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September 2013

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Practice Marketing

What New HIPAA Policies Mean for Your Site

As of September 23rd, the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule has been in place. We would like to take the time to inform you of what this rule means with respect to your ProSites website and email.

Our hosted email offering is similar to other popular email providers, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc. and does not encrypt emails. It remains compliant with the HIPAA Privacy Rule which requires “reasonable and appropriate” protection of electronically communicated Patient Health Information (PHI). It is at your discretion to determine what is “reasonable and appropriate” in communicating electronically with your patients.

Communication through the quick contact plug-ins and appointment request forms on your ProSites website is also fully compliant with HIPAA regulations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that should a patient initiate contact electronically, you can presume that such communication is “reasonable and appropriate” unless the patient states otherwise.

Please keep in mind that our email and website services are entirely compliant with federal regulations, but these policies may differ at the state level, so be sure you are compliant with local regulations as well.

For more information regarding the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule, please refer to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Social Media

Tips for Running a Facebook Contest

Facebook is one of the most effective avenues for doctors to market their practice, and gaining exposure on the social network has proven to increase new patient referrals. So, what is one of the quickest and most effective ways to increase your exposure on Facebook? Run a contest!

Increasing your exposure on Facebook works the same as most other social networks; the more your page and content are shared, the more prospective patients it reaches, and contests are frequently shared among Facebook Fans.

How to Get Started

Before running your contest, you first have to determine three things:

1.What are you willing to spend on the contest?

This will determine how much of your budget you have to spend on a prize and how much you need to allot for the costs to run it.

2.How will fans enter the contest?

The type of entry will, in part, determine the type of contest you run. Entries can be anything from a “Like” to a photo submission.

3.How long will my contest run?

Studies show the best length for a social media contest is 25 days.

What Type of Contest Should I Run?

There are many different types of contests, and you don’t want to make an entry overly complicated. Consider simplified entries, such as a page “Like” or tagging a photo with a predetermined hashtag. 

To have patients enter a photo contest using hashtags, ask patients to share photos that address a prompt, such as “I love my dentist because…”. Then have them share the photos with a coordinating hashtag, like “#ilovedrsmithbecause”. You will then be able to search Facebook for all images with your contest hashtag and can choose the winning photo.

Where Do I Share My Contest?

In accordance with Facebook’s new policy, you can post your contest on your timeline, or you can purchase a page app that runs your promotion for you.

If you decide to post your contest on your timeline, be sure to continue to re-post the contest entry rules throughout the extent of the contest, so new visitors can easily access the information.

If choosing a page app to run your contest for you, be sure you choose a reputable company, and don’t forget to factor the cost of the app into the total amount you want to invest in the contest.

Don’t Forget!

You must state within the rules of your contest that it is “in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered, or associated with Facebook.” You must also indemnify Facebook from any legal implication your contest may cause.

Don’t wait to get started, run your first contest now. The average business sees a 34% increase in page Likes when running a contest on Facebook; your practice could effortlessly extend your marketing reach!

 

Want to see an example of a Facebook contest? Enter ours now!

 

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Website Design

How to Choose an Effective Domain Name

Purchasing a domain name is the first step in setting up a new website, and when deciding what domain to choose, most people choose the first available name that crosses their mind.  What most people don’t consider are the repercussions of choosing an inferior domain name. 

To guide you in choosing your domain name, we’ve outlined the “do’s” and “don’ts” of choosing an effective web address:

Do: Make It Memorable

If a patient or prospective patient can’t remember your web address, how will they ever visit your website? Make sure your domain name can be easily spelled and recalled.

Example: www.doctormississippiana.com could easily be mispelled and forgotten. Try something like www.doctormdentist.com

Do: Be Brief

No one wants to type an extremely long domain name into their address bar. Keep your web address as brief as possible. This will also make it easier to remember.

Example: www.losangelespediatricandfamilydentisty.com is extremely long. www.LAPFD.com would be more effective.

Don’t: Choose Domain Names Other Than Dot-Com

When you purchase your domain name, you may be given the option to purchase the name with multiple suffixes, such as .biz or .net. You don’t need to worry about these other extensions; they’re unnecessary.

Example: www.thetemeculadentist.com is preferred over www.thetemeculadentist.biz or www.thetemeculadentist.us

Don’t: Infringe Upon Copyrights 

Whether intentional or not, infringing upon a copyright could result in unwanted legal fees. Research registered copyrights at Copyright.gov. 

Example: Disney has tons of copyrights. Do not try to purchase a domain name such as www.disneydentist.com that could potentially be confused with their brand.

Do: Avoid Useless Adjectives

Contrary to popular belief, injecting adjectives, such as “best” or “top” in your domain name doesn’t establish you as credible or authoritative. In fact, it tends to have the opposite effect, making Internet users more likely to question your trustworthiness.

Example: Avoid www.bestnorthwestdentist.com and use www.northwestdentist.com instead.

Keep in Mind – Domains Won’t Help SEO 

Regardless of what you’ve been told previously, Google has stated multiple times that there isn’t a fast track to improving your optimization with a domain name.  Purchasing a domain name infused with popular keywords and phrases has little-to-no effect on your optimization. You’re much better off choosing a domain name branded to your practice.

When purchasing a new domain, it’s important to keep these factors in mind, as they could result in more web traffic and could make it easier to establish a universal online marketing strategy for your practice.

If you have questions about buying your new domain name, feel free to contact one of our website consultants at 888-932-3644.

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Practice Marketing

5 Internet Security Tips for Your Practice

It should come as no surprise that digital theft has surpassed physical theft as the most common form of fraud. And, now you not only have to worry about your practice’s security, but you also have to be concerned about protecting the privacy of patient’s health information per HIPAA regulations. With that, safeguarding your practice’s Internet connection has become even more critical.  

While installing anti-virus software is important, it’s not an end-all-be-all for computer security. Here are the top five security concerns your practice should address immediately:

1. Secure Your Wi-Fi Network – When you first set up your Internet service, your provider likely gave you a password protected router. Most service providers, such as Verizon, paste the password directly on the router, making it easy for anyone to connect to your network. It is best to change this default password to something only you and your staff know, and be sure not to share the password with non-employees.

If you wish to offer free WI-FI in your practice, you should setup a separate router for free Internet access.

2. Make Your Passwords Impossible – Your passwords should contain a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and at least one symbol.  Simple passwords can be hacked in seconds, while more complex passwords could take hackers months, even years, to solve. 

It’s also a good idea to have employees change their passwords about every 6 to 8 weeks.

3. Backup Your Information – Any documents concerning the day-to-day functioning of your practice should be backed up and stored on a secure server or in the cloud. This will prevent your practice from being effected should a virus ever destroy your computer.

4. Control Computer Access Among Employees – Set up separate user accounts for each employee, requiring each individual to log in the computer they intend to use. This will allow you to track employee activities and limit access to documents not pertinent to them.

Also, make sure employees log out of their computers when leaving the office to prevent an unauthorized user from accessing your files.

5. Limit Authority to Install New Software – Along with controlling access, be sure to set limitations that prevent employees from installing new software. Many viruses and spyware are transferred to a computer via a download or software installation. Limiting controls can prevent your employees from mistakenly downloading malware.

If your practice isn’t making an effort to protect your information, you could be headed for a digital meltdown. Protect the future of your practice by implementing these simple security measures.

Have questions about the security of your ProSites website? Learn more about the security of our Business Class Hosting here.

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Website Design

Top 3 Reasons Patients Choose Competitors

Approximately 70% of doctors now have a web presence, and the struggle to stand out online has become increasingly difficult. If you’re in a competitive market, you know how the tiniest advantage in your services can be a huge differentiator between you and your competitors. And, if you’re having difficulty winning over new prospects with your website, these three reasons may be to blame: 

Reason #1: You don’t have a mobile website.

Why a mobile website is a must:

• 47% of smartphone owners rely on their phones to find information about products and services.

• 61% of people have a better opinion of a company when they offer an enjoyable mobile experience.

• 74% of consumers will wait 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site.

• 61% of mobile users who find your practice through mobile search end up calling the practice.

• If a mobile user is not happy with your mobile website, 40% of the time they will visit a competitor’s website instead.

• 9 out of 10 mobile searches results in a visit to the practice.

Reason #2: Your website makes it difficult for patients to contact you.

Why you need contact information:

• Your contact information should be on every single page of your website, making it easy for prospective patients to contact you as soon as they want to schedule an appointment.

• Consider including a contact form, which has been shown to increase new patient opportunities by 6% each month.

Reason #3: You don’t have online reviews, or your online reviews are unfavorable.

How online reviews help:

• 90% of consumers say their choices in contracted services are influenced by online reviews.

• 85% of people say they are more likely to hire services when they can find online reviews about them.

• 85% of people research services online before they decide to make a purchase or hire someone.

• 76% of people consider online reviews when deciding which local business to use.

• 70% of people who read online reviews share them with friends, family, and colleagues.

Making simple adjustments to your website may increase the amount of new patient referrals your online presence generates. 

Keep in mind, after you acquire a new patient from your website, you should follow up with outstanding customer service. 56% of consumers report their first customer service interaction with the practice determines whether they will be a repeat patient.

If you would like to learn more about acquiring positive online reviews, please download your free white paper. Or, if you would like to learn more about a new mobile website, please contact us at 888-932-3644. •

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Search Marketing

Free White Paper: Boost Your Rankings

As search engines continue to adapt their algorithms to provide the best results for Internet users, the optimization technique of generating backlinks has changed immensely. While a strong backlink portfolio is still an important ranking factor, emphasis has been placed on building quality links to your site. Gone is the day where an easy paid link boosted your site’s optimization.

Whether your website ranks at the top of search engine results or several pages in, taking a closer look at your backlink portfolio now could help your site adjust to future changes in search engine algorithms.

 

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