You have started your private practice, now where are the patients?
You have just spent half your life studying for this big moment. The day you can finally open your own Private Practice. But where are the patients? And how does one tell the world you are available to consult? With student loans and daily running costs to pay, you need to get active in marketing yourself and immediately. With these simple 8 tips, you should see a busy consulting room soon.
- General Practitioner Introductions
- Be Available
- Post-Consult Communications
- Community Health Talks
- Local GP Information Talks
- Bedside Manner
- It’s all about the Scar
- Get on the Web
1. General Practitioner Introductions
We love referrals, why, because they free!
Go get to know the community General Practitioners (GP’s), they provide you with free referrals but furthermore rely on your specialities to assist their patients with complicated medical needs.
- Make contact to meet each community GP
- Conduct a 5 minute (or longer) face-to-face introduction
- Share your formal training, and completed fellowship periods, plus other related experiences
This short but effective visit will make a lasting impression. And will allow time for general conversation leading to mentions of fellow acquaintances and insight into future local medical society social opportunities.
2. Be Available
Be Available, as simple as it sounds, be there to take those late Friday emergency calls. In the early days, you may be tempted to fill your ‘down’ hours with short courses or closing shop early on a Friday. However, as the ‘newbie‘ in the area, you are more than likely to be given the after-hours work or last-minute consultations to handle. As the age-old saying goes ‘Beggars can’t be choosers”, this rings true in your early days of practice.
3. Post-Consult Communications
Importantly, keep family practitioners informed on their patient’s diagnosis or possible surgery requirements and outcomes.
Communications with referring GP’s on patients visit is critical. Not only does it keep a favourable rapport with the local GP community. It also keeps them informed on their patient, and information kept on file is also a reminder of your practice.
4. Community Health Talks
With a lighter schedule, you can offer to be a guest speaker at a community influencers event. These talks are promoted to a large following, introducing yourself and your services to an address book you hadn’t met before. The benefit of sharing your qualified knowledge on a popular or trending topic is an attentive audience who will seek or advise others of your professional authority. You are present to answer questions and direct those who do need to visit your rooms for an in-depth consultation.
Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to all. For this reason, it does require practice. However, talking on a subject you are passionate and qualified on, accompanied by imagery and facts will intrigue your audience.
5. Local GP Information Talks
Don’t overlook the strength in GP Information talks! They are key in providing further trust in your ability as a specialist and amongst your communities medical colleagues. A well-executed presentation on your experience of current medical topics, will instil trust, get your name spread through word-of-mouth, and once again you will be at the top of their mind when they require your speciality skill set.
6. Beside Manner
A patient visiting any specialist is there for a required reason. Their GP has referred them now they are anxious and fearful of the prognosis. Similarly, they could be nervous about meeting you. Furthermore, the patient may have had a negative interaction with a medical specialist previously. Now it is your turn to calm them of any pre-existing fear.
- Be patient
- Listen carefully and be present.
- Provide a detailed explanation of their condition and options available to them
- Observe body language, this can provide insight into the patient’s emotions and how to respectfully calm their concerns
- Observe your own body language, and ensure it’s reflecting calm and control
- Be nice, it’s simple but effective. Patients don’t want to feel like a burden, if you are friendly they will return
- Ask if they have further questions, perhaps they were too nervous to ask. This is a good time to ensure all is covered
- Additionally, follow-up with patients. They may no longer require your services, but this creates further trust and reflects your investment in their health was sincere. And of course, that their business was of value to you.
In short, your beside manner will determine whether the patient returns and follows through with their all-important treatment.
7. It’s all about the Scar
Don’t forget about the scar, this is the most spoken about amongst friends post-surgery. Everyone loves to either show or talk about their wounds, it makes for wonderful conversation and this, unfortunately, is where comparison surgeon conversation comes into play.
To avoid negative talk, make sure:
- The patient is made aware they are responsible for the scar healing process
- Education on necessary steps for good scar care
- The patient must understand poor scarring could be genetic
- If the scar is not healing correctly to check in with you on what next step to take
8. Get on the Web
We all look at Google for information and contact details.
- Set up your Google business listing, including your professional waiting room and reception images
- Free business web listings – make contact with all medical and community focused website owners.
The next blog we look at ‘Best practices for a medical specialist website‘. If you want impactful tips for your practice, then follow us on Linkedin where all our blogs are announced, and further tips are posted.