How to Build a Physician’s Practice in a Digital World

[SHSMD16 Speaker Podcast Series] Stewart Gandolf, CEO of Healthcare Success, talks with Jennifer Schultz, Vice President of Marketing and Lindsey Meyers, Vice President of Public Relations forScreen Shot 2016-09-19 at 9.23.01 AM Avera Health, about their 2016 SHSMD Connections Conference presentation: Building the Physician’s Practice in a Digital World.

Today’s podcast with Lindsey Meyers and Jennifer Schultz sums up everything we’ve discussed thus far with speakers from this year’s SHSMD Conference in Chicago. During their presentation, Jennifer and Lindsey spoke about how their team at Avera Health utilizes a complete “marketing toolbox” to build a commanding presence for their employed doctors in the digital world.

Avera Health has over 900 physicians and advanced practice professionals spread across more than 300 locations in 100 different communities. To effectively market a health system this large, Jennifer and Lindsey asked a few crucial questions:

  • How do you leverage digital to build the doctor practices?Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 9.20.06 AM
  • How do you get our physicians engaged in communities?
  • How do you get people to talk about their doctors as friends and neighbors?
  • How do you move the physician culture from traditional marketing tactics?

Physician Engagement

Some doctors approach digital marketing with caution because they don’t necessarily see it happening. Others, however, understand its necessity and are eager to embrace it.

Jennifer and Lindsey emphasize that physician engagement comes from the top. They look to executive leaders to get things done and move marketing products through the organization.

“If we educate them and create buzzwords, they’ll get it.” said Jennifer. “You need to get that buy-in from the doctors, but you start with your executives.”

Effective Digital Marketing Tactics

One of the challenges Avera faces is driving patient traffic to open service lines. These are the tactics they identified as the most effective:

  • Utilizing familiar physician faces in paid social media and online ads
  • Building strong physician profiles
  • Crafting marketing automation campaigns

 Leveraging Traditional Marketing Tools

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the tools for digital success include traditional media. In the podcast, Lindsey gives a few great examples of how Avera utilized public relations to drive digital growth.

In one of the examples, Lindsey and her team uses a series of online videos to reach a younger audience in more traditional service lines, like cardiology. They used a soft-sell message and were able to draw people back to Avera with marketing automation.

In another example, Lindsey details the effectiveness of physician engagement in the community. Whether it’s giving a presentation or interviewing for a newspaper article, community engagement is effective and drives unique visits to Avera.

“We want to encourage people to keep telling the story of how digital is changing,” said Lindsey. “Our consumers are so far ahead of where we’ve been in healthcare. We need to catch up.”

Avera Health is a family of locally owned hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and home health/hospice agencies in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Be sure to check out the rest of our SHSMD16 Speaker Podcast Series:

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf

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