Customers and the New Medical Landscape

The debate about the future of the NHS will probably rage for many years, but to those of us who work in and around it, it’s clear that big changes to the way our National Health Service is funded are on the horizon.

Although not publicly admitted, the state cannot afford to run a health service for all from the cradle to the grave and is slowly (and painfully) changing the way in which it is funded. A private health model of some sort is the likely future and this changes the relationship between practitioner and patient.

So how do you prepare for the new landscape?

Running a medical practice in the private environment is different in one significant respect: Patients become clients and in doing so they are given a choice.  This means they are more discerning and, even if they are not directly paying the bill, they are more aware of the link between an insurance premium and a medical procedure’s cost than with the NHS model.

Your prospective clients are going to do their research before they choose you and therefore you need to be prepared.

Research can mean many things. It could be just looking you up to check your qualifications. It maybe they want to dig deeper and see details of the work you’ve done which could mean testimonials or even looking at review websites.  The internet has brought convenience and also total democratisation of knowledge. Everybody now has the right – and expects – to know everything.

Whilst it may not be practical to launch a fully functioning website or hire a marketing person right now, you should take stock and prepare for the future. There are three main areas that you should consider.

1. Be Aware

You’ll more than likely already be online: listed in directories, on hospital staff profiles or on clinic websites you’re working from. Note where you’re registered and check the info is correct. There may also be associations and professional organisations that you should check.

2. Take Control

Of the places you are registered, make sure your information is correct, the numbers and contact details are right and make sure you invest in a decent photograph. There is nothing worse than an ancient grainy profile photo shot with a polaroid in your college days. Make sure your Linked In account is up to date.

3. Plan Ahead

Make a plan of where you want to be in six months and start planning how you’re going to get there. This maybe your own website, a consortium with like-minded partners or third-party clinics and hospitals with whom you want to work.

If you want to get your practice off the ground then why not talk to us about our starter packages. We can give you free advice on the best way control your online presence and develop a strategy that puts you in the driving seat. Email Gavin@BHMMedia.com or call Gavin on 0774 009 8092.

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