Converting prospective patients into paying patients should be a breeze if you have a system in place. To help you with creating effective systems we created The Patient Attraction System TM. This system is essentially a blueprint that allows anyone to run your medical practice without you being there to direct the show. And more importantly, patient care is delivered in the exact same way, whether you are directing or someone else is directing.
There are essentially six systems that are integral to developing a brand and providing superior medical services. There are of course many components to any system, but for illustration purposes let’s discuss one piece that serves as the cornerstone of the Patient Attraction System TM.
Step 1: Prospective Patients
You have worked hard to engage with your community both on and off line, now those efforts are finally paying off. Prospective patients are calling to schedule appointments with you. The method that your staff engages with these calls can very well determine whether the prospective patient will actually follow through and trust you with their care. So if you haven’t already, now is the time to have systems in place that will assure that all of your online efforts are not thwarted by the reception they receive when they first call your office.
Let’s start with how you handle incoming calls to your office. What is your system?
Patient Attraction System TM: The Initial Phone Call
How is the phone answered at your medical practice? This seems like a pretty basic question, but after you have spent hours building your brand on and offline this is often an overlooked part of what can be a defining moment for a prospective patient. Consider the following exchange and compare it to the intake system you have in place at your medical practice.
The First Step: The Call
“Hello, welcome to the Randall Wong Retina Eye Center, this is Amy, how may I assist you.” Keep in mind the tone is warm, inviting and definitely with a smile.
What have we told our prospective patient?
The caller was greeted, she knows she dialed the correct number, she knows who she is talking to and she knows that “Amy” is not in a hurry and more importantly, that “Amy” wants to assist her.
Note: Your receptionist/intake specialist, I prefer to use the term patient care representative, should know how integral they are to the patient attraction process and should never be expected to rush through a phone call. Think of it this way…are you running a factory or a patient centered medical practice.
The Second Step: Intake Information
Now, the next step will hopefully lead to the caller scheduling an appointment. At this point “Amy” will lead the caller through a questionnaire that was designed to put the caller at ease and gather essential information for the appointment.
The Third Step: The Welcome Package
Once “Amy” has finished with her scripted intake questionnaire she will thank the patient and let the patient know that they should be receiving a welcome package within the next several days.
The Welcome package will have an assortment of materials, but the most important piece will be the business card with Amy’s information. Amy will serve as the patient’s point of contact because a personal connection has already been established. The patient will have a familiarity with “Amy” and will hopefully not hesitate to call should she have additional questions prior to her appointment.
Note: How many receptionists, patient care representatives, or other staff members at your office are given business cards. If you are like most offices, the answer is likely very few. This is something I have never understood….give all of your staff members their own business cards. Not only does this increase your exposure with each card that is handed out, but think of it from the employee’s perspective; i.e., the business card shows they are valued and have an important role in your medical practice.
The Fourth Step: Confirm the Appointment by Postcard
Yes, there is a small cost associated with sending a postcard and a welcome package; however, the patient will surely remember the extra special measures that were taken to ensure a seamless first appointment.
Side note: Many practices like to use their website for directions and contact information. We believe using on-line and off-line measures to ensure your patient makes it to the office is worth the small expenditure. Do the math yourself…is the office visit worth the two bucks you spent, and even less after factoring in the relative tax implications.
The Fifth Step: Confirm the Appointment by Calling the Patient
This is very important; “Amy” will call the patient the day before to confirm the appointment and answer any last minute questions the patient may have.
So… What’s the System?
The system is the process that is used to assure that each patient has the same experience. In the example that was used above, if you were to implement the five step intake process you would need to have a system in place that would track the completion of each step and automatically send reminders to the patient care representative to remind them of the next task needing to be completed. This may sound like a lot of work, but once your system is in place you will have created a system that can be employed by anybody.