Speed dating is usually reserved for, well, dating. But now, one hospital is using that 5-minute, musical chairs meet-and-greet scenario to match patients and doctors. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital has changed the standard marketing game for healthcare networks and physicians with a new program called “Doc Shop”. Over an hour luncheon, patients can meet handfuls of doctors and see which would fit their needs best. Those who have taken advantage of the Fort Worth-based initiative say it’s a fast, comfortable alternative to plucking a new physician from the Yellow Pages. National news outlets have already run with the story, creating a huge buzz for not only the hospital itself, but for innovative healthcare marketing. It’s easy to understand why; they have put the patient in control and touched a new base of people by finding a way to connect with them in a way that respects their busy lives.
Basic, modern concepts like patient connection and convenience are re-packaged in this marketing initiative. Any practice or network could use this same formula to come up with their own unique approach. Jamie Verkamp, Director, Growth and Development at (e)Merge MD, says efforts can be as simple as changing your body language at in-office visits. “A simple act of making it a best practice for each member of your staff to note the color of the patient’s eyes you are working with will go a long way in creating a personal bond. When you take a minute to look up from your computer and into their eyes, you are showing them you value them, what they are saying and going through.”
The internet is also great for patient convenience and connection. Sites like Facebook let a practice dialogue with patients continuously, on their own time. Verkamp says sharing your practice’s personalities, achievements, growth and news online will keep your patients up to date and make them feel like a valued part of your practice. “Practices with an online presence are shown to have increased referrals because they are staying in touch and engaging the patient even when they’ve left the office.” It also doesn’t hurt that you can advertise any of your featured events on these social sites, just like Texas Health Harris Methodist did with “Doc Shop”.
Texas Health Harris has found a perfect marketing match match-making doctors and patients. Now, how will your practice find the client base of your dreams?
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