A common term in the medical profession is accessibility, so why would I ask a medical professional if they are accessible? Of course, you’re accessible, but like most industries, accessibility is thought of in the physical realm. For example, you may have everything for accessibility that you need in your office so that you can see patients with and without a disability.
But the question is, are you digitally accessible? In other words, are patients able to get to you when they need to?
And what do I mean by that? The best way to explain what I mean is to tell you a little story about something that happened to me.
I had to get a CAT scan, but unfortunately, the day I booked the appointment, we had a significant ice storm where I live in Kentucky. As a result, it was just not safe to go out and drive. As soon as I realized this, I wanted to call the office and let them know I would not be in. I always feel calling the office as soon as you can’t make it is the most respectful way not to waste the practice’s time. I often realize that the practice may want to give my appointment to somebody else who needs it. And on that day, I realized they might want to leave early because of the storm.
So what happened? First, I called the telephone number they gave me; unfortunately, it went to a quick busy signal that wasn’t going through. So obviously, something had happened to the phone lines because of the storm.
Next, I go to their contact us page on their website. On the Contact Us page, I next click on the Contact Us button, which brings up my email to send an email. Yet, there was one small problem; it does not have their email address to contact them.
Mind you; this is not a contact us form on the website that I could send through. Instead, it brought up the email option, which is acceptable to do on your website, but the practice had never connected an email to send an email.
At this point, I am mildly annoyed because I cannot call and I cannot send an email. So I think to myself, how else can I send a message? I know, I’ll go to their social media and just leave them a message on their Facebook page.
Guess what? I found their Facebook page only to find out that they are not accepting messages; they had not updated their Facebook page before COVID.
So here you have a patient, which is me, and I’m trying to cancel my appointment to be respectful of the doctor’s time. Imagine, even worse, what if a new patient was calling and trying to book a CAT scan, and they could not get through the phone, their website, or through their social media. Do you think a new patient would go through all the steps above to make an appointment? Most likely, they are going to go to Google and search for the next best place to be referred.
At that moment, when I was trying to cancel my appointment, I realized that the people who worked at this radiologist’s office could have been the most caring, loving, and professional. Still, I couldn’t tell from their online presence. So, I haven’t called them back and went to another place to have my CAT scan done.
You may be wondering how to audit your online access to make sure you’re making it easy for patients to come in and see how phenomenal your practice is?
Well, let’s talk about a few things, and we’re going to use my experience.
- Phone Plan – Are you on an internet-based phone system? If you are, do you have a generator for your office? This way, if you lose power due to a storm, your business is not interrupted.
- Website – When was the last time you went through every page of your website, checking for broken links? Sometimes, links break, and it’s best to find out and have it fixed before a patient does.
- Social Media – It’s not enough to have a social media presence, but you need an active presence. I understand many medical practices do not want patients to share medical information, ask for medical advice or leave their whole medical history on social media posts. Still, when your phone lines are down, or you have multiple locations, and one is opening late for whatever reason, you want to be on there and be active so that you can let people know. Say you’re taking half a snow day. You want to interact the rest of the time. So on days like that, you can let people know, and they can see it instead of just stopping the postings, not allowing messages in at all.
If you edit your systems and online presence and find it less than stellar, schedule a free clarity call with me today.