Growing a Dental Practice Online

Introduction
Dr. Darcy Wakefield of Cambridge, Ohio had an existing practice Web site, but felt it was underutilized. She wanted it to become a better tool for attracting new patients and connecting with existing patients.

Background
Dr. Darcy A. Wakefield specializes in providing quality family and cosmetic dental care to children and adults. She is board certified and obtained her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The Ohio State University in 2004. Dr. Wakefield is a member of many leading dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association and the Muskingum Valley Dental Society. She has been in private practice since 2004.

Challenges
Dr. Wakefield’s practice was experiencing the same challenges as thousands of other practices across the country.

Prospective patients place tremendous value in reviews from independent sources. That’s why referrals are such an important part of practice growth. However, without soliciting recommendations from friends or family members, prospective patients are left to search through vast amounts of information online for help in the decision process. Typically, this format provides little or no help in selecting a practice that best meets the patient’s needs.

Patients will always have an opinion about their dentist. However, they seldom have a vehicle for sharing their opinions. It’s these opinions, if collected and presented in a useable format, provide much needed aid in the dentist selection process.

Short of having the largest and most colorful yellow page ad or a search-engine-optimized Web site (which is very expensive) dentists have few means of differentiation from their peers. Prospective patients are often times forced to try a dentist in order to discover whether or not that dentist is right for their needs. This trial and error process creates a revolving door, which is a point of frustration for both sides.

Solution
Dr. Wakefield looked to PatientFYI as a solution. Just like so many other industries, the dental industry has several companies providing dental search engines. And, like so many other industries, these search engines can often complicate search and add to the frustration. Typical search engines provide a name and address, but little more. Most fail to provide any useful information about a particular dentist or even a link to the dentist’s Web site. PatientFYI uses a different model.

PatientFYI allows the prospective patient to narrow the search by region and services provided. The prospective patient is able to search for a dentist based on his or her needs and dentist’s strengths using a variety of search criteria.

Results
Within five months of the initial listing on PatientFYI, Dr. Wakefield’s profile has been viewed 977 times and the monthly traffic to her Web site has doubled. “PatientFYI links directly to my Web site which created a significant increase in my Google ranking”. Now when patients search for a dentist in her city, they see both her Web site and her profile on PatientFYI in the same search results, which gives her a larger online footprint and a tremendous advantage over other dentists that may have been pushed to subsequent pages. (Article continued below image)

Google image

Dr. Wakefield believes her presence on PatientFYI has added to the credibility of her practice. Patients are able to view information on her practice from an independent source, which includes referrals from her current patients. Her efforts to collect referrals have even strengthened her bond with her current patients and improved patient retention. “My patients react very favorably to the fact that I am both seeking their opinions and wanting to have them published for the local community.” More than one hundred patients have already completed and submitted Patient Experience Referrals, which puts Dr. Wakefield on track to exceed an 18% increase in patient retention. (Article continued below image)

PatientFYI image

Since Dr. Wakefield, like so many other dentists, is very busy treating patients, she doesn’t always have the time to step back and try to see her practice through her patients’ eyes. The referral program makes it easy to see which areas her practice is performing well in and which need improvement. This gives her another means of improving patient retention.

Dr. Wakefield also discovered that her license to use the PatientFYI logo has improved the effectiveness of her marketing efforts. She added the logo to her Web site and it’s now one of the most highly visited features. She also added the logo to all of her direct mail pieces and is displaying the PatientFYI Referred Certificate in her lobby. “It lets prospects feel confident in selecting me as their dentist”, said Dr. Wakefield.

Before PatientFYI, the only way patients could find out about the variety of technology and programs offered by Dr. Wakefield was if they happened to find her Web site. With PatientFYI’s eMatch feature, prospective patients are able to find her based on specific services she provides. “It works out well for me and the patient”.

Dr. Wakefield’s review of PatientFYI: highly favorable and highly recommended. “PatientFYI is an inexpensive way to provide immediate enhancements to all your marketing efforts” said Dr. Wakefield.

  • 100% increase in traffic to practice Web site
  • 977 visits to PatientFYI profile
  • Ranking on the first page of Google for Web site and PatientFYI profile
  • 104 patient referrals
  • More than 18% increase in patient retention Learn about the special offer from PatientFYI for Dentrix customers.

To see the special promotion from Patient FYI exclusively for Dentrix customers click here!

Author: Damon Graves
Published: 12/01/2009
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