Small medical offices have largely gone unnoticed by the digital marketing community, and few of the more than 230,000 physician practices in the U.S. have an online presence that extends beyond a basic website. However, a changing healthcare landscape is leading many physicians to rethink the way they market their practices, and this is creating new opportunities for hyperlocal vendors.
Here are six examples of platforms that use hyperlocal technology to help local medical professionals build their practices and acquire new patients.
1. HealthLoop: Tracking patient outcomes in between visits
HealthLoop is using mobile technology as a bridge between physicians and their patients. A consumer-facing smartphone app automatically checks patients in and silences their phones when they arrive at the doctor’s office. Physicians at independent practices and multi-specialty groups can use HealthLoop to monitor symptoms, detect at-risk patients, and reduce appointment cancellation rates. Through a physician dashboard, patients can be sorted by symptom priority, while indicators show the average level of patient engagement and physician response times. This leads to higher levels of satisfaction among patients, and ultimately better physician reviews.
2. ZocDoc: Location-based tools for patient acquisition
Although ZocDoc is known primarily as a scheduling platform for physicians, the hyperlocal solution also serves as a powerful tool for patient acquisition. Participating providers have their profiles shown when patients search in their local areas. Using location-based technology, ZocDoc lets users filter physicians to find those closest to them. Those physicians can then be sorted based on appointment availability. ZocDoc says its tools, which include mobile reminders, help to increase re-bookings and improve patient attendance. They also help to improve search engine rankings for providers.
3. Healthgrades: Improved search engine rankings for physicians
Healthgrades has become a leading listings site for providers, with more than 20 million visitors coming to the site each month. Consumers who visit Healthgrades.com can search for providers by specialty, hospital, procedure, or condition. Rather than relying on the data pulled from elsewhere online, physicians who register for a free account are able to edit the information displayed about their practices and add their own details, like hours of operation or industry awards. Medical practices can also participate in paid sponsorships to stand out on HealthGrades’ website and mobile properties.
4. Practice Fusion: Cloud-based electronic health records
Practice Fusion is aiming to re-invent healthcare IT by providing free Electronic Medical Record software to doctors and patients. Since its inception in 2005, the company has expanded its features to provide digital marketing tools for providers, including online scheduling, paperless pre-visit intake forms, and appointment check-ins. In addition to finding and booking appointments online, patients can research their doctors using Practice Fusion’s profiles. Practice Fusion sends appointment reminders before each appointment. Physicians can chart, send referrals, order labs, and prescribe medications from their tablets. From a marketing perspective, Practice Fusion aggregates ratings from patients who’ve actually visited a practice in person and uses those ratings to power a database of verified reviews.
5. Mango Health: Using hyperlocal technology to improve clinical outcomes
Mango Health is a consumer-facing application that helps people manage their medications. In the coming years, the vendor hopes to be distributed by healthcare providers. As a mobile app, Mango Health sends automated pill reminders at regular intervals and provides users with warnings about potential drug interactions. Providers can partner with Mango Health to increase patient adherence, which leads to better outcomes. Adherence histories could be useful in helping providers evaluate how well their patients are following their advice, and they may help to explain why the benefits of a certain medication aren’t being seen.
6. referralMD: Referral management for medical providers
For all the talk about online listings and reviews, the most common way for patients to arrive at a physician’s doorstep is still through referrals. referralMD is a platform that providers can use to build on their networks of referral sources. Physicians who use referralMD’s digital platform can securely message referral sources (and their staffs), and monitor referral patterns and colleague participation. Physicians can identify high-volume referrers and track each stage of the patient referral lifecycle. Using referralMD also helps medical offices increase visibility among providers and patients in their networks.
Know of other vendors bringing hyperlocal technology to medical offices? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.