If you’re shopping for a big ticket item this week, chances are you’re going to ask some BIG questions. At the very least, you’ll read online reviews, maybe check out Consumer Reports, and do a bit of “Google” searching. If you can, you will definitely talk to a real live sales person, too. Along the way, you will ask friends and neighbors about their experiences with the product or service provider in question, right? It happens all the time.
My mom friends and I are no different. We are always asking each other questions. Whom do you recommend for a doctor, a dentist, an orthodontist? Why? Did you like your HVAC company? Why not?
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a few questions for our future pediatrician. Our hospital at that time required you to have one lined up before giving birth. Momma bear went into research mode.
Guess which pediatrician I chose? The doctor who called me back and allowed me 5 minutes of his valuable time to answer my few questions. He soothed a momma bear’s heart. He is excellent at patient-centered care!
Funny thing — I tried this same tactic very nicely at our local primary physician’s office this week. I walked in. I waited patiently for a receptionist to finish a call. She then asked if I was there for an appointment.
No, but are you currently accepting new patients? Yes? Great! Would I be able to ask a doctor just a few questions before I make an appointment as a new patient? She can call at her convenience any time. No rush.
The receptionist actually told me, Oh, you’re shopping for doctor? Well, you can’t do that here. I smiled, said, Okay, that does answer my question, and left.
My daughter’s outgrown her pediatrician, and she’s really nervous about seeing a new doctor. I’m still the momma bear. I’m out to protect my cub. It’s my right.
You can guess the office I walked into obviously got a big fat “F” in the realm of patient-centered care. Maybe that receptionist was just having a bad day. She needs to practice a new line, though, or undergo more training. Wonder why I wrote this article about a medical practice’s most important hire?
I should know, because I spent a few years being that front desk lady. As I learned later, our optometrist’s office had gone through quite a few hires to find a multi-purpose receptionist (greeter, appointment-setter, eye-care coaching, insurance and financial data gatherer, and eyewear sales, anyone?)
You’re only permitted one shot at a doctor for a yearly routine appointment covered by insurance. Otherwise, you have to pay out of pocket for a second visit to another physician, and the cycle could repeat itself until you find someone you like and trust.
Why wouldn’t there at least be a representative nurse to answer a few questions? After all, whoever helps you take care of your health is actually one of the most valuable purchases you make in life.
Consider this, too. For most folks, medical insurance is one of their larger monthly bills. So why wouldn’t you ask questions and invest in yourself wisely? Who has the gall to say they won’t talk to a potential buyer? Really?
Something similar also happened this week to another lady friend of mine as we shared stories. She went shopping for a doctor and asked the same question I did. Truly reasonable question, I think.
Happily, she received a slightly-altered, but much more patient-friendly response.
“We don’t offer a meet-and-greet session with our doctors, but we do have a nurse that knows each doctor very well who can answer your questions.” Ahhh! Your nurse is your salesperson. That works. Yes, I’ll be happy to talk to your nurse.
As it turns out, my friend who also asks annoying, intelligent questions has some very unique and serious health issues. She simply wanted to learn more about this doctor’s level of experience with her specific needs. It was vital!
Her next doctor would affect the quality of her life. She’d been down a long medical road, knew what had helped her, and what didn’t. She didn’t want to go back through all of the “experimental stages” with a new doctor in a new area.
My mom friends and I — well, we’ve heard this run-around from medical practices before, so we compare notes. We chat about our various doctors, because it’s often the only way to get information.
One friend has been so perturbed by her experiences that she refused to hire a primary care physician for several years. She would just go the the walk-in emergency medical clinic if she was sick, instead.
There’s a simple answer actually. What we all want is genuine transparency from our medical providers with a touch of caring.
And that may take more than 15 minutes of scheduled time.
We don’t just want to read about you on the web. We want to get a feel for your practice, and have a few personal questions that may be quite private.
Just a little bit of time goes a long way. If you don’t allow “interview questions” you’re really not being fair to us your consumer. You’re asking us to hire you blindly.
Even if it’s just your trained staff responding knowledgeably to our questions before we hire you to protect our most valuable commodity, that counts.
“Golden Rule Marketing” — life’s really golden when you apply it. Very simple, actually. You treat others the way you want to be treated. I’m excited that my friend found a doctor who sounds golden. It’s good to know you’re out there.
If you’re interested in growing your wellness practice with patient-centered care, then you should also try patient-centered content marketing. I’d love to help you make friends with your clients using email newsletters or friendly, helpful blog posts on your website.
Fill out the contact form below. I will be happy to help! Or call me directly at 443-362-8789
A chronic illness that lingers gradually strips the normalcy from your life. It steals your dreams, your friends, your finances, and your loved ones.
Or an illness like cancer can suddenly attack and suck the life from you overnight. Instead of a rags-to-riches story, you endure the reverse tale.
If you get a diagnosis, you and your medical team can start working on a solution to those health problems with a real sense of understanding, right?
Imagine running medical test after test, brutal blood-draw after blood-draw, chasing clue after clue, and not getting the answers you need to help your suffering child.
The Might family never gave up. Finally a research team from Duke contacted them and asked them to join a study on illnesses with no diagnosis. Why? To see if exome sequencing, a cutting-edge DNA research, could lead to answers. Exome sequencing, a less expensive option, only deals with one small portion of a person’s genetic coding. In the case of the MIghts, researchers compared a small amount of DNA sequencing from their son’s DNA to each of his parents DNA.
About two years into the study, the Mights discovered that their son had a previously unheard of disease with no known treatment plan. He inherited an extremely rare glycosylation disorder caused by NGLY1 mutations. Precision medicine at work — so amazing! My hat is off to those researchers devoted to helping those with rare medical needs.
On with our (true) story. With a combination of perseverance, brains, grit, and social media networking, Matt Might went to work to find other NGLY1 victims.
Why? According to Seth Mnookin’s article (see link above) in The New Yorker, “… without additional cases, there was virtually no possibility of getting a pharmaceutical company to investigate the disorder, no chance of drug trials, no way even to persuade the FDA. to allow Bertrand to try off-label drugs that might be beneficial.”
Precision medicine doesn’t work without finding the precise drugs needed. What the Might family needed was a drug or drug combination that would be effective and currently FDA-approved to use for their son’s condition. Relief could not wait for years of drug-testing and research.
Enter Might’s viral blog post!
He did it! He found other sufferers with NGLY1 disorders. Most importantly, the Might family improved the quality of life for their son AND others with the rare NGLY1 disorder. Their research led them to FDA approved drugs within a few years.
It’s not the kind of precision achieved by AI, bots, or any computer-generated copy. I’m a firm believer that no robot will ever fully replace passionate human creativity! Technology should forever be a helper but not a replacement for the human touch.
Matt wrote from an intimate understanding of his son’s need. He also wrote his story from his heart — full of love, compassion, and urgency. His story, though technical at times, was not stuffy. I got choked up reading it. I cheered him on in his search. It sounded like a mini-stadium in my living room!
You need someone who cares about your business to write about your business — that’s heart.
Sharing his unique challenge in a personal way hooked those might also be facing some other sort of unknown genetic nightmare.
That’s what I’d love to do for your business today. You can reach me 443-362-8789 or email email@example.com.
Let’s start with a basic question. What is your business mission statement? If you’re reading this article and your bottom line is your biggest WHY for your business, read no farther.
It’s okay with me. This article is not for you. However, if happy, healthier clients are your focus (along with that necessary bottom line), then you’re in tune with patient-centered care.
According to this article in Catalyst (https://catalyst.nejm.org), how you make your clients feel is an important part of quality care.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) also lists patient-centered care as one of six markers of quality health care. In fact, all six goals could be summed up by saying, “Do your best for each client. ”
How many of us actually look forward to picking up the phone and calling a doctor, dentist, or other wellness provider? Ladies, how about getting the man in your life to schedule his own appointments? Is it like pulling teeth? Healthcare is a very emotional and personal experience for most clients.
While you as the wellness provider bear most of the responsibility for safe and effective care, your office staff will make or break patient-centered care with a tough-as-nails or a sour lemon approach.
Your “gatekeepers” should embody all that is wonderful about your wellness practice.
If you’re as healthy as a horse, you can’t understand your clients. You need to hire a secret “quality control” agent to discover how it feels for your new potential to phone or walk in the front door of your practice.
Don’t hire your best friend. Don’t even hire an acquaintance. Hire someone who has a sick loved one and experiences doctor’s offices ALL the time. Have them call your office at different times with “new patient” questions. Pick the busiest times. Here are a few suggestions — keeping it simple is great!