By now, every physician has learned about ACOs, Super Groups, IPAs and the like. Virtually every “new” acronym and idea has revealed itself as a retread old one, so at least physicians are getting more comfortable with the new language of healthcare reform. And they are accepting that no one really knows what’s going to happen and how medical practice will ultimately be years from now.
Nearly every physician has asked in the past year or so “What do I do now?” And they have heard responses from every vendor which translates into “Buy my stuff.” Ask an IT person what to do…”Buy my stuff.” Ask an EMR person what to do…”Buy my stuff.” Ask a lawyer….ok enough.
What to do and when to do it in light of feared changes in healthcare is anyone’s guess. There is, however, one remarkably overlooked area of business which physicians have traditionally neglected and which they must focus on now more than ever—marketing.
Do you have a website? Do you know what SEO is and how it works? Do you believe that patients buy what you do and not just who you are? In the internet age when people buy mattresses online, sight unseen, physicians have to begin to learn about marketing.
Though years ago, practicing medicine was clearly a profession, it is now big business. And physicians who thrive will be those who embrace business practices, including marketing. This takes a huge shift in perception since most physicians look at marketing as an expense, not as a good investment.
If you were told that every dollar invested in marketing will yield five dollars in new business would you spend the money? If you were told that buying a stock will result in a five-fold yield over twelve months, would you invest? Physicians have to look as marketing as a good investment rather than simply as a cost. And those that do will likely grow and thrive.