Have you ever asked people what they are looking for in finding the ideal physician? Why did you choose yours? Did you ever ask your patients what they like about your office…and don’t like?
You might be surprised at the answers they give. Hint…it’s not about having fancy décor or a cappuccino machine in the waiting room.
Patients (or prospective patients) crave:
Communication– Patients are often nervous and scared when they go to the doctor’s office. This is especially true if it’s the first time they’re there or if they are not well. They may not hear everything said or worse, they may not be told what they need to hear. Instead, they are just told what to do.
Real Caring- Patients don’t want to stare at the top of the doctor’s head as data is entered into the digital record. They also don’t want to minimize the list of problems felt to the top one or two because that’s all the time allotted to the particular problems.
True Partnerships- Patients want “skin in the game”. They no longer want a doctor who will just write a script or schedule a procedure as the doctor scurries out of the room and onto the next patient.
So, how does one make these wishes come true?
3 Ways to Attract More Patients And Scale Your Practice
There are many ways to address the above issues from an intellectual standpoint. The thing is, you are already being recognized as the intellectual, the one who has the answers. That’s why they’re at your office. You don’t have to impress them with $50 words
They haven’t come to hear you dictate a page from your medical books. They don’t want that and they might not understand you anyway. You have to feel with them. Remember, they don’t feel with statistics.
It all comes down to feelings. Maya Angelou is often quoted as saying:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
So, we can address the 3 problems above in the following manner.
- Communication/ How They Felt
You can alleviate the feeling of anxiety and fear that new patients have been feeling when they go to the doctor’s office. Create videos walking the viewers through the office, step-by-step so they are familiar with the surroundings and what they can expect. Introduce them to each member of the staff and the roles they play. New patients will feel they know your staff, even before they arrive.
On the “About” page of your website, place photos of each member of your staff in addition to yourself and your partners. Mention each role they play. This way, patients know who they will be seeing for billing, for medical questions. etc.
Post an article about each medical condition you treat and the services you provide. This will enable patients to understand your explanation of conditions and their diagnosis. Post an FAQ sheet with answers.
Not only will patients understand and be kept in the loop, it will also save you and your office staff time from having to repeat the same things over and over.
- Real Caring/ How They Feel
Show patients that you care. Look them in their eyes, introduce yourself and shake their hands. Listen to what they are saying. Have a scribe or nurse tend your iPad or record the session and have it entered after rather than you spending the entire time “treating their records”.
Recognize them for sending referrals with a thank you note. Send cards for birthdays and flowers for their losses. They say, “my doctor cares about me.”
Ask them questions and validate their thoughts. This is not only helpful to you but makes them feel important.
- True Partnerships/ How They Will Feel-
Ideally, the special relationship between patients and doctors is a partnership. We have transitioned to a patient-centric model of care. Patients want to discuss treatment options and map out a plan of action with their doctors. Rather than simply be told, patients want to feel that they are a part of the team…their medical team and they want to contribute their choices.
Now here is really how to distinguish your practice from most others- have classes! Nutritional classes for diabetics and weight loss, exercise classes and other instruction shows that you are taking a proactive approach and further makes you part of patient lives.
You are scaling your office by adding additional services and standing above all others.
What do you offer for your office? Share your ideas in the comment box below.