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Private Practice Marketing Strategy

Private Practice Marketing Strategy: Are You Way Behind?

If you’re way behind in marketing your private practice (like most private practice owners), here’s a step-by-step plan to rescue your marketing plan today.

It’s a sad fact that most private practice owners leave marketing tasks somewhere at the bottom of their to-do lists.

What’s even worse is that most of them don’t even have a comprehensive marketing plan—so whatever marketing does happen, it’s chaotic and ineffective.

Every week that you ignore marketing is another week that your private practice falls behind. That means your competitors are out there winning over YOUR patients while you look the other way.

It goes without saying that this is not the way to build a sustainable private practice.

Here are the simple steps to rescuing your private practice marketing so that you and your business can thrive in the long term.

Schedule planning time for marketing. Put it on your calendar. Ideally, you’d be devoting a few minutes to this every day. If that seems impossible right now, try an hour a week to start. Make it an uninterrupted hour when no one else is around, whether that means an early morning or a late evening for you.

Know your marketing budget. Most private practice owners pick a figure out of the air when it comes to allotting a marketing budget. Others ignore the budget concept altogether and simply spend a little here and a little there. To do this right, you absolutely must know what you’re willing and able to spend.

Define your marketing goals, long term and short term. It’s not enough to have an idea of what you’d like to do to market your private practice; you have to understand WHY you intend to do it and what the intended outcome will be.

Consider the ways that you can improve internal marketing opportunities. Before you spend money on ads or any external marketing approach, look at the missed opportunities in terms of your existing patient base. What can you do right now to improve customer service and increase referrals?

Improve your website. Your online presence is the number one way you’re putting yourself out there. If a prospective patient is compelled by an ad to go to your website, but then the patient is confused or turned off by what he/she finds on your site, you’ve lost an opportunity.

Find effective ways to track the ROI of your marketing efforts. Don’t throw your private practice marketing funds down the drain by never assessing how well each promotional effort has worked. If you don’t know what has already proven effective (and what bombed), how will you know what to do next?

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

 

Your Private Practice Needs Serious Help

Private Practice Owners Must Use Content Marketing Effectively (Here’s Why It Matters)

For private practice owners, effective content marketing can make or break your long-term success.

You’ve heard about “content marketing” and that private practice owners should be using it to build their businesses. But do you really know what content marketing means—or why it’s so important to the long-term success of your private practice?

In short, content marketing means that through your online presence (your website, your social media accounts, and so on), you are providing valuable information to potential and current patients. The goal is to enrich their lives through building a teaching relationship with them.

There are several reasons why private practice owners absolutely must embrace content marketing and use it effectively for private practice building.

Your content enhances your branding. There is much, much more to branding for private practice owners than just your logo and website design. Every message you share with your local audience enhances and develops your brand by emphasizing the ways that you serve patients and the community.

Patients are constantly looking for information online, and they are eager to find a trusted source. Private practice owners can use effective content to capture the attention of their ideal patients, not just right now, but for the long term.

Great content marketing is about building relationships. Rather than focusing on the interests and specialties of private practice owners, it emphasizes the needs and interests of the audience—your prospective patients. In other words, content marketing isn’t a monologue; it’s a conversation.

Content marketing is an opportunity for private practice owners to use storytelling as a way to engage audiences and humanize providers. Human beings love stories, and potential patients will feel a bond with you when they read relevant personal information and hear significant information in your “voice.” These patients will follow you over time, and they’ll tell others about you.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

Private Practice on the Web: Does Your Website Have These Essential Features?

In private practice, your website has to have specific components in order to effectively draw in new patients.

Here’s a fact: Most patients these days are finding medical providers online. Even if you’re recommended by someone else, there’s a good chance that new patients are going to take a look at your website before calling to make that first appointment.

We’ve put together a list of the most essential features that your private practice website needs to act as a beacon for growing your practice.

Your private practice website should:

  • Load almost instantly. People won’t wait for more than a few seconds to see what’s there.
    Offer up-to-date and useful content for patients. You need to be adding new content, whether it’s a blog or a library of articles, several times monthly.
  • Allow you to track who visits, what they click on, and other metrics. This is key to knowing what you need to change on your private practice site. Without data, you’re just guessing.
  • Include links to your presence on social media sites such as Facebook. Ideally, every blog post or article also has a “share” link so that patients can tell others about your content.
  • Provide a “call to action” on every page. Sometimes this is an actual action you’d like the viewer to take, such as calling for an appointment. Sometimes it’s just nudging readers to click on a different page in order to keep them on the site.
  • Use appropriate keywords, but in an organic and natural-sounding way. If you don’t have the right keywords, search engines will ignore your private practice site. But if the content on your website seems forced or irrelevant because it’s too focused on keyword usage, then both human readers and Google will lose interest. Balance is key.
  • Work correctly in every browser and on mobile devices. It’s imperative to test your website on multiple browsers and viewing devices. You’d be surprised at how many potential patients are looking at your website on their smart phone or a tablet, and it’s a real turn-off if your site looks awful in a mobile format.

Overwhelmed by all this technical stuff? Even private practice owners need to get up to speed on the world of online marketing in order to survive and thrive. But you don’t have to go it alone.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

4 Local SEO Tips for Your Private Practice

The only thing better than great SEO for your private practice website is targeted local SEO. Here are 4 simple ways to attract local traffic to your practice website.

For most in healthcare-related private practice, it’s essential not only to rank highly in search engine results but also to rank for local search. Your patients want the best provider—and they want someone nearby.

Is your private practice website helping you garner local SEO results?

SEO is, of course Search Engine Optimization. Put simply, your website needs to have key information strategically placed for Google and other search engines to find it.

Here are 4 effective ways to get noticed by search engines so that local patients will find you.

1. Add relevant local detail to your provider bio on your private practice About Us page.

In addition to the usual details about your training, specialty interests, and family or hobbies, be sure to include information about local civic duties, which local sports team you’re rooting for, and the like. This kind of information will endear you to any potential patient reading the page, and it will also attract more attention from Google.

2. Get listed in local profiles for each search engine.

You’re missing out if your private practice website isn’t listed with sites like Bing Places, Google+ Business, Yelp, and Yahoo! Local. Sure, it takes a little time to set up, but it’s free—and you’ll be glad you did.

3. Add fresh content to your private practice website on a regular basis.

Search engines hate stale, out-of-date websites. Even if you don’t have a blog on your site, you can add new pages featuring useful articles and other information. The more often you update your site with great content, the better you’ll rank. Whenever you see an opportunity to organically include local keywords, do it!

4. Make good use of pages on your private practice site with local contact information.

Instead of simply attaching a map, write out the directions to your office from major roads in the area. Instead of only offering an 800 number, provide a phone number with a local area code. Even a little detail like including the time zone in your stated hours of operation will help the search engines recognize your location.

SEO may seem complicated and overwhelming at times—or perhaps it’s something that you tend to let others handle for you. At any rate, it’s important to know that just a few simple tweaks to your private practice website can help more local patients find you online.

If you’ve found this information helpful, why not consider how much further your private practice could reach with help from a trusted expert who’s been there? Click here to read more about our mentoring and coaching programs.

Mobile Marketing for Private Practice Owners

Private Practice SEO: What You Need to Know

In private practice, SEO is vital to understand. Here’s what you need to know about search engine optimization for your business.

As a private practice owner, you know that getting high-quality traffic to your website is important for new referrals and your professional reputation. But you may have been tempted to think, “I don’t have to understand that keyword stuff. I can leave the private practice SEO mumbo-jumbo to my website guy.”

This is a huge mistake. Sure, let your website guy handle the tech details, but as the owner and director of your private practice, SEO and keyword optimization are ultimately up to you.

The good news is, even if sometime it seems that private practice SEO is a tricky business, the basic components are fairly easy to understand.

What it all comes down to is that the best private practice website in the world is totally useless if patients can’t find it.

Here are a few of the most basic concepts behind private practice SEO. There are a lot of great guides out there online (and, of course, a lot of trash as well), but this will get you started in getting your business onto Google’s first page of results for your keyword.

The right SEO keyword phrase

First, you’ll need to make sure that you optimize for the keyword phrase that will bring the right search traffic to your site. In general, it needs to be local and specific, such as “Baltimore physical therapist.” You’ll need to do keyword research with a tool like Google Adwords—what sounds like a great keyword phrase to you may not be what potential patients are actually typing into the search bar.

Using your keyword often enough (but not too often)

You want your keyword to appear throughout your site. If not, search engines won’t pay attention. On the other hand, using a keyword too often, an outdated practice known as “keyword stuffing,” is the worst thing you can do for private practice SEO and will actually harm your chances of Google ranking your site highly.

Active content on your website

Having a private practice blog or adding regularly to a library of informative topic-based articles is a great way to keep your site fresh. It’s also an opportunity to add in keywords in appropriate places, and search engines will notice. Just make sure that you’re adding quality content that new patients will want to read.

Fast loading times

Don’t let your web designer make your site too Flash-heavy. These kinds of applications make your site look great, but they increase the time it takes for the site to load. That will hurt you in terms of private practice SEO results, and it may also drive away the traffic that you’re working so hard to attract.

Private practice SEO can be tricky to get right, and it’s an ever-changing target. That’s why it’s important to stay up-to-date and become part of a network of private practice owners who get regular training on essential business concepts.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

Private Practice Website Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs

Your private practice website is so much more than a professional calling card. Does your site measure up to patient expectations?

The worst mistake you can make as a private practice owner is to stop marketing when your practice is comfortably full. And the very worst kind of marketing slump nearly always involves your private practice website.

Maybe you don’t have a website at all. Maybe there’s a rudimentary site in place, but it’s not complete. Or maybe you set it up so long ago that the site is visually outdated. Any of these problems will turn away new patients in a heartbeat.

Patients know that effective private practice owners maintain an active, up-to-date website. Not just a fancy business card with one phone number and an auto-link to Mapquest in lieu of directions to the office.

Today’s patients are web savvy, and their expectations are high. They expect your site to be interactive, allowing them to schedule their appointment online. They expect to get a clear sense of who you are as a specialist—more than just a generic headshot (or worse, a blurry snapshot of your staff). They’re looking for a blog or a library of informative articles.

Does your site measure up?

Remember, your website is either actively attracting your ideal patients, or it’s driving them away. There is no neutral ground.

If you don’t have an effective and engaging website, it’s a sure bet that one of your competitors does have one… and that’s where your potential new patients are going, right after they click away from your site.
How does your website measure up to the best of what’s out there?

Like any other aspect of private practice, your website is not an area in which you can effectively go it alone. Isn’t it time to seek out a mentor for those areas of private practice where you’re weakest?

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

 

Private Practice Owners Must Avoid This Practice-Killing Marketing Error

For Private Practice Owners, These Deadly Sins of Marketing Could Topple Your Profitable Business 

Private practice owners often do it all. In addition to clinical work with patients, they juggle office management, administrative tasks, payroll, and customer service. Marketing might seem to fall pretty far down on the list.

Without effective marketing, though, your private practice won’t be around long. Private practice owners can’t afford to ignore the realities of marketing in today’s business environment.

What worked 20 or 50 years ago, perhaps even 5 to 10 years ago, simply won’t cut it today.

I see so many private practice owners whose marketing strategies are practically doomed because of three simple but damaging mistakes:

  • Focusing the advertising message on you as the provider—your credentials, training, clinical equipment, or areas of interest—rather than on the patient’s immediate needs.
  • Simply listing data or jargon related to office equipment or procedures, as if the average reader will know or care what these things mean.
  • Detailing every single thing that you offer to every kind of customer, so that no one thing stands out among the rest (and you look like every provider out there).

So, let’s take a look at the opposites of these major errors, so that you can determine what you SHOULD do to improve your advertising efforts. In sum, effective marketing for private practice owners must include these key factors:

  • Targeting a specific type of service to a limited audience
  • Making the advertising message about the customer, not about you as the service provider
  • Explaining exactly why and how your state-of-the-art equipment will benefit the customer

Following these three very effective tenets of marketing will take you far beyond your current advertising efforts.

I invite you to visit here frequently for more tips about creating a sustainable private practice!

I wish you the best along your journeys!

Want to learn more about how to build your private practice?

Then Join my team experts for a free strategy session HERE

Have a great day!

The PPW team

Does Your Private Practice Website Need a Facelift?

Does Your Private Practice Website Need a Facelift—Or an Overhaul?

If you’re thinking of updating your private practice website, be aware: it’s not enough for your site just to look better.

Too often, private practice owners make the mistake of confusing beauty and brawn when it comes to their websites.

In other words, it’s not enough to give an outdated website a facelift when what it probably needs is a full structural overhaul. Your website has to do a lot of “heavy lifting” as a marketing tool.

Yes, your site needs to look good. It should be easy on the eyes, visually compelling, and easy to navigate. But there’s so much more to an effective private practice website.

For instance:

It needs to load quickly. You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of potential new patients. If the first few seconds are taken up by loading, those people will click away and find another site that meets their needs.

It needs to show up well on mobile devices. If your site uses a template designed five or more years ago, it will not be mobile friendly. Not many but MOST people are searching for private practice information on their phones or other mobile devices. If your site appears tiny, is hard to navigate, or doesn’t flow well with the way mobile users operate, you’ve lost them.

It needs high-quality content that follows current SEO guidelines. People are searching for specific information. When you can offer that information and even more, they’ll stay on your site longer and want to contact you for help.

It needs a way to capture email addresses and build a mailing list. You need to know who’s reading and be able to provide additional content to them on an ongoing basis.

It needs a call to action (persuasive but not pushy) on every single page and blog post.

Is your private practice website a true marketing tool, or just a pretty face?

We support private practice owners on tough marketing and sustainability questions like these in our mentoring and coaching programs.

 

Make Your Private Practice Website Mobile Friendly (Or Else)

Is Google’s new mobile friendly revolution going to demolish your private practice website traffic?

Google recently announced that as of April 21, 2015, websites that aren’t mobile friendly will be penalized in search engine rankings.

What does this mean for your private practice website? In short, you need to make your site mobile friendly or risk losing a significant amount of search engine traffic.

Just consider how many people you know use their smartphones or other mobile devices to access information on the Internet. Until now, it’s been the case that you had to worry about losing site visitors quickly if your website was not easy to view on a smart phone. But after April 21, those visitors may never make it to your site at all, thanks to new algorithms that detect mobile friendly qualities in the site itself.

Here are some of the key elements of a mobile friendly private practice website:

  • Simplicity. Lack of visual clutter is vital when it comes to mobile friendly design. If your current site features columns of information, be aware that those columns will probably disappear on a mobile device, leading to lots and lots of scrolling for the visitor and no sense of site navigation.
  • Easy to read and touch. You’ll want large standard fonts, as well as buttons that are big and easy to select with a finger. And for vital information like your phone number or address, make sure it’s linked. Don’t make potential patients copy and paste an address or phone number in order to find you—they won’t bother.
  • Crystal clear menu options. A mobile visitor will not be able to grasp the message of your private practice website “at a glance” by scanning the entire home page. That means you’ll need to make navigation super-easy by giving menu options an easily understandable name: Contact, About Us, Services.

Hint: Try out your site on your own mobile device. What parts are difficult or frustrating? Fix those first.

Your private practice website is just one essential part of an effective marketing strategy. For help with these sticky issues, check out 12 Secrets of Private Practice Mastery.

 

Private Practice and the New Word of Mouth Process

Private Practice and the New “Word of Mouth”

Does your private practice leverage the power of today’s “word of mouth?

Sometimes private practice owners seem to pine for the old days, when marketing simply took care of itself through an organic “word of mouth” process. Existing patients would tell their friends and family about you, and you’d get a phone call from those new patients based on nothing except your reputation for good clinical work.

That’s an attractive model because it is entirely passive on the part of the private practice owner. Just focus on being a good clinician, and patients will come!

Unfortunately, if it ever worked that way in days past, it certainly doesn’t work that way anymore. The passive private practice owner will not be in business for long.

That’s because today’s patient is well-informed, has high expectations of your marketing efforts, and has many local options other than your private practice.

The “word of mouth” process can still be a powerful one, but the process has changed. Now, almost without exception, the Internet is the middle man between you and new patients.

These days, when a patient speaks well of you to family and friends, those individuals won’t just pick up the phone and call you. If they’re interested in your services, they’ll pick up a mobile device and Google you. If they can’t find your website because it’s buried in page 25 of the search results—or if your private practice site is hard to navigate, you’ll lose that new patient within 10 seconds. You’re forgettable.
Worse, if the prospective patient finds your site and spends a couple of minutes reading what’s there, only to be disappointed because there’s no relevant content or call to action, that patient will only remember that you didn’t meet their needs.

Your private practice website is the missing link between “word of mouth” referrals and scheduling a new patient.

Not sure how to improve your website or other marketing tactics? Marketing for your private practice is a major focus of our mentoring and coaching programs.

 

Private Practice Owners and Content Marketing

Private Practice Owners, Are You Following These Content Marketing Guidelines?

Content marketing is easier when you follow these guidelines for private practice.

Most private practice owners know that content marketing is a key aspect of a successful promotion strategy.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that most private practice owners are making some major missteps in their content marketing efforts. That means their efforts are being wasted because potential patients just aren’t going to respond positively and engage unless content is done effectively.

Here are some basic guidelines that every private practice owner should keep in mind when planning a content marketing strategy.

Don’t push for the sale.

Yes, you want to include a call to action—but just ask for one baby step, not a huge commitment.

Keep it focused.

Know the purpose of every single piece of content you produce. What is it that you want the reader to do? Likewise, make sure that all of your content has a consistent message.

Keep it consistent.

If there is more than one person in your office coming up with content, it’s important for it to be filtered through only one person (ideally, the private practice owner) so that all content has a similar voice and style.

Forget about “going viral.”

Too many private practice owners get obsessed with the idea of producing something that will get picked up quickly and spread all over the Internet. The problem is, you can’t force something to go viral. The other problem is that going viral doesn’t lead to long-term exposure; there will just be something new in everyone’s Facebook feed tomorrow. Just focus on useful, long-term content.

Remember to focus on local.

The Internet makes it possible to access your private practice website from nearly anywhere in the world—but let’s face it, your prospective patients are local. So be sure to build local references into your content. Then prospective patients will view you as part of THEIR neighborhood.

Looking for a mentor who can support you in content strategy and other marketing questions? Check out our mentoring and coaching programs.

 

Private Practice Website Call to Action

Private Practice Website Not Generating Results? Here’s Why

The most essential feature of your private practice website is the simplest (and easiest to overlook): the Call To Action.

Patients have to be told exactly what to do.

You may have found this to be true in your clinical work. And it is most definitely true on your private practice website.

It doesn’t matter what else a patient finds on your website or how well you have established authority for your private practice by building a foundation with content marketing. All of that effort is wasted unless every single page features a specific Call To Action (CTA).

In other words, have you told the patient exactly what to do?

A CTA can take many forms. Sometimes it might encourage a patient to “read more about” a particular topic by clicking on a link. Sometimes it asks them to download a free report that details possible treatments for their symptoms. Or you may simply be encouraging a patient to pick up the phone and call your private practice to make an appointment today.

Without specific encouragement, most patients will not take these actions on their own. They will aimlessly click away.

The CTA is even more important for private practice now, in the days of mobile marketing, when a huge percentage of people looking at your website are doing so with the use of their smart phone or other mobile device. For this reason, you’ll need to make sure not only that there is a distinct CTA on each page but also that the CTA is linked and clickable.

Even better, build a contact form into your private practice website that makes it simple for people to put in their name, number, and reason for contacting you—then make sure that your office staff are checking this multiple times a day and can get back to new patients within a few minutes.

Wondering what else you may be overlooking when it comes to marketing with your private practice website? We talk about issues like this in our coaching and mentoring programs.

 

Private Practice and the New Word of Mouth Process

What Private Practice Owners Must Understand About Content Marketing

Content marketing is effective, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what private practice owners need to know.

You’ve heard it again and again in the past couple of years: content marketing is the new and most effective way to reach new patients for your private practice.

You may even have a pretty good idea of what content marketing IS, in theory, and why it should help your private practice thrive.

But do you know the particulars? In other words, exactly what kind of content should you be producing and disseminating on a regular basis to support your private practice marketing plan?

Remember first of all that the two main purposes of content marketing are to gain trust and to position yourself as an authority. (Guess what? Self-promotion is not the main focus of the content you should be producing.)

With that in mind, here are several types of content that everyone in private practice should be offering to prospective patients.

A blog on your website with curated content. You don’t have to produce all the content for a blog on your own. Instead, offer weekly (or more often) curated posts on a specific topic relevant to your private practice. Give readers a brief summary of news, videos, blog articles, and other online resources on one topic along with links.

A library of articles on your private practice site that address common questions and concerns. Think of this as cornerstone content that creates the foundation of your content marketing strategy. What do patients ask you the most? What are prospective patients searching for? You can provide the answers they need.

Ebooks on narrow topics that prospective patients frequently search for on Google. You can create a series of short, informative ebooks that go into more detail about common concerns that bring patients to your private practice.

Remember, any of these types of content marketing for private practice can be effectively outsourced.

Did you know that we offer mentoring and coaching programs to help private practice owners just like you? Click here to read more.

Mobile Marketing for Private Practice Owners

Private Practice Owners Can’t Afford to Ignore Mobile Marketing

Private Practice Owners, Is Your Website “Mobile Friendly”? It Matters—and Here’s Why.

We all have some type of mobile device these days, whether it’s a smart phone or a tablet. And most people use these devices for far more than simply placing a call or checking email.

Gone are the days when you “could” use this to your advantage. Going mobile is no longer a choice for private practice owners.

In fact, these days, if you’re not actively using mobile marketing as a private practice owner, your business is already on its way downhill.

It’s not enough to have a great website, good reviews on Yelp, and a social media presence. Unless you are focused specifically on reaching mobile patients, none of the rest will matter.

Here’s why…

Not only do new patients look up information about you on the Internet before making an appointment, they often do this on the go. That means two things:

The prospective patient is standing in line at the post office, or waiting in the car pool line, while searching for information about your private practice. He or she has a very short attention span and will click away quickly.

No matter how awesome your website may appear on someone’s home computer, if it isn’t mobile friendly, you’ve already lost the majority of prospective patients out there. If it’s just too hard to view your site on a tiny iPhone screen, or if your site uses outdated code that doesn’t show up well on a phone or tablet, patients won’t keep trying. They’ll click away.

There’s plenty you can do to actively encourage mobile users. For example, did you realize that making your phone number clickable on your website means that many mobile users can simply tap the number to place a call? On the other hand, a non-clickable phone number has to be copied and pasted, and most prospective patients won’t bother.

It’s tough for private practice owners to navigate the mobile marketing waters alone. Looking for expert assistance? Check out our mentoring and coaching programs.

4 Aspects of Private Practice Marketing

4 Marketing Aspects You Can’t Ignore for Private Practice Success

These 4 aspects of private practice marketing can make or break your business.

Many times, private practice owners make two kinds of mistakes when it comes to marketing.

Some try to be the expert on every aspect of their business and wear too many hats. Since they can’t be everywhere and do everything, something is likely to fall through the cracks—and there’s a good chance that “something” will be related to marketing.

Others hire an entity to manage all their marketing needs. Outsourcing is terrific, but the mistake here is to be hands-off and allow “the expert” to do all the work without any oversight.

The happy medium is in knowing when to outsource, and knowing how to stay in touch with the basics of your marketing even when you’ve hired someone else to do the bulk of the work.

1. Understanding SEO for Your Private Practice Website

Do you know how to optimize your website to attract search engines and new patients? Too many private practice owners ignore this vital aspect of website building and maintenance. Worse, some may be using outdated practices from years ago that will actually penalize them in Google’s current ranking algorithms.

2. Getting a Grip on Social Media for Your Private Practice

Is your private practice active in social media? More important, are you doing it effectively? It’s not enough just to “be on Facebook,” and it’s vital to understand the etiquette for specific social media sites so that your marketing efforts don’t backfire.

3. Getting Substantive Content in Front of Your Potential Patients

Content marketing is the cornerstone of online marketing for private practice. It’s not enough anymore to set up a static website with your bio and a snapshot of your staff. Patients these days expect private practice owners to be publishing authoritative content on a regular basis.

4. Learning What You Need to Know about Online Reputation Management for Your Private Practice

Your private practice needs positive reviews on Yelp and other online review sites. If a potential patient goes to check your reviews before making an appointment, that person had better find multiple glowing reviews and few (or no) negative ones. The worst case scenario is for the patient to find no reviews at all. That patient is going to look elsewhere.

Don’t let someone else’s decisions drive your private practice success—or drive it into the ground. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your private practice marketing strategy is a major key to achieving your vision long-term.

Need help with private practice marketing? Check out our program 12 Secrets of Private Practice Mastery.

Educating and Treating Herniated Disc and Compressive Neuropathy Patients

As a Private Practice professional specializing in neuropathy, you can offer these patients the best chance possible for avoiding permanent nerve damage.

Let’s say you have a patient who presents with[1]

∙           Severe, sharp, electric shock-like, shooting pain

∙           Deep burning or cold in the feet or legs

∙           Numbness, tingling or weakness in the feet and legs that doesn’t go away

∙           Radiating pain down the legs and into the feet

∙           Muscle spasms and deep muscle pain

∙           Depression

∙           Sleeplessness

∙           Fear and anxiety

∙           Inability to perform normal daily activities

∙           Reduced social interaction with friends and family

∙           Loss of bowel and/or bladder control and sexual dysfunction

That’s quite a laundry list of symptoms.  If the patient doesn’t appear to be really physically active or a manual laborer, your first thought probably isn’t going to be a herniated disc.  You might be considering some type of neuropathy but not likely compressive neuropathy caused by a herniated disc.

Doctor and PatientBut maybe you should move both conditions a little farther up the list of possibilities.

To get started, do a thorough history, physical and a complete battery of tests based on their symptoms.  Once you have your diagnosis, you can begin educating and treating your patient.

Explaining What The Discs Do

A well informed patient is a more compliant patient.  If your patient has a desk job and doesn’t engage in any strenuous physical activity, it will be harder for them to understand how they developed a herniated disc and compressive neuropathy.

First, explain to them exactly what the discs do. The bones in the spine are separated and cushioned by small discs that act as shock absorbers. When they function properly, they allow your spine to remain flexible.  But when they’re damaged, which is much more likely as we age, the discs can bulge or rupture and that is what is known as a herniated disc.[2]

Any number of things can cause a herniated disc – plain old fashioned wear and tear, sitting too much or traumatic injury from lifting too much weight and lifting it improperly.

If your patient sits for long periods of time and frequently experienced minor back pain and chronic back tiredness before they came to see you with more advanced symptoms, they are a great candidate for developing a “wear and tear” herniated disc. Something as simple as bending over to pick up a piece of paper, a minor fall or even a sneeze can be all it takes to cause a disc to rupture.

If their job or lifestyle requires them to do frequent heavy lifting and they lift with their back instead of their legs, they’re a herniated disc waiting to happen.  Educate your patient extensively on the proper way to lift to avoid damaging their back in the future.

So…They Understand Herniated Disc But Where Does Compressive Neuropathy Come In?

Here’s a good analogy to use when explaining why herniated discs can causes compressive neuropathy.

Tell them to think of the spine and the nerves that run along the spine like a water hose.  When the hose is running wide open, the flow is smooth and uninterrupted.

Now put a kink in the hose.  The flow of water all but stops.

The herniated disc is the kink in the hose.  It puts pressure on the nerves and stops the proper flow of blood and oxygen and that results in nerve damage.

And nerve damage results in compressive neuropathy, usually in the feet and legs.  If the pressure is not relieved, the damage to the nerves can be permanent and you can end up with life long issues.

Treatment Options

When you’re diagnosed with a herniated disc and compressive neuropathy, the first goals of treatment are:

∙           Pain relief – first and foremost

∙           Address any weakness or numbness in your feet, legs and lower back

∙           Prevention of additional injuries

As a NeuropathyDR® clinician you have access to and training in a specialized protocol that’s ideal for treating the patient with a herniated disc and compressive neuropathy.  A good starting point for treatment is

∙           Bed rest followed by increased, prescribed and controlled activity

∙           Chiropractic manipulation to get the spine back into proper alignment and take pressure     off the herniated disc and nerves

∙           Treatment with the neurostimulation to open up nerve channels and stimulate nerve repair

∙           Exercises to reduce pain and strengthen the muscles in the back

∙           Dietary counseling to address any other underlying medical issues

As a health care professional specializing in neuropathy you can offer these patients the best chance possible for avoiding permanent nerve damage from their herniated disc and the best chance for sparing themselves future pain.

Let us help you reach these patients in your private practice and treat them.

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“Susan’s pain was so bad that she had trouble telling hot from cold, and even experienced trouble walking.”

A lot of your patients have heard that there is no cure for neuropathy, and they get discouraged.  As someone in the medical profession, you want to be able to dispel this misconception that your patients will just have to live with their symptoms!  NeuropathyDR® can teach you the non-pharmaceutical means to lessen their pain and improve their life.   “No cure” isn’t the same thing as “no help!”

A great example of a patient we have been able to help with the NeuropathyDR® methodology is Susan.  Susan is a diabetic in middle age who has suffered for more than twenty years with neuropathy symptoms.  Most prominently, Susan has tingling and severe pain in her feet, with the same problem less severely in her hands and arms.  Susan’s pain was so bad that she had trouble telling hot from cold, and even experienced trouble walking.

When she came to us, Susan was taking prescription-strength Advil several times a week for the pain in her hands and feet.  Medication has its place, and can be effective in some cases, but it is too often the first—and last—course of action medical professionals resort to when it comes to neuropathic pain.   NeuropathyDR® promotes newer, non-pharmaceutical methods that have been proven to reduce pain and numbness in cases like Susan’s.  After we applied the NeuropathyDR® protocols, Susan’s symptoms subsided drastically and her quality of life began to improve.

Especially in the short term, we want to help reduce the overall level of chronic pain and restore any mobility that might be lost.  In a case like Susan’s, the NeuropathyDR® protocols target three specific areas of treatment:

  • Specifically-directed manual therapies to correct aberrant motion or misalignment in areas of the spine and pelvis, as well as addressing the soft tissue contractures in the neck, legs, feet, arms, and hands.
  • Our NeuropathyDR® nutrition protocol, consisting of a daily regimen of combined nutrients that have been proven to be supportive of the nervous system in slowing the progression of neuropathy and healing damage.
  • Finally, the application of neuro-stimulation in the affected areas.  We use a waveform treatment in the office and at home that opens up nerve pathways to let them heal.

Susan’s treatments recurred three times a week for five weeks, for a total of fifteen treatments.  Following each treatment, Susan reported that the level of pain and tingling had subsided by two-thirds or more.

Powerful Manual Therapies are Key…

After applying the NeuropathyDR® protocol, Susan noticed a terrific improvement in her lifestyle.  In her own words, her energy level tripled, and the inflammation and pain in her feet had reduced by ninety percent.  Our objective tests, going by a round before and after the treatments, showed that Susan’s spasms in the lumbar and thoracic paravertebral muscles had improved by seventy percent.  Her range of motion without pain had also increased by seventy percent, and her ability to sense heat, cold, and vibration had drastically improved.  Perhaps the biggest lifestyle-boost of all, Susan experienced much less pain when walking after applying the NeuropathyDR® methods for five weeks.

We followed up with Susan three months after her treatments with us, and she was continuing to do extremely well.  She has been diligent about keeping up her assigned home-care treatments, and she visits her clinician as-needed for checkups.  Especially in-light of her twenty-year struggle with neuropathy, the degree of Susan’s success is remarkable.

If you treat patients like Susan who suffer from neuropathy symptoms, we are a valuable resource to help you treat them.  Contact us with specific questions and to learn the NeuropathyDR® methodologies we have developed.  Our protocols are proven to work—don’t let your patients go without proper care!

Helping Patients with Alcohol Induced Neuropathy

One of the most serious—but rarely discussed—conditions resulting from extended alcoholism is alcoholic neuropathy.  One of the reasons for its relative obscurity in the public discourse, aside from difficulties inherent in any discussion of substance abuse, is that much of the empirical evidence linking neuropathy and alcoholism is somewhat vague.  Still, there is ample correlation to assume a causal link.

Alcoholic neuropathy presents in patients similarly to other forms of neuropathy, with tingling and numbness in the extremities, loss of heat and cold sensation, loss of fine motor control, impotence in men, and so on.  All this is accompanied by the chronic pain typical in cases of peripheral neuropathy.  Because of the areas of the mind and body targeted by the alcohol, it is common for alcoholic neuropathy patients to exhibit outward signs of intoxication even when sober, such as slurred speech, stumbling gait, and clumsiness.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that, in severely affected patients, the legs and hands may be nearly useless to the point of paralysis and sensation may be entirely absent in extremities.  In these cases, the skin can also be dry and atrophic.

The specific causes of alcoholic neuropathy are difficult to pin down, and thus, the case can be tricky to diagnose.  If a patient has a known history of alcohol abuse, that is, of course, a good place to start.  Generally, a pattern of heavy alcohol use for a period of ten years or more will be accompanied by neuropathy symptoms.  A leading theory contends that the cause of alcohol-related neuropathy may be the combined effect of direct nerve-poisoning by the alcohol itself, coupled with the long-term poor nutrition that often accompanies alcohol abuse.  Alcoholics typically exhibit erratic eating habits, resulting in poor overall nutrient intake, and the damage to organs reduces the absorption of nutrients from food.  Of course, difficulty in motor control resultant from neuropathy often exacerbates the malnutrition, as the patient becomes socially uneasy about mealtimes and self-conscious about feeding themselves.

Nerve damage from alcoholism is usually permanent.  The first order of business in treating patients with alcoholic neuropathy is to bring the drinking and nutrition problems under control.  If alcohol consumption is not severely limited and adequate nourishment is not supplied, additional treatments will be futile and symptoms will almost invariably compound. Beyond this, treatment seeks three main goals:

  • To control symptoms
  • To maximize and restore function (quality of life)

    Alcoholic Neuropathy requires extraordinary measures to slow or treat…

  • To prevent further injury to the patient due to neuropathic vulnerabilities

Most treatments address these three tenets simultaneously.  Pharmaceutical treatments include the use of painkillers, either prescription strength or over-the-counter (such as analgesics).  When treating patients with alcoholic neuropathy, it is advisable to recommend the lightest use of pain medication possible, as the patient in question is by definition susceptible to habitual substance abuse.  Be sure to monitor use of any medications very carefully.

Because of the underlying nutritional deficit usually at the root of alcoholic neuropathy, some patients may benefit from a system of nutritional supplements.  A dietician or other qualified staff person in your office should be consulted to ensure the proper replenishment of nutrients necessary to prevent the spread of neuropathic symptoms.  Parenteral multivitamins are also useful in many cases to assist nutrition.

Several new lifestyle habits can help patients adjust to living with alcoholic neuropathy, such as carefully monitoring the temperature of bathwater to prevent burning, inspecting themselves and their clothing and footwear for points of rubbing or wear on the skin, and so forth.  In alcoholics, the establishment of these habits (which are themselves advisable for all neuropathy patients) can be instrumental in the replacement of the undesirable dependency that caused the problem.

Although nerve damage is usually permanent, the prognosis for sufferers of alcohol-related neuropathy can be very good if the alcoholic successfully refrains from indulging the dependency and works to replenish nutrition.  It is important to emphasize to patients that substantial recovery from degenerating neuropathic symptoms will not be seen for a period of several months.  Of course, subjective improvements in lifestyle and health will begin almost immediately when abstaining from an alcohol dependency as a result of general detoxification.

If you have patients you believe could be suffering from alcoholic neuropathy, we are here to help you determine for certain how best to proceed!

Contact NeuropathyDR® and we can give you even more information about how to help your patients suffering from alcohol abuse-related neuropathic symptoms.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000714.htm

http://www.neillneill.com/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/alcoholic-neuropathy.html

http://www.ajcn.org/content/9/4/398.full.pdf

 

 

 

Designing Treatments for Lupus Patients

 

As physicians, we’re accustomed to a certain amount of variety in treating different patients with the same illness.

After all, we’re treating individuals.

But when you take on lupus patients, you’re taking the concept of variety in symptoms and outcomes to a whole new level.

Granted, there are specific symptoms to the various types of lupus, but no two lupus patients are the same.

Lupus is an ever changing illness with periods of activity and rest that are as different as the patients they affect.

Those differences can make developing a treatment plan difficult to say the least.

And when you add peripheral neuropathy caused by lupus to the mix of symptoms[1], you have an even more complex set of issues to treat and, hopefully, stay ahead of.

If you have any hope of preventing serious neuropathy complications in your lupus patients, you have to be diligent in monitoring your patients’ symptoms and, even more importantly, your patients have to be very conscious of their symptoms and keep you advised of any changes as soon as they happen.

That means you need to educate your lupus patients on their illness and peripheral neuropathy.

Helping Patients Lupus and Peripheral Neuropathy

Because the peripheral nervous system can be affected by lupus, every system of the body that is regulated by the peripheral nervous system can be damaged[2].

That means the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  Your patients need to understand that their body many not be able to regulate their heart rate or blood pressure, they might not be able to properly digest food,  their  kidneys can be damaged and they could develop urinary problems.

And even worse, lupus can cause serious problems with inflammation.  That can lead to:

–          Inflammation of the sac around the heart

–          Diseases of the heart valves

–          Inflammation of the actual heart muscle

–          Inflammation of the tissue around the lungs or pleurisy

Now, imagine having any of these issues and having peripheral neuropathy, too…

The peripheral nervous system isn’t functioning properly and can’t send the proper signals to the brain to let them know they have a problem.

It’s easy to see why this could be serious.  By educating your patients on these possible problems and the symptoms they present early on, they can keep a watchful eye out for any symptoms and get in to you see you before they have a potentially deadly problem.

Treating Lupus Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy

Once you take a very thorough history and physical (preferably one following the NeuropathyDR® protocol for lupus patients), you’ll have a better handle on your patient’s condition.  Pay particular attention to their symptoms, when they began, the severity of the discomfort, and any and all medications they currently take (including over the counter medications, herbal supplements or vitamins).

Once you’ve complete the history and physical, the next step in the NeuropathyDR® protocol will be to order some tests. Depending upon your patient’s actual symptoms and which systems seem to be affected, these tests might include:

∙           Neurological exam

∙           Electromyography

∙           Nerve conduction velocity test

∙           Antinuclear antibody test

∙           Blood tests

∙           Urine test

∙           Skin biopsy

Once the tests are completed and you determine your patient has peripheral neuropathy associated with lupus, you can design a specific treatment program based on your patients’ specific symptoms and adjust it as they enter periods of remission or as their symptoms change.

Lupus is not curable and your patient should understand this from the outset.  Your NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol should focus on relieving pain by reducing inflammation, repairing any nerve damage with nerve stimulation, slowing joint and bone damage and improving your patients’ ability to function with their disease.

Focus on:

∙           Rest and stress management.

∙           Exercise programs designed specifically for your individual patient based on their physical limitations.

∙           Pain medication as needed.

∙           Drug therapy as needed.

∙           Safety precautions to deal with the possible loss of sensation, especially in the hands and feet, due to peripheral neuropathy.

The NeuropathyDR® protocol is ideally suited to treating lupus and the peripheral neuropathy it can cause.

Early intervention with a physician well versed in treating lupus and peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician, is their best course of action.  While you can’t cure them, you can help them achieve a better quality of life and lessen the chance of severe and possibly fatal complications.

When you’re trained and ready to work with them, let them know you’re there.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.

 

 

 


Treating Patients with Hypoglycemia and Autonomic Neuropathy

If you’re treating patients with diabetes, chances are very good that you’ve also got patients with hypoglycemia.

Many patients with diabetes are so accustomed to their symptoms that they don’t pay attention to the subtle changes that can present with hypoglycemia.  Often, they won’t have the very dramatic symptoms like loss of consciousness or diabetic coma.

More often, they have milder symptoms like[1]

∙           Tremor

∙           Sweating

∙           Heart palpitations

None of these are that severe and they might just write them off as a response to something going on in their everyday lives.  No big deal…nothing to worry about.

But they do have a problem and a potentially serious one.

That problem is hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can occur in anyone with diabetes if they’re taking medication to lower their blood glucose.  If you have type 1 diabetes and you’re insulin dependent, you stand a good chance of developing hypoglycemia.

So how do you get these patients to come to you when they first notice these symptoms so you can help them with a proactive approach to their illness?

Educate your diabetes patients on the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and make sure they understand that the symptoms may appear to be mild but they can be physically devastating.

Understanding Why They May Not Recognize Symptoms

If your patient has type 1 diabetes, when their blood glucose levels fall, their insulin levels don’t decrease and their glucagon levels don’t increase.  They just reflect the body’s absorption of insulin.  It gives the body a false sense that all is right when all is wrong.   Because their body doesn’t register a problem, it loses its first two lines of defense against the imbalance in your system.  Their body’s normal response is impaired.

What Causes the Impairment?

Several things –

∙           The brain may have become used to hypoglycemia because it’s been dealing with it for awhile. If they’ve had frequent episodes, the system in the body responsible for transporting adrenaline to where it’s needed no longer senses a great need.  It just doesn’t respond.

∙           They may be using medications that mask their hypoglycemia symptoms and not even know it.  For example, if they take medications that are beta blockers, they’re designed to lessen the effects of adrenalin on the body.  They may not experience the tremors or heart palpitations that a normal person would during a hypoglycemic episode.  Beta blockers also block the liver from producing glucose so they’re giving the body a double whammy to deal with. Always ask your diabetic patients if they’re taking beta blockers as part of your history and physical.

∙           They may have autonomic neuropathy.  Explain to them that it’s a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  The nerves are damaged and don’t function properly leading to a breakdown of the signals between the brain and the parts of the body affected by the autonomic nervous system like the heart, blood vessels, digestive system and sweat glands.  And, in their case, it may be inhibiting their liver from producing insulin.

Diagnosing and Treating Autonomic Neuropathy

Once you take a very thorough history and physical (preferably one following the NeuropathyDR® protocol for hypoglycemic and diabetic patients), you’ll have a better handle on your patient’s condition.  Pay particular attention to their symptoms, when they began, the severity of the discomfort, and any and all medications they currently take (including over the counter medications, herbal supplements or vitamins).

Watch for signs that they are not being completely up front about their diet, alcohol intake, frequency of exercise, history of drug use and smoking.  If they don’t tell the truth, you don’t have a clear picture of your physical condition.

Treatment and Prognosis

If you use the NeuropathyDR® protocol, you will find the treatment regimen ideally suited to treating diabetes, hypoglycemia and autonomic neuropathy.

Diabetes, hypoglycemia and autonomic neuropathy are chronic conditions but they can be treated and your patient can do things to help relieve their symptoms.

You can help them by offering[2]:

∙           Diet Planning and Nutritional Support

The body needs the proper the nutrition to heal.

If they have gastrointestinal issues caused by autonomic neuropathy, they need to make  sure they’re getting enough fiber and fluids to help the body function properly.  Provide them with a diet plan that ensures they get enough fiber, whole grains and drink enough      water.

If they have diabetes, work with them on a diet to control their blood sugar.

Devise a meal schedule as part of their dietary planning to keep their blood sugar levels as steady as possible.

∙          Individually Designed Exercise Programs

If your patient experiences exercise intolerance or blood pressure problems resulting  from autonomic neuropathy, develop an exercise regimen for them that will allow them to take things slowly but still work some physical activity into their daily routine.  Treating neuropathy patients requires specialized training in the design and monitoring of  exercise programs.  The NeuropathyDR® clinicians are specially trained in designing  exercise programs to meet the needs of the neuropathy patient.

Early intervention with a physician well versed in treating diabetes, hypoglycemia and autonomic neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician, is still the best course of action. While you can’t reverse your patient’s condition if they have already developed neuropathy, you can help them achieve a better quality of life and lessen the chance of severe and possibly fatal complications.

When you’re trained and ready to work with them, let them know you’re there.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.

 

 

 

 


[1] http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies

[2] http://diabetes.webmd.com/complementary-and-alternative-diabetes-treatments