How Do You Balance PCP vs. Medical Practice?
B.F. from Texas has this question: We have quite a few patients in our community that treat us as their PCP, which is great, but they forget we are an Medical Practice as well. Sometimes the waits can be longer, refill requests take longer and unfortunately (especially during this flu season) results of labs, etc... can take a little longer for us to contact if labs are normal. How do you make patients understand this so they do not feel neglected or like we don’t care about them? There is often a blurred line between PCP and Medical Practice. I think this is because we are using old, outdated, language. We are in a new age where consumers don't think like we think. They don't make a distinction between their primary care doctor and their Medical Practice doctor; only we do that. Patients simply go where they think they can get the best, fastest, and least expensive care. They lleave it to us to decide if that was emergent, primary, or Medical Practice.
The answer to your question is two fold:
1. Develop systems where the the problems you describe disappear. You mention refills and labs take longer. My question would be why? What could you do so they did not? Do you even have to contact for normal labs? Is there another way? I would spend some time with my team members thinking about answers to those questions.
2. Develope a way to educate your patients.
You mention several times things like "but they forget" or "how do we make them understand". Remember that the burden of communication and understanding is not on the customer but on us. It is our responsibility and privilege to try and find ways to always be talking to our customers.Let me out the question back to you in different language. How could you best communicate with your patients your commitment to them and that you care about them? Could it be done with how the phone is answered, by what you say when you put patients in a room, by how the doctor introduces themselves, by the way the exit from the clinic is done, by a follow-up phone call, by email, by website, Facebook posts, etc... There are a thousand ways to communicate what you are trying to say to the customer. Evaluate each and then determine if what and how you are saying things currently (because you are already saying something
) is part of the problem.We spend a lot of time at the Medical Practice Success Summit
discussing systems so that customers say "Wow, I would have to be crazy to go anywhere else."
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Tina Bell is the Director of Marketing for HealthCARE Express®, where her responsibilities include spearheading the company’s social media and internet strategies, leading the in-house physician recruitment team, and developing aggressive programs to promote patient satisfaction and effective service recovery. Tina speaks nationally at industry conferences including the Medical Practice Association of America and the National Association of Occupational Health Professionals. She is the director of business development for Medical Practice Success and an independent Medical Practice marketing consultant.