5 Essential Steps to Sharing a Practice Consolidation
Practice consolidation is a fact of life for orthopedic specialists. In fact, a recent Becker’s Spine Review column identified practice consolidation as one of the five trends that every orthopedic professional should watch in 2017. Too often, when orthopedic practices add new specialists to their practice, they are so focused on the administrative work required that they fail to manage all the marketing and communications needs that come with practice consolidation. Bringing aboard more specialists requires more than posting an announcement in your local newspaper (although effective local PR is important). Here are five important steps to consider:
Manage Location Pages
Every physician affected by practice consolidation needs to have their data and content changed ASAP. You should plan for this essential step by having a plan of action ready. Your plan of action should include:
- Updating foundational data such as the physician’s name, address, and phone number — the data that patients will need to find every physician. This data might be more difficult to change than you think, especially if the new physicians in your network are keeping different hours at different locations.
- Revising information about insurance coverage. The number one question any patient will have is whether practice consolidation affects their insurance coverage. So get out in front of this question by making it a top priority to revise it.
- Including information about what is happening and why. Make sure that affected physicians position front and center information that explains why they’ve switched practices and why patients benefit. It’s important that visitors to physician pages hear directly from the physician in their own voice! Consider using video as a format to humanize the content.
Unleash Provider Information
Updating physician pages is important, but remember that patients search for physicians all over the digital world, including independent rating and review sites. So make sure that you share a physician’s revised data and content wherever are looking for it. At SIM Partners, we recommend that you ensure that physician data is shared with the principal publishers and aggregators of data that share data with secondary publishers. (We call these aggregators and publishers “data amplifiers.”)
Don’t simply update data and content. Put data and content to work for physicians already under your practice and for those joining it.
Update Your Directory
If your practice is large enough to require a “find-a-doctor” directory, ensure that patients can find the doctors who are now part of your network. After you update the physicians’ location pages, test your directory to make sure that they are appearing in searches in your practice.
Mind Social Spaces
Use social media to raise awareness for the followers of your practice and the physicians affected by the consolidation. In addition to revising all content and data on, say, physicians’ Facebook pages, work with the affected physicians to share the news and engage with their communities.
Make sure your community is aware of a change that has occurred in your practice. Use offline/online advertising and PR to announce a consolidation in all the sources where people in your community read and share the news.
Consolidation is an excellent opportunity for you to raise visibility for your orthopedic practice — the services you provide, your mission, and the depth of your experience and skills. Don’t let this opportunity pass by. Treat the branding elements as seriously as you would the consolidation itself. Doing so will help you improve patient acquisition and retention.