Patients are consumers. And they expect to be treated as such. Here is how you do it.

3 months ago   •   1 min read

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

If you believe that scheduling a doctor’s appointment should be different than scheduling a manicure, I hope you’re getting ready to retire.

For some reason, most doctors think we are different than every other service their patients might purchase. I hate to break it to you but, we are not.

I know you dislike it. So do I. But it does not make it any less true.

You have two choices in how you approach this

  1. You refuse to let your patients engage with your practice as they engage with their barber. “If they want an appointment, they can call our office, and we will give them an appointment.”
  2. You empathize with them and their needs and remove friction.

If you chose number 1, good luck.

Especially if you are a pediatrician, a family doc, an internist, etcetera. As younger generations (hello millenials! 👋🏻 ) begin requiring care for chronic disease, they will be more likely to choose a doctor who makes things easier for them.

What does removing friction look like?

Stop thinking about what you need from your patients (history, insurance info, etc), and instead think about what your patients need from your practice.

After working with dozens of medical practices, these are the simplest ways of removing friction:

  • SMS reminders.
  • Online payments.
  • Online scheduling.
  • Online form-filling.
  • Wait times <15 mins.
  • Clear driving & parking directions.
  • Price transparency — in your website without having to call for it.

The only reason to not accommodate all of these is your unwillingness to do so.

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