August is here - which happens to be National Immunization Awareness Month. This annual observance is geared towards educating people of all ages on the importance of immunizations and ensuring everyone is up-to-date on their recommended vaccines.
As a physician, national observances like this one provide an opportunity for you to reach out to your existing patient base and acquire new patients. This means that you can solidly contribute to the aim of the National Immunization Awareness Month while at the same time, grow your practice and strengthen your practice’s reputation.
Here are some things you can do in August to leverage National Immunization Awareness Month for the benefit of your practice:
- Publish content: If your practice’s website has a blog, you can publish one or more educational posts about immunization and vaccines. Not only will this raise awareness among your readers, but it will also garner search engine traffic for your practice. Because this is a month-long national observance, you can publish posts on many different days, as people will likely be looking up ‘immunization’ and related search words all through August. Don’t forget to share your blog posts on your social media accounts and use the relevant hashtags. If possible, create custom images (or use licensed stock photos) to accompany the social media posts. You can also go further and include the blog posts in your regular weekly or monthly newsletter.
- Offer sales, discounts and specials: Consider running a special or offering discount prices on immunization-related medical services at your practice. For example, you can offer a free vaccination status assessment for all new patients. Circulate details of the special/discounts by word of mouth, through social media, flyers and handbills. You should also put up signs announcing it inside your practice.
- Educate in-house: If you have screens in your practice waiting rooms, you can share videos that will help your patients understand why vaccines are important and which ones they should be getting. You can also pin up posters and fact sheets with that same messaging in waiting areas and other places your patients are likely to notice them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention makes available a variety of tool kits, videos and fact sheets that you can use.
- Host an event: Hosting an event celebrating National Immunization Awareness Month can gain a lot of traction for your practice. Existing patients are likely to come with friends and family who are all potential new clients. To publicize your event, you can publish a blog post, send out a newsletter with an ad for the event and remind your followers of the event on your social media posts. You can even create a unique hashtag for the event. The hashtag’s theme can be immunization in general or it could be specific to a particular vaccine that you’re passionate about and want to raise awareness about. At the event, you can hand out educational leaflets as well as handbills promoting any sales/specials you may have for the month.
- Schedule reminders: Manually send out or set-up automated reminders to go out to your current patients. The email or text reminders should prompt the patients to come in for their annual flu shots if they haven’t yet, and for any other vaccines they may be due for.
Deciding to use National Immunization Awareness Month to your practice’s advantage is one thing but we want to take it further and ensure that you will be successful with your implementation efforts. Here are a few tips to help:
- Plan: Proper execution requires meticulous planning. Whether you’ve decided to host an event or put out blog and social media posts, you must do advance planning. Consider creating a mini-planning committee comprised of members of your staff who you think are most skilled in activities of this type.
- Track: Establish a standard method of tracking the metrics for your blog posts and social media shares. This will help you analyze if the posts were successful or not. It will also give you some insight into how to best improve your efforts for when the next relevant national observance comes around. There are many free (and paid) tools online to help you do this. If you decide to host an event, you should also track any media coverage it gets afterwards.
- Get everyone involved: All practice staff- medical and non-medical alike- should participate in efforts to leverage National Immunization Awareness Month this August. One way to achieve this participation is to listen to their ideas and encourage them to share on social media.
For help with communicating to your patients, check out Kareo’s patient engagement software – Kareo Engage. Our cloud-based software helps practices build their brands online and take patient communications to the next level with secure messaging, online patient intake, auto appointment reminders, patient surveys, newsletters and more. Visit us at Kareo.com/patient-engagement.