Note: Keep patients coming back and get new patients by applying superior practice management skills. Dental and medical patient marketing is more than just advertising your dental or medical practice, but also the actions shown through medical practice management.
Doctors are actually quite fantastic at diagnosing, when they are given the opportunity - meaning, that they have the time.
Cancer -- any type of cancer in a patient -- is pretty bad, but what about the cancer in a doctor's practice which eats up the possibility for the doctor to be able to spend enough time to do a thorough examination on any and all patients?
What we mean by thorough examination is a diagnostic session in which the doctor probes the patients to find out any and all signs and symptoms which possibly could be influential, maybe even detrimental, in the patient's well-being 10 or 30 years down the road.
The "practice-cancer" I am talking about is called time, or another way to look at it: not enough re-imbursement from the insurance companies to spend the needed time with the patient.
Low re-imbursement from most insurance companies along with the rising cost of all other expenses force the doctor to see a patient and make the best treatment/diagnosis plan that one can make in only a few minutes.
Here is the thing, many doctors do great with even those few minutes, but the patient does not perceive so. They feel shortchanged by a mile or two. And they are shortchanged - no matter how good the doctor's diagnosis actually is.
Patients do not have eight years of doctor training and cannot really evaluate the doctor's expertise. The only thing that they can evaluate is what they perceive.
It boils down to whether the patient perceives whether he is cared for, listened to, and understood.
This perception of "being cared for" simply does not come with a few minutes of chatting and a few prescriptions.
Oh sure, patients across the country have largely settled for it as a whole, but boy, give them the attention they deserve, give them a diagnostic exam where you probe for answers and your patients will rave about you. However, as said, there is not enough time to do that.
Well, you fight fire with fire. So mainly you should take a look at "fighting no time" with spending more time. Crazy? Maybe not!!!
A good diagnosis is most of the work in helping a patient to get healthy or stay healthy. A good diagnosis differentiates the great doctor from the quacks. A good diagnosis can usually not be done without an array of tests, which will result in more tests. Tests are the essence of science. Medicine is based on science more and more - is it not?
However, medicine is also an art, which to a great degree is the artfulness with which you can talk to the patient so he feels heard and listened to so that he may feel as though he is being taken care of. This feeling of 'being taken care of' will happen if you probe and probe about his or her well being, and if you do ALL the tests possible to uncover a potential illness in the making or in which you eliminate the existence of a potential illness. I am sure you have experienced the incredible feeling of comfort that you have given a patient by finding out and making him aware that there are no "large and potentially dangerous" situations lingering in his body.
The end result will be that you will get much, much more tests and treatments accepted by the patient, as well as by the insurance companies.
Even though insurance companies are trying to dodge as many payments as possible, they still do somewhat readily pay for most tests, no matter how expensive, because they do not want to spend all that huge money on operations which could, in many cases, have been avoided by finding and correcting early oncoming diseases.
Insurance companies also cannot just deny tests just as you the doctor cannot avoid doing a certain test, because the patient's future hangs on it and the insurance company, as well as you, could be battling lawsuits which could give you great stress should you have missed some early condition.
Patients want to know where they stand - good or bad - and they deserve it. It is your duty to use all scientific tools available to find out where they stand! Patients will love you in return to being that caring doctor, and you yourself will have a load of unnecessary stress lifted from your shoulders when doing so.
Be honest, you would much rather do what I described. But you have somehow been pulled into believing it is not possible in today's economic world. On the contrary, it is even more possible today than before because today 95 % of doctors do not operate the way I described above, and thus anyone doing it will stick out as an incredible doctor and will be a "wonder doctor" with celebrity status in his or her area.
And that, my friend, is a guarantee.
Take whatever steps it takes to learn and implement the above and be willing to endure whatever hardships you might have to endure to reach the above. Any hardships will be a walk in the park compared to the hardship which awaits you (and your patients) if you continue on the road you and the rest of the medical establishment is on. Work harder and make less, and yet at the same time neglect the patient's health and desire to live not only long but live those years with some agility and dignity.
On the other hand your willingness to make the transformation will bring great health to your patients, great personal satisfaction to you as well as the very well deserved financial rewards which once upon a time have been synonymous with a doctor. And why should a doctor, who pretty much possesses one of the most sought after knowledge in the world, not also be rewarded handsomely like any other great achiever? Why NOT?
Remember: While it is important to focus on dental and medical practice management, it is also important that to work on dental or medical patient marketing in order to get new patients. Focus heavily on quality new patient marketing and you will have a lot of patients to keep your practice flourishing.