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Attracting your ideal patients is first step to successful private practice career

Imagine you could look forward to walking into clinic each day, knowing that every patient you were going see would turn out to be a really interesting case, requiring your favorite type of procedure or surgery, and who was thoroughly pleasant to be around. Your first reaction might be ‘dream on’, but we believe differently.

Private Practice is fundamentally different to NHS work because you get to choose your patients.

When we are starting out in private practice, we are so grateful for any patients, that we tend to take on all and sundry, just to get those bums on seats (or is that the examination couch?).

The reality is, we tend not to go about choosing, and instead, we default to the ‘FOMO’ method of practicing. FOMO (or the fear of missing out) is a double-edged sword.

If you were intending on developing a practice focusing on ankle surgery for sporty patients, and you find yourself working with diabetic feet, you’re in danger of attracting more of the same.

Suddenly Friday’s neat little operating list of six day-case scopes followed by early finish has turned into three sick over-nighters who need visiting over the weekend. When you were planning on seeing your partner and kids.

So…what’s to be done?

Firstly, you need to have a good think about exactly what you do and don’t like clinically.

Do you, for instance, enjoy spending time with straight forward hysterectomy patients, or do you thrive on the mental stimulation of helping a patient who is medically and pharmacologically challenged? It’s actually just as important to focus on who or which interactions you don’t like. Think back to a time when patient made your heart sing, or sink.

Decide what you should drop.

If Lyme disease doesn’t float your boat, then why are you seeing those patients? It’s tempting to help all people, but in the long term, it stresses you and your support team out, moral drops, and work becomes a chore. Are there any aspects of your practice you’ve been waiting to expand upon, and could this be a potential new service, tailored for your kind of people?

Try to visualise your ideal patient.

Marketing experts talk about creating an ‘Avatar’ for your ideal client, and it’s a good visualisation technique. An example of a patient might be a busy professional who works in the city and is appreciative of rapid, expert advice. He is looking for help with getting to the start of the London Marathon and wants to see a Doctor who understands, and is passionate about his sport.

Once you’ve understood what your patient’s biggest problem or need is (and this may be as simple as wanting to be seen by a Doctor who runs and cares) over a relatively short space of time, referrers will come to think of you as their go to clinician.

Happy Clinic Days.

Dr Cath runs www.privatepracticeninja.co.uk

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One Response to “Attracting your ideal patients is first step to successful private practice career”

  1. Paul Hames says:

    Thank you for sharing this post! I’m loving the visualisation techniques, I’m really interested in going on your marketing workshops.

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