Attracting and retaining patients is an art. There are some basic principles that we should all keep in mind:
- Everyone is a sales person. Don’t think about your patients as people needing you; instead think that these patients are customers that have the opportunity to select who they want to spend their money on so it is critical that they see the value of coming to see you. It sounds easier than what it is as you must weight many factors that differ from one person to the other but at the very least consider that you clients are ill, stressed and tired so sometimes all they need is to be treated with care and if you can spare love.
- Listen to the patient but know when and how to cut them off. Look at them in the eye, get to know something personal and find ways to get back on track. For example, allow them to vent for a few minutes and then bring them to the topic of the visit. Examine them and then get to the action plan.
- Be firm. In today’s day an age everyone thinks they are an expert. Again, listen to them but be firm in your action plan. Remember that they are coming to see you and all you can do is the best based on the information available at the time. Make a decision and stick to it.
- Medicine is an art. Protocols are there to be used as a guide. Trust your guts and in case you have any doubts refer to a specialist.
- Be conscious of time. Taking longer with a patient doesn’t necessary translate to better care. Limit your visit to the time allotted and if the patient has multiple issues simply have them come back for a follow-up. Remember that there are other patients waiting and that the longer they wait the harder you will have to work for them to warmup to you.
- Ask to see if they have any questions or if they need anything else before they leave and encourage them to call or come back if they have any other concerns.
It seems simple and to a point common sense but never underestimate the little things as those are the ones that count at the end of the day.