What’s a good HIPAA compliant email marketing service to use?

what's a good hipaa compliant email servcice to use?

 

Selecting an email service can be one giant headache that keeps many healthcare providers from venturing into email marketing.

A question that usually comes up is:

“What’s a good HIPAA compliant email marketing service to use?”

There are hundreds of email service providers (ESP) to choose from and not one that’s perfect for every situation.

Some email services are designed specifically for healthcare, there are applications for business use that can be modified to be HIPAA capable and there are ones not HIPAA compliant that should never be used.

Listed below are several free email services that are NOT HIPAA compliant:

  • Gmail- Probably the most commonly used email program in the world is not HIPAA compliant. Google’s G Suite can be set up to be HIPAA capable. 
  • Microsoft Outlook- Microsoft’s free email and calendar tools are not HIPAA compliant. The business version in Office 365 can be made HIPAA capable.
  • Yahoo Mail- Known for its ability to integrate email, social networking and instant messaging is not compliant.
  • Apple Mail- Users of Apple devices are probably familiar with Apple’s email program. It is another free email program not suitable for healthcare communications.

Before we jump into my suggestions on selecting an email marketing service, I need to clearly state a disclaimer.

I’m not a HIPAA expert. I am not a lawyer nor do I have any HIPAA certifications. I recommend that you discuss any decision you make that includes protected health information (PHI) with an attorney that specializes in HIPPA compliance or is a certified compliance expert like Rick Gawenda from Gawenda Seminars. 

In previous articles, I covered the best practices for getting started with email marketing and the do’s and don’ts of email marketing in a therapy practice. Read those articles to get an understanding the important issues to address with email marketing as a healthcare business. I put together a quick start guide for selecting a HIPAA compliant email marketing service that narrows down your choices.   Get your HOW-TO Guide on Choosing an HIPAA Email Service

5 Best Practices for Getting Started with Email Marketing

Email Marketing Best Practices

 

Are you finding it harder to get patients from traditional referral sources?

All the strategies to hold down healthcare costs are beginning to take a toll on private practice owners. Overhead expenses continue to rise, and profit margins shrink. Both take a significant bite out of therapists salaries.

Raising your fees really doesn’t do any good because no one expects United Healthcare to raise reimbursement rates anytime soon. They haven’t for the last 20 years so why should they now.  (Don’t get me started on that). 

Direct access doesn’t happen overnight. Less reliance on physician referrals hasn’t been a smooth transition for most clinics. 

A new set of marketing and technological skills are needed. 

Practice owners are looking for cost-effective ways to attract and retain patients that are a good fit for their practices.

You’ve probably heard the latest buzz about how easy and inexpensive it is to advertise with ads on Facebook and Google. Before you jump on the bandwagon and spend your hard earned cash on advertising you really don’t understand, consider this.

Nearly half of the world’s population is predicted to be using email by 2020. 

That means most of your patients will be using email as a primary method of communication to an ever-widening circle of people including their healthcare providers.  

Patients have demanded more transparency, value, and personalization from their healthcare providers, progressive owners have adapted.

New technology and best practices for email marketing help therapists to revamp their growth strategies in this new landscape.

As a result, email marketing has become a vital part of a growing therapy practice. Any therapist who is not using email is missing a prime opportunity to improve patient care and have a bottom-line impact.

Any therapist not using email is missing a prime opportunity to improve patient care and have a bottom-line impact.Click To Tweet

However, there’s more to email marketing than meets the eye.

Patient Retention: Hidden Revenue in Your Therapy Practice

PATIENT RETENTION

 

In recent conversations with practice owners, I sensed more anxiety on how to keep their businesses profitable.

Downward pressure on healthcare costs (including therapists’ incomes) has owners looking for ways to generate more revenues to offset rising overhead expenses.(therapists pay for health insurance too)

Some therapists are cranking up the “referral machine” to treat more patients per hour through assistants and techs. Numerous practices are becoming high volume dependent to make ends meet.

A hurried pace with an overbooked schedule can lead to staff burnout, patient dissatisfaction, and missing potential income right under our noses. Let me ask you an honest question.

What would you say will be the most significant driver of your practice’s growth over the next 1-3 years?

If you answered more referrals, you’re probably mistaken.

Most likely, it’s probably retaining patients you already have for a lifetime, according to a KPMG survey.

This article takes a look at this hidden source of income and how to make it yours.

I’ll help you understand how to improve your patient retention and identify actions that might result in producing more revenue.

Do’s & Don’ts of Email Marketing In a Therapy Practice

do's and dont's of email marketing in a therapy practice.

 

In one sense, you’ve probably already been using email to develop your therapy practice. Before you had a website or a Facebook account you used email to communicate with colleagues and reach out to prospects.

It’s been nearly 50 years since Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with inventing email sent the first message. After I received an American Online free trial CD in the mail in 1996, I set up my first AOL account and heard my first “You’ve Got Mail” greeting.

Like most of you, I’ve become dependent on email as my primary mode of communication in my personal life and business. 

Typically, the usefulness of a tech tool fades over time but not so with email. To this day email remains the preferred way to communicate with friends, family, and business associates all over the globe.

A recent study by Adestra reports that 73 percent of Millennials prefer businesses communicate with them via email. Also, nearly half of respondents used email to make purchases online.

Email is a fantastic way to communicate with our patients. A growing number of our patients prefer to hear from their therapists by way of email.

A growing number of patients prefer to hear from their therapists by way of email. It's a fantastic way to connect.Click To Tweet

How to Corner the Market As A Trusted Expert

How to corner the market

 

When therapists struggle to fill their schedules they dream about being so well respected that patients flock to them. They believe the fallacy that if they just went to another seminar or earned another certification then the public would recognize them as an expert. They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.

They would somehow “corner the market” because no one else does therapy like them and gets the same results.

We see course instructors that have mastered knowledge of a subject matter and seemingly have successful practices. When in reality they have learned how to give presentations and make money doing it. This may or may not translate into a steady stream of patients waiting for them when they return.

 

Self-proclaimed experts

 

In these days of social media boasting, it seems like everyone is a self-proclaimed expert. It’s becoming more difficult to establish yourself as a true expert from all the pretenders out there. The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert. That designation is for other people to determine not you.

The number one rule of becoming an expert is to never call yourself an expert.Click To Tweet

The first step in becoming a recognized expert is to acknowledge that you are not going to help everyone in your community who needs you. There will always be people who do not choose you. Be honest with yourself, why don’t people choose you?

Be especially careful of any idealized self-image that can come with being a healer. It’s a huge persona to live up to and traps many therapists in a lifelong delusion. The more you are unaware of protecting your professional image, the more it will hinder important self-examination of why people don’t choose you.

But some people do choose you. Why?

What is Patient Relationship Management?

PATIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

 

Do you take your patients for granted?

 

When I think about the absolute essentials of a thriving therapy practice. Three essentials come to mind:

  1. Remarkable patient experience
  2. Remarkable provider-patient relationships
  3. Remarkable profit margin

In all of these factors, relationships play a vital role. You might say its all about relationships.

Unfortunately in the hurried pace of healthcare sometimes therapists take patients for granted. Some therapists have allowed the minutiae of insurance demands and government regulations to crowd the most important predictor of practice success–positive patient relationships.

Therapists tend to focus their resources on getting new referrals rather than retaining current patients for life. Choosing where to invest your energy and time can be challenging, especially when it comes to marketing. It’s tempting to look beyond investing in the patient relationship right in front of you to a referral stream that’s “out there someplace”. In reality, every one of your patients has the potential to become a referral source.

Some of you may believe you already know what your patients want and that you deliver exceptional service. But have you ever asked them what they think of your scheduling process, your payment policies or their satisfaction with the care they received from your assistants?

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

A loyal patient is not made just through great therapy outcomes, though obviously, results do matter. It’s paying attention to the essential details that make patients’ entire experience at your clinic exceptional. In order for your clinic to stand out from the competition, you’ll need to strive to execute the practice essentials with every patient.

The question is how do I do this with so many demands on my time?

How To Read Your Patients’ Minds

how to read your patient's minds

Don’t you wish you could read your patients’ minds?

At times it would be helpful to know what people are thinking and feeling when we interact with them. We do our best to motivate them to check out our services or follow through with their plan of care. Too often they just don’t seem to get it and we have no clue why.

Here’s what a prospective patient with back pain might be saying to themselves…

“Severe back pain just hit me again, and I’m anxious that I’ll have to take time off from work.

I can’t decide if I want to see a therapist or a chiropractor, I’ve heard good and bad things about both. Next, if I go with a therapist, I must decide which one.

I do a quick Google search and see there are two clinics the same distance from my work so I base my decision on which clinic has the easiest way to schedule an appointment; I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the phone.(which my boss hates)

An important factor for people like me when deciding where to get healthcare, is can I trust them. What’s their bedside manner like? How much time will it take? How much will cost? What will they do to me?

The problem for us is we don’t know what the experience will be like until we’re already there. That makes me a little anxious but this pain is killing me.

While I definitely prefer physical therapy to chiropractors, I also value my time, and I’m not going to spend a half a day just to get some help. I want the total experience to be something I can live with and afford.”

If a therapist created a patient journey map for this acute back pain patient they could quickly see an opportunity to capitalize on prospects who want to take the hassle out of healthcare. Creating a patient journey map can be a challenge but is well worth the effort.

Lifecycle Marketing – How to Grow your Practice and Feel Good about It

Lifecycle Markeing

 

There are a lot of people who want your money

There are a lot of marketers on the Internet who want to take your money. They promise you how to effortlessly get a steady stream of patients–in exchange for your hard earned cash. Their pitch goes something like this…

 

How Bob Got 22 New Patients In One Hour

By Doing Just “One Thing” Really Well

 

It sounds too good to be true (probably is) but the headline still grabs you. You’re vulnerable, you’ve tried marketing but have nagging doubts you’re doing it right. You’re passionate and good at what you do but this marketing thing is frustrating.

You say to yourself, “It can’t be that hard, I’m intelligent, after all, I made it through graduate school, didn’t I?” Somehow if people knew you and understood how you could help them, your schedule would be packed.

None-the-less, new referrals trickle in and you still have open slots in your schedule. Growing your practice sure seems a lot harder than it should be and it takes forever to see any results.

In a weak moment, when patient visits are down you buy the guru’s book or sign up for a training program. You might even fly to a conference in another city. You jump head first into the hottest marketing program, put in the work and see some initial progress.

But then you hit the wall.

You find things not adding up like you had hoped. The marketing tactics don’t feel right. They feel way too pushy and unprofessional. They take too much time away from patient care and your personal life. Trust me I’ve been down that road a couple of times.

Those of us who have lived most of our careers in the healthcare ecosystem have a limited perspective on attracting people who need our services. We have lived so long under the physician referral system it’s hard to see getting patients any other way.

What we need is a fresh perspective on attracting and keeping new patients. Let’s take a new look on how to attract, connect and delight new patients through a process called lifecycle marketing.

Success- What Happens If It’s Not What You Think It Is?

How Do You Define Success?

 

I don’t think that anyone wakes up in the morning wishing that today would be a total waste. Nobody has the deep down desire to fail, although many do.

I believe that most therapists want to be successful in life/work/family regardless of how they define success. I also believe that the way success is most commonly defined is mistaken.

How do you define success?

Perhaps this article originally published by my course building coach Leslie Taylor will help.

First Impressions: How To Make A Remarkable One

Use Intake Q To Craft A Remarkable Onboarding Experience

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

 

We often think of first impressions of being when we come face-to-face with our clients for the first time. It usually goes something like this…a new evaluation appears on our schedules, we glance at the chart before we open the door, we greet the new patient by name and introduce ourselves. Perhaps we smile and shake their hand before we sit down on a stool to take their medical history.

The first impression right?

All of us want to create a good first impression with our patients. The rest of the treatment experience goes better if we get off to a good start. Unfortunately, we don’t know where first impressions come from nor do we know exactly when they happen. Somewhere in the patient experience, an impression is made about your practice that sticks with your patient long after they leave your clinic.

Influencing patients’ first impressions will go a long way in determining outcomes, loyalty and what they share with others. To probe a little deeper into creating positive first impressions and simple ways we might influence them I’ve invited someone that I admire that does this very well. He naturally and consistently forms good impressions on most of the people he encounters. 

I’d like to introduce you to a guest author and good friend, Tom Kruse. Not the movie star but a physical therapist who is a rock star to those who know him well. I thought you all would benefit from hearing from therapists who are making an impact like yourself in your own quiet way. I’m blessed to interact with change makers on a weekly basis. Periodically I will provide them this platform to share their stories. 

Probably like you, Tom is a therapy entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in the world. He successfully launched his practice in 2015 which has been growing steadily ever since. 

Tom felt called to leave corporate therapy after 15 years to start his own practice. Even though highly successful at his previous employer, he found the pace difficult to sustain and less rewarding. He was getting home late for family dinners, shouldering more administrative responsibilities and had a gnawing feeling he wasn’t providing the best care he could.