The term "digital front door" is often used broadly to describe the various ways patients interact with your practice or health system online. Part of the patient experience begins long before they enter your waiting room - it can begin with browser searches and online reviews that help make healthcare decisions.

Your patient's initial impression can also be formed by how they interact with digital tools you provide on your site, such as symptom trackers and chat bots. Your patient's overall experience is even impacted by systems you use like online scheduling software and patient portals.

Leveraging an effective digital front door strategy can attract new patients and better engage existing ones.

Building a Better First Impression

One way to build out this strategy is through online reputation management (ORM). Simply put, ORM is about ensuring a potential patient's Google search displays the information you want them to see. Tactics to influence this information don't necessarily all need to be online and can include:

Invest in customer service training

Staff need to understand that every patient interaction makes a significant impact on the patient experience and online reviews. Billing interactions are especially important, but even small daily interactions - answering the phones, responding to emails, greeting patients when they walk through the door, are all vital parts of the patient experience. Spending time training staff on these "soft skills" for patient interactions is an investment that will pay dividends.

Be proactive in addressing negativity

Care providers and their staff typically have a good idea which patients are about to leave unhappy. Take the time to have a conversation with them before they walk out the door to learn what could have improved their experience. If you notice a pattern in feedback, consider making a small tweak to your practice operations.

Make it easy to leave reviews

Develop a simple and consistent way for patients to leave online reviews. Put cards with clear instructions on how to leave a review in the check-out area. Consider mentioning it at the end of the repeat patient visit or print a general reminder on your after-visit summary.

Be responsive

Train your staff to respond to online reviews in a timely manner - both negative and positive. Ask an unhappy reviewer to send a direct message with their contact information so a staff member can follow up. Don't forget to leave a note of thanks for those who give glowing reviews.

Find your partners

If your team does not have the capability to build out your online presence, you may need an ORM consultant to help you navigate it. Consider hiring freelancers to create content like blogs and videos. A strong media partner can help you reinforce your messages in various digital channels. All of these things can help improve what potential patients find out about you online.

Partners like CMG Health Marketing can help you with your digital front door strategy by sharing the story you want to tell. Reach out today to learn more.