In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, attracting new patients is essential for the growth and success of medical practices. Understanding the patient acquisition journey – the process through which individuals become aware of, evaluate, and ultimately choose a healthcare provider – is crucial for healthcare practices aiming to expand their patient base. In this article, we’ll explore the patient acquisition journey in depth, providing insights and strategies to help healthcare practices effectively attract and retain patients.

  1. Awareness Stage: Making Your Practice Visible

At the outset of the patient acquisition journey, individuals become aware of their healthcare needs and begin researching potential solutions. This awareness is often sparked by various triggers, such as experiencing symptoms, receiving a referral from another provider, or encountering health-related information online. To capture the attention of individuals in this stage, healthcare practices must prioritize visibility and brand awareness.

Example: Consider a woman experiencing persistent back pain who begins searching online for potential causes and treatment options. She comes across a blog post from a local chiropractic clinic discussing common causes of back pain and the benefits of chiropractic care. Intrigued by the informative content, she explores the clinic’s website further and decides to schedule a consultation.

Strategies for the Awareness Stage:

  • Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your practice’s visibility in online search results.
  • Create compelling and informative content, such as blog posts, videos, and social media posts, to attract individuals seeking health-related information.
  • Utilize online advertising platforms, such as Google Ads and social media ads, to reach your target audience and drive traffic to your website.
  • Participate in local community events, health fairs, and networking opportunities to increase awareness of your practice within the community.
  1. Consideration Stage: Building Trust and Credibility

During the consideration stage, individuals actively research and evaluate different healthcare providers or practices to address their specific needs. They may compare services, read patient reviews, and seek recommendations from friends, family, or other healthcare professionals. For healthcare practices, this stage presents an opportunity to build trust and credibility with prospective patients.

Example: After experiencing chest pain, a middle-aged man seeks recommendations from his primary care physician for a cardiologist. His physician recommends a local cardiology practice known for its expertise in treating cardiovascular conditions. Intrigued, the man visits the practice’s website to learn more about their services, read patient testimonials, and verify the credentials of the physicians.

Strategies for the Consideration Stage:

  • Optimize your practice’s website to provide comprehensive information about your services, providers, specialties, and patient testimonials.
  • Encourage satisfied patients to leave reviews and testimonials on online review platforms, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Healthgrades.
  • Offer educational resources, such as blog posts, whitepapers, and webinars, to demonstrate your expertise and provide value to prospective patients.
  • Establish partnerships with other healthcare providers, community organizations, and patient advocacy groups to enhance your practice’s credibility and reputation.
  1. Decision Stage: Facilitating Conversion and Action

In the decision stage, individuals make a final choice and take action to schedule an appointment or contact your practice. This stage is critical for healthcare practices, as it represents the culmination of the patient acquisition journey and the conversion of prospects into patients. To facilitate this decision-making process, healthcare practices must make it as easy and convenient as possible for individuals to take action.

Example: A couple expecting their first child begins searching for an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) to provide prenatal care and delivery services. After researching several options online and reading positive patient reviews, they choose a local OB-GYN practice known for its compassionate care and expertise in women’s health. They call the practice to schedule their first prenatal appointment.

Strategies for the Decision Stage:

  • Ensure that your practice’s website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and optimized for easy appointment scheduling or contact forms.
  • Offer incentives or promotions for new patients, such as discounted initial consultations or complimentary services.
  • Provide multiple channels for individuals to contact your practice, including phone, email, online appointment scheduling, and live chat.
  • Implement patient-friendly policies and procedures, such as flexible payment options, convenient appointment times, and telemedicine services.
  1. Retention Stage: Fostering Long-Term Relationships

Beyond the initial acquisition of patients, healthcare practices must focus on retaining patients and fostering long-term relationships. The retention stage involves providing ongoing support, communication, and engagement to encourage patient loyalty and satisfaction. By delivering exceptional patient experiences and personalized care, healthcare practices can turn one-time patients into loyal advocates for their practice.

Example: A patient undergoes successful knee surgery at a local orthopedic clinic and is impressed by the personalized care and support provided by the healthcare team. Following the surgery, the clinic stays in touch with the patient through regular follow-up appointments, educational resources, and newsletters. The patient becomes a loyal advocate for the clinic, referring friends and family members to receive care.

Strategies for the Retention Stage:

  • Implement patient engagement strategies, such as email newsletters, appointment reminders, and follow-up surveys, to stay connected with patients and provide ongoing support.
  • Offer personalized care and communication based on individual patient preferences, needs, and medical history.
  • Provide opportunities for patients to provide feedback and suggestions for improving their experiences with your practice.
  • Recognize and reward patient loyalty through loyalty programs, referral incentives, and special promotions or discounts for returning patients.

Summary

The patient acquisition journey is a dynamic and multi-faceted process that requires healthcare practices to understand the needs, preferences, and behaviors of prospective patients at each stage. By leveraging insights and strategies tailored to each stage of the journey – from increasing visibility and building trust to facilitating conversion and fostering retention – healthcare practices can effectively attract, engage, and retain patients, ultimately driving sustainable growth and success. Through a commitment to delivering exceptional patient experiences and personalized care, healthcare practices can build strong relationships with patients and establish themselves as trusted partners in their healthcare journey.

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Andre Wright, MBA has more than 20 years of experience in the field of digital marketing. Andre through has managed various successful campaigns for dentists, chiropractors, pain clinics, and other healthcare professionals. He is certified in all Google Ads competencies as well as Google Analytics and was a part of the formative years of Google Ads, developing its platform. Andre is the host of the, “Your Company Health” podcast, where he speaks with healthcare professionals and leaders in the business community. He holds an MBA in Marketing and Management and is the author of “Visibility” a digital marketing book recently published. Andre has been a featured speaker at business conferences around the US and beyond. When he’s not working to help doctors make the important transition to cost-efficient digital media, Andre can probably be found spending time with family, watching sports, or playing golf with friends.

E: andre@thewrightconsult.com | X: @MrAndreWright | AndreEwright.com

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