"I asked myself, Was there anything that my Web site does better than my Facebook page? Then I asked myself, Is there anything that my Facebook page does better than my Web site? The answers were pretty astounding," Dr. Bazan said. He explored online practice promotion at SECO International 2012 here.
Facebook gets people to engage with him and share information, and that time-honored practice builder, word of mouth, now happens mainly online, he said.
To increase the effectiveness of Facebook, Dr. Bazan combined it with an online scheduler and at the same time eliminated the office phone. If people are comfortable enough with technology to book their own flight arrangements instead of working with a travel agent, they should be capable of making medical appointments without talking to a scheduler, he said.
"People can make an appointment at any given time of the day," he said. "On non-business hours, people are making appointments. On holidays when we're closed, people are making appointments. When I don't have somebody at the front desk, people are able to make appointments. A lot of appointments are generated simply because we have this ability to book at any time."
The other key feature on his practice's main Facebook page is the link to its Yelp page, where people can read about the experiences others have had. "We know that people are not just online searching, they're online researching," Dr. Bazan said.
"That's technology that I want to present front and center to help drive new patients to my practice," Dr. Bazan said. "We also have the ability to see this as it's happening, so we can see if there's someone who urgently needs to be called back or anyone we need to respond to via text. It simplifies the flow in our office, maximizes our efficiency, and allows us to provide outstanding, uninterrupted care to those people who are there in front of us."
The practice has reduced overhead by eliminating the salary for an employee to answer the phone and the services needed to support the phone scheduling system, a total of about $160,000 a year, he said.
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