Sep 11, 2014

The Customer Comes First

. . . Practicing Medicine with a Retailer’s Mindset – Part I

The rules of medicine have changed.  To remain successful today, physicians must consider not only all-important quality-of-care but also the quality of the referrer and patient experience. For many, that’s a new mindset and an added challenge in an already difficult environment. Physicians have to learn to think like marketers and deliver added value and service. 

Drawing on our years of experience supporting not only the clinical but also the business aspects of medicine, IDS has seen many of these challenges up close and helped practices thrive in difficult business environments.

In our new blog series, The Customer Comes First, we draw on this background and offer insightful advice on how to rise above these challenges . . .  and the competition.  We invite you to return for our continuing series. Please enjoy…and prosper! 

Let’s be frank – It’s a new world in medicine.  Patients are playing an ever-increasing role in their own healthcare decisions, including choosing the specialists who treat them.  While most have insurance, some are paying with cash and even shopping around for pricing. 

Additionally, the doctors you depend on for referrals are also increasingly demanding. They clearly understand the value of their recommendations and expect you to cater to their needs and preferences, from a rapidly returned phone call to timely patient reports in the style and format of their choice.  They also expect their patients to receive high quality service—not only clinically but on a personal level as well.  The patient experience you deliver reflects both on your practice and on referrers, who in turn want to keep their customers happy. 

Granted, you have years of training, advanced equipment, IT technology and carefully devised workflows that keep your practice functioning effectively and efficiently.  But in today’s competitive environment, physicians would be wise to take a cue from the from the retail industry. Customer service is king—or at least gives you a strong competitive edge.  Today, Have it Your Way is more than just a slogan.  It’s an integral part of business . . . so make sure you hold the pickles and add the onions if that’s what the customer wants.

Of course, while catering to referrers and patients, you can still practice medicine with conviction, passion and for profit.  But making smart choices is key.  Technology can go a long way to boost your customer experience, from initial exam scheduling right through referrer reporting. And it can even help you manage your marketing to both physicians and patients.

This blog continues tomorrow, when we’ll provide a sampling  of the tactics we’ll cover in depth going forward as this series continues.