It’s Patient Loyalty, Doc!

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Businesses have customers.


Shrinks, lawyers and CPAs have clients,


But you, Doc,


have patients!



If you have a doctor-friend in your life, you might want to share this post. Useful, straightforward “business” posts for healthcare professionals are not typically or readily available. You may also want to consider how these same dynamics apply to you in your business or non-medical practice.



So what, you say?  Here’s what: Given that healthcare has now become even less predictable (than the plights of business, shrinks, accountants, and lawyers) as we edge ever closer to that Obamacare precipice, you may already be starting to lose patients as you lose patience.

I mean, businesses, CPAs, and lawyers already see the staggering new costs handwritten on the walls. And shrinks? Eh, who ever knows about shrinks?  Anyway, it’s all about you, Doctor. You are being called on as never before to rise to the occasion and bite the business bullet. You must grow your practice in stagnant times

This means riding out the economic storms and going with the insurance provider flow even when all you want to do is practice medicine and be fairly paid for your expertise, training, experience, and compassion. Ah, but there stands Obamacare in your path! And you can’t get over, under, or around it. 

So, you’ve got to get through it!   

The only way to “get through” it –to survive and thrive in the next few months and years ahead– is to build and strengthen patient loyalty.

Patient loyalty is the single most critical component of practice growth, especially in hard times. It triggers increased  patient volume and stimulates referrals faster and more cohesively than any other factor.


Here are the five key sets of values that determine success in acquiring and strengthening patient loyalty:

  1. Your professional skills, resource network, and “Google-ability”

  2. Your training, experience, and regional word-of-mouth reputation

  3. Your patient-centric care approach and reassuring “bedside manner”

  4. Your office staff’s abilities to communicate clearly and pleasantly, and to handle insurance reimbursement tangles quickly and simply

  5. Your effectiveness in managing patient support, diagnostics, and referrals

Notice that the first four value sets above are ones that you should control and/or that should rely almost entirely on you. The fifth one, however, depends on others. This distills down to the reality that you must first attack the first four and fully capture or re-capture them into your control before moving into value set five territory.

Why? So you can strengthen the area that’s not in your control by coming at it from a position of strength in the four areas you are able to harness.

Take a hard look at the ten qualifiers suggested in the first four numbered value sets above. Can you rate yourself a “9” or “10” in each? In which areas are you weakest? What do you need to do –specifically– to get to those ratings in each suggested category? Can you identify three steps you can take next week to lead yourself there?

When you can honestly give yourself those 9-10 ratings, move on to #5 above and ask yourself what specific actions you can take now to improve the ways you manage patient support, diagnostics and referrals. Are you, for example, using resources that keep you in case management control over each of your patients?

The farther away from Med School and Internship and Residency you are, the more vulnerable you may be to economic invasion, and the more important it becomes to self-assess on a regular basis. Quarterly works. It might be the most rewarding investment you can make in your practice . . . or the most costly one to avoid.

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“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

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