How Physicians Find Patients

One thing every successful medical practice has in common is patients.  More specifically, the right kind of patients.  Patients who need care and can benefit from your specialized skills and experience.  I started working with physicians over 23 years ago who all shared the same challenge.  They wanted more patients.

The more ‘general’ the practitioner, the more difficult it was to differentiate the physician and attract more patients.  When the doctor, or the medical group wanted to go after a broad audience, the market response was mild because many other docs were making the same appeal.  They were attempting to be all things to all patient needs and the patients didn’t buy it.  Patients are consumers. And marketers have trained them well through the years.  

For example, when a consumer needs help with an estate tax problem, then find a CPA firm that specializes in estate tax issues. When they are searching for solutions, the CPA firm that focuses on specific tax issues will always win out over general CPA’s or bookkeeping firms.

While there is clearly a “general” role for the family physician, a practice can still distinguish itself from other medical practices by emphasizing expertise in a specific area of medicine such as treatment of allergies, or by the way they serve their patients, such as convenient weekend hours and ample free parking.

For physician specialists their appeal to new patients is managed on two fronts.  The first is through referring primary care physicians and directly to the patient by informing them through their marketing of their expertise and an area of medicine that is relevant to a patient’s condition.

As easy as it sounds to appeal to new patients through referring physicians and direct to the patient-consumer, the devil is in the detail.  In future postings we will address how to implement specific successful strategies to help you find more patients.

In future posts I will also address the issue of physicians advertising for patients.  This issue always seems to create a dilemma for physicians who are conflicted on how far they can go in promoting themselves and their practice to prospective patients.