, software companies sold a ‘client-server model’ where a physician would have to buy hardware, plus the server, have a representative come to the office for a demo, and come back again to install and train. This process was very time and cost-intensive. At the time, this process was acceptable, because most people were not highly educated consumers in terms of purchasing technology, including physicians.

Then came the release of the iPhone and people started to really understand what a consumer-oriented engagement is with technology. Many doctors got the iPhone and started developing a taste for what technology should be like. This is when Kareo came into the picture and decided to mimic this new experience.

What makes Kareo different?

When you visit the Kareo website, 90 to 95 percent of what a consumer wants to understand and needs to know is right there and easily accessible. The buying experience is done online, sign-up takes about 30 to 45 seconds, you receive your log in information and you’re ready to go.

Additionally, Kareo’s software is delivered in the ‘cloud’ versus on a web server, which means physicians can use their existing software, get into a browser, download the app, and they’re in. No matter where physicians are, they can access data from Kareo.

Kareo’s website also offers thought leadership content. They’ve partnered with experts that write content specifically for Kareo regarding not only medical billing, but other issues physicians are concerned about such as HIIPA, meaningful use and other items of interest that have come out of health care reform and stimulus. This content goes on the Kareo blog and they also incorporate that information into their thinking about product perspective, delivery, and sales experience.

How can Kareo help integrative physicians?

Kareo makes it simple for doctors to get paid. Whether it’s billing patients and being able to accept payments via credit card online or filing insurance claims, Kareo’s goal is to get the doctor maximum reimbursement in the quickest possible amount of time.

Kareo’s software allows physicians to keep track of finances, look at and analyze their client base and schedule appointments. From Kareo’s Dashboard, which users see when they log in, there are short-cuts that link to key functions, a list of tasks that need to be completed and a snapshot of financial metrics. Part of the financial metrics is the Payment Velocity feature. This number is featured in a large orange display and tells the number of days on average it’s taking the practitioner to receive payment from the time of service to the time payment has been posted.

Many practitioners use programs where only 60 to 70 percent of the features apply to them and the remaining 30 to 40 percent is almost always work-arounds. Kareo specializes their software specifically for physical therapists, chiropractors, dermatologists, etc. They understand that there are nuances in certain practices regarding the way they have to bill and how they have to document and one standard program will not work for every practice.

What’s next for Kareo?

They’ve made it easy for doctors to get paid, now they’re finding ways for physicians to connect with their patients beyond the office. Since data is stored in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, there are an endless amount of possibilities for physician-patient interaction.

Patients could have an app that connects to their medical records (stored in Kareo’s platform in the cloud) and input what they ate that day, then the app will tell them according to their data that they should watch their sugar intake or eat more iron-rich foods, etc. etc.

If a physician finds a fantastic article on diabetes and has a percentage of patients that are diabetic, he or she can send that article to the diabetic patients through an app.

If a patient is running low on a supplement or medication and does not need to see the doctor, an app could alert that patient, ask if he or she would like to order more, provide the ability to pay right there on the app and then the supplement or medication gets delivered to the patient.

Kareo has the ecosystem to be able to do these things and more. Look to Kareo for more innovative ways for physicians to live with their patients outside the office.

Visit www.kareo.com to watch a free demo and to view their various plans and pricing.

Tags:  practice marketing 

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5 Questions to Ask a Potential Practice Website Vendor

Posted By Drew McGray, Monday, August 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

As healthcare continues to be transformed by technology; refreshing or completely re-architecting your practice's website might be on your radar. Unless you have an in-house marketing team, you will probably be outsourcing your website design and production to a third party. How do you know who is going to deliver the most return on your investment? Here are five question to ask any potential vendor.

1.) Have you done this before?A provider that has experience in producing web properties for small business is probably a good fit. However, you want to be sure you are not their "guinea pig" and that they have experience in crafting websites that mesh well with your practice.

2.) What tools will be included for my patients? You want your website to be able to meet several objectives in order to make it relevant to your patient base. These objectives are:

  • Communicate information about your services offered and who you are.
  • Secure your practice's contact information, generate driving directions and provide hours of operation.
  • Allow people to contact your front office easily via web form.

Optionally you can give patients the ability to:

  • Book appointments online
  • Confirm appointments online
  • Cancel appointments online
  • Order supplements from your website

There are numerous companies that provide these optional tools that will transform your website from an information-only page to an interactive website.

3.) I have a change. How do I go about making edits? You don't want to have to call your web designer to make edits to your site and you want the ability to update information instantly. For this reason, its important you select a provider who can implement a Content Management System as opposed to simply building you practice a website. A CMS allows you to edit various parts of your website without having to know any code or programming language. It's basically as simple as editing a Word document and pushing "publish." In the case of CMS, simple is best. Ask your perspective web designer to demo a few systems for you.

4.) Can you work with my budget? A lot pricing in the website production industry is arbitrary. I recommend you be upfront with your website budget and have the provider quote products and services in that budget. Reject any supplementary marketing services they may offer (SEO / SEM) and focus on building a great web property.

5.) What sort of user engagement can I expect from the site?If your potential provider even flinches at this question, drop them. A good website developer knows that the focus of any website is on the visitor. They should answer this question with lots of good information related to engagement, conversion and functionality. If they do, they are probably worthy of further consideration.

Providers to consider:

Questions? Want us to help you? Our member-services team will be glad to provide you with a referral or review a proposal. Send to membership@acam.org

Tags:  member benefit  practice marketing 

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