Let’s be honest. You can have an awesome practice, a warm and friendly staff and your healthcare techniques can be “off the charts” wonderful, but some patients might never experience your excellent care if they never get past the initial appointment.
Healthcare practice marketing doesn’t end when the new patient comes into the office. Instead you will actually be building on the marketing used to get that patient to set their appointment. We can never assume that any new patient has ever been to a healthcare practice like yours before. Therefore all of your knowledge and recommendations fly right out the window if the patient doesn’t digest all of the information given.
That’s why it’s important to focus on some very basic fundamentals of communication during the initial exam and appointment.
- Slow down – Speak slowly so the patient can absorb what you are saying and allow them to take notes if they need to.
- No Greek Speak – Medical terminology is a foreign language to most people, therefore very technical terms won’t make much sense until you explain them to the patient. Sometimes visual aids are great.
- Make Eye Contact – When you are not looking at the patient’s file during the findings, make eye contact with the patient. This builds trust and authority.
- Be Compassionate – You are a professional and your degree on the wall is proof, however you are also someone’s child, someone’s spouse and possibly a parent. So put yourself in their shoes, how would you like to be talked to if you were sitting where they are?
- Be Firm, Kind and Confident – If you think animals smell fear wait until you get in a room with a new patient and their spouse who is not so on board with this whole ‘healthcare thing’ or the parent who has brought their child for the first time. Being kind and confident will calm fears and win over the biggest sceptics.
- Build Confidence – Confidence must be displayed at all times. You can use the correct body language & the correct verbiage to display confidence. ‘Wishy washy’ words have no place in your practice. For example: “Maybe we should try XYZ, I think, if you like.”
- Have a plan – Have a specific care plan in place (complete with several payment options if this suits your style of practice) based on your findings. Having a timeline gives people the confidence they can get through their treatment plan and enjoy a higher quality of life because of the care they receive in your office.
- Allow time for questions – You’ve just laid out a lot of information in a short amount of time, make sure you give the patient time to ask their questions. Reassure them and let them know you will be happy to answer their questions after they’ve had time to think about what you’ve just gone over.