6 Methods for Positive Orthopedic Practice Promotion

Laura Dyrda -  
Karen Rocks, principle consultant and owner of Sparkfire Marketing, discusses six ways orthopedic practices can optimize marketing efforts and positively promote their services.

1. Include patient scenarios in marketing material.
Patients come to orthopedic surgeons because they are in pain, and fear goes hand-in-hand with pain, says Ms. Rocks. Providing patients with scenarios of cases where other patients with similar conditions recovered and had good outcomes helps ease their nerves. "You have to reinforce that you're trustworthy," says Ms. Rocks. "Scenarios help patients see how the physician can help them, whether through surgery or another type of treatment."

2. Send patient newsletters with human interest stories. Stay in touch with patients by sending practice newsletters. Include patient stories focusing on the relief of pain after treatment. If you want to include information about a new procedure or technology, find a way to relate it to the patients through a personal story. "Human interest is where you are going to gain more readers," says Ms. Rocks. The newsletter can be electronic, which saves paper and mailing expenses.

3. Learn how to explain procedures well.
Orthopedics is very technical, but surgeons must still explain these surgeries to their patients preoperatively. When patients feel like they understand their surgeries, they have an overall better experience and are more likely to recommend a surgeon or practice to their friends. "When you explain the procedures, you are trying to teach patients about the anatomy and it can be really technical, so incorporating that information into a personalized story can help," says Ms. Rocks. "If physicians can really take the time to explain things about how the body works, it relieves the fear of the unknown."

4. Promote consistency among physicians and staff. Patients become confused and anxious when the information they receive from the physician, staff and marketing material is inconsistent. For example, a surgeon might tell the patient to make an additional appointment, but when scheduling the appointment, an office staff member says additional appointments must be made for imaging or other tests. While both are correct, the patient becomes confused and upset. Additionally, if the practice markets itself as having the "latest in technology," that technology should be working and available for the patients. "If you don't live up to your marketing, patients are going to feel deceived," says Ms. Rocks.

5. Tell patients they can recommend you to their friends. While orthopedic surgeons assume patients with a good experience will tell their friends, asking them to refer your services goes further to promote the ever-important word-of-mouth reputation. "You’re your patients that the best way to show they are happy with their care is to refer family and friends if they are seeking orthopedic services," says Ms. Rocks. "Just hearing this from their physicians really enforces that idea."

6. Engage in social media. Social media is gaining in popularity among patients, especially when it comes to seeking medical content. Orthopedic practices can promote their services and physicians by engaging and connecting with patients on social sites and when the opportunity allows, steering them to your website for detailed information. Post practice statistics, events and videos on a Facebook page to promote interaction with patients. "As long as you make it a two way conversation, social media is a good way to reach out to patients not in the exam room, but in their everyday life," says Ms. Rocks.

Learn more about Sparkfire Marketing.

Read other coverage on improving orthopedic and spine practice profits:

- 6 Ways Orthopedic Practices Can Boost Word-of-Mouth Marketing

- 6 Ways Orthopedic Surgeons Can Effectively Utilize Social Media

- 7 Strategies to Optimize Patient Responsibility Collections for Orthopedic Practices

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