Irecently had a very interesting new patient—very apprehensive, but enthusiastic, young, highly educated and a prior patient of chiropractic care. When I asked her what she thought about our office, a story unfolded.
First, she got our name from a local listing online. Afterwards, she "Googled" me. Consumers are "Googling" (using the search engine, "Google" or some other search engine) increasingly to find out more about many of their professional contacts. This is especially true with the more upscale clientele.
After Googling me, she went to my website, followed by visiting my chiropractic college website.
At our initial meeting, we chatted about her job—a drug researcher, of all things. (That really fascinated me because she did not want to take any medications.) We also spoke about the fact she just came back from ten days on a beach in South America and then we just chatted for two to three minutes about her past doctor experiences.
That, of course, is why she was checking us out, before deciding if she had a fit. We finally were laughing together and she completely relaxed; her entire physiology changed. I commended her for going through her investigation, and promised I would do all I could to help her, starting TODAY!
This scenario (potential patients investigating their professional prospects on line) is being played out more and more, but many docs are oblivious to it. We all need to realize that things have changed and patients have gotten much more savvy.
There are several lessons here.
1. Make sure you HAVE a website, and ensure it is up-to-date. If the patient in this article looked for your website and found you had none, you would be out at that point. These ever-increasing savvy prospects want to check out your web site. So, not only better you have a site, but it better be modern and totally professional in appearance. It is relatively inexpensive to acquire a good-looking site today. There is no excuse for not having one.
2. Put your complete bio and list of accomplishments on-line. Don’t make your potential patients hunt for your credentials. Make it easy for them.
3. Google yourself! See what comes up and correct any inaccuracies at the source. If you have an up-to-date web site, that should be the first, or at least one of the first sites that pops up when you are Googled. And, if your site puts your best foot forward, then the good impressions will start immediately, which is invaluable.
4. Make sure your SYSTEMS are modern, too, starting with your front desk and intake procedures. There is nothing worse than a potential client coming away with the impression that your "office is really old school; very old fashioned." Unless you are winding down your practice, you do NOT want to give the impression of a stodgy practice with old tables coming apart at the seams. Practices giving this appearance will find it more and more difficult to thrive.
5. Make the best use of technology in your office. That is what many patients now expect, especially in areas with big cities or medical centers. Do you need to spend $100,000 on a space-age-looking decompression table? No. But you do need to give the appearance of a high technology outfit. It does make a difference.
6. Be human, not a stuffed shirt, in the first patient meeting. It might not be fair, but everything that happens on the very first encounter—indeed, within the first four minutes—will determine whether the patient accepts your message or not. If your receptionist doesn’t greet the potential patient with a smile and a friendly demeanor, that starts things off in a 180-degree opposite direction than the initial process should. Do not forget that your staff can make or break you.
What patients are really looking for are "well rounded human beings."
The key to a fun practice…
Creative Energy equals a good time for all! It NEVER visits you while fully engaged in the routines of practice. I find it only visits after complete relaxation and, then, either by divine inspiration or introspection.
For me, it comes while on the water, motorcycling or carving down a mountain on skis. What is it for you? Whatever does it for you, make sure to engage in it regularly!
The lesson here…
My best advice is always to be 100% transparent with your patients. Your true intentions will be felt by everyone around you. Find your purpose and latch on to it. Patients do not want stuffed shirts for their doctors anymore! And you will spend much more time enjoying, not only a rich personal life, but your practice as well. Be who you are. And your staff and patients will appreciate and pick up on your true intentions and message.
Dr. John Hayes Jr. has twenty-fi ve years experience of Private Practice with successful multidisciplinary healthcare. With a focus on integrated case management, Dr. Hayes has an extensive clinically balanced background, and still works actively with many MD’s, DMD’s, DPM’s, PT’s, DC’s, PA’s, RN’s and others. You can reach him at 1-781-659-7989, email
or visit www.perfectpracticeweb.com.