“Our tracking has shown that in just 9 months, we generated almost a million dollars in net revenue. Using digital marketing initiatives to bring new patients into the system who may not connect with us in traditional ways is essential, as is tying our digital initiatives to return on marketing expense. We’re now armed with impressive data that proves that offering online appointment requests and other web-based tools are essential components of our marketing spend and a significant contributor to top-line revenue generation.”
Jaimie Somlai, Director – Digital Marketing
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare
When you have great doctors, you like to show them off.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare of Southeast Wisconsin has great doctors, but was concerned about the lack of reviews on sites like Healthgrades and ZocDoc. In their experience, only a handful of their doctors had profiles with ratings and reviews on those sites, and none of the providers had enough feedback to be statistically significant.
In addition, Wheaton Franciscan’s marketing team knew consumers were using ratings and reviews as a decision support tool both inside and outside healthcare. And, they knew that with changes in healthcare reform, those consumers will only become more active in decision making as they are asked to cover more and more of their own healthcare expenditures.
For Wheaton Franciscan, these two issues made launching their own provider ratings and reviews more important than ever. They partnered with Geoentric, their digital marketing agency, to make it happen.
Investing in Online Provider Promotion
In the year before launching ratings and reviews, the Wheaton Franciscan team made a number of enhancements to the way the organization promoted doctors on their website. Some were small changes, like giving the Find a Physician section more prominence in the main navigation and adding icons to search results to indicate if the doctor is accepting new patients or offers extended hours.
Some changes were larger, such as implementing online appointment requests. Wheaton Franciscan heavily promotes doctors and the medical group in print and radio ads, and uses the online provider directory in VitalSite as the conversion point for both traditional and digital marketing campaigns. To ensure a seamless transition from the online appointment request submission to scheduling, the marketing team trained office managers at all locations to use the provider directory and set up needed email notifications and workflow processes.
Another larger initiative involved giving provider profiles an update. From adding videos to writing compelling bios, Wheaton Franciscan revised their provider profiles to help visitors learn as much as they can about a doctor before meeting them in person. In addition to information about how the doctor delivers care, the profiles also provide useful information such as office hours and location.
In just a few months of tracking online appointment requests, Wheaton Franciscan saw a 27.2% increase in page views from sessions starting with organic search, and 49.1% increase in goal completions for “Appointment Requests—Physicians” with visitors from organic search. But even more impressive, their efforts brought in 740 new appointment requests, including almost 400 patients who are new to the system. This translated to $1 million net revenue in 9 months, more than covering their entire digital-marketing budget.
Building Trust through Provider Ratings
For the next phase of their provider promotion strategy, Wheaton Franciscan and Geonetric added online ratings and reviews. Using existing data from more than 25,000 Press Ganey patient satisfaction surveys, Wheaton Franciscan implemented a provider rating system to tell a more balanced story of their physicians online. The organization’s already impressive doctor profile pages now show patient ratings on a 5-star scale, as well as patient comments screened for potential privacy and content concerns. In the background, the Goenetric team also added Schema.org markup, helping search engines better understand and rank provider profiles.
Wheaton Franciscan’s investment in provider ratings and reviews paid off on Google, with the organization seeing a 55% increase in URLs ranked 1-4 on search results pages. It also paid off in their Southeastern Wisconsin market. Wheaton Franciscan was the first of their competitors to offer health consumers ratings and reviews, giving them a valuable first-mover advantage.
Connecting Online Provider Promotion with Downstream Revenue