Being a doctor and having to move to another state or another town can be frightening because you have to build your practice from scratch.
Over the course of the year and a half it has been interesting to see how my friend that is a doctor, went from PA that also took care of the front desk to 2PA’s and a person at the front desk.
How did this doctor do it? How did she build her practice?
Whether you moved to a new area like the doctor above or your patient base is low and you need more patients, it requires you to oddly enough think like a patient. Once you begin to think like a patient who is going to a doctor’s office the better you will be as a doctor.
Be Willing To Think Outside Of The Box
You are probably wondering what does thinking outside of the box mean in regards to your practice. According to Dr. John T. Givens from the Journal of National Medical Association the number one reason why patients leave their physician is “there was a failure to inspire confidence by an incomplete history or examination of the patient and also a failure to establish a condition of a “rapport,” however it is interpreted, simply means confidence that the doctor knows what to do and faith that he will do it. And furthermore, failure to evidence genuine friendship for the patient and love for the profession.”
Thinking outside of the box means to not just promise the patient you will get the the bottom of what is the matter with them but actually doing it. That may mean looking at areas outside of the traditional methods when the traditional methods fail. Remembering the body didn’t come with a manual. Thinking outside of the box means you won’t rest until you figure it out and not being quick in giving medications until you do.
You have no idea how much respect you will gain from your patients if you do basically what they expect. When you truly gain the respect of your patients your practice will boom. Dr. Givens was spot on for the number one reason. The article listed 13 reasons why patients leave their physicians. Even though it was written in 1957 I have to say most of it was pretty accurate. Medicine may change, society may change but the expectations of the patient in regards to their doctor really hasn’t changed.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Follow up Appointments
You would think this would be an obvious point but you would be surprise how ofter the physician never tells the patient when they want to see them back. This is a big point. Patients resent being handed medication and not have a follow up appointment to see how the medicine is working or if the medicine needs to be change because of side affects.
Having a follow up appointment shows the patient how much you really care about them and their health. Even when you don’t know what is the matter with them you have them schedule a follow up to discuss a plan to figure out the cause of their illness after the test result come back.
Be Sure Your Practice is Listed Online Where Patients Can Leave Reviews
Even if you don’t have a web site, which you should, at least list your practice on Google, (Need assistance with getting your practice up to speed? Read 8 Quick Steps You Can Do Today to Set Your Healthcare Practice Up for Gigantic Success) and other web sites which allows patients to review your practice. Some comments will be great which will encourage someone else to come see you and some comments may be negative.
You should read the negative comments so you know how to improve. If you are going to try and think like your patients so you can be the best doctor you can be then you need to hear what they have to say when you are not point blank asking them with a form.
Take all Insurance
Next, take all types of insurance. This would include Medicaid and Medicare. You have no idea how limiting it is for the medicaid and medicare patients to find a doctor who will take their insurance. If you make these patients feel welcomed you are also opening them up to send you referrals that have other kinds of insurance. It is all about putting the patient first and making them feel like you truly care about them. Before you know it they will be asking for a stack of business cards and passing them out.
Genuineness is something that you cannot fake but is something all patients crave in a doctor.
Meet the Emergency Room Staff and Other Doctors In the Area
Meet the emergency room physicians. When they see patients often times the patients don’t know where to go after they leave the emergency room. If you are a specialist get together with some of the primary care physicians so they can get to know you and would feel comfortable with referring you their patients. It is all about networking.
Make sure you take very good care of referred patients because if they have a good rapport with their primary and had a bad experience with you they will tell the primary care physician and you may stop getting referrals from that doctor.
As you know, it takes a life time to gain a patient and one second to lose them. Treasure each patient as if they were your family member and your practice with be successful.
What are your thoughts?
What are your ideas on how you can build trust with your patients?