“How can I get more patients”-
The incessant insatiable ask of Doctors and Hospitals
My one-point answer!
In my interactions with hospitals and doctors this is a constant refrain- How can I get more patients? More patients result in more revenue and more earnings, so no need to speculate why and no awards for guessing the right reason for this question. But is the answer so difficult.?
Let us examine how they presently go about responding to this question:
1. They market on social media -Face book is the favorite place
2. They do free camps
3. They conduct out station OPDs
4. They create referral networks
5. They do CMEs to promote and create doctor referrals
6. They do health talks at corporates, societies and other such gatherings
7. They print brochures and flyers for distribution
8. The sponsor and participate in health runs and other social events
And so on and so forth…
Yes! Look after your existing patient well and this problem is resolved. Of course, it will take time, and yes you will have to work hard but then Rome was not built in a day! Most successful doctors have built their practices over time with much hard work. But the key ingredient to success has always been and remain “Patient centricity”.
Patient centricity is not mere jargon but a solid foundation for unmitigated success that involves a specific attitude resulting in concrete actions!
However most of my doctor colleagues and friends would the immediately response by:
“we are doing our best for the patient or for me my patient comes first or better still I will do anything which is in my patient’s interest”.
And any way how does this solve my problem – How do I get more patients? These patients are already mine so why focus on them?
And therein lies the irony.
So, I have two counter questions:
1. Who is your best brand ambassador?
2. How do you presently get your patients? (especially for surgeries and procedures)?
The best brand ambassador for any doctor is their patient – the more satisfied the stronger their “marketing communication”. It is more powerful than any full-page Ad in the newspaper or an Ad film on TV. Mass media can at best create brand awareness but patient conversion happens by the existing patients’ feedback and testimonials!
Next, most patients come for surgeries or procedure by “word of mouth” Guess who is the key influencer? Your existing patient!
So, my friends the answer lies in your control, it is not external!
You can differentiate your practice by the following:
1. Focus on your existing patients.
2. Look after them well
3. Monitor their health
4. Stay connected- make it personal
5. Educate them continually especially those with chronic disease
6. Answer their questions
7. Be available in their time of need.
There are two common push back from doctors:
1. We don’t have time
2. Patients expectations from me are never ending we can’t manage them
My response – Do you have an alternative or choice? Can you afford not to do so?
Especially in the present environment wherein he patient has a voice and is more demanding? To succeed you have to manage these expectations and manage them well. In case you don’t they will keep on searching and once they find someone else who does this for them they will leave you. Patient loyalty will become more and more fragile in case their expectations are not met.
However, meeting these expectations and doing what has been enumerated is not difficult. But it first requires a shift in the thinking and then a change in attitude. The solutions for doing this without extra effort and doing it well exist now- by combining technology with clinical expertise. But are we open and listening?
In case you are interested in learning more about the solutions you can write to me on: