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May 19, 2020

The Impact of Telemedicine on Patient Experience

By: Kieran McQuilkin

As telemedicine takes center stage in the wake of COVID-19, healthcare organizations need to understand and adjust to its impact on patient experience. New questions about the technology’s effects on patient satisfaction are arising as both patients and providers adjust to a new normal, including one key inquiry: How will the rise of telehealth visits impact patient experience for healthcare consumers and caregivers? In short, on-demand, virtual care is a powerful tool for those…

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telemedicine-patient-experienceAs telemedicine takes center stage in the wake of COVID-19, healthcare organizations need to understand and adjust to its impact on patient experience.

New questions about the technology’s effects on patient satisfaction are arising as both patients and providers adjust to a new normal, including one key inquiry:

How will the rise of telehealth visits impact patient experience for healthcare consumers and caregivers?

In short, on-demand, virtual care is a powerful tool for those in charge of improving patient satisfaction. Consumers across specialties are rating telemedicine as equal to or better than in-person consultations.

In this article, you will learn which top factors are influencing the perception of telemedicine, the main patient care experience benefits derived from virtual services, and the impact of telemedicine on care quality.

Convenience and Time Savings from Telemedicine

Convenience, time savings, access to care and financial savings are the most frequently cited reasons for patients’ preference for telemedicine. Highlighting those benefits, and easing concerns about facetime and technological issues, are key to improving patient experience for virtual visits.

Telemedicine allows patients to bypass travel and waiting room experiences — major sources of negative feedback – giving their interactions with providers a higher baseline level of satisfaction. That benefit of convenience is reflected in several studies of telehealth.

2019 study of the telemedicine impact on patient experience found improvements in all the domains recommended by the National Quality Forum: access (time spent in evaluation), experience (patient satisfaction) and effectiveness (case cancellation rate). The telemedicine group spent less time in pre-admission testing (PAT) by an average of 24 minutes and had no cancellations, while several of the in-person visits were cancelled.

Telemedicine shines when it comes to follow-up consultations. In a study by Massachusetts General Hospital, clinicians said telehealth was instrumental in offering convenient and timely follow-up visits. Seventy percent said the technology helped them see patients in a timely manner and 50% said telehealth was efficient.

Due to convenience and time savings, the consumer appreciation for virtual visits is also reflected in a telemedicine study of radiation oncology patients. Most patients preferred virtual visits for future consultations, about one-third desired a mix of telemedicine and in-person visits, and only one patient preferred in-person visits only.

Access to Virtual Care and Financial Savings

Payers and providers are starting to realize how much telemedicine can help control costs, as well.

The lack of access to care negatively affects patient engagement and follow-through, according to research from telehealth provider Teladoc. In many cases, prompt and accessible health services help avoid the need for more complex and expensive treatment.

Patients seeking treatment via telemedicine encounter fewer barriers to prompt care delivery, which in turn leads to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

In the Massachusetts General Hospital study, 79% of patients said it was easier to schedule an appointment for a virtual follow-up visit than for a clinic visit, and 66% said they had strong personal connections to their telemedicine provider. Patients perceived significant added convenience, saved travel time, and expressed willingness to pay co-payments for this visit option.

Particularly in rural areas, the time saved commuting to care centers is highly valuable. According to a Harvard Medical School study, patients spend an average of $43 in lost time for a typical doctor’s appointment – a cost they will appreciate being alleviated by virtual services.

How Telemedicine Impacts Quality of Care

According to Texas State University research, the factors listed most often connecting telehealth to patient satisfaction were improved outcomes (20%), preferred modality (10%), ease of use (9%), low cost (8%), improved communication (8%), and decreased travel time (7%).

And those factors are so far receiving high marks: 95% of patients report being satisfied with their telehealth experience, according to eVisit. A 2019 study concerning PAT echoes that statistic, finding that using telemedicine for PAT had benefits in terms of access, patient experience and effectiveness for both patients and providers.

webinar-covid-19-telemedicineWhen comparing virtual visits and office visits, MGH found that many patients and clinicians reported no difference in “the overall quality of the visit.” It additionally found that:

  • 62% said the quality of care via telehealth was the same as an in-person visit
  • 21% said the quality of care via telehealth was better than an in-person visit
  •  68% rated their visit a nine or a 10 on a 10-point satisfaction scale

Note that when a patient rated lower than a nine, according to the study, it was usually due to a technical difficulty that MGH said was resolved before the visit was completed.

These are just small samplings of the many types of care primed to take advantage of telemedicine services, like pregnancy, rehabilitation and chronic conditions. With so many care factors benefiting from the technology, your healthcare organization can confidently prepare to use virtual services to boost patient experience for the long term.

For more on how to market telemedicine, browse these related posts:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 15, 2020

Tracking Coronavirus Search Trends on Google – May 2020

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Amid dramatic changes in consumer behavior brought on by COVID-19, healthcare marketers are diving into Google searches to understand their wants and needs. People are spending more time at home than ever, so search trends give us a genuine picture of the thoughts, problems, questions and fears that enterprise businesses must address in their listings and communications. In this article, we break down current data and trends from Google to understand what types of information healthcare…

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coronavirus-search-trendsAmid dramatic changes in consumer behavior brought on by COVID-19, healthcare marketers are diving into Google searches to understand their wants and needs.

People are spending more time at home than ever, so search trends give us a genuine picture of the thoughts, problems, questions and fears that enterprise businesses must address in their listings and communications.

In this article, we break down current data and trends from Google to understand what types of information healthcare consumers are looking for. Here are coronavirus search trends that marketing teams should monitor.

Overall Google Trends for Coronavirus

 COVID-19 has consistently dominated search queries in the past few months, as most types of Google searches steeply decreased before beginning to recover in May.

According to Binary Fountain client data, total searches for healthcare organizations dipped more than 60% in March before climbing back up, now at 13% fewer weekly searches than in February. Similarly, clicks on healthcare companies’ GMB profiles were down 4% between February 24 and May 3, having reached a low point in April at about half their usual search volume.

For a full picture of the search landscape, Google Trends has daily updates for the top 100 places searching for coronavirus and the top related queries – what people type when searching for the virus.

On May 12, trending coronavirus queries on Google were “coronavirus cases,” “coronavirus update,” “coronavirus US,” “coronavirus USA,” “coronavirus news,” “coronavirus deaths,” “coronavirus map” and “coronavirus symptoms,” followed by searches for individual state information.

The search engine also keeps track of trending questions, which on May 12 were:

  1. Where did the coronavirus come from?
  2. How many coronavirus deaths?
  3. Is headache a symptom of coronavirus?
  4. Which state has the most coronavirus cases?
  5. Is the coronavirus slowing down in the US?

Aside from answering frequent questions in your listings and marketing communications, healthcare marketers should monitor changes brought on by Google’s core update in early May. Though its full effects aren’t yet clear, SEMRush data shows the industries most impacted by the update were travel, real estate and health.

Searches for Symptoms and Treatment

Millions of people type their health symptoms into Google every day, making it a key indicator for healthcare organizations looking to optimize their COVID-19 information.

For example, when an area doesn’t have many cases, there more informational searches like, “What is coronavirus?” When cases become widespread, queries like, “What are the symptoms of coronavirus?” begin to appear more frequently, according to Google data editor Simon Rogers.

Google search, in some cases, might shed light on widespread symptoms before media reporting or local government responses, according to SEMrush. A study by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto found that searches for “I can’t smell” were elevated in Italy days before the news reported the symptom.

Monitoring such trends could also aid the prioritization of medical supplies to the hardest-hit areas and guide public health guidelines. More specific search trends, such as testing, can also be analyzed as a predictor of local healthcare consumer needs.

Finding Positive Coronavirus Searches

It’s easy to forget that not all coronavirus search trends are negative. Marketers – especially in healthcare – should remember that people search for how they can help in disaster scenarios.

Searches for “how can I help” spiked in late March and early April of 2020, according to the Washington Post, surpassing the search volume after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston. That search, along with food donation, helping the community and how to volunteer, are higher than ever before, Google’s Simon Rogers said. Healthcare brands should answer these questions with content – on Google and otherwise – about how to support local providers.

ebook-covid-19-healthcare-marketersGoogle recommends the following methods of using its platform to help consumers and support healthcare workers:

  • Let people know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
  • Assess when people need you most, whether through your own first-party data or Google Trends.
  • Frequently update or publish content that informs, entertains, connects and promotes wellness.
  • Consider who the heroes are among your employees, your customers or your local community.
  • Consider whether your technology, your operational rigor or your equipment can be highlighted as a contributor to the cause.

Other Related Google Trends

The other side of Google search worth monitoring is fallout from the virus, such as psychological problems and other sophisticated issues from living in lockdown.

The search engine has reported a spike in “loneliness,” “having trouble sleeping” and “boredom,” and Google searches for “quarantine fatigue meaning” doubled between May 4 and May 11. Even seemingly simple queries are worth addressing in healthcare listings and marketing: Searches for the “right way to wash hands” has increased 1,350% in the past month worldwide.

With retailers adjusting operations, schools and buildings closing, and workers staying home, consumers are also searching more for how-to content, like “How do I cut my own hair?” or “How do I bake bread?” or “How do I keep the kids entertained?” Understanding those search trends, along with trends for symptoms, testing and other COVID-19-related questions, will allow your marketing team to anticipate consumer concerns and supply answers through this uncertain time.

For more content on managing your brand during COVID-19, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and browse these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 13, 2020

New Reviews and Response Capabilities Return to Google My Business

By: Kieran McQuilkin

New reviews have returned to Google, along with the ability to respond to Google reviews, after being suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Binary Fountain team confirmed that businesses in several industries, including healthcare, can once again display new Google reviews and publish review responses through their Google My Business dashboards. Google Reviews and Google Q&A…

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New reviews have returned to Google, along with google-review-responsesthe ability to respond to Google reviews, after being suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Binary Fountain team confirmed that businesses in several industries, including healthcare, can once again display new Google reviews and publish review responses through their Google My Business dashboards.

Google Reviews and Google Q&A stopped publishing on March 20, with review responses coming to a halt shortly after. Existing Google reviews, responses and Q&A were still displayed. New review responses began appearing April 7.

The Binary Fountain team confirmed that new reviews are displaying for most healthcare, apartment, dining and retail listings. Net new reviews and review responses are now live, and it appears that Google Q&A is coming back online. Reviews left during the suspension will start to populate GMB profiles once new reviews are rolled out.

The search engine had suspended the these functionalities to reduce staffers coming into their offices and focus efforts on Google Maps and local search capabilities. Google said at the time it would prioritize reviewing all edits for critical health-related businesses. It is also prioritizing reviewing open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions and business attributes edits for other verified businesses.

Google – among other listing platforms – has changed and added several features in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These updates to Google My Business and Google Search include:

For more on reputation management during the coronavirus health crisis, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and read these articles:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 13, 2020

Reputation Management KPIs: Tracking Key Metrics of Your Online Presence

By: Kieran McQuilkin

In today’s digital world, what consumers think, say and share about your company matters, regardless of what industry you are in. Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” If you’ve put work into managing your…

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reputation-management-kpiIn today’s digital world, what consumers think, say and share about your company matters, regardless of what industry you are in.

Warren Buffet famously said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

If you’ve put work into managing your online reputation, chances are you know just how true that quote is. Building a stellar business listing online takes time, dedication and a strategy to put your best foot forward for customer acquisition.

But how do you know if all your work is having the desired impact? What KPIs should you be measuring for your reputation management program?

Understanding the right way to choose and measure KPIs is critical to determining your campaign’s return on investment (ROI). Measuring the right things and not just vanity metrics will help you build the brand you want to online, helping you attract new customers and retaining the ones you currently have.

We are going to look at some of the most important reputation management KPIs and how to measure the success of your program.

Volume and Quality of Online Reviews

Monitoring the effectiveness of your reputation management campaign starts with making sure you see an increase in the number of customer reviews and a higher average rating than before.

Reviews are social proof that potential customers use to determine if your business will meet their needs. Most customers are looking for a high volume of reviews because it makes your business look credible, experienced and like a vital part of the local community.

If you are seeing an improvement in the number and quality of your online reviews, you are on the right track.

Here are some other key metrics to measure your online presence:

  • Overall customer sentiment
  • Referrals or leads from review sites
  • Website traffic from organic search and social media platforms

Remember, while online reviews can greatly help attract new customers, they’re also a positive indicator that you will retain the business of current customers. Take special care to respond to both positive and negative reviews to encourage customer interaction and learn how to improve the customer experience.

Turning Fans into Advocates

Beyond just looking at reviews online, one of the goals of any reputation management program should be building a lifelong relationship with your customer. Growing a business isn’t just about acquiring new customers: It’s about taking the customers you have now and making them advocates for your brand.

metrics-reputation-managementIf you are focusing on the customer experience and meeting their expectations, chances are you already have strong support from your community. If you are struggling to satisfy your current customer base, you need to be measuring loyalty and advocacy.

To do this, make sure you are measuring the current impact of your brand advocates and identifying highly satisfied customers who are perfect candidates for sharing information about your business on social media platforms.

Your KPIs for turning your customers into advocates include:

  • Volume of customer testimonials shared on social media
  • Customer engagement metrics on your website and social media channels
  • Number of brand advocates (social listening metrics)
  • Positive comments on public, third-party directories

Don’t Forget to Monitor Offline KPIs

While measuring your impact online may be straightforward, there are plenty of offline KPIs to track in order to measure the true ROI of your reputation management program. Reducing customer churn or increasing patient retention, for example, are far more important to your business than how many reviews you have on your social media profiles.

As a customer experience manager or marketer, you always want to make sure your efforts have the downstream impact that you intended and that you aren’t just measuring vanity metrics.

When evaluating the impact of a reputation management campaign, be sure to look at these metrics to determine if you are getting the results you expect:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Customer satisfaction surveys (both quality and number of responses)
  • Word-of-mouth customer referrals
  • Estimated market share
  • Net promoter score

Seeing improvements in these offline KPIs will lead to the business growth you need from a reputation management program.

Get the Most Out of Your Reputation Management Campaign

Nothing is more important than delivering as much bottom-line value as possible to your customers and to your business.

Using these KPIs will help you identify areas where you can improve the customer experience and simultaneously attract new business leads. By focusing on the right KPIs for your reputation management campaign, you will ensure that your investment is worth the time and money for both your business and your customers.

Binary Fountain’s reputation management software is designed to give your business actionable insights that will improve your business operations and better meet your customers’ expectations. Thanks to our proprietary natural language processing (NLP) technology and data analysis, we create customized online reputation management solutions for businesses just like yours.

If you want to learn more about how to measure the value of reputation management, check out this free webinar or you can schedule a demo of our review management software.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 11, 2020

Quick Guide on How to Market Telemedicine on Your Website

By: Erik Fessler

In a recent survey, Binary Fountain discovered that half of all marketing departments are planning to focus on telemedicine initiatives once they emerge from COVID-19. Competition to promote telemedicine is only likely to increase in the coming months and years. Learning how to market telemedicine now could give you an advantage in this rapidly changing…

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Ihow-to-market-telemedicine n a recent survey, Binary Fountain discovered that half of all marketing departments are planning to focus on telemedicine initiatives once they emerge from COVID-19. Competition to promote telemedicine is only likely to increase in the coming months and years. Learning how to market telemedicine now could give you an advantage in this rapidly changing field.

This guide will teach you how to utilize your website to promote your telemedicine offerings. We’ll show you how to optimize your pages and the tools you can use to increase your rankings in search engine results (SERPS).

1. Create Effective Messaging to Market Telemedicine

The first tip in our how to market telemedicine guide is to start by determining who your telemedicine customers are. Then adapt the messaging on your page to meet their concerns. For example, if you typically treat chronically ill patients, write messaging that highlights how your service allows them to avoid inconvenient travel, saves them the cost of a travel attendant, and other travel expenses, and avoids unnecessary readmission. Tech-savvy patients will respond well to the on-demand nature of telemedicine. Rural patients will appreciate not having to drive for long distances to receive care.

Two common concerns about Telemedicine are that it’s more prone to misdiagnosis and doesn’t offer as good quality of care. While these concerns appear to be dropping with time, it would be wise to address them. Explain how your online care offers the same accuracy and quality of care as in-person visits.

2. Have a Telemedicine Webpage That Features an FAQ

Telemedicine is just now breaking into the mainstream, so many of your patients and future patients will have questions. A crucial part of your telemedicine promotion will need to be answering those questions to put patients at ease. While you could make telemedicine additions to an existing general FAQ, it would be wise to feature common questions and answers on your telemedicine’s main webpage.

how-to-market-telemedicineSome universal questions you may want to answer are:

  • Are you seeing new patients or just existing patients via telemedicine?
  • What specific health issues can you help with?
  • What is the cost of this service?
  • What insurance do you accept?
  • What is the process?
  • Are patients immediately connected with a provider?
  • Do patients fill out a form and then hear back?
  • What days and hours are you available?

The UNC Medical Center’s Virtual Urgent Care page is an excellent example of a FAQ page. It answers many common consumer questions before the patient even has to ask.

3. Homepage Banners, Pop-Ups, and Other CTAs

You’ve honed your messaging and created an FAQ page that answers consumer questions regarding your telemedicine offering. Now you need to drive internal web traffic to your telemedicine web pages.

A homepage banner is a natural place to start. Generally, a homepage banner is a great way to drive patients to a new service.

The Billings Clinic’s homepage banner accomplishes this with bright colors and large, easy-to-read text. It’s an effective way to direct traffic in the “lobby” of your website.

how-to-market-telemedicineHomepage pop-ups are another option you could consider. Advanced ENT has instituted a pop-up that displays automatically over the homepage banner when users open their homepage. While pop-ups generally aren’t thought of as something web users enjoy, pop-ups that offer users something of value and aren’t challenging to close do get positive results.

You may want to consider using pop-ups on other high traffic pages as well, along with telemedicine call to action (CTA) buttons and text.

Not all of your website visitors begin their visit on your homepage. Current patients might skip your homepage and go directly to a page they’ve previously visited.

In response, you should also draw attention to telemedicine on your topmost visited webpages to ensure all patients are aware of your telemedicine services. If you have an appointment scheduling page, we highly encourage you to advertise telemedicine on this page. Sites with chatbots should also consider using this tool to inform patients about telemedicine.

4. Help Patients Decide If Telemedicine Is Right for Them on Your Appointment Scheduling Page

how-to-market-telemedicineAppointment scheduling is one of the most crucial points in the customer journey for telemedicine promotion. It’s imperative that patients consider telemedicine while setting up an appointment.

Cone Health’s appointment scheduling page is a powerful example of how a website can guide patients to the ideal appointment type for their condition and budget. While your organization may not offer the same number of service offerings, your patients will appreciate your guidance on the appointment type that is best suited for their needs.

Readers should also take note of the way COVID-19 instructions are built into this webpage. If you are seeking to use telemedicine as a tool to shield your providers, be sure to direct your online traffic to book online care when they go to schedule appointments.

5. Make Sure Telemedicine Marketing is Part of Your SEO Strategy

Now that you’ve taken some steps to integrate telemedicine onto the face of your website, you’re ready for the last step in this how-to market telemedicine guide. The final goal is to ensure that the SEO on the backend of your site is set up with telemedicine promotion in mind.

Updating your meta information is a great place to start. Be sure to use keywords and phrases for your telemedicine service in the meta descriptions of all applicable webpages. When appropriate, you may even use a telemedicine call to action phrase. This could entice higher click-through rates for viewers who find your webpages through search engines, and indirectly lead to higher search rankings. These keywords should also be used in the meta title of your telemedicine specific webpages.

Once this is done, ensure that all of your telemedicine webpages have been indexed. If your site has duplicate versions of the same content, such as a .pdf that has the same content as a webpage, use canonical tags on both assets to instruct Google as to which asset to display in search.

Structuring your FAQ data to be displayed in Google is another great SEO best practice that may allow your questions and answers to appear in zero click searches. Adding the correct data structuring will allow your questions and answers to appear in the Q&A formatted snippets carousel. This guide from Google explains the concept further. You may need to consult your web team to institute this. However, this guide explains how to use structure data if you have a basic understanding of HTML and JSON syntax. Structuring your FAQ data for Google Search could help you increase your SERPS, which makes it an optimization that could pay off quickly.

For more on how to market telemedicine, browse these related posts:

[Blog] The Numbers Behind Telemedicine: What Healthcare Marketers Should Know
[Webinar] COVID-19, Telemedicine and Your Online Presence
[Blog] Telemedicine Marketing: How to Manage Listings for Virtual Care

About the Author

Erik Fessler
Marketing Coordinator

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May 07, 2020

The Numbers Behind Telemedicine: What Healthcare Marketers Should Know

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Telemedicine has moved from a nice-to-have to a necessity as COVID-19 pushes health systems to care for patients virtually. Though the current reliance on virtual care is temporary, the importance of telemedicine is here to stay. Given this new landscape of care delivery, how can you position your brand, facilities and providers as you offer more virtual care? To strategize your messaging and branding strategy around virtual care, healthcare marketers need to assess the needs, wants and priorities of patients navigating…

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telemedicine-numbers-marketingTelemedicine has moved from a nice-to-have to a necessity as COVID-19 pushes health systems to care for patients virtually. Though the current reliance on virtual care is temporary, the importance of telemedicine is here to stay.

Given this new landscape of care delivery, how can you position your brand, facilities and providers as you offer more virtual care?

To strategize your messaging and branding strategy around virtual care, healthcare marketers need to assess the needs, wants and priorities of patients navigating a new care experience. You can start by highlighting telemedicine services as part of your obligation to provide quality care at the right time – and in the right place.

Branding and messaging for telemedicine might vary for each patient demographic, specialty offered and geographic region, but every strategy needs a strong foundation on which to build.

Here are statistics and guidelines that can help frame your telemedicine marketing efforts.

Understanding the Telemedicine Market

To get the most value from your telemedicine marketing, you first need to understand the audience you’re planning to reach.

Up to 77% of consumers would consider seeing a provider virtually, and 19% already have, according to an Advisory Board survey.

That willingness spans across most medical services, with most respondents saying they would consider a virtual visit in each of the 21 primary and specialty care scenarios tested. It also spans age groups, with the AP-NORC Center’s 2018 Long-Term Care Poll finding that adults aged 40 or more years were just as likely as those aged 18 to 39 to say they would give telemedicine a try.

Clearly, consumers are comfortable with the idea of virtual visits, especially in the wake of COVID-19, giving healthcare marketers a captive audience to attract. But what are these consumers looking for?

To understand the needs, wants and priorities of these patients, here are some questions to consider:

  • Who are common urgent-care or walk-in patients that would benefit?
  • Will a patient or caregiver make the decision to use the service?
  • Which factors motivate people to choose my providers?
  • How often do patients cancel in-person appointments and for what reasons?
  • When, where and how are consumers scheduling appointments with me?
  • How much does distance/travel influence a region’s healthcare decisions?

Categorizing Your Telemedicine Services

In addition to answering those questions to frame your marketing strategy, be sure to communicate the breadth of healthcare service categories available through telemedicine. They may not all be obvious to patients.

A full picture of those telemedicine categories’ popularity has not yet emerged, but some trends are clear.

The proportion of virtual visits focused on mental health has decreased in recent years, as providers begin adding other care categories to the telehealth roster. Mental health fell from the No. 1 diagnostic category for telehealth in 2016 to No. 5 in 2017 at 7% of total claims; while injury made up 13% of telemedicine diagnoses in 2017, according to nonprofit healthcare organization FAIR Health.

Meanwhile, the shift to value-based care and healthcare consumerism is heightening the importance of chronic care management, where telemedicine is a logical option.

“Direct-to-consumer virtual specialty and chronic care are largely untapped frontiers,” says Advisory Board’s Emily Zuehlke. “As consumers increasingly shop for convenient, affordable healthcare – and as payers’ interest in low-cost access continues to grow – consumers are likely to reward those who offer virtual visits for specialty and chronic care.”

Addressing Patient Concerns

To convert interested prospects into virtual patients, healthcare organizations need to understand and respond to consumers’ top concerns. Only 9% of respondents in the AP-NORC Center survey said they had no concerns about virtual visits, leaving plenty of room for marketers to ease their worries.

It all starts with quality. About half of consumers are concerned about receiving low-quality care from a telemedicine appointment, according surveys from AP-NORC Center and Advisory Board.

Other top consumer concerns surrounding virtual visits include data security, privacy and needing an in-person clinic anyway. Cost is always among the top issues for consumers, so make sure your review management team and providers have up-do-date information for payment FAQs and are ready to answer.

As a relatively new healthcare experience to many, patient reviews and ratings are highly valuable to those considering telemedicine services for the first time. They’re valuable to health systems too. In a 2017 review of Kaiser Permanente’s virtual patient interactions, 93% of patients were satisfied with their experience.

With strong benefits to patient experience, high consumer demand and a disease outbreak that has caused so many patients to stay home, telemedicine is now in the industry spotlight. Using targeted, smart, strategic marketing to carry your patients and providers into the world of virtual care will maximize its value for your organization.

For more content on managing your brand during COVID-19, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page and browse these resources:

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 06, 2020

[Webinar Recap] COVID-19, Telemedicine and Your Online Presence

By: Erik Fessler

COVID-19 has shifted everyone’s priorities, especially those of healthcare marketers. Team members’ roles have changed, top initiatives have shifted, and spending has been cut. In this webinar, Kate Slonaker, VP of Growth Initiatives at Binary Fountain, sat down with Niklas Kubasek, SVP of Partnerships at CareDash, to analyze the priority shifts Healthcare Marketers have made…

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webinar-covid-19-telemedicineCOVID-19 has shifted everyone’s priorities, especially those of healthcare marketers. Team members’ roles have changed, top initiatives have shifted, and spending has been cut.

In this webinar, Kate Slonaker, VP of Growth Initiatives at Binary Fountain, sat down with Niklas Kubasek, SVP of Partnerships at CareDash, to analyze the priority shifts Healthcare Marketers have made in the face of the pandemic. Next, we took a deep dive into telemedicine and explored the beneficial impact it can have on your online listings. We also discussed tips on optimizing your brand and provider listings.

You can find a link to the on-demand webinar here and at the bottom of this page. Here are some of the key takeaways:

How COVID-19 Has Shifted Priorities for Healthcare Marketers

Binary Fountain surveyed over 300 healthcare marketers to determine how this health crisis has changed their daily routine and marketing priorities. Below we highlight a few of the key findings:

  1. Internal communication could have significant implications for future employer brand. 77% of respondents reported that team members have been laid off, were at risk of being laid off, or had been reallocated. Less than a quarter (23%) reported no changes had occurred. During this uncertain time, internal communications could be critical to maintaining your future employer brand.
  2. Spending cuts have enhanced the value of transparency in communications with staff, contractors, and vendors. Media spending and paid advertising, such as ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, saw the biggest cuts in our survey. 38% of our respondents reporting reduced spending. Content marketing saw reported spending cuts of only 25%. This seems to indicate that healthcare organizations are still spending on efforts to keep patients informed.
  3. Online directory listings and crisis communications are the two most important COVID-19 initiatives. Before the pandemic, content marketing (46% before, now down to 32%) and email marketing (40% before, now down to 33%) were the top two marketing initiatives on average. The top two initiatives appear to have shifted to crisis communication (currently at 48%, was 33%) and updating online directories (now 34%, was 31%). Online directories include sites such as Google My Business, Vitals, Yelp, and CareDash.
  4. Marketers are mainly communicating with patients individually via calls, emails, and texts. The top medium of marketer-to-patient communication in our survey was phone calls (62.8%). It was followed by email marketing (62.5%) and text messaging (49.1%). But the large share of COVID-19 related online comments surrounding healthcare brands appears on Twitter. Only 18.4% of our respondents reported using Twitter to communicate with patients. Marketers not communicating via Twitter feeds and Instagram may be missing opportunities to provide patients and consumers with valuable information.
  5. The coronavirus pandemic has spurred providers across specialties to accelerate the adoption and promotion of telemedicine. When we asked which projects and initiatives marketing teams are planning post-COVID-19, telemedicine initiatives (50%) were the top response. This was followed by physician directories and online appointments (43%). We expect interest in telemedicine will continue long after the pandemic. This is because providers and patients are getting the opportunity to utilize the technology. The increased focus on listings management and online appointments highlights the importance of removing friction from the healthcare selection process.

Offering Telemedicine Has Boosted Online Listings Engagement During COVID-19

According to Niklas, CareDash saw a 32% increase in providers and facilities that answered yes to providing telehealth services on their CareDash profiles. In response, CareDash users were 75% more likely to book an online therapy appointment. The company also saw a 9% increase in online urgent care clicks.

The Telemedicine Boost for Online Listings Will Likely Continue After the Pandemic

Telemedicine will boost your online listings engagement if patients continue to search for it. This is likely, as both sides are finally utilizing it. Even before the pandemic, telemedicine was growing in popularity among physicians and patients.

Physician adoption doubled from 14% in 2016 to 28% in 2019 in one AMA study, signaling this pre-pandemic growth. This growth exploded with the coronavirus pandemic, with Teladoc reporting 15,000+ requests per day in mid-March. We know that telemedicine is growing in importance here at Binary Fountain. 77% of our healthcare clients offer the service. The American Telehealth Association predicts that over 50% of all healthcare services will be consumed virtually by 2030.

On the patient side, COVID-19 has spurred experimentation and acceptance of telemedicine. An April 2020 YouGov study showed that the number of people that have used telemedicine has risen 3% since November 2019, a mere five-month period. During the same time period, comfort with and trust in telemedicine also rose by 10% in both categories. At the same time, the top two concerns with telemedicine, misdiagnosis, and quality of care, both dropped 13% and 11%, respectively.

How to Inform Your Patients That You Offer Telemedicine on Your Online Listings

Below are a few best practices for managing online listings for telemedicine.

  1. Activate any telemedicine options that exist in each of your business or provider listings’ sites. This will activate any visual indicators that you offer telemedicine. In addition, it may also ensure your profile is visible to consumers searching for telemedicine.
  2. Mention telemedicine early in your profiles. This is a helpful indicator for consumers and may help the word telemedicine show up in search previews.
  3. Use keywords to rank in searches for telemedicine. You will want to use keywords such as “telemedicine” and “virtual care” in the copy of your listings. Don’t forget to use commonly searched names for your specialties as well.
  4. Use the unique tools built into each listing site. Google My Business now offers an online care options tool that displays in Search and on Maps. Some practices have taken advantage of Yelp’s customizable COVID-19 Update Banners to direct their patients towards their online care options. Several websites such as Healthgrades have filters that allow patients to search exclusively for telemedicine providers. CareDash just launched an API update to support telemedicine availability and appointment scheduling tools.

The Most Effective Online Profiles for Highlighting Your Telemedicine Care

Organizations and facilities should start by claiming and optimizing their business and provider listings on Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and CareDash. You should certainly use CareDash’s new API that supports features for availability and scheduling. The site also has a bulk upload tool to update and manage provider profiles.

Individual provider profiles on CareDash can be updated directly from their account dashboard as well. In addition, we also recommend that organizations and facilities ensure individual providers have profiles on Healthgrades, WebMD, Vitals, and RateMDs.

Telemedicine Can Improve Your Online Reputation

Because of its online nature, telemedicine is a great way to encourage new reviews and recommendations. It gives you increased access to contact information you can leverage to drive reviews and testimonials. Email addresses are an opportunity to send surveys and review requests. Cell phone numbers allow you to communicate with your patients via texting tools to send out surveys and review requests.

Speakers:

  • Niklas Kubasek, SVP of Partnerships, CareDash
  • Kate Slonaker, VP of Growth Initiatives, Binary Fountain

To learn more about how COVID-19 has affected healthcare marketers, telemedicine and your online presence, check out the free, 30-minute webinar – now available on-demand.

Ready to watch the webinar? Click here.

 

For more on telemedicine and managing your online presence during and post COVID-19, you can visit our COVID-19 Resources Page.

We also suggest the following resources:

About the Author

Erik Fessler
Marketing Coordinator

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May 06, 2020

Checklist: COVID-19 Features for Online Healthcare Listings

By: Kieran McQuilkin

New features are constantly being introduced to online listings to help businesses manage the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on hours and operations. To help your healthcare organization capitalize on these newly available tools, we curated a list of the most important COVID-19 listings attributes and how to use them. Here are healthcare-related COVID-19 features that are…

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New features are constantly being introduced to online listings to help businesses manage the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on hours and operations. To help your healthcare organization capitalize on these newly available tools, we curated a list of the most important COVID-19 listings attributes and how to use them.

Here are healthcare-related COVID-19 features that are now active on listings platforms and third-party directories.

View PDF

 

Platform Feature Description Use Case
Google My Business COVID-19 Google Posts COVID-19 Google Posts stay posted for 28 days and are  displayed on mobile search, maps and other apps. This can now be submitted via API, posts for chain businesses were previously barred from API access.
Google My Business Attributes Healthcare brands  can add “COVID-19 info link” and “virtual care” attributes to their GMB profiles. These are displayed on mobile search only (may expand in the future). Available only to healthcare brands in GMB, can be submitted in bulk or API.
Google My Business Schema Special Announcements for COVID-19 from health and government agency sites are highlighted in Google Search results. Announcements can include: Facility closures, event rescheduling, and new availability of medical facilities, such as testing centers.
Yelp Covid-19 Advisory Alert A COVID-19 Advisory Alert is displayed at the top of all Yelp Business Pages. If you don’t provide a custom message, a generic banner will be shown. Edit this alert to communicate specific updates about your business in response to COVID-19.
Yelp Virtual Service Offerings Choose from new  virtual service offerings that will be displayed on your Yelp Business Page within the Services Offered section. Search results can be filtered to show virtual offerings. Including, but not limited to: Virtual Classes, Virtual Consultations and Virtual Tours.
Facebook Temporary Service Changes Indicate locations are “Open With Service Changes” or “Temporarily Closed” to announce temporary service changes on your Facebook Page and in searches. The information can appear on the Page, the Page preview, in search and in curated lists of local resources on Facebook.
Twitter Covid-19 Account Verification Twitter is prioritizing Verification for Twitter accounts that have an email address associated with an authoritative health organization or institution. Ensure your Twitter bio references (and links to) the institution you are associated with, and that the page you link to includes a reference back to your Twitter account.
LinkedIn Urgent Hiring Healthcare-related organizations can post new mission-critical jobs free for three months (April 1 to June 30). Jobs posted in these categories will receive extra promotion to highly relevant candidates through a special “Urgently Hiring” job category. Companies include hospitals, medical device, medical practices and mental healthcare, disaster relief nonprofits, warehousing, supermarket and package delivery.
Healthgrades Telehealth Services Badge Add a new telehealth services badge to profiles for physicians, NPs, and PAs. Consumers searching for care options will be able to use telehealth as a filter to quickly find providers they can see remotely. Healthgrades will also support links from healthgrades. com directly to the physician’s website/landing page for the telehealth service.
Bing COVID-19 Info Links Add special announcements of hours and closures for local businesses, information on risk assessment and testing centers, and travel restrictions and guidelines. Bing pulls in announcements from local businesses, hospitals, schools, government offices and others that use the schema.org markup for announcements and testing information.
Bing Schema Add special announcements of hours and closures for local businesses, information on risk assessment and testing centers, and travel restrictions and guidelines. A label showing your special announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic with a link to your site may appear  on web results, local listings and maps. Bing may consume special announcements from local businesses, hospitals, schools, government offices, and more that use the schema.org markup for SpecialAnnouncement, gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility.
Apple Maps COVID-19 Testing Locations Healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses that would like to provide information on COVID-19 testing locations can now do so through Apple Business Register. Searches for nearby testing information may include information on whether getting tested is recommended and, if so, how to locate a nearby testing facility and find instructions for getting tested.
CareDash Provider Telehealth Healthcare organizations and facilities can use new API telemedicine support features to let patients know about availability for telemedicine and schedule appointments. An indicator will appear on all telemedicine provider profiles. Telemedical status can be activated via individual dashboard or through a bulk upload tool.

This article will be updated as listings features are added, removed or changed. Click here for a PDF version.

For more on listings and reputation management during the pandemic, browse our COVID-19 Resources page.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 04, 2020

How to Bulk Upload and Verify Locations on Google My Business

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Google My Business is an essential listing tool for business owners in today’s marketing world. Every year, thousands of locations are added to the platform, allowing consumers to find local businesses in their area, from Thai restaurants to an OB/GYN practice. Dominating your local search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business that wants…

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google-my-business-bulk-uploadGoogle My Business is an essential listing tool for business owners in today’s marketing world. Every year, thousands of locations are added to the platform, allowing consumers to find local businesses in their area, from Thai restaurants to an OB/GYN practice.

Dominating your local search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business that wants to increase customer acquisition.

If you oversee the reputation management for an enterprise with multiple locations, you have the difficult job of tracking a ton of local listings. Thankfully, there are some tricks you can use to make managing multiple locations less time consuming and costly for your organization.

As Google continues to improve the search experience, it has added new features to Google My Business for enterprise businesses to manage their locations just as easily as a small, local company. With Google’s bulk upload and verify feature, you are able to easily manage hundreds, if not thousands, of business listings.

In this quick guide, you’ll learn how to use Google My Business’ bulk features and how to manage multiple locations at scale within the listing platform.

This article will cover:

  • How to bulk upload locations on GMB
  • How to bulk verify locations on GMB
  • How long does bulk verification take?
  • How to edit information for multiple locations

How to Bulk Upload Locations in Google My Business

First, you want to make sure to set up your Google My Business account. It’s important to note that the bulk verification method is efficient only if you manage more than 10 locations.

The first steps are the same as a regular GMB profile, and once you’ve started your account you will be prompted to add a location. Instead of adding a location, select “Import locations.”

From there, you will be directed to “download the template,” which should open up a CSV file for you to edit. You will need to fill out all of the required fields for each of your business locations.

Here are Google’s guidelines on what information to include in the spreadsheet.

After you fill out the sheet, save it in one of the approved file formats (XLS, XLSX, ODS, CSV, TXT or TSV). Upload the file by clicking on “Select file to import.” Google will review your spreadsheet and provide a summary of the changes it will implement to your listings.

If there are any errors with your spreadsheet (like missing data), these locations will be flagged in red. You will have to manually fix the error for your listing to appear.

Once you have been approved, congratulations! You have now registered all of your locations for a Google My Business listing. But there’s one more step you need to take in order to have your listings appear in local search results: verification.

How to Bulk Verify Locations in Google My Business

Just like managing a business account for a single facility, you will need to verify your locations. The reasoning behind this is to ensure that the person creating the business listing has the authorization to manage location updates for the entity.

Thankfully, you can verify all locations at once with the bulk verification method rather than having a code mailed to each of your physical locations.

To verify your locations, start by clicking “Get Verified” next to one of your locations. You will then have the option to click “Chain.”

From there, Google will prompt you to fill out the following information for your locations:

    • Business Name
    • Business Countries/Regions
    • Contact Name(s)
    • Contact Phone
    • Business Manager Email
    • Google Account Manager Email

Before you verify your locations, ensure that all business have the correct name, address, phone number and website (NAPW). If all of your listings are the same brand, then the name, domain, and categories should all match.

How Long Does Bulk Verification Take?

Once you have submitted your request for verification, it usually takes about a week to process the request. If Google encounters any problems or has questions about your request, they will email the address you provided for clarification.

For more information about Google’s bulk verification process, you can check out its post about verification.

How Do I Edit Information for Multiple Locations?

Sometimes you will need to make bulk edits to your locations and, while this is certainly possible within the platform, you will need to follow all GMB formatting guidelines for the bulk import spreadsheet.

Once you’ve updated the desired fields, you can re-upload the corrected file. Luckily, if you are only updating a small number of fields, it is not necessary to include all columns in your import. Note, however, that in order to edit your locations in bulk, you will need each location to have a unique store code.

If you are adding new locations to your sheet, you must include the Store Code, all address fields and the primary category, same as before.

For more information about editing bulk locations, check out Google’s official documentation.

Managing Online Listings Shouldn’t Be Hard

At Binary Fountain, we know how difficult managing online listings can be. That is why we created and online review management platform specifically tailored for businesses with multiple locations.

Our reputation management software allows you to quickly manage all of your online listings across multiple platforms like Google, Facebook and Foursquare. We also help businesses like yours gain the valuable insight you need to see how each of your locations are performing.

View one of our free webinars or read one of our case studies to learn more about how Binary Fountain is helping enterprises increase their customer acquisition and retention.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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May 01, 2020

Patient Experience’s Impact on Revenue

By: Erik Fessler

Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during…

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patient-experience

Patients are consumers – they have similar customer service expectations as they would for other industries. When it comes to selecting a physician, someone who they entrust with their health, the patient experience delivered is key – and it starts online. Ignoring your online patient reviews evokes the same feeling as hanging up on someone during a customer support call. Healthcare providers must take this into account when deciding on a strategy to improve the patient experience and ultimately impact revenue.

Patient Experience Leads to Revenue

Organizations providing “superior” patient experience achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing “average” patient experience. This makes it vital for organizations to evaluate the entire continuum of the patient experience.

Ratings from patient surveys like HCAHPS also impact revenue. Hospitals with higher patient ratings saw a 0.2% increase in net operating profit margin for every one-point increase in hospital rating. Removing critical access hospitals from the dataset doubled the margin to a 0.4% increase per point. Without a culture of putting patients first, hospitals will not meet their HCAHPS or revenue goals.

The Value of Patient Loyalty

Improving patient loyalty and decreasing patient churn can significantly increase an organization’s revenue. Americans spend, on average, over $10,000 annually on healthcare. Lost patients can quickly add up to large sums of lost revenue. Increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. It is also more cost-effective to focus on loyalty – patient acquisition efforts cost five times more than efforts to secure existing patients.

How to Create a Profitable Experience

If you would like to help your organization realize the figures above, follow these five steps:

Create a culture around patient experience. To improve patient experience, create a data-driven patient-centric culture. This culture should marry healthcare data analytics with principles of compassion, service quality, and transparency, all in the service of excellent patient experiences. Organizations should provide their staff with the tools and communication strategies needed to create standardized best practices that become part of the fabric of how they provide care every day.
To foster transparency, benchmark physician-patient experience performance, and share results publicly. Transparency initiatives can spark friendly competition among physicians as well as encourage a stronger focus on improving the patient experience throughout the organization. You may even consider rewarding employees recognized for receiving positive feedback from patients. Organizations that embrace transparency have seen improved patient experience results.

Adopt new tools and strategies. As new trends continuously evolve in healthcare, make sure your organization stays on top. Find new, more effective ways to address your patients’ needs using new technologies that go beyond traditional care.

Adopting digital surveys can provide a significant pathway to collecting patient feedback and can save time by helping healthcare professionals quickly analyze trends and comments. Practices can capture more meaningful feedback with digital surveys today and implement those insights to improve their practice and increase ROI tomorrow.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is another game-changing technology. NPL collects relevant data from multiple text-based online sources and analyzes it to find keywords and phrases. For healthcare marketers, NLP can instantaneously analyze and benchmark free-text patient reviews and comments from social media sites and post-care surveys. Staff can gain valuable insights into patient experiences and industry trends, giving them the information to make important operational changes.

Listen and engage your patients. Improve service recovery by listening and quickly responding to patient concerns. Keeping patients engaged boosts brand loyalty increases word-of-mouth, and helps providers maintain your organization’s reputation. Take advantage of the opportunity to listen, analyze, and act on the plethora of feedback available as patients become increasingly vocal about their care experiences.

There’s no magical tool that makes negative online reviews disappear, but optimal, timely responses to all reviews, good or bad, can turn around bad impressions. Immediate resolution to a patient’s negative experience can potentially change a patient’s mind about whether to return to your practice. Use data analytics to monitor, track, and respond to patients voicing their concerns online.

Analyze and report patient feedback. A pattern of unfavorable online reviews and surveys can potentially torpedo the reputation of a healthcare organization or a provider – and negatively impact revenue. Use them as an asset for helping your staff improve patient experience — and attract and retain patients.

Physicians may be wary of patient feedback. Many doubt their validity or disagree with them. Yet physicians also tend to be overachievers and, often naturally competitive. They are trained to rely on empirical evidence, to trust data and outcomes. Giving physicians a clear perspective on patient experience data – insight that clearly affects their practices – can grab their attention. Once they see reports that show good reviews far outnumber unfavorable ones, they’re much more inclined to buy-in.

Patient feedback data also allows providers and managers to improve their messaging and operation. Share feedback data with department heads and physicians, so they know what’s going well and what needs to be addressed.

Drive patient acquisition. About half of all consumers consider online ratings and reviews the most important factor in choosing a physician. As a result, you need to leverage your patient survey data by publishing patient verified reviews and comments onto your organization’s physician profile pages.

Sharing all patient feedback from surveys, both positive and negative, increases consumer engagement. It also builds credibility and encourages trust. If only positive comments are made public, this can quickly raise questions to the validity of the data. Publishing all patient feedback communicates that your organization values patient feedback and wants to better understand how they can improve the patient experience. As an added bonus, it improves your SEO ranking and drives more traffic to your website over third-party review sites.

Implementing a strategy to improve patient loyalty and satisfaction will ultimately drive your organization’s growth and revenue.

To learn how industry leaders are creating a profitable patient experience for their organization, check out the articles below, or schedule a demo.

[Blog] Using Technology to Improve Patient Experience
[Whitepaper] Improving the Patient Experience: A 360-Degree Review of All Patient Touchpoints
[Case Study] Using Digital Feedback to Improve Patient Trust and Satisfaction
[Webinar] Uncovering Nuances in Healthcare Data Analytics to Improve the Patient Experience
[Blog] Ask an Expert: How Do You Measure Patient Experience?
[Webinar] How to Optimize Your Digital Patient Experience

About the Author

Erik Fessler
Marketing Coordinator

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