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August 15, 2019

The Top Questions from the “Ask an Expert” Live Webinar

By: Kayla Zamary

In our webinar Wednesday, we brought together several experts to take on people’s questions about reputation management and listings management. Our panel of experts included: Reed Smith, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock John Musser, Sport Clips Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain Krystal Taing, Rio SEO You can still catch the entire presentation here, but we’ve compiled…

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ask an expert
In our webinar Wednesday, we brought together several experts to take on people’s questions about reputation management and listings management.
Our panel of experts included:
  • Reed Smith, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock
  • John Musser, Sport Clips
  • Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain
  • Krystal Taing, Rio SEO

You can still catch the entire presentation here, but we’ve compiled some of the best questions that were asked yesterday here for your viewing pleasure:

What is the most important aspect of SEO when it comes to ranking higher in Google?

Krystal Taing: Make sure you’ve got all your NAP (Name/Address/Phone Number) correct on your website and your listings. I also think anything that’s going to increase engagement and, in particular, anything related to responding to reviews. So make sure you’re managing your reviews on Google or other sites that are relevant for your industry, and then publishing those first-party reviews on your site and your local landing pages is going to be critical.

How do I combat a negative reputation online?

Aaron Clifford: The best way I think to handle a negative reputation is just to respond to the reviews and try to get those offline. Address concerns for sure that are mentioned in the review, but always respond to reviews whether that’s on Google My Business or other sites, you know, it’s important to respond to reviews. Yelp is against solicitation, and asking for a review is against their guidelines. So really just respond to those reviews and do the best you can to complete service recovery. We’ve seen opportunities to do service recovery where the reviewer would go back and update their review and let others know that, “Hey, they’ve reached out to me and we had a positive experience from there.” It just helps build goodwill when you show that you genuinely appreciate the feedback from your customers and you’re showing that you are an engaged business.

What are the top three directories to use for contractors and service area businesses?

Krystal Taing: I would say probably one of the most underutilized service area business sites is likely going to be Manta for small businesses. There’s also Thumbtack which is a new, trendy site for these types of contractors. I know it’s the opposite of free, but something that I think is growing in a lot of industries is Google Local Service ads. Those are going to be a huge opportunity. They’re expanding to more markets, so if they’re available for your industry, I would highly suggest looking into those.

At what point does it become “big corporate” stepping in too far (and, lose some level of authentic response) when managing reviews at the corporate level?

John Musser: So anything that’s coming from the local side of reviews is actually managed by our local franchisees and their team, and any reviews that kind of happen with us corporately, because we do have a few company-owned stores,  get handled internally within our own teams. Automated platforms help us template responses with some examples, but then the responder also has the ability to add in their own voice and make any updates in that kind of way. I think what SportClips, in particular, has done really well and any organization needs to do in order to be successful, is really invest in training–training on the importance of responding to reviews, like what type of language to use. I think what we run into oftentimes is that for these franchises, this is their livelihood, so when they’re responding to reviews they may take it too personally. I think before you give them the reins, make sure you’ve invested in training and give them guidelines so that they feel like they’re supported by corporate, but it is coming from their voice.

What are some strategies brands can use to encourage their customers to share their positive experiences online?

Reed Smith: I understand that Yelp prohibits soliciting reviews where others allow it like Google and Facebook–but I think we really touched on something with regards to the registration and capturing and getting consent to communicate with the patients. It’s important to have that because that allows you to do further email marketing and also potentially even texting patients and asking them to leave a review or share their experience. So it’s a very important aspect of the operations and sometimes we just think of these things as a marketing initiative, but this actually impacts operations and you have to make sure that your dotting all your I’s and crossing all your T’s as it relates to obtaining that data, getting consent from the patient and working with your colleagues in the service line.

John Musser: A technique that we use is really going after your best, loyal clients that come in, invite them to leave a review on Google or Facebook or complete a survey. Just kind of spreading the word and we change things around, because it has to be done organically and authentically, and we can’t force them to leave the reviews. So it’s a timing thing,  being patient with it and then over a period of time, it’s going to start to turn around.

What do you think should be top of mind as an opportunity in healthcare marketing?

Reed Smith: You know, in most cases, we’re competing in a local or regional market. There are very few specialty hospitals out there that are getting “destination medicine” where people are flying from all over the country or world. So, in most cases, you’re competing locally and people in your area are looking online for those resources. There are people asking questions through private messages on Facebook or Instagram or whatever it may be, but you should have a Community Management piece and work within your local community to be a resource.

To get more insights from our panel of experts, watch the full presentation here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 14, 2019

Ask an Expert: What PHI Concerns Exist in Healthcare Reputation Management?

By: Alex Hay

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about healthcare reputation management. In this post, Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security, tackles questions related to PHI Concerns in healthcare reputation management. What constitutes PHI? PHI stands for Protected Health Information. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability…

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healthcare phi

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about healthcare reputation management.

In this post, Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security, tackles questions related to PHI Concerns in healthcare reputation management.

What constitutes PHI?

PHI stands for Protected Health Information. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law, in large part designed to protect an individual’s health information while still allowing the necessary transparency for optimal care.

PHI comprises of two primary data elements, the first of which is a personal identifier. This personal identifier may be a name, social security number, address, phone number, or anything else that falls into one of the 18 identifiers under HIPAA regulations. The other piece of data that makes up PHI can be one of three things: payment (i.e. billing information), treatment (actions performed by medical providers), or operations (what allows a provider to provide services, like marketing or legal actions).

At Binary Fountain, we primarily deal with the treatment component (as well as a personal identifier) of PHI when monitoring a provider’s online presence. If a patient entrusts this type of information to a healthcare provider or third party, it is considered PHI. However, if the patient provides the information via a social media post or review, there is no expectation of privacy, and therefore this does not constitute PHI.

What determines whether PHI should be edited vs removed outright?

To comply with HIPAA regulations, a provider might be legally obligated to edit or remove PHI that is posted publicly. But PHI is not the only type of information a provider might want removed from public view for the sake of their online reputation management. Comments containing profanity or a strong tone might be filtered out, as well as comments regarding legal actions. 

How much of the responsibility to remove PHI rests on the provider vs the platform it is posted to?

This depends on which entity provided which services that led to the publication of PHI on the platform. A healthcare provider is legally considered a covered entity, while a service provider like Binary Fountain is a business associate. In some cases, the onus might be solely on the covered entity or the associate to remove the information, or it might rest on both entities depending on the services provided. For example, if a business associate distributes and receives survey information on behalf of a healthcare provider, it may be up to said associate to scrub any PHI that gets leaked to the public.

How should providers go about removing PHI?

If a healthcare provider does not have the in-house resources to monitor and act upon PHI, it is beneficial to hire a service provider that can handle the removal of PHI and other aspects of healthcare reputation management. A provider like Binary Fountain uses both automated and manual processes and filters to ensure that processed information is thoroughly scrubbed of PHI, profanity, tone, etc.

Who within an organization has the responsibility to identify PHI and do something about it?

Most healthcare institutions delegate the responsibility to identify PHI to a security and privacy officer. Ideally, two individuals would fulfill each role, though they may be fulfilled by one person in smaller healthcare centers with fewer resources.

What are the consequences of not handling PHI issues correctly?

There are a number of consequences, both legal and reputation-related, that can result from mishandling PHI. The individual who had his or her PHI leaked must be notified of the breach as soon as possible. For mass breaches, government entities like Health and Human Services (HHS) may have to get involved. The HHS website lists the current ongoing PHI breaches (there are approximately 2,000 open reported cases for public viewing at the moment).

Any covered entity or business associate who ends up on this list may see additional adverse effects on their business and reputation. Patients and physicians may lose trust in a healthcare provider that allowed PHI to enter the public, while providers may not want to associate with a business that leaked PHI or other damaging information. An all-encompassing reputation management strategy is crucial for not only preventing a PHI breach in the first place, but also crafting a proper response to any mistakes on behalf of a healthcare provider.

What are some basic best practices for responding to reviews with PHI?

Patients should be very careful with their PHI and never disclose it publicly or to an entity that lacks the expectation of privacy. However, phishing schemes, nonchalant attitude, and/or outright ignorance leads many people to reveal their PHI openly. This information may end up on a website or social media profile attached to a healthcare provider in the form of a review or comment.

If this occurs, the covered entity or business associate tasked with responding to reviews should seek legal counsel to determine whether or not the comment and their reply constitute as PHI or public information. When responding to a patient review or inquiry via a private channel, the entity must ensure that the proper online safeguards are in place, such as encryption. The more precautions in place, the better, both in terms of legal compliance and reputation management.

 

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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August 13, 2019

How to Use Customer Reviews in Your Marketing

By: Alex Hay

As consumers, we base many of our decisions and opinions on the behaviors of others around us. If people are lining up at a coffee shop or retail store, we might feel more inclined to join the crowd in fear of missing out on something.  This phenomenon is known as social proof, and it can…

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customer reviewAs consumers, we base many of our decisions and opinions on the behaviors of others around us. If people are lining up at a coffee shop or retail store, we might feel more inclined to join the crowd in fear of missing out on something. 

This phenomenon is known as social proof, and it can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. 

Social proof can come in many forms. Sometimes we rely on crowds to inform our purchasing decisions, as in the example given above. On other occasions, consumers go with what an expert or other authoritative figure has to say about a business. But these days, the most common and powerful type of social proof revolves around online user reviews and ratings. 

Consumers now have Google and other healthcare review sites at their fingertips, and they want to know what real customers like them think about their product or services before deciding to take the next step. In fact, 85% of consumers will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 BrightLocal consumer survey.

With all of this access to customer sentiment, it should come as no surprise that prospective customers expect more from businesses than ever before. 

Customer reviews and ratings help online users quickly determine how well a business stacks up in these and other areas. And when a user conducts a search including the words “best” or “top,” Google only shows businesses with a 4.0 star rating or above. 

So, as a marketer, focusing on social proof and reputation management is vital for attracting new customers.

How to Incorporate Social Proof

Above all else, your business must earn its social proof by providing a great patient experience. But the true power of social proof comes from spreading the message of your strong reputation so others can see it. 

Here are three ways to incorporate social proof in your online brand promotion efforts.

  1. Maintaining Your Google My Business (GMB) Listings

Keeping your Google My Business listings up to date for every location your manage is essential for acquiring new leads and maintaining consumer trust. If even one element of a GMB listing is inaccurate, broken, or outdated, you may lose a potential customer and damage your reputation by providing incorrect information. Make sure your name, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) for each location are accurate, and that all links to your website, social media pages, landing pages, etc. work properly.

To learn more about developing a local listing management strategy, click here.

  1. Get More Reviews and Respond to Each One

Your online reviews will often serve as the initial gateway for a potential new patient. The more positive online reviews you have, the stronger your business’ social proof. 

Not every review is bound to be completely positive, though. Still, the more reviews your business acquires, the better, as Google and other review sites will rank your business higher in search results for having more customer engagement.

And as it turns out, even negative reviews can enhance your social standing if you manage and respond to them properly. After all, online users do not only read patient reviews but also your responses. 

If your response seems genuine, helpful, and self-aware, many users will think more highly of your business. So, while your aim should be to increase positive online reviews, increasing your number of reviews overall can enhance your social proof.

  1. Incorporate Star Ratings into Your Web Pages

Reviews and rankings are helpful in establishing social proof in their own right. But the quality of these reviews matters, too. As mentioned earlier, consumers will often rely on authoritative voices when making a decision. 

With Binary Fountain’s Star Ratings feature, you can publish trusted and verified ratings and reviews from surveys to your web pages. These Star Ratings can help boost your website’s Google rankings and increase customer engagement and acquisition.

Use a Reputation Management Solution to Make it Easy

When it comes down to it, your brand’s online reputation is now its strongest form of social proof. Utilizing a reputation management solution like Binary Fountain allows you to manage all aspects of your online presence from a single dashboard, including your GMB listings, reviews and responses, Star Ratings and Surveys, and more.

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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August 08, 2019

Onboarding Physicians to Reputation Management

By: Kayla Zamary

Reputation management is becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers – in fact, 70% of healthcare consumers say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician. People at every level of the organization, from the front desk to the medical staff to executives in the C-suite, are learning that a commitment…

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onboarding physiciansReputation management is becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers – in fact, 70% of healthcare consumers say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician.

People at every level of the organization, from the front desk to the medical staff to executives in the C-suite, are learning that a commitment to excellence in patient experience, as reflected in positive reviews, is the key.

At Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in Spartanburg, South Carolina, instruction in reputation management policies and practice is so important that onboarding physicians is part of day one training. Recently, we discussed this with Mary Reid, RN, senior physician development consultant with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

What are the basics of the Reputation Management training process for new physicians?

It starts on the physician’s first day working here, alongside other typical first day presentations:  welcome, payroll, email, operating policies and so on. Our marketing VP reviews the patient experience and presents on the service recovery process. The physicians receive and review the hospital’s complaints and grievances policies and procedures. We introduce Binary Fountain and how it works for Spartanburg; for example, how we ask every patient to complete a post-appointment survey.

Does the presentation go into detail about how negative reviews are handled?

Yes, we describe how practice managers review surveys, and pass on negative reviews to the marketing department, and that the physician will have a chance to work with any complaining patient. We hammer home to the physicians how important it is that our patients have good experiences.

This isn’t meant to scare them; we explain that survey information empowers the physician to turn negative experiences into more positive ones. Unresolved negative reviews are handled promptly as grievances. The physician would quickly learn about any related to them from management, and receive guidance on how to work with the patient to turn the experience around.

Do they learn what to do if they encounter a negative review on a third-party site like Healthgrades or ZocDoc, or on social media?

We instruct all physicians and other practice staffers to alert the marketing department if they see a negative review on social media, rather than have the doctor respond directly on social media.

What is the typical physician response to the reputation management training?

Most everyone responds positively – they arrive here understanding how important this is. Many of our physicians come directly from residency, and this is not their first time hearing about reputation management.

Does their age make them more comfortable with the technology and the online experience?

Yes, our younger physicians are definitely comfortable with it! They probably have written reviews of their own as customers.

Is there follow up with the physician?

Yes, we visit each of our practices monthly, and we take time to talk with physicians about reputation management. That’s a time to celebrate good reviews and improved results together.

Want to learn more about how providers and physicians can improve the overall patient care experience? Download our latest whitepaper “Improving the Patient Experience: A 360-Degree Review of All Patient Touchpoints” here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 07, 2019

Ask an Expert: What to Look for In Social Media Management Tools

By: Kayla Zamary

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about online reputation management. In this post, Jeremy Lowry, Product Manager at Binary Fountain, tackles questions related to getting started with social media management tools at the enterprise level. What is social listening, and what does it accomplish for a brand? Social…

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social media management toolsIn this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about online reputation management.

In this post, Jeremy Lowry, Product Manager at Binary Fountain, tackles questions related to getting started with social media management tools at the enterprise level.

What is social listening, and what does it accomplish for a brand?

Social listening refers to a brand’s ability to monitor and manage their online social presence using tools that track relevant keywords across different sites and platforms. You want to know what people are saying about your brand on both the macro and micro levels. 

Social listening allows you to track just about everything being said about you, from positive online reviews on Facebook to complaints on Twitter, comments on Reddit, etc. 

Having all of this knowledge on a single dashboard allows you to organize a social media management plan, responding to all feedback in a quick and effective way.

How can you ensure targeting in your keyword tracking?

The best social listening algorithms allow for advanced targeting that goes beyond just the brand name. 

For example, if you want to focus on a specific location or region, you can input regional tags so if a customer mentions that area alongside your company name you will receive a notification. Or, if you share a name with a company in another industry, you may include keywords specific to your business operations (i.e. “healthcare” or “health”) to minimize confusion and narrow your scope of relevant information.

What’s an example of how you would segment keyword tracking into streams or topics for reporting purposes?

If you want to focus your social listening on a specific aspect of your brand, such as a certain product, feature, or service you offer, you can also segment keyword tracking into streams or topics for deep analytics and reporting purposes. 

For instance, a healthcare provider might want deeper insights into their patient accommodations in waiting rooms. 

With proper keyword configuration, you can find information regarding this part of your business and run a sentiment analysis to measure patient satisfaction in this context. 

What is social publishing and what features should you look for in a social media management tool as an enterprise brand?

Social publishing is a way of unifying your brand’s messaging across all social platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Rather than publishing completely disparate posts on these various platforms at different times, social publishing allows you to streamline your publishing process. 

In other words, you can create a single post and schedule it for distribution across multiple social media sites. Certain restrictions can be set in place, too, so posts only go public after being reviewed, approved, and scheduled by a supervisor. 

These additional controls within social media management tools are especially important for enterprise brands who must manage multiple locations and their local public outreach.

What does an average workflow look like?

An example of this streamlined workflow might look something like this: A post is created and saved as a draft within the social publishing dashboard. 

Then, another employee who is tasked with reviewing and approving the post receives a notification and takes a look. They can either reject the post and send it back to the original writer or editor, or approve it for the proper social channels and schedule it. 

And finally, someone else might get notified and double-check the scheduling to ensure that the post goes out on the right date and time.

How can you use a tool like this to see and respond to reviews?

Social publishing is an essential tool for brand promotion, but it can also be useful for replying to reviews and comments. 

Your social publishing dashboard will notify you when a user has responded to one of your posts across platforms. You can then respond in a number of ways, either within the dashboard or via the social media platform itself. 

Either way, this tool provides you with the initial heads up.

What need is Binary Fountain’s Social Solutions suite filling in the marketplace?

Binary Fountain’s Social Solutions brings all elements of social media management and brand reputation management together in one simple and powerful dashboard. 

The Social Solutions Suite provides a straightforward approach to both social listening and social publishing and integrates them for maximum efficiency.

What are some best practices for social media management using these tools?

Scheduling social media posts is an important way to ensure consistency and organization for your online presence, and lets engaged users know when to expect a new post. If there are several people in your organization, limit social publishing access to a handful of employees to prevent mistakes and maintain consistency. 

As for social listening, always track your brand name as well as specific locations and relevant keywords so you have a full, broad scope of what people are saying about your company online.

For more about social media management tools, download Binary Fountain’s Complete Guide to Social Listening and Publishing for Enterprise Brands.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 06, 2019

4 Social Media Marketing Tips for Dermatologists

By: Alex Hay

If you are like many medical practices, you know you should be leveraging social media to market your dermatology practice – but you aren’t sure how. If done properly, social media provides a great opportunity for dermatologists to explore growth opportunities as well as build a relationship with their community. Unlike your personal social media…

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social media marketing for dermatologistsIf you are like many medical practices, you know you should be leveraging social media to market your dermatology practice – but you aren’t sure how.

If done properly, social media provides a great opportunity for dermatologists to explore growth opportunities as well as build a relationship with their community. Unlike your personal social media account, you should be more interested in getting people to your website or making an appointment than in how many people like your posts.

It’s also an opportunity for you to tell meaningful stories about patient successes (with their permission of course) and a way to educate perspective clients.

Here are 4 tips to keep in mind for social media marketing for dermatologists that will help you attract new patients and retain the ones you currently have.

1. Empower through Authoritative Education

Have you seen dishonest or misleading medical analysis online, like someone on Facebook claiming, “I never go outside, I can’t get skin cancer”? We obviously know that isn’t true, but there is a lot of misinformation online, especially what is being shared on social media.

While it’s easy to fall into these traps, medical providers have a responsibility to provide accurate medical information when they can to ensure myths and misconceptions about a person’s healthcare needs do not become commonly accepted knowledge.

In fact, Google came out recently and said only healthcare providers and healthcare providers as editors should be writing medical content and are actively punishing wellness websites that do not uphold those standards.

Social media should be a platform to promote factual medical content and help dispel myths people may hear.

A way to do that is to create a series of short, informative blogs or quickly posting some videos you or another provider created answering the most commonly asked questions about dermatology.

Make sure to also upload these to YouTube to generate more views.

2. Leverage User Generated Content

One great way to use social media is to connect with your patients on an emotional level. Storytelling goes a long way to influencing people to choose your practice over another.

This means looking at getting some user generated content (UGC) or telling the success stories of your patients in broad terms so as to not violate HIPAA and other privacy laws.

Simply put, UGC is content that is created and shared by users including

  • Comments
  • Posts to social media accounts
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Patient reviews

The easiest way to find UGC is to monitor for when people post about your practice or about what they are going through. This sometimes means finding patients who are posting online and sharing their success stories and asking for permission to retweet, regram or share their story. When you find quality content, consider sharing it on your accounts.

Additionally, it can be extraordinarily beneficial to encourage patients to create and share content. There are a number of ways to do this, including a submission contest asking your patients to tell their story through an image or video.

Note: When sharing content from a user, you must attribute the post to them and in many cases, it is a good idea to reach out and ask for permission to use any material.

It should go without saying, but it’s important to respect the privacy of the patient. Failing to do this could result in legal action against your practice, so make sure you are taking the time to protect yourself and your patients’ privacy.

User-generated content is powerful social proof that can greatly influence a healthcare consumer’s choice in provider. When you are looking for UGC, look for testimonials that feel real, are both educational and emotional and that make the user (not your practice) the hero of the story.

3. Boosting and Paid Advertisement

One of the biggest benefits of using social media marketing is finding opportunities to reach new audiences. While you are most likely familiar with the personal versions of these marketing platforms, if you aren’t exploring the paid side of social media you are missing a major opportunity to reach an even larger audience.

While many practice managers and medical practitioners aren’t willing to sink more costs into marketing, paid ads on Facebook and Instagram (the go-to social media platform for dermatologists) can help you boost your posts to new audience that otherwise wouldn’t see your advertisement and can be a low-cost tool for retargeting efforts for people who saw your practice online, but did not book an appointment. Ads can also be targeted to specific locations or demographics, so you can make sure your ads are getting in front of the most relevant audiences

To get started, check out Facebook’s guides for how to set up a campaign on Facebook and on Instagram.

4. Listen to What Patients are Saying

The most important things to pay attention to on your Facebook page are the comments and reviews that people are leaving. Are they overwhelmingly positive? Are there themes you can see that may be more than little problems?

Having a feedback loop is critical for any businesses’ success, and healthcare practices are no different. Listening to what your patients are saying and making changes to improve the patient experience builds patient loyalty and leads to more good reviews. Those positive reviews, in turn, bring in more patients.

By implementing a complete feedback loop, you are setting yourself up to find out what patients really want and increase patient retention.

Be careful about how you respond to negative reviews and don’t forget to respond to positive ones by thanking them for taking the time to share their experience.

 

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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July 31, 2019

Why Small Data is Beating Big Data for Understanding Consumer Preferences

By: Alex Hay

Can your business ever have too much data? The simple answer is, of course, no. The more data you have regarding your customers, their preferences, and wider industry trends, the better informed your decision-making will be. Big data has proven its worth in its sheer volume of information, especially when it comes to analyzing past…

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healthcare data analyticsCan your business ever have too much data? The simple answer is, of course, no.

The more data you have regarding your customers, their preferences, and wider industry trends, the better informed your decision-making will be. Big data has proven its worth in its sheer volume of information, especially when it comes to analyzing past trends.

We can thank the internet for this recent ability to collect such massive amounts of data. In fact, there are approximately 7 billion devices currently connected to the internet, meaning big data will only get bigger.

However, big data has its limits; or, perhaps more accurately, human beings have limits that bar us from using or analyzing much of the data we collect. While you can still gain insights from big data to improve the customer experience and increase revenue by carefully extracting smaller sets of information, less than 0.5% of big data is ever fully utilized. So, while there may be no such thing as too much information, you may want to focus less on big data and more on small data in order to understand consumer preferences and determine your optimal trajectory.

The Relationship Between Data and Reputation

In an era where most consumers look up reviews online before making a decision, your brand’s online reputation is more important than ever. And the only way to truly boost your reputation is by taking your ratings and reviews into account and acting upon them accordingly. However, a blanket number or aggregate star rating will not help you make meaningful changes, just merely indicate on average what people think of your business.

Individual customer reviews, on the other hand, will give you more nuanced data on what you are doing well and what can be improved. In this way, big and small data work together, the former providing the important, micro-level details and the latter offering a broad view of your brand’s standing. The magic happens precisely at this intersection of big and small healthcare data analytics.

Small Data in Action

To get a better idea of what small data is and how it can be used effectively, a real-world example might be useful. In an article for Forbes, Roger Dooley writes about Martin Lindstrom, author of Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends. In the piece, “Small Data: The Next Big Thing,” Dooley outlines some of the significant moments in Lindstrom’s career that led him to realize why collecting small data is just as useful, if not more than, gathering big data.

One of the most potent examples of this occurred when Lindstrom visited the home of an 11-year-old boy, only to realize that the boy cared more about his worn down skate shoes than any other object or toy in his room because it proved his skill. This revelation helped Lindstrom rebrand Lego after it was seeing a major decline in sales, getting the company back on track and even expanding it. 

Dooley argues that “Small Data puts humanity back into marketing.” Indeed, from this example involving Lindstrom and the boy, a small piece of information that could never be extracted from a big data set turned out to be the most valuable catalyst for positive change within the company. While not all small data samples are as influential or meaningful as this one, small data as a whole can give you a deeper glimpse into the wants, needs, and behaviors of your customers and patients.

Small Data, Big Impact

As a healthcare marketer, you care about how and why small data works in the realm of healthcare analytics and improving patient experience. While Dooley’s example regarding Lindstrom might specifically involve a toy manufacturer, the lesson applies to all industries, including healthcare. Your star ratings and large data sets involving customer sentiment can give you a broader idea of how well you are doing, but these ratings derive from individual feedback. It is this feedback that gives you the ground-level information necessary to make operational changes and improve the patient experience.

Of course, whether or not you can make these changes depends upon how attuned you are to these reviews. If you are not aware of the reviews you receive, or you have no way of organizing, managing, and responding to them, these bits of small data become useless. You need proper customer engagement strategies and online review management solutions to read and reply to all feedback so you are aware of the small but significant details, like Lindstrom’s experience with the boy and his skate shoes.

Taking the Next Small Steps:

If you want to improve your healthcare facility, you need to know more about your customers and their preferences. In order to do this, you need small data just as much as big data. One way to start collecting smaller data sets is by investing in online reputation management services. These services can help you locate and organize all customer feedback in a centralized location, where you can respond and gather deep data analytics along the way. 

Understanding your customers requires both a wide and narrow approach. Big data might be all the rage, but do not take small data for granted.

 

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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July 30, 2019

How to Handle PHI from Online Reviews and Surveys

By: Alex Hay

There’s no question that online patient reviews are growing more important to healthcare organizations and their providers. Why? Because of the new digitally-empowered healthcare consumer rules: 95% of patients today say physician reviews online are reliable and over 70% say reviews have influenced their choice of physician. The sheer number of online comments and reviews…

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PHI from online reviewsThere’s no question that online patient reviews are growing more important to healthcare organizations and their providers. Why? Because of the new digitally-empowered healthcare consumer rules: 95% of patients today say physician reviews online are reliable and over 70% say reviews have influenced their choice of physician.

The sheer number of online comments and reviews on sites like Facebook and Google plus healthcare-specific sites like Healthgrades and RateMDs make it much more likely that protected health information (PHI) will show up online.

It is vital that a healthcare organization establish a process for handling situations where a patient posts an online review or comment related to their physicians or facility – and reveals their PHI. Though it is not illegal for patient to disclose their own PHI, physicians and practices have to be careful.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) imposes stiff financial penalties for privacy breaches and exposures of PHI. The legal tangle that can result is reason enough to be proactive on privacy.

What is Protected Health Information?

Protected health information, or PHI, generally refers to a variety of patient information including medical history, laboratory results, diagnoses and treatments, insurance information and other data needed to identify an individual and provide care.

How is PHI Used?

Protected health information helps medical facilities acquire a patient’s medical history in providing care and treatment decisions. But how to communicate this information is what HIPAA is all about. Generally, it requires healthcare professionals to use care in using, storing or disclosing information the patient does not want to be disclosed. If there is no healthcare need for someone to have that patient information, it must be protected!

Rules and Regulations of Protected Health Information

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, is the primary law that governs the regulations around PHI. The HITECH (Health Information Technology Act for Economic and Clinical Health) act in 2009 also limited the types of PHI medical facilities can collect from patients and sets boundaries on how that information can be used.

For example, organizations cannot sell PHI unless it is for public health activities, research, treatment, services rendered, or the merger or acquisition of a HIPAA-covered entity.

Some things covered in HIPPA:

  • Gives patients the right to examine and obtain a copy of their own health records.
  • Sets boundaries on the use and release of medical records.
  • Creates appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of health information.
  • Allows patients to know how their information is being used and distributed.
  • Establishes civil and criminal penalties for healthcare providers who violate patient privacy rights.

Online Reviews and PHI

Now that you know about PHI, you can see why it’s so important to protect patient information. Unfortunately, that has become harder with the prevalence of online reviews of medical facilities and the need for transparency with patient experience surveys.

Establishing Procedures for Monitoring Reviews with PHI?


The ‘early warning system’ for dealing with PHI is your reputation management policy and the tools you use to maintain it. Make sure you are monitoring online mentions of your facilities and providers for potential trouble: watch for addresses, names, procedures, and other signs of exposed PHI.

When it comes to managing reviews on your facility’s provider pages, Binary Fountain recommends publishing all comments from patient experience surveys, whatever the sentiment. After all, they are already published on the internet if it is on a rating site. This transparency can give patients confidence in the healthcare provider.

Comments should be monitored for PHI (along with profanity and libelous comments), with the identifying content being removed before it’s published, in accordance with the HIPAA privacy rule. This is a best-practice approach that reflects industry standards.

When monitoring third-party online rating and review sites, your editing tools should include templates that help ensure consistency of response, so that the reply is appreciated as genuine, rather than canned or robot-like. You should analyze patient feedback from a multitude of online sources to ensure maximum coverage: social media, review sites, advocacy forums, blogs and others.

Responding to PHI Leaks

In situations where there is potential PHI exposure, it’s essential to adopt and follow a written response procedure that immediately directs Legal, Patient Advocacy and Customer Care staff as appropriate to the individual case.

In coordination with them, your response should come within a couple days – hours, if possible. The longer PHI sits exposed to public view, the more troublesome it is.

Often, a patient may disclose some information and include a complaint about the physician. The physician’s immediate response is to defend themselves online. However, this is almost never the correct course of action.

Instead, apologize that the patient is unhappy and take the conversation offline rather than risking an online back-and-forth that could worsen the situation. Remind the patient that removing PHI is in their best interest – not just yours.

Also, if the PHI is disclosed in a complaint or negative review, the provider appears to the public as neglectful and uncaring. In this case continue to take the conversation offline and help them contact a patient relations staffer.

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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July 25, 2019

The 5 Stages of Online Reputation Management [Infographic]

By: Alex Hay

Today’s leading marketers understand how important online reputation management (ORM) is to their business. Effective ORM strategies are essential to both promoting and protecting your brand online. In our latest infographic, we lay out the roadmap for ORM success for your business and the 5 stages of the process you’ll need to pass through along…

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reputation management infographicToday’s leading marketers understand how important online reputation management (ORM) is to their business. Effective ORM strategies are essential to both promoting and protecting your brand online.

In our latest infographic, we lay out the roadmap for ORM success for your business and the 5 stages of the process you’ll need to pass through along the way.

Some of the key highlights from this free infographic include:

 

  • 67% of Consumers Will Try a Product with a Good Reputation – It becomes clearer year-after-year that online reviews and reputation is key to getting consumers to trust your products and brand. Reviews are highly valuable to your success, as consumers rely on the comments of others to determine whether your brand is genuine and trustworthy.
  • The Average Consumer Will Read 10 Reviews Before Making a Purchasing Decision – One good review for your business isn’t enough–consumers demand to see a burden of proof that your products and services are reliable. They’re often willing to overlook a bad review here and there, but customers want to see general consistency across your brand.
  • 65% Increase in Review Responses Using ORM – By implementing ORM solutions and strategies, one of our clients was able to see reviews as soon as they were posted and could respond to the customer in a much faster turnaround time than when they did not have a strategy in place. Responding to reviews in a helpful and timely manner builds goodwill with customers, as they enjoy being engaged personally and having their concerns addressed in a meaningful way.

Want more insights like these and a complete roadmap to ORM? Download this infographic here.

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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July 24, 2019

How to Approach Patient Experience in Hospice Care

By: Alex Hay

Hospice care and palliative care programs have been some of the fastest-growing services in the healthcare industry within the last decade, with almost three-quarters of U.S. hospitals offering hospice care programs. Caring for patients with advanced illness is a difficult calling, especially for the front-line caregivers who assist patients every day. There are many hurdles…

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hospice patient experienceHospice care and palliative care programs have been some of the fastest-growing services in the healthcare industry within the last decade, with almost three-quarters of U.S. hospitals offering hospice care programs.

Caring for patients with advanced illness is a difficult calling, especially for the front-line caregivers who assist patients every day. There are many hurdles to overcome when running a hospice program, including making sure the patients and their families get exactly what they need and have access to the level of care and comfort they need at any given time.

Ensuring there are enough palliative and hospice care specialists on staff only scratches the surface of what it takes to meet patient experience expectations. Unlike other healthcare fields, there has to be a special consideration for empathy and communication with terminally ill patients. The typical examination, diagnosing and treating processes that physicians are accustomed to will not help your program be successful

When it comes to excellence in hospice patient experience, there are three main things to remember: Coordination, communication and comfort.

Coordination of Care for Hospice Patients

Palliative care specialists are few and far between, and for many programs, having many on retainer simply isn’t an option.

To ensure you are getting the most out of your specialists, make sure they are taking care of the most complicated cases and training the rest of your caregiving staff on how to treat patients the right way. This will free them up to better take care of the patients hurting the most and figure out how to further improve patient care.

Training must go beyond the normal bounds of medical practice, as caregivers need to be able to meet a patient’s social, spiritual and medical needs. While this may seem like a risk or even a huge cost of time and resources, it’s the quickest way to ensure your patients’ needs are being met while ensuring your standards of care are being met.

In hospice and palliative care, many times a patient will have multiple types of specialists (cancer, dietitians and social or spiritual workers) working for the patient. This means it’s essential that everyone is at the same page at any given time.

Having a comprehensive program means you also have good standards in place so every potential situation is planned for ahead of time. Consistency of care is imperative for a successful program.

Improved Communication Helps the Patient Experience

Communication between physicians and caregivers isn’t the only area where relationships have to be strong. In order to improve the patient experience, your program has to be great at communicating with the patient and their families.

At the heart of hospice care is the deep desire to help patients during the most trying times of their lives. That means taking the time and effort to better understand their needs, and deliverer a level of empathy that most areas of healthcare aren’t used to.

Listening to the patient, and their loved ones caring for them, is by far the most important behavior that your team should focus on. While caregivers are great at diagnosing and knowing how to help patients in pain, they don’t always take the time to listen.

Pay Attention to Patient Comfort and Feedback from Loved Ones

Unlike most service lines, hospice care patient satisfaction is measured very differently than most clinical outcomes. When evaluating your program, pay attention to not only the patient, but to family members and loved ones as well.

Here are some key metrics to focus on when evaluating the success of your hospice care program:

  • Feedback from families and loved ones
  • Hospital mortality rates
  • Time from admission to palliative care delivery
  • Variety of services and specialists

When it comes to choosing a hospice care program, families and loved ones look for programs with a reputation for meeting the highest standards of patient-centric care and will ensure a peaceful and dignified passing for the patient. Almost every program has the same services, so you have to set yourself apart by providing the ultimate level of comfort for your patient and their loved ones.

One way to do this is to look at online reviews.

What people say online about your hospice care program can greatly impact which facilities advanced illness patients seek out. Take patient care analytics and family feedback seriously and look for ways to improve your service.

Remember, there is no form of care more personal and meaningful than hospice and palliative care for the patient. Developing a positive reputation is imperative to growing the program.

Having a good reputation online can help you:

  • Improve your local search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Discover areas where you can improve the quality of care
  • Open your services to deliver care to more patients in need

About the Author

Alex Hay
Content Marketing Specialist

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