Medical practice management is filled with unique challenges. But there’s also a unique marketing advantage that practices have — at least traditional, insurance-based practices.
When your practice accepts insurance, the insurance plans you contract with, and even patients’ employers, become a potential funnel of patients. The key is to be sure your practice is able to take advantage of it.
Consider the process a patient will likely follow when looking for medical care. If the patient needs a new primary care practice, they’ll almost surely start with their health plan’s physician directory. Even if they ask for recommendations from friends and family, they will still want to confirm that your practice is in their network. And even if the patient needs a specialist and gets recommendations from their primary care physician, that in-network confirmation will still be crucial.
Despite how critical it is for patients to know whether a physician is in-network for their plan or not, payer directories are often inaccurate. Any mistake in a directory can mean that your practice misses out on a patient that would have come through your doors. Some errors are particularly damaging — like leaving a physician out of a plan altogether, displaying an obsolete or inaccurate location or phone number, or showing “not accepting new patients” when the physician is, in fact, accepting new patients.
It seems logical that payers should want these directories to be accurate — and they probably do. But it’s harder to keep them updated than it might seem, and that means errors are common. Even if it’s not technically your practice’s responsibility, payer directory accuracy is too important to leave in the payers’ hands. Someone on your practice should periodically check all payer directories, to be sure that they’re sending patients to you and not passively turning them away with incorrect information.
Besides the basics of accurate information, many payer directories now offer the opportunity to enhance your listings with photos and other information. Take advantage of it! It’s your chance to stand out versus the competition in the best free marketing resource around.
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