This week’s episode is the third in a 3-part “marketing refresher series” covering some of the foundational aspects of your digital marketing that may have been neglected because of the pandemic. As organizations begin to come out of survival mode, it can be easy to overlook the fundamentals. In this episode, Michael, Scott, and Jared look at 5 keys to physician finders and digital physician engagement.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone, and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans, and many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together and hear some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your paradigm shift.
Michael: Welcome to the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare,” and thank you for listening. I’m Michael Roberts here today with my co-hosts, Scott Zeitzer and Jared Johnson. Today’s episode is the third in a three-part marketing refresher series, where we’ll be guiding you through parts of your digital marketing that tend to get neglected or forgotten, but these are vitally important to your online presence. One of the reasons we’ve been talking about this is that so many things have changed through the pandemic that it seems like some of the marketing efforts that weren’t the ones that were hyper-critical during the pandemic, some of those extra efforts have kind of started to gather some digital dust, they’ve kind of gotten pushed to the wayside. So, one of those things that may have gotten pushed to the wayside, maybe, you know, that physician finder that you built for your website, you know, one of our core audiences that we try to speak to in the podcast and with our company is trying to reach out to a lot of small and midsized, you know, medtech companies. But this is a very similar concept if you’re a hospital, if you have any kind of reason to have a physician finder on your website.
This is one of those things that patients, your consumers, whichever is the right label for you, like people are coming, and they’re using these tools quite a bit. And I don’t know if you’ve ever used one, but a lot of them suck. Let’s just get that out there. A lot of them are painful to use, and you’re wondering if anyone at the company has ever actually used their own system to see, you know, if they can find a doctor on there. So, I think that’s really kind of like one of the first things is just like how clunky, how frustrating is the process, but let’s get into some specifics of it because a bad user experience happens for a number of reasons. And so, let’s kind of dial in on some of these things.
This concept may be…it’s not necessarily like the most exciting part or like the first thing that you may think of when it comes to your marketing, but this is a critical pathway of people engaging with your physicians and engaging with your information. So, physician finder, let’s just start with, you know, just the instructions that you use to get people to use the system. You know, are your instructions clear? Are you providing information that needs to be updated? If there were any kind of protocol updates around COVID, are you actually guiding people the way that they need to be guided to even start the process?
Scott: Yeah. You know, it’s one of these things for me personally, I think I want to start with. Physician finders, if you created them, I’m hoping you created them with the hope that you’re going to connect the right patients with the right doctors. And that’s really like it sounds silly, but too often I’ve found that the goal is just to placate, you know, somebody’s boss or get a checklist on and go, “Well, I got everybody in the system. You know, I’ve got all the doctors in, the surgeons in, etc.” It’s like that’s not really what I would think a good physician finder is about. It really is about making sure that you’re helping people get the right kind of care.
So, you know, this happens on something as small as a physician’s practice page, where there’s 14 people listed, and you have no idea who does what. Well, that’s no help to anybody. Now, you’re clicking on everybody’s bio to see who does total hips. And the same thing goes, like, in a hospital site or a medtech site. It’s like you really are trying very hard just to get people to the right place. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve worked with device companies where the information is just plain wrong, period, right? The URL is wrong. The name is misspelled, and I’m just surprised at that. And so, it really is important, like, to lay out your… We’ve created… Michael, I don’t know how many physician finders we’ve made over the years, but many would be an easy answer to that. And good UI is very important, but before we even get to UI, it’s like you don’t do good user interface design unless you really know what are the clear-cut goals here.
And then once you have…let’s say that you do have those goals, they’re clear-cut, they’re in front of your team, you’re kind of really, like, championing that cause every step of the way. Number one, that you get your directions correct, your instructions to the user correct. And then two, what is that process actually looking like? You know, when somebody does jump into the site, what kind of navigation is structured? Just like you were talking about, you know, you have a dozen doctors listed and a dozen surgeons listed, and there’s no clear indication. You know, full confession, we’ve erred on this before too, and one of the ways that we were tracking that was really trying to evaluate how many clicks were happening throughout the site and how often people were going through, you know, more than one page. Did they really engage the content?
And so, we were so excited because, you know, look at how many pages people are using. And then we actually, like, did some further analysis and saw, you know, why they’re clicking on so many pages? Because they can’t figure out what that doctor does. And so, they have to click on every freaking doctor on the site. And we’re like, oh, okay, well, that’s how you learn. That’s how you get better at these kinds of things. But if there isn’t anybody going back and checking for that kind of stuff, you’re leaving yourself wide open to those kinds of frustrations. And I think that I’m joking about the process because it was definitely an education for us and it opened our eyes in quite a few ways, but there are so many systems that are just set there. They push them out into the wild, and they never come back and look at any of the data again. There’s no way that you got everything right on that very first try. You have to keep going back and reevaluate it.
Jared: And then you look at what that data tells you, that’s such a good microcosm of how we learn with all of this stuff. It’s not like all this stuff magically appeared to us. In the example you just gave, there being a data point in the middle of that conversation is, in my mind, really what made a difference here. And I think that’s kind of like an aside here, it’s just as good with any other web content you’re doing or any other social media that you’re looking to see what’s engaging. We just talked about in the last two episodes about SEO and social media, and with all of these things, one of those common links is understanding how to read that data. I’ve been in that exact same position, Michael, where I looked at time on site, and I was like, “Yes, that’s fantastic.” All of a sudden I realized the exact same thing, no, it’s because people are confused, and they’re stressed, and now they’re just not going to come back.
Scott: Right. We’ve just irritated them.
Jared: Yeah. There’s not a stat for irritability because if there was, then who knows how some sites that I’ve done would have ranked then? So, it’s that always just speaks to throughout all of this developing and understanding of data and being able to ask, does that mean what we think it means? It’s a little bit of a princess pride, you know.
Scott: From the test drive and click perspective, guys, you know, the navigation and structure kind of a thing, I always forced my parents to do it. I don’t know if you guys have people that you utilize. I mean, there are people you can hire professionally to do these things, but my parents are great test drive things because, you know, inferred knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Don’t you think, Michael?
Michael: Certainly, I’m surprised at how many times it sort of creeps into our copy, it creeps into design, it creeps into navigation, that sort of stuff. So, yeah, like, having somebody that’s completely uninitiated in the thing that you’re trying to promote and the pathway that you’re trying to show. And, you know, even going down the pathway, Scott, of you know, using professional systems, like, that is how we’ve definitely made some major overhauls to some of our systems because, you know, like the P3 system that we have where we work with practices all the time, there was a lot of language in there that, you know, we assumed was clear enough and so started testing that a lot more rigorously and uncovered a lot of different things that, you know, I hadn’t considered it that way, I hadn’t, you know, thought to solve the problem that way. So, there’s definitely going to be advantages both ways. And at its simplest, just get somebody that doesn’t know the site to go through the site for you and try to solve a few problems and see how tough it is for them.
Scott: That P3 platform went through a lot of testing and a lot of assumptions that we made, everything from color schemes to where the call to action, like, a request and appointment button, where it should go. Definitely, we were very surprised but happy to go figure out, like, if that’s where you want it, that’s the contrast you want, you know, for the button, etc., that’s great. Same thing goes with good and well-tested any type of well-tested web application. We do quite a bit of web application development, and physician finder’s nothing more than, you know, a specific type of web application, and testing is a critical component of it.
We all have our assumptions, like, everybody thinks everybody goes to the homepage, you know, just for a regular website to move away from a physician finder. It’s like, no, no, they don’t actually always go to your homepage. They may end up on a particular procedure page. They may end up on a location page, etc. And so, that’s why these physician finder applications are so important to really test in different ways. And, you know, we mentioned this a couple of times in the previous two episodes, check it out on a phone versus a desktop because very different the way that you, shall we say, drive through the app.
Michael: For sure. So, Scott, we’ve been talking about a lot of technical components on this so far, talking about, you know, just are people getting to the information the way that they need to. You know, but from a simpler standpoint, just having the right information in there because, again, if you’ve done a set it and forget it kind of method, then I’m sure the personnel has changed since you first built this particular tool.
Scott: Yeah. Without a doubt, you know, I talked about how, you know, sometimes the domain names change. Sometimes someone’s left the practice, joined the practice, etc. And in my mind when I used to sell orthopedic implants, that to me was an opportunity to connect, you know, with the practice to let them know that I cared about the practice and everybody there and to make sure all the information was correct. I didn’t look at those assignments that I would get from the powers that be as negatives, but as a way to walk in and show that I cared more about than simply showing what was in my bag. It’s a real good value add to be able to walk in with other things. We do quite a bit in this area of value-added product and items, and this is a great opportunity to go in and just make sure everything is correct and not just go in to say, “Have you seen the latest, whatever that is?”
So, it is wonderful, and it does show that you care more than simply about selling X. You know, you want to make sure that the practice is in good shape. And it walks down. Like, when you look at a physician finder, it’s trying to keep that information consistent, and it’s always going to be a balance about having it personalized enough so that a patient can find the right information about the practice, get to that particular doctor, and have it structured in such a way that is consistent so you don’t confuse people.
Michael: Everybody, I always appreciate that you tune in, that you’re listening to the show here. I wanted to let you know that we have set up a new newsletter that you can get to at paradigmshift.health, that’s paradigmshift.health. You can go there, and the reason that we’ve got this newsletter is that we’d like to send out a few extra pieces of information with the show. We also have the full transcript for every single episode that we do, and we can let you know that through email. We can let you know also if we have, like, a good quote card to be able to show for every episode. So, check that out if you’d like, paradigmshift.health. Thanks so much.
It’s interesting what you’re talking about there, Scott, because, like, you know, you talk about coming in there as a sales rep. There are so many different ways to perceive that as a sales rep in terms of having to go out and just go like, “Hey, can you give me the right information?” You know, like, it can very easily be like an “Eeyore” kind of assignment, you know, but you don’t have the personnel change as new physician’s been added. You know, and I think that it’s a really interesting opportunity from what I would consider for marketing to really be driving because there’s definitely this, like, you know, intersection between marketing and customer service and even like the martech side of things where you have to be kind of more technical to kind of keep up with everything.
But if you’re relaying that information, if you’re responsible for the information that’s in that physician finder, and it’s coming across, as, you know, Bob and sales has to go out and make sure that this information is correct, and that’s the only piece of info that they get, like, it’s very easy for that to feel just like a task and a chore that you have to get done. But if there is this culture of remember the reason that we’re doing this is so that we can get patients to the right doctors, remember that we’re doing this to show the physicians that we’re trying to get them to the right people, you know, like, there’s so many touch points there where you can show care and concern instead of just go get it done, like a stern, you know, parent trying to scold a child.
Scott: Because I said so. Yeah, it’s very valid. You know, I remember I was much younger, and one of my first jobs was at Pfizer actually. And you would go to a lot of courses, which when you’re 20 something, why would I go to any course? Because, you know, I know everything. Now, I know in my 50s that I know nothing. But that being said, there was a great course that always stuck with me, and it was the importance of essentially treating everybody like a customer. And that would be both an internal as well as an external person, right? So, you talk about the importance of marketing being able to kind of explain to sales, like this is why there’s value in you doing this, is just as critical as the conversation that you’re creating as a marketer for the physician and for the patient. These are all different conversations that you’re responsible to do. And it’s a tough job. It’s a heavy lift, but you’re right, Michael. If all you’re saying is just do it, yeah, you’re going to get an “Eeyore” response, and you’re going to get a very minimal response feedback-wise from your sales force, and that’s not helpful to anybody.
Michael: I find this line of where every organization are trying to say that our thing that we’re doing, our field of interest needs more engagement across the company and doesn’t need to just be this small, you know, team’s responsibility. But so much of that comes from demonstrating that initiative. If marketing is going to be something that other people care about, you have to show how you’re caring about other areas as well. And so, it’s one of those things that it’s very easy for this to just become a very sort of Pollyanna mentality, like, oh, that’s cute. Yes, we should all be marketers, and we should all be accountants, and we should all be everything. But taking the initiative to look for those opportunities to benefit the customers, look for the opportunity to, like, what is the level objective of this project, keeping that as the primary focus.
Like, whether you’re doing a physician finder, whether you’re doing some other sort of customer engagement program, the mentality is the same. Guys, we picked physician finder because we’ve built a whole bunch of them, and this is something that we see a lot of times, but this same concept covers over to a lot of other marketing and sales kinds of, like, interactive kinds of projects. This set of things that we’re throwing out there, you can very easily adapt this to whatever tool it is that you’re building and that you’re working with.
Scott: Yeah. You know, Michael, we work on a lot of different projects where we build some technically, I don’t know, some really cool stuff. And we develop some really interesting web apps. And a lot of times, it’s from the marketing department’s lead, and then we got to go talk to people at IT to make sure that we’re building it on the platform and playing nice, you know, with their sandbox. And then just as important, hey, are we, and that would be the marketing people, as well as us as the application developers and web developers, are we giving the salespeople what they need? And it’s one of those things that I beg and demand like, “Hey, let’s make sure we get feedback because without the sales team buying in, we’re not going to win the race.” So, it really does take a village so to speak, and getting buy-in from everybody to end up with a good working product is important.
Jared: This is a really good point. I think when we start to think about…even going back to the last two episodes, this whole thought of refreshing our marketing, this is the perfect time to do this. Look what the pandemic has done. We had no choice but to focus on what was going on right there in the minute of what was right in front of us. We didn’t have time to look back at what we should be checking up on or look forward to what we need to be looking at in the future. It’s nice to see that we are starting to emerge from the full crisis mode. And I do hope that it only goes one direction that we only just keep going further and further away from that mode. I think everyone can agree to that. With that being said, it’s almost like saying, so we’ve been checking up on our car, on our vehicle, and now it’s time to have a plan in motion, a schedule for preventive maintenance.
You know, just like any car, if you haven’t done any checkups or any preventative maintenance over the years, at some point, you’re going to have to go see a mechanic, and it’s going to cost a lot of money. And if anything, you know, COVID’s taught us that set it and forget it really isn’t effective anymore. If we had any questions about that, now we for sure know. So, when I look at all of these pieces together, I like how you guys just broadened out this thought of, like, all the things that apply to a physician finder apply to pretty much any web app, just about any website, a lot of different types of projects. Let’s keep these same principles in mind. And one of those principles is let’s set up a preventive maintenance schedule, in other words, a quality control audit.
I think out of everything we’ve talked about over the last three episodes, these are things that everyone probably just assumes somebody else is doing it. I’m sure somebody else is going to check our search rankings and check our social media and check, you know, that everything’s correct in the physician finder when you and I know that the reality is unless that is specifically assigned and planned and most likely the best way to do it is to have more than one person do it, then that’s what’s going to happen. It’s just going to slip through the cracks.
And so, thinking about, I would say at best, at best from organizations I’ve known and been involved with, we would be lucky to have done this on a quarterly basis to even do part of reviewing the whole website. I mean, sometimes there was just too much to do that, but we have different people assigned to different sections and, hey, go over this, make sure there’s nothing out of date and that kind of thing. A lot of that had to happen during that crisis mode. And so, now, again, as we emerged from that, let’s think about maybe that needs to be monthly right now. You know, it’s not a hard, fast, I don’t see that as a rule of thumb or guidance anywhere, but that might be a good place to start.
We probably need to do it more often because there’s simply more content involved and it changes so quickly. And, you know, as an example, last summer, it was in the June or July timeframe, if you were just looking at Google trends and you were searching for, like, what’s the popularity of the term coronavirus or COVID-19, as you’d expect, it was just skyrocketing. And so, if that’s the only time you would look, then you would be creating your digital strategy in a different way. You’d be saying all of our content, like, we need to shift everything over to COVID content. And in reality, about two weeks later, that trend had dropped dramatically almost back down to where it was before the pandemic started. So, it’s just one of those things, like things happened quicker, they change more often, and I don’t see that going back either. So, there’s just more of a need than ever to have this on a schedule, be prepared, just build it into your timeframe, and you’re going to save yourself a lot of time down the road, and it’s just something to remember going forward.
Scott: You know, along the lines of, like, the car maintenance thing, and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’re saying, you need to get regular checkups. You know, part of that checkup is, is this still a good idea to be doing this? Whatever this is. I think physician finders are usually a good idea, you know, for hospitals and hospital systems, etc., for a lot of medtech companies. But it is a good thing to take a step back because it’ll help also define how hard you look under the hood so to speak. It’s like, “Yeah, it’s still important to have this.” “Well, why is it important?” Well, A, B, and C. All right, “Well, then let’s go do it then.” You know, rather than that kind of matter of fact, like whatever. Sometimes that’s it for yourself, you know. I need to take to take the time and energy because there’s always a fire. There’s always a fire somewhere, and you gotta put it out. I get it. But if you don’t put enough time in next year so to speak, you’ll be stuck just putting out fires and not getting proactive. And that’s a dangerous place to be.
Michael: It’s exhausting to always be putting out fires for sure. You know, over the course of these three episodes, like, we really hope that if nothing else, this just gives you that wake-up call of take another look. You know, like, take a step back, things are progressing as rapidly as they are. So, with what plans you have in place with the tools that you have available right now, are they performing the way that they should be? There are lots and lots of reasons why something may have gotten turned off, why some sort of data might’ve gone out of date, you know, any of those kinds of things. So, it’s definitely a good time to check back in. You know, and if you have additional ideas around that, additional comments that, you know, you’ve really noticed over the past few months, feel free to give us a shout-out, reach out to us, reach out to us on LinkedIn. You can go to paradigmshift.health. You can get in contact with us that way. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks so much for the talk today. We really appreciate you listening. Have a great day.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning in to the “Paradigm Shift of Healthcare.” This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for medtech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.