Rendia’s expert tips to leverage technology in your practice
Technology in health care is evolving, especially in the eye care space. From the rapid uptake of telehealth during the pandemic to an increase in text appointment reminders, practices are using technology in all sorts of ways. As we discussed in our last post, several of the key trends for eye care professionals in 2022 involve technology to attract and engage patients.
You don’t need a complete overhaul to improve your existing efforts. In fact, making small changes in the way you’re using your practice technology can make a big difference. Rendia experts are here to help. Here are a few tips, resources and small steps that can make a big difference in your practice.
1. Set up Google Alerts. Google Alerts are completely free for anyone with a Google account. By following specific topics or keywords, you will receive updates via email when new results associated with these topics appear in Google search.
Pro Tip: Create Google alerts for your name, practice name and even competing local practices to find out what people are saying about you and your competitors online. You can even create alerts around specific phrases, such as “Chicago eye doctor.” Google also provides step-by-step instructions for how to set up these alerts.
Email templates, text reminders and chatbots can be easy ways to streamline and automate your patient communications.
2. Create email templates ahead of time. A whopping 84% of patients surveyed said they would be open to automated communication from their doctors, such as email outreach. You can save a considerable amount of time by having pre-built templates for emails you’re sending multiple times a day.
Pro Tip: Create a few simple email templates, like a welcome message to send to all new patients, an appointment reminder and an appointment follow-up message. If you want to take it a step further, build out templates for specific conditions or treatments that you frequently discuss with patients. Here’s a tutorial on enabling and using templates in Gmail.
3. Offer multiple ways to send messages to patients. Some patients prefer receiving information or reminders by mail, while others prefer phone, email or text. A 2019 survey found that 91% of respondents would prefer to communicate with their doctors via secure text messaging.
Pro Tip: At each appointment, ask patients how they would like to be contacted. Be sure you are verifying and updating patient contact information regularly since email addresses and phone numbers can change frequently.
4. Test out a chatbot. Data shows high patient satisfaction with chatbots–those “Can I help you?” boxes that pop up on websites–as long as the chatbot is perceived as competent. Consider looking into services such as Intercom or Hubspot that make creating and managing these messages easy.
Pro Tip: At Rendia, we’ve found that chatbots work best to encourage user interaction. Consider putting one that says something like “Ready for your free consultation?” on high-intent pages on your website, such as refractive surgery or myopia management. Monitor how and when people are interacting with the chatbot so you can change the language if necessary, or set it for just certain hours.
A mobile-friendly website that includes video content is a smart way to boost SEO and make sure patients can find you on their smartphones.
5. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Recent statistics show that over 56% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices. If your site isn’t easy to navigate on a smartphone, patients might not even find you online. “Mobile-friendliness has become an important factor for determining Google page ranks,” according to experts at Adobe. “A mobile-friendly website can … improve your site’s visibility, cover a wider range of audiences and improve user experience, improve SEO scores, boost conversions” and more.
Pro Tip: Find out if your website is mobile-friendly with this quick test.
6. Try out QR codes. You’ve probably seen these square barcodes you can scan on your phone to link you to a website or form. Medical practices can print them on business cards, product packaging, or marketing materials to link patients to your website, an appointment-scheduling tool, or even directions and parking info for your practice.
Pro Tip: It’s easy to create QR codes with a QR scanner app such as Beaconstac or QR Code Generator, available in free or paid versions for both Android and iPhone users. You can generate new codes that can then be printed or shared electronically. If you already use Square or PayPal, you may be able to generate a QR code through them.
7. Add video to your website. Pages with video content improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), meaning video helps you rank higher in Google search results. This makes it more likely that prospective patients will find your website, and they are more likely to stay on it longer to watch a video.
Pro Tip: If you have pages on your website that are mostly text and images, try adding relevant video content as well. At Rendia, we’ve seen our practices add this video to their refractive surgery pages to show how modern cataract surgery works and help clear up misconceptions.
8. Engage patients in your waiting room. While wait times between appointments may be inevitable, surveys have shown that how long patients wait is not as important to them as the perception of their wait. And 20% of patients said they were proactively seeking health information before their appointment.
Pro Tip: Rendia makes it easy to show engaging content. For step-by-step how-to’s, see our post on using Rendia TV in your waiting room.
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