The adage “the riches are in the niches” no longer seems to hold true. (There are few approaches that haven’t become commodities anyway anymore.) And people have short attention spans. If you don’t provide a commodity, they’ll just be confused. They may not find you because they don’t know what they’re looking for, or they don’t know what they should be looking for, or they don’t know that you provide something they are looking for or could use.
This is the second installment in a post series about screening potential new patients and the importance thereof.
As I stated in the first post of this series (but it’s an important enough statement that it bears repeating here), this isn’t meant to be judgmental, elitist, or exclusionary in any way. What follows is strictly my personal opinion, which is an amalgam of my own clinical experience and my interpretation/opinions formed about the experiences of other doctors. Nothing more, nothing less.
So if I’m not trying to pass judgment, cultivate elitism, or exclude anyone from getting care, what’s the point of this post series? What’s the point of screening patients for various issues in the first place? Why bother; why even consider it?
Dear patients of the world, this post series is probably going to sound pretty judgmental.
I assure you, it’s not. Falling into any one (or more) of the categories I’m about to talk about is not going to get you catalogued, reported, thrown out of an office, or barred from receiving care.
It’s just that some of the people out there present certain challenges to various types of doctors that these doctors need to be aware of, because doctors are human, too, and not knowing about these personality/history types of people can lead to serious physician burnout.
At least, not in our office. On its face, a question may appear to be a simple one. The patient asking the question might think it’s simple. But it’s probably not.
To be clear, the type of question I’m referring to are those that start with phrases such as “should I (do this or that)?”. Or, “what type of (supplement, massage, exercise, food, etc) should I choose?”
I meant to do a follow-up last year on the previous posts that discuss what we learned during our first year of practice, but as I recall, we were knee-deep in staffing issues and upcoming travel plans, and unfortunately, this blog took a back seat. Before I realized it, Years 2 and 3 have slipped by, so I think I’ll take this opportunity to play catch-up, because we learned a few more things that might help someone else, and if they have that potential, they’re worth sharing.
When I was little, my father, a business owner, told me something that I never forgot:
“People will not always remember what you said, what you did, what you looked like, or what you cost…but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
Wow, that last post started getting long – it didn’t feel like we’d learned that much in one year alone, but apparently we did–and more! The rest follows below…
Learn to say no–fast. This applies to salespeople requesting meetings, verifying those bogus “Yellow Pages” directory listings, and local vendors selling fruit out of the back of the pickup truck in your parking lot.
This also goes for patients who continually fail to show up, people who are repeatedly late, people who “forgot their wallet/credit card/checkbook”, or people who will “square up later” once their insurance is verified (many docs will tell a first-day patient not to worry about that day’s initial exam fees for now, we’ll just apply it to insurance – I say do not take this route!).