Maintaining a positive image is crucial for any healthcare provider.
Indeed, a positive online reputation is a key deciding-factor for 60% of people in their search for a new provider.
That is just the online side of the story. A practice’s offline reputation comes into play too. For example, when you are preceded by a poor reputation, word-of-mouth referrals suffer as well.
Thankfully, healthcare providers have numerous tools at their disposal to help protect their name- not to mention the practice itself.
Everything from small business tech support to legal input can make a significant difference. Looking for advice to help keep your medical practice out of regulatory and reputational trouble?
Keep reading for 5 essential steps that healthcare providers can take to protect their image and ensure their practice flourishes.
1. Strive for Impeccable Service
As a healthcare provider, you know that prevention is always better than cure.
This approach will safeguard your practice from potential harm. Of course, you need to address problems when they arise. However, taking steps to prevent them in the first place will save you enormous amounts of hassle down the line.
One key preventative measure is to offer a service of the highest quality. Strive to provide impeccable customer service and care.
It was Socrates who once said:
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Think about how you want to appear to others, and set about cultivating that image through your actions. Ensure everything aligns with your values. You will be on your way to a positive reputation in no time.
2. Leverage Small Business Tech Support
Computer systems almost certainly play a vital role in your practice.
They are responsible for everything from basic administrative tasks to record-keeping and communications between staff and service users alike.
Likewise, with personal data a buzzword of the day, your IT systems must be fully functional at all times, and impenetrable to digital wrongdoing.
Imagine if those systems stopped working, or were compromised somehow.
Your ability to safeguard that sensitive data and provide a quality service would both be sacrificed. The downtime could lose you money and hamstring your reputation in one fell swoop.
Outsourcing small business tech support to equally reputable 3rd parties is often a sensible approach. You benefit from non-stop expert support and less need for tech-savvy in-house employees.
Better still, you know your computer systems (and any issues) are in safe hands.
3. Employ 24/7/365 Managed IT Services
The increasing reliance on computer systems in healthcare is a positive development.
Nonetheless, it is also created a host of potential problems for practices to overcome. For instance:
- Computer systems could be hacked, and medical records compromised.
- Equipment can break or experience any number of technical issues.
- The internet might stop working and prevent access to certain files.
- A power outage might knock the system out, and so on.
More importantly, the people in your team may have no idea how to respond to the issues. Equally, emergencies could happen at any time and it might not be cost-effective to have your team on stand-by 24/7.
A computer malfunction or hack could occur in the middle of the night. With nobody in the office, your practice would be unable to respond quickly and effectively.
That is where the help of 24/7 managed IT services can make the difference.
Hiring them can protect your practice from any of the aforementioned issues. Even better, they are monitoring your systems at all hours, ensuring your practice is protected from digital harm.
They will be able to identify and handle an issue as soon as it occurs. Furthermore, you gain the reassurance that you are only ever a phone call away from help with digital issues.
4. Invest in Cloud-Based Storage
Data storage is an enormous deal these days.
With the risk of cyber-attack increasing every year, it is of utmost importance that your practice keeps patient data as secure as possible.
Medical practices face serious legal, regulatory, and reputational trouble if they fail to adhere to the highest standards of data protection.
Alas, your current data storage processes might be unfit for purpose, even if they are already digitized. Do you still have patient files kept in filing cabinets? Well, you have got even greater cause for concern!
Consider moving your systems to HIPAA compliant cloud storage services instead. The cloud is a modern data-storage solution that is well-known to heighten data security and privacy.
Even better, they offer a host of additional benefits:
For one thing, they free up physical space in the office (no more filing cabinets!) and facilitate team collaboration through easier access to medical records. Secondly, they are serviced by IT experts, which mean you do not need to hire an in-house IT technician.
You can save money, receive expert support, and improve data security all at once.
5. Encourage and Monitor Online Reviews
Online reviews are a crucial component of any business’s reputation these days.
Websites, like Trip Advisor, now play a central role in consumer decision-making.
People actively seek out the ratings, reviews, and recommendations of services and establishments. Their decision about whether or not to frequent them often depends solely on what they find.
This popular societal development has implications for healthcare providers as well. Just as restaurants and tourist attractions accrue online reviews, so do medical practices and practitioners!
As you can imagine, the valence of these reviews is a big deal in terms of your reputation. As we have seen, positive online reviews boost the likelihood of attracting new users. It only takes a few negative ratings to stymie it.
With that in mind, encourage honest online reviews from your patients, but monitor and address any negative feedback that arises.
If you do not, then your reputation will suffer. Indeed, 81% of patients read reviews about healthcare providers, even when they have already been referred!
Seek legal support for serious issues, such as potential defamation. The last thing you want to do is fall foul of your ethical and regulatory responsibilities. Input from a legal professional will help you handle the negative review in line with your obligations.
Time to Protect Your Medical Practice
Healthcare providers face a wide array of challenges to both their reputation and long-term success.
Thankfully, just as many steps can be taken to facilitate both. Hopefully, the advice in this post will help you preserve your practice’s reputation and its ability to serve the patients who rely on it.
Are you looking for small business tech support to serve this purpose and others? Contact us today.
Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.