By: Shama Hyder
This topic usually falls under the jurisdiction of my good friend and colleague Philippa Kennealy, but I have been feeling rather passionately about this topic so I wanted to address it here.
Physicians like most independent professionals often struggle with marketing. As doctors, they have to follow certain codes of conduct. They can’t cold call patients, and even if they could-most would hate to do so. There is a common misconception that as soon as a physician starts a practice, patients come flowing in. While this may be true in some instances, most medical practitioners have to build up a reputation. And even then, many physicians miss out on all the opportunities to maximize their medical practice.
So, Here are 7 secrets to Maximizing your Medical Practice
1) Create a Mastermind Group- This is a powerful practice that has been followed by movers and shakers since the days of ancient Rome. I am surprised that more professionals don’t capitalize on this concept. Create a group of 5 or 6 physicians who meet at regular intervals. Monthly meetings work well. You can discuss ideas, share resources, and even invite guests to your meetings. Talk about what’s working in your practice and what isn’t. These groups can also serve as great brainstorming sessions for more marketing ideas.
2) Be Pro-Active about Burnout– Doctors are a hardworking bunch, so it becomes essential to be pro-active about burnout. Structure your practice so you can maximize your time and effort. And get help! You don’t have to do everything yourself. Hire a virtual assistant to schedule patients and send out regular mailings.
3) Tap the Power of Referrals- I have been told this is the lifeblood of many practices. For example, if you are a pediatrician, make sure your current moms and dads know that you appreciate it when they let their friends know about your practice. Don’t assume they will blare the trumpet about your great service.
4) Befriend the Local Media– Think Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil on a local level. Become an expert source for the local media. This is a great marketing technique which is very underutilized.
5) Don’t Play by the Rules- Doctors have to have an office. No respectable physician chats on AIM with their patients. The service small town doctors provide is not in demand right now. These are just some of the rules Dr. Jay Parkinson seems to have broken. But his practice is booming, his patients are happy, and the media loves him. Break some of the rules already!
6) Get Over Your Marketing Fears- Marketing is beneath real doctors. Medical practitioners don’t ask for referrals. Look at #5 and check out this article if you need more help.
7) Leverage Online Marketing- A couple of months ago I fell ill while traveling in a new metropolitan city. As I search for most services, I headed over to Google to search for a physician. Two hours later, I hadn’t found one physician website. If you are a physician, you need to have a website. And more than that, you need to optimize your site so patients can find you easily. If you are not doing this, you are throwing money down the drain. I feel very passionately about this. As a health care giver, it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for a patient to find you. Most patients aren’t looking in the Yellow Pages, they are Googleing. I have noticed that many doctors and surgeons in Los Angeles get this. Most of them have professional looking, search engine optimized websites. Why are doctors in other major cities trailing behind? Make sure you aren’t missing out on this opportunity.
Bottom Line: Start thinking creatively about your practice and leverage the internet to maximize your medical practice.