referrals to medical specialists

The disruption in referrals to medical specialists

We can put our heads in the sand. Or we can face the music. Doctors who state that GP referrals are the be-all and end-all to building a private practice may see their clinic falling behind in terms of performance. That’s why we have to talk about the disruption that is happening right now. 

referrals to medical specialists

The disruption in referrals to medical specialists

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

July 20, 2022

[Spoiler alert] Dr Google is real.

dr google

One of my favourite moments is when we speak to a customer 12 months after we first met to set up a new strategy. Reception teams, practice managers and surgeons alike will tell us they are very busy

Dr Google is often used jokingly as a term to complain about patients who bring piles of printed documents, of stuff they found as they were Googling. I know, for you, this can be painful and consuming precious consultation time.

The reality we see and measure is that patients are googling en masse.

The best way to stay behind is to do nothing

marketing paralysis

Marketing paralysis occurs when doctors get a bit confused by all the marketing lingo. If the below words have not been used inside the four walls of your private practice, it probably means some form of marketing paralysis is happening:

  • Lead conversion
  • Google visibility
  • Content marketing
  • Session duration
  • Clickthrough rate

The best way to play your practice out of the market over time is to ignore digital. The statement that digital is for the young and that your practice thrives on GP referrals, is a typical symptom of this condition.

If you want to rapidly increase your team’s understanding of digital and the way you can use marketing data to build a strong content strategy for your practice, subscribe to our Grow! Newsletter and get growth tips in your inbox.

Don’t you agree that deliberately choosing not to grow, would be a remarkable choice?

Why AHPRA is a poor excuse to be old-school

ahpra marketing

In the last decade, we have witnessed two typical reactions to the AHPRA marketing guidelines: 

  • Deliberate ignorance
    The doctor decides to ignore the AHPRA marketing and advertising guidelines and either states they offer the ‘best treatment’, makes 10 claims without linking to research and promotes treatment as the solution everybody needs. When confronted with a procedure, the doctor calls a friend who happens to be a lawyer and the matter is dealt with over a couple of beers. Depending on the procedure, the doctor can avoid sanctions or loses their license.
  • Blissful ignorance
    Other doctors have only remembered that there are strict AHPRA advertising guidelines and avoid all conversations about online marketing. As a result, an outdated and static website represents the practice and there is no social media presence whatsoever. These doctors often ignore that you can use compliant patient education content to attract patient traffic and convert leads into new patients.

Both instances of ignorance are counterproductive and we vividly recommend updating your team’s understanding of what is possible and what is effective.

The top 5 marketing mistakes doctors make

marketing mistakes

The absolute TOP 5 medical marketing mistakes we keep seeing are:

  • Procrastination: Not doing anything at all.
  • Peanut strategies (as in buying peanuts and getting monkeys)
  • The cousin mistake: asking a cousin to do a quick DIY website without checking how good this cousin is at business development, medical journalism, SEO, AHPRA-compliant marketing, creative business ideas, design and development. Related to this would be the outsourcing mistake, asking someone far away to do it and again not checking what qualifications or experience are brought to the table
  • Foggy focus: going full force in marketing with tools, platforms and content without properly planning the strategic direction of your practice, and without including local market research about what patients are googling for.
  • Staff charity: asking someone on your team to do a bit of marketing because she turns out to be the only person who understands TikTok

Need to catch your breath? Imagine how we feel when we inherit a strategy that is beyond broken.

referrals to medical specialists
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Save yourself time and money

help with medical marketing

If you need help with medical marketing, consider working with a team that has the qualifications and the experience: medical journalism, audiovisual and media production, medical search engine optimisation, design and development, and content marketing under one roof. The good news is that you can try us out with a free 1:1 Strategy Session to look at your business goals, market situation and growth opportunities.

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