It’s a fundamental question. What’s a new doctor going to be like face-to-face? Compassionate? Cheerful? Cold and aloof? These are the sorts of things that most medical patients can’t determine when picking a new doctor from a Google search. But all that is about to change. Just as we can go online for reviews of plumbers, B&Bs and restaurants, now we can use the Internet to give us insights into a family physician’s bedside manner.
A company called Screen the Doc has just launched a patient recruitment tool designed to showcase a doctor’s bedside aptitude. The tool is called Virtual Patient Center. Each Virtual Patient Center contains videos, Q&As, blogs, photo galleries and more.
“People want to ‘know’ the personality of their healthcare provider before committing,” explains Stephen Bon, president of Screen the Doc. “What does he or she look like? How does he or she treat the patient? Who is he or she outside of the practice or hospital?”
The Virtual Patient Center provides that window into prospective physicians. The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project indicates that 80 percent of all online searches concern health and provider information. 80 percent! That is huge! Innovative tools like the Virtual Patient Center can help those searching for a new physician to get insight into a doctor’s specialty, personality, outside interests and more.
Even though the days of doctors making house calls are long gone, bedside manner still ranks as one of the top deciding factors in the selection of a physician. Most hospital and private practice websites are sterile affairs. They offer only the bare essentials: the alphabet soup after a doctor’s name, the practice’s address, phone number, e-mail and office hours. By providing more of this sort of human interest information surrounding a physician, the Virtual Patient Center can fill in the blanks that you find in the average physician website. It offers patients a “sneak peek” of how a physician interacts face-to-face with his or her patients.
The expansion of the Internet and growing use of mobile devices are changing the shopping patterns for consumers in every category––healthcare is no exception. Although the healthcare industry has been oddly slow in embracing technology––only fully embraced laptops and tablets in hospitals in the last several of years––many private practices today are trying to play catch up. Ideas like these Virtual Patient Centers are one way that private practices can better market their primary product: the physician.
Using the Internet to effectively market healthcare services is as much an art as it is a science. If your healthcare business is looking for expert help with your digital marketing and lead tracking, give us a toll-free call at 866.642.7559.