Dr. Bryan Oh on online marketingBryan Oh, MD, a neurosurgeon who focuses on spine surgery with BASIC Spine in Orange, Calif., discusses the most cost-effective methods to optimize online practice marketing.

Q: What is the best marketing tactic for driving patient volume to your spine practice?

Dr. Bryan Oh: I think clearly the internet is going to be front and center in terms of driving patients into the practice. You can still go out and shake the hands of primary care physicians, but I think the Internet is the new frontier in terms of marketing practices and bringing patients in. We work with a practice management group to help us be more successful. I’ve gone from a practice of zero to a full clinic in almost nine months and I attribute this to Internet marketing.

If you are out there with targeted ads and other internet marketing, whoever is doing your marketing campaign should be able to give you concrete data about how many hits your website gets and what your conversion rates are. They can also tell you the patient demographics who are clicking through. If you are spending those marketing dollars, you need to make sure it’s translating into a good return for you.

Q: How can you focus your efforts with online marketing to optimize your return on investment?

There are a lot of people who do Internet marketing, but you have to understand how to do it well. The marketing person must know search engine optimization and use it well. You must also understand what is said about you on the Internet — there might be patients writing negative things about you, but it also may be other doctors and competitors trying to sabotage your Internet presence. That can be a difficult situation; sometimes your IT person can see where the negative comments are coming from and figure out whether there is anything you can do about them.

It’s also very important to have a professional-looking website that is up-to-date, user friendly and talks about your practice and what you have to offer. You have to differentiate your practice from other physicians. Have patient testimonials on your website and new technology you use. People have been very impressed with my website and they felt because it looked like it was technologically advanced it reflected how I think about my practice. It’s much more important than some surgeons think. I’ve had multiple patients tell me how much they liked our website.

Q: What elements are essential for an attractive website?

BO: Patients like websites where they feel like they can get their questions answered efficiently. They like websites where they can make appointments, message the office staff and purchase retail medications. These are all things patients want and like. Taking it further, it’s not necessarily just web-based applications patients are looking for as things are moving more into the realm of smart phones, iPads and other tablet devices. The next step would not be a web-savvy practice but an app-savvy practice. My marketing group is helping us make that transition now.

Q: Do you use social media? Is it effective?

BO: We have someone in our practice who blogs for us. It’s very important, but I don’t think I’ve gotten too many patients off of Facebook or Twitter. Patients we already have follow us as well as the patients who saw us at our previous practice,  but we don’t get many new patients from social media. However, they help with the branding of our practice. I can’t think of a reputable brand out there right now that doesn’t have a presence on Facebook.

Facebook is a little bit tricky because you have a presence out there, but people can also post negative things about your practice and you don’t know where it’s coming from. You have to watch for that and manage your reputation online.

Q: How much time and resources does it take to maintain social media pages and blogs?

BO: Most blogs are general informational posts, so it could be spine-related or something in general health. If your posts have certain key words directed to your practice, it could drive interested patients to your website. You might post on an unrelated topic and people are interested in that, but they might also have a back issue or know someone who has a back issue. In general we want to brand our practice as the place where people come to get healthy. We post about people who are active and healthy and it adds to the favorability of our practice.

Q: Beyond the internet, what are the most cost-efficient marketing tactics?

The website is certainly important, but you can also do interviews with local newspapers and publications that also have websites. If you are marketing with them or doing interviews with them and they post it on their electronic versions, they can link back to your website and give you increased search engine exposure.

Dr. Bryan Oh is board certified in Neurological Surgery and received his medical training at Stanford University with a residency in neurosurgery and fellowship in spine surgery at  the University of Southern California.

Dr. Oh was a faculty member at the University of Texas at Houston Medical School and was Director of Neurotrauma for the busiest Level One Trauma Center in the United States.

He is a reviewer for the journals Neurosurgery and World Neurosurgery as well as a member of several prestigious societies, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Follow Dr. Oh on Google+.

More Articles on Spine Surgery:

5 Tips for Spine Surgeons to Prepare for New Payment Models

10 Key Factors for Spine Surgeons to Examine Before Signing Hospital Contracts

Biggest Coverage Issues for Spine Surgeons in 2013: Q&A With Dr. William Taylor of UC San Diego

Published in Spine
Marc Cohen, MD, is a spine surgeon practicing in New Jersey with more than 20 years of experience in spinal health. He has trained extensively in lumbar endoscopic spine surgery and performed more than 1,000 procedures using that technology. Here, Dr. Cohen discusses the technology and where its' headed in the future.
Published in Spine
Before jumping on the hospital employment bandwagon, spine surgeons must consider all aspects of the contract before signing on the bottom line. If the conditions are right, spine surgeons could benefit from hospital employment; however, in many occasions they can continue to prosper in private practice.
Published in Spine
Here are five steps spine surgeons can take to prepare for accountable care organizations, bundled payments and other new payment models in the future.
Published in Spine
Dr. Richard Francis on robotic spine surgeryRobotic technology is becoming more common in medicine and Mazor Robotics has introduced the technology to spine surgery in the United States.
Published in Spine
Here are 22 spine surgeons who are leaders in professional organizations, spine practices, hospitals and innovators discussing the most fulfilling aspects of their careers.
Published in Spine
As the New Year draws nearer, it will bring new challenges for spine surgeons and industry innovators. Several experts weigh in on six pressing spine challenges and how professionals can cope with these challenges.
Published in Spine
Here are eight ambulatory surgery centers opening in 2013 that include orthopedics procedures.
Published in Practice Management
Dr. Morgan Lorio on Spine Health FoundationThe Spine Health Foundation was founded by Executive Director Carol Conduff to provide spine care — including surgical procedures — for underserved populations in the United States. This non-profit organization serves people who are uninsured and underinsured with a variety of pathologies. The organization's Official Spokesperson, Morgan Lorio, MD, discusses the need for more access to spine care in this country and where he hopes the organization is headed in the future.
Published in Spine
Dr. Praveen Mummaneni talks about spine surgery readmissionsSurgeons and researchers at the University of California, San Francisco recently extracted data on hospital readmissions following spine surgery at UCSF to determine the reason for the readmissions. They found the number of readmissions attributed to the spine surgeons was significantly larger than the surgeons found appropriate because the "all-cause readmission algorithm" inappropriately included patients who were readmitted for planned second stage surgeries as well as patients who returned to the hospital for issues unrelated to their spinal procedure.
Published in Spine
Page 9 of 58