As our world changes, it is important that we stay current with what the health consumers expect as they interact with their health care providers. Today's consumer is remarkably different than just a few decades ago.
Generally speaking, your patients are "consolidators." They gain information through a number of channels. They percolate that information, mix in their personal experience, and make choices about what health care they will administer themselves and what health care they will seek from which health care providers.
You have an opportunity to impact those choices through a number of informational channels:
Arm Your Patients for Referrals
The better equipped your patients are to share information about you and chiropractic, the more they can impact the health care decisions of their family, friends and co-workers. Brochures, newsletters, pamphlets, etc., placed in your patients' hands can be very powerful. E-newsletters can be very effective, in that your patients can easily forward them on to their friends, family, etc. What's most important is to ensure that your practice information is included on absolutely everything you distribute to your patients.
Stock Your Web Site With Quality Information
Your Web site is the first introduction most potential patients will get. The quality of your site (if you have one) and the information provided may be the only basis upon which consumers decide whether to make an appointment with you or not. I don't go to a new restaurant without first visiting its Web site. Restaurants whose Web sites don't provide the hours, menus, etc. (or don't even have a site) are quickly eliminated from my choices.
Recognize Your Value
There is a difference between information and experience. While your patients can easily get information on their ailments from thousands of Web sites, they don't know what you know and they don't have your experience. You are the doctor. The minutes you spend with your patients are golden; it is your opportunity to share your knowledge as it applies specifically to their health.
Understand the Visit Environment
For most people, a visit to your office results in a complete change of pace from that person's normal routine. They have to leave work, family or some other activity to come to your office. When patients enter your office, they are tuned into their health and are thinking about how to live a healthier life (something they usually don't think about in the midst of their busy day). When they meet with you, it is a unique, one-on-one experience during which your patients are actually seeking to understand their health and are open to whatever input you want to provide. You can talk about anything - the weather, sports or their health. They are there to talk about their health.
The people in your community can give you clues about how they look at health care and where they get information relating to their health. Don't be shy about talking to your patients, staff, friends and even your children's friends about what health information they seek, where they get it and how they make their health care choices. And don't be offended by what you hear.
Our world continues to change. Where consumers get their health information and how they make health care choices provides insight into how we can reach potential patients with the message about the benefits of chiropractic care.
The Internet is a great equalizer. Persistent, quality information will be read, appreciated and shared. We only have to take the time to tell our story well.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.