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How Tomorrow’s Top Practices Will Adopt Artificial Intelligence for Strategic Growth

Saturday, May 4, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Written for AAOE by Sheryl Cragun Dame, SocialClimb

This article is Part 2 in a series on standards for practice growth, explaining current developments in intelligent, user-friendly marketing software that can benefit all sizes of practices. This article explains how on-the-horizon systems can integrate data analytics and machine learning to help physicians and practices achieve highly customizable goals for growth. Medical practice managers can understand these developing options without  significant technical background or marketing expertise, and can take simple steps to adopt these newer systems as they become available.  For Part 1, see AAOE newsletter, April 30, 2019:  Today’s Standards for Practice Growth: Use Smart Software to Boost Reputation and Visibility Online.

Today’s top-growth medical practices understand how patients use the internet to find and choose doctors. To stay competitive, these practices embrace rapid industry change, adapting by relying on software that helps attract and convert new patients online.

Tomorrow’s top practices will stay ahead by using artificial intelligence—automated marketing software that goes even deeper to apply strategic marketing strategies while remaining simple for real people in real practices to use. These systems can evaluate a practice’s specific patient and regional data, monitor trends and make real-time decisions, and enable practices to meet their specific, strategic goals for growth.


Reviewing Today’s Standards for Practice Growth

Today’s competitive medical practices understand how customers find and choose doctors in the online search world.  Part 1 of this series explains how these practices use software in today’s market to attract and convert new clients by:

  •  Claiming a separate internet listing page, such as a Google My Business page, for each physician at each location.
  •  Optimizing these internet listings to broadcast the important decision-making information and action options that busy people want.
  •  Gathering a regular flow of reviews and ratings online.
  •  Adopting a patient-focused standard for quality care.
  •  Automating the entire process.


Tomorrow’s Strategy for Targeted, Intelligent Growth

By following today’s standards, a practice will rank in Local Search, compel customer choice, and drive significant practice growth. But by going further—by applying data analytics to make key decisions, and then automating an advertising process—a practice can direct a powerful, intelligent system, adaptable and tailored to their real-time objectives.  Practices can grow strategically down to a granular level as they target their preferred, high-value patients and locations for each physician. They can control practice growth to meet their specific goals.


The power of data plus decision-making technology

Intelligent software can evaluate not just general data, but your real data: your current patient population, your practice volume, and your other key decision points. Smart software can then determine your most profitable patient profiles, evaluate the demographic data and insurance case data surrounding your practice, and then recommend new profitable locations.

Such systems not only determine where to find preferred patients, but also reach these patients right where they are, right when they are making decisions. The best systems can constantly monitor targeted promotions, and adapt spending, messaging, and timing to deliver on practice goals. This kind of artificial intelligence--in easy-to-use software--is the future of practice marketing.


The vision for automated marketing

To use an advanced system like this effectively, a practice should first be following today’s standards for practice marketing, listed above and explained more fully in Part 1 of this series. As described in that article, current software systems make it easy and affordable for any practice to draw in more patients as they develop their online reputation and create effective internet listing pages. Once a practice has adopted that first level, they can easily move to this next level of data-based, machine-learning software tools. 

The process below outlines the steps an advanced software system might take to benefit a practice. Practices would need only to decide on their goals—such as if they want to promote a particular surgeon or location, and then just allow the system to connect to their practice data, which is already easily available in their practice management software. (Always choose software that is HIPAA compliant.)

The software will then evaluate the pertinent data and recommend actions to meet the practice goals. With the practice’s approval, usually as simple as a designated practice employee clicking a software interface button to confirm  “OK,” the software will then apply and monitor the customized, data-based plan.  The software will also continually evaluate the data, and adapt its actions as needed to continually meet the practice goals, all while communicating with the practice regularly. 


Understand the process to evaluate software options

Practice managers can better evaluate a software system’s advanced features by understanding the following basic steps this kind of software might take. These intelligent software systems:

  •  Use data analytics tools to assess current patient population.
    The best systems help identify a practice’s most profitable patient types and where they reside.
  • Tap into demographic and medical case data from surrounding potential markets.
    Intelligent software can evaluate other potential locations using medical case data from these markets, then show you where to find more patients who match your preferred, profitable patient profiles.
  • Use Google Location Extension Ads to broadcast doctors’ names and reputations right to target markets.
    Armed not with assumptions, but with real data, automated software tools can place and monitor ads highlighting a doctor’s reputation that will be effective in your high-value markets. These ads appear at the top of target patient search results, right at the moment of choice.
  • Automatically leverage your established reputation and optimized internet listing.
    The proven standards for reputation marketing—an established online reputation plus the decision-making content in an optimized internet listing—will show up with the search results to draw in these preferred patients, appeal to their decision-making process, and prompt their immediate action. 
  • Adapt ad campaigns to actual practice needs.
    Decision-making software can monitor real-time patient volume for both office visits and surgery. Systems like this will automatically turn on and off promotions to meet a practice’s desired growth and provider availability.


Benefits beyond revenue growth

By combining artificial intelligence and real data to execute their internet marketing strategy, practices will see significant benefits beyond revenue growth:

  •  Implement detailed strategies with ease.
    With automated marketing, practices can strategically promote specific doctors, specialties, or locations. For example, using its established reputation, a practice could promote a new physician or new location. Or, a practice could target-promote an established surgeon to a desired patient audience, to fill her practice with more profitable patients.
  • Save advertising money.
    When software tools continuously monitor ad campaigns and physician schedules, they turn ads on or off as needed, to maximize return on investment.
  • Measure the effectiveness of advertising dollars.
    Automated systems can track how money spent on ads leads to actual new patient appointments.
  • Avoid human error.
    Intelligent software systems put an end to guessing and waiting. By using to-the-minute data, and by monitoring actual results, these systems can review and adjust an advertising plan hundreds of times a month, never waiting for a monthly calendared review, and eliminating that “gut feeling.”
  • Plan for capital outlays.
    Managing growth at this level of detail, practices can plan ahead for operational changes. A practice can make more accurate decisions in hiring physicians and office staff, adapting clinical space, and choosing target locations for new satellite offices.


Where to find this kind of software or marketing advice

Marketing agencies and marketing professionals understand the benefits of the processes outlined above, and they have worked for decades to approximate this kind of decision-making and approximate these kinds of results without software, and before the modern world’s vast supply of available data.

Now, software companies are offering and advancing this kind of process, as well as other automated processes specific to other industries.  The best software companies integrate proven marketing ideas, industry knowledge, and technological trends into a system that save their customers from having to fully understand all parts of how it works.

Medical practices that want this kind of service have a few choices.  Of course, larger practices might ask their marketing staff or agency if they can do it without software; or they could ask their marketing staff or agency to watch for and find this kind of intelligent software. Most importantly, though, practice managers of all levels of technical and marketing skill should not be scared of finding these tools on their own. The best intelligent software is specifically designed to be accessible and easy to use, and with the information in this article, practice managers can feel confident making their own choices. The four most important things to look for are:

  • Does this software give me the results I want?
  •  Is this software easy enough for me (or my chosen staff members) to use?
  • Does the software communicate with me (or my chosen staff members) in ways that I (we) understand?
  • Do I feel confident in the software company?  That is, does the software company seem to have “done their homework,” and do they respond to customer concerns?


“The speed of thought”: Decision-making with machine speed and accuracy

As technology advances, people and machines influence each other more and more. Shakespeare and other thinkers have used the phrase “the speed of thought” to describe how quickly people want to make decisions and take action. Today’s software packages actually make this idea reality, as they combine decision-making data with speedy processing.  When medical practices integrate decision-making technology into their marketing, their data-based decisions will move with machine speed and accuracy, and they will realize their goals quickly—almost at the speed of thought.  


At our upcoming AAOE conference, Ty Allen of SocialClimb will present on today’s standards and the future direction of automated practice marketing: “Top-Rated Ortho Practices Increase Revenue Via 5-Star Reputations. You Can Too!” He will also conduct a discovery session: “Automated Patient Acquisition:15 Minutes that Will Change Your Life.”

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