How to do community outreach for patients

Basically, this breaks down into a few campaigns – mailing postcards, voicemail drops, sending SMS and a voice call from agents for the last mile.

Categorized as Marketing

You have various opportunities to reach out to patients that reside in neighborhoods surrounding your practice locations. Here, the success criteria is not “new appointments” per se. Your goal is to call, introduce your practice. This way, when the patient has a need, they have your phone number, speciality on hand, ready to go. They can even text you and have an SMS relationship with you.

  1. Use a healthcare CRM or prepare spreadsheets

    You can do most of these “automatically” if you are using a healthcare CRM and some automated patient communication software. Alternatively, prepare all the marketing data using spreadsheets.

  2. Decide on communication modes

    You can do one or more of the following – mail postcards, drop voicemail notes, or call each person. Leaving voicemail or not – that’s a choice you can make. I personally don’t like leaving VMs.

  3. Purchase consumer / people data around your locations

    You need contact information of consumers / people residing around your practice locations. Make sure you get data for folks that will / can actually travel to your office locations. There are many data providers that sell consumer lists. Ibuy prospect / people data from InfoUSA/DataAxle for the same.

  4. Create your postcard designs

    Keep it very simple, non salesy. Think of approaching this as “We can cure X, Y, Z. Should you ever face symptom A, B, C, please know that we are here to help you”.

  5. Set up delivery of your postcard mailers

    Use any one of the printing services that also provide mailing services. Do keep in mind that these costs add up. Have a fixed budget per month and send postcards each month.

  6. Register with DNC registrars

    Before you start using your data to call patients you will have to register with the Do not call registry as well. These are a few, very simple steps to take (guided by DNC registry) before you can actually start a community outreach campaign. However, once you take those steps, you are good to go for an entire year (they will give you a SAN and ORG ID).

  7. Follow up with voice notes or voice mail or calls

    I typically mail postcards, then the week after, we start calling those same people. In general, my approach is that a person should hear exactly twice from us each month. No more, no less. Community outreach is a volume game, and you need to arm your marketing team with a healthcare focused CRM.

  8. How did you hear about us?

    How would you know if your campaign is working? Make sure your front desk always asks “how did you hear about us”? I prefer a simpler approach because it is hard to ensure your front desk always captures the appropriate information. I always call from and send postcards with a phone number dedicated for this campaign. This way, when a patient calls, we know that it is from this campaign.

  9. Update your healthcare CRM or spreadsheets

    At each touchpoint, you have to update your spreadsheet (however you are keeping track of your campaign). Make sure you update this diligently each and every day/week.