After 15 Years In Private Medical Practice, I Know Patients Will Always Choose The Best Doctor. But Their Criteria Is Wildly Different To Yours.

a year ago   •   2 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Photo by National Cancer Institute / Unsplash
Table of contents

Doctors believe patients choose the best doctor.

This explains why they spend so much money in trainings even after decades of undergrads, med school, residency, and fellowships. They think more certificates will differentiate them and get them more patients.

Unfortunately, patients don’t value any of these things.

Patients don’t think of themselves as patients

The common mistake we make as doctors is to think of patients as people who have a problem that only we can solve.

And while that is somewhat true, patients don’t see themselves that way at all. For starters, they don’t engage with our practice much differently than how they engage with other businesses they frequent. And this drives us, doctors, crazy!

Unfortunately, it is where the disconnect between us and our consumer patients begins.

In order to stand out, you need to think of your patients as consumers

If this section’s headline didn’t make you stop reading, the next one just might.

Proper medical care is their baseline expectation.

You can’t assume that accurately diagnosing and treating your patients will make you stand out.

Think about it, would you consider a restaurant remarkable because the food was not bad? Or would you rave about an airline pilot because they landed safely in Vegas? Those are pretty basic expectations, right?

Well, your patients feel the same way about you diagnosing and treating them accurately.

You need to find other ways of being remarkable

This is a tough exercise for most physicians. But I encourage you to go through with it. Enlist the help of one (or more!) of your team members and come up with as many –and as detailed– answers as you can.

Step 1, step away from your ego. No, I do not think it’s right that doctors get rated on the same sites where people review a bad burrito. But yes, I do think you need to play the game if you want to make it in business.

Step 2, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What frustrates patients about dealing with doctors?
  • What is their biggest emotional fear when engaging with your practice?
  • What is your patient’s number 1 problem that you can help them with?
  • What is it that patients want the most from you as a business?
  • What is the level of service they expect from your practice?
  • What would you have to deliver to exceed their expectations?
Answer these questions from your patient’s perspective. Not yours!

Step 3, use the answers to these questions to provide service that is truly remarkable for your patients.

I promise these changes are much simpler than they sound at first. They just need some honesty and an open mind to try new things. But in the end, your new patients will thank you for it.

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