Can You Increase Patient Volume With Doctor ‘Speed Dating’

May 26, 2010

The Dallas-area Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital is setting up “doc shops” or “speed dating” between physicians and prospective patients to increase patient volumes. This has got to be one of the most innovative hospital marketing tactic I have ever seen.

With many studies showing that consumers are doing research online before talking to their friends, and then after talking to their friends choosing a provider, this is a way to give these “consumer researchers” great information they seek when choosing a doc.

Check out this NPR (National Public Radio) story. Now that most patients are skipping primary care in selecting secondary or even tertiary specialty care, the same techniques could possibly be used to find docs in cases of any specialty care that might be ongoing or long-term.

I’m not really recommending this because it is the first time I have ever seen it, I am just fascinated by the low cost and effectiveness of it. So I will be watching to see case studies of where this type of event is working… or not.



Increase Patient Volumes by Promoting Non-MDs

April 21, 2010

According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, America will be short of almost 50,000 Primary Care docs in the next 15 years. Wow. And you think it is hard to get an appointment now.

Shortages and rising costs will force us to do primary care with non-MDs like nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Almost on a daily basis Evidence-Based Medicine is bringing standardization to protocols making it much easier for nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to provide care that previously required a physician.

Similarly, technology advances will do the same to standardize some types of care and minimize the need for medical school training.

So what do hospital marketers do?

First of all, remember what your job is: you find ways to drive high-incidence high-contribution clinical intake.

So when a bottleneck in the system keeps you from filling beds, you must find innovative ways to unclog your flow of patients.

  • set up wellness events where at-risk patients can be examined and screened
  • any patient that fails an online screening should have the option to make an appointment with a non-MD practitioner for further examination
  • do public relations about the advances in the practice of healthcare as performed by NP’s and physician assistants
  • choose to feature non-MD’s in a portion of your advertising and brand messaging

Routing the patients into the system with a NP is a fast and efficient way to get patients into a specialist practice. For instance, that person that came to a seminar for orthopedic leg pain, may possibly have a CV problem instead- and an NP can route them correctly.

Oh, what if your Primary Care docs complain? They won’t, they are too busy.

Let me repeat: your job is to drive high-incidence high-contribution clinical intake. The way to handle the volume you will drive, is by promoting alternatives to physician-only primary care.