• John Keehler – Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, Runner Medical Marketing
  • Dr. Asia Payne – Clinical Director, Trinity Rehab
  • Nikhil Parwal – Business head, LeadSquared
  • Chinmay Chauhan – Chief Operations Officer, WCE

Key Takeaways:

  • Delayed follow-up and lead handling are major challenges to overcome in patient acquisition.
  • An excellent follow-up system is the main requirement to heal patients in an allocated timeline.
  • Conducting community events, physician referrals, and data setup has proved to be highly effective for patient acquisition.
  • Having a robust data setup is essential to feed back into any marketing campaign.
  • The right medical staff for the right position is crucial.
  • Automation and CRM can completely change the game in healthcare.

In this panel discussion we bring together some of the brightest minds in marketing and operations, to discuss challenges, trends and the way forward for predictable patient acquisition and retention. 

“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”

The famous quote by Henry Ford holds true for organizations across all industries, including healthcare.

Patient acquisition is one of the pillars of success in patient-centered healthcare.

John Keehler, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Runner Medical Marketing, commenced the webinar by urging his fellow panelists to share their thoughts on the marketing challenges they faced in patient acquisition.

Patient Acquisition Masterclass - Challenges and Trends

Challenges as mentioned by the panelists

“The follow-up. We see the patient once, and then the patient continuing with us is a gamble, a toss-up,” noted Chinmay.

He vividly explained how even though a business grows over the years, the challenges remain the same. Gathering from experience, he stated that the ability to complete treatment has always been the biggest challenge.

Dr. Asia Payne added how new companies find it difficult to even get people to know they exist.

Competing with larger health systems is a big problem. More often than not, these big competitors have their own departments for specific medical services. Anybody there can provide a prescription to the patient, and they can just go down the hall to the provider within the organization.

“We have to find creative ways to target those patients without necessarily aggravating our referral sources and not stepping on the toes of some of our bigger competitors that beat us out with branding and marketing,” says Dr. Payne. To continue her input to the discussion, John requested Dr. Payne to share channels and strategies she uses in terms of the patient acquisition.

Strategies to overcome the challenges

“Most of my marketing is actually directed to the consumer,” says Dr. Payne.

The channels she mentioned using include:

  • Community events
  • Radio
  • Networking groups
  • LinkedIn

These channels allow her to not market directly to doctors.

According to her, it’s a more grassroots approach to getting your name out there and more fruitful.

Dr. Payne added that this approach helped her build long-lasting relationships with current and potential patients.

“What does a community event look for you right now, how do you get the word out about it?” asked John.

Dr. Payne described how for health fairs, she uses social media and ads on WMMR, Pennsylvania, to let people know that Trinity Rehab will be there at those events.

She explains how most people turning up at these events are interested in their health and looking for healthcare providers.

“I’m able to reach patients that way.”

This approach is also what is known as reverse marketing.

Instead of connecting with the doctor, Dr. Payne connects with the patients and goes backward to reach the source of their referral.

Referral Portal

Referral Portal

It is also a very feasible tactic timewise.

Patients get the care they need within 48 hours.

In this part of the conversation, Dr. Payne nicely explained how her approach has worked out for her, earning her almost five new patients each event. “Its all about that time aspect, it works very great especially for new offices and clinics who have no client base, and the patients love it!” concludes Dr. Asia Payne

The Success of Marketing Channels

Following the webinar, John conducted an engaging poll for the audience.

Which marketing channel do you find most successful ?

Poll Results

In the meantime, Nikhil posed a question to the panelists asked by someone from the audience – “How would you target and try to reach Medicare only, not Medicare Advantage, with a reasonable CPL and good quality with channels, etc.?”

“Medicare Advantage is actually easier to target but Medicare is the golden goose, right?” started answering Chinmay.

He explained how his approach is different from Dr. Payne’s.

Chinmay recommends finding all kinds of clinics around and coordinating to establish a connection with them.

‘They have limitations, but they have the audience that you want.”

This way, patients will come directly to the service provider, and they will not have to ‘micro down’ on which patient to target.

John chimed in with his thoughts on the topic – “If one of the questions being asked related to that is, how do you use let’s say, how do you target that in paid advertising? I think my response to that question would be, there are a couple ways of approaching it.”

If there are any restrictions, the provider must communicate that to the people up front.

Having the data set up is essential to feed back into the campaign.

Talking about the results of the poll question he had previously asked, John observed how most people used Google Search Ads as their preferred channel to market.

He explained how Google Search Ads allow the user to feed data back to Google and fetch a higher quality lead using the advertising algorithms to get them to the right place.

Directing a probe toward Chinmay, John says, “talk to me about a medical director strategy you have where you kind of create this offer to start the relationship, and then you add services in, I would call this kind of a land and expand strategy, right for referrals.”

Chinmay explained how his audience consisted of several people dealing with mental health and telehealth.

It is essential to have the right medical staff for the right position.

“All my staff, especially the providers gets at least a month of just training on this specialty.”

Another strategy he mentioned was putting themselves as a free service in the medical director position.

“On the ground strategy for me was going to a facility, offering free medical directorship, giving them the person that they can consult with then offering service directly to those patients, while we’re offering the service, the facilities aren’t getting charged, we can work with insurances.”

Once they had enough volume of patients, they could negotiate with insurance and work out a better understanding, stated Chinmay.

John addressed how Chinmay had previously mentioned learning at the beginning of a relationship with a patient.

Chinmay expressed that his main goal is to provide a service without financially burdening the patient or giving a budget hit to the facility.

Talking about his more recent strategy, he said he takes pride in giving the best service possible.

His mantra is if a patient is already dealing with ailments, let’s not give them other burdens to worry about.

Channel marketing, in this case, is the key.

Advocating LeadSquared, he said, “Anybody can steer a ship as the good captain that gets you to navigate to your goal.”An excellent follow-up system is the main requirement to heal patients in an allocated timeline.

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA Compliant - Appointment vs Admission Rate

“What LeadSquared offers is that captain at the helm, we are getting that help, and I’m willing to pay for it because I’m paying for the captain. I’m not paying for the technology; that’s what’s lacking on my end,” adds Chinmay

Developing Relationships into Meaningful Referrals

“It’s like dating,” lightheartedly puts forth Dr. Asia Payne.

She went on to explain how, like dating, it’s sometimes just a waste of time talking to a lead.

It’s understandable for a provider to dislike a particular patient.

The patient, on the other hand, in just one visit, can end up deciding that they are not getting any help and go around bad-mouthing the provider or the team.

Dr. Payne concluded that it takes her a minimum of six months to recognize if the patient engagement is actually going somewhere.

Going back to another highly-voted answer in the poll, John talked about SEO.

SEO is a long-term strategy.

“You’ve got to be in it for the long haul, to really see results there,” remarked John. Moving forward with the conversation, he asked Dr. Asia and Chinmay to share their challenges with lead handling.

Challenges in lead handling, as listed by panelists

  • Answering that, Chinmay said that one of their biggest challenges was establishing educated follow-up.
  • He profoundly explained that in this field, it is vital to have communication between the patient and an actual medical provider.
  • “I don’t care if it’s me, but we can get a person to talk to,” he said.
  • John talked about a research conducted at RUNNER where they asked people about the time it takes for them to decide about a provider.
  • For half of the people, it’s a handful of weeks.

This means that giving up after a call or two will not yield fruitful results.

“My metrics for adding direct scheduling to our website translates to two leads a month, which, for all intents purposes, it’s not a metric. It’s just a roll of a dice,” says Chinmay.

John chimed in, “One thing I’m a big advocate of is people communicating with patients via the means that they want to communicate, and we’re seeing more and more of that kind of activity through text messaging.”

He shared a story about a guy who got lost in Grand Teton National Park earlier that year.

He kept declining calls from the police because it was from an unknown number.

The bar has just been raised regarding how often the provider has to call people back.

In this case, text messaging has worked really well for anyone associated with telehealth. It works for traditional practices too.

The CRM side of telehealth tools is the need of the hour, as it offers the expertise that providers lack.

Methods of Effective Lead Handling

John initiated the next poll for the audience –

Are you currently using any CRMFront end system to manage the leads ?

Poll Results

In the meantime, adding to the lead handling topic, Dr. Payne said that a lot of it has to do with timing.

She had observed that 24 to 48 hours of response time is the sweet spot because that’s when people are looking.

Not following up with a patient fast enough could lead to them canceling an appointment.

Patient Communication

Patient Communication

Dr. Payne states that she is a proud proponent of anything technology because it makes communicating easier.

Changing the method of lead handling can significantly improve the success of marketing.

If a provider can double their lead conversion rate, then they can get a lot more out of their investment in advertising.

Effective strategies

  • Something as simple as a Google review can attract a lot of attention.
  • “Patients can tell you how much they love what you did and how great that they feel and then they’ll tell their friends, but we’re all Google people,” siad Dr. Payne.
  • If a provider uses a specific treatment technique, a Google review can spread the word about it.
  • “So that way, when someone starts to Google, that specific technique, your information is going to come up because you do that,” she added.

At this point, John vividly explains the importance of healthcare marketing automation to take care of the timing Dr. Payne talked about.

Towards the end of the session, the panelists discussed the use case of the several review platforms available for patients today.

“The use of social media and just virtual treatment as an option to get new patients, because it creates accessibility and increases awareness for not only your services but people’s health in general” is exciting for Dr. Payne.

Talking about other channels and his goals for the future, Chinmay said, “The next target for me is getting very exact, geographically targeted Google Ads, social media advertisement to get those patients because we know they’re going to need it.”

Nikhil Parwal concluded the webinar by leaving everyone with the thought of LeadSquared.

Patient Intake Automation

Patient Intake Automation

LeadSquared is a patient management system that is doing many interesting things around marketing and patient acquisition.

For a walk through the platform, or any queries, book a demo today.

More about the panelists

John Keehler

John Keehler
Partner, Chief Strategy Officer, Runner Medical Marketing

Considered an industry-leading expert in digital marketing strategy, John has been a part of the digital marketing landscape since the early days. John now leads marketing strategy efforts at RUNNER, an award-winning digital marketing agency that specializes in Healthcare. RUNNER has been helping medical practices and Healthcare businesses grow over the last 10 years – understanding the Healthcare industry and how to effectively gain market share within it. 

Dr. Asia Payne

Dr. Asia Payne
Clinical Director, Trinity Rehab

Dr. Asia D. Payne graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Health Sciences from the University of the Sciences in 2014 and went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2016 from the same institution. She became a Board-Certified Orthopedic Physical Therapist in 2019 and has worked in outpatient and home care settings. Whether you arrive in the clinic with pain, following surgery, or as a returning patient to physical therapy, Asia greets you with a smile, a joke, and the motivation to keep moving.

Nikhil Parwal

Nikhil Parwal
Business head, LeadSquared

Nikhil Parwal is the Business Head of the healthcare for LeadSquared, Inc. He contributes a vast base of knowledge in the CRM and healthcare software industry, which is seen throughout our relationships with clients. He has an acute ability to see growth opportunities in client driven customisations and services. Nikhil is always anticipating how LeadSquared can create a better, more efficient product to promote customer success. 

Chinmay Chauhan

Chinmay Chauhan
Chief Operations Officer, WCE

Chinmay began his career in Information Technology working as an integrationist for Smiths group. Over the last 10 years, Chinmay has worked in many different capacities. After relocating to Las Vegas, Chinmay gained more experience in small hospital management as an Assistant Director of Nursing. This allowed him to integrate his passions at Wahab Consulting / Research and Wound Care Experts as the Director of Research and Business Operations.