Canoga Park, CA (PressExposure) May 09, 2011 -- Lack of patients is the main reason cited by the management of the hospital. Why is that?
Aren't the superiority of technology and the superiority of doctors' skills sufficient to attract patients to their facility?
Yes, technology and skills are important, but that do not necessary mean that these points would automatically attract patients.
Is there perhaps something very fundamental missing, something which attracts more patients and instills more trust than any high priced equipment or diplomas the patients do not understand the function and meaning of anyway?
"Yes, there is," says Mr. Helmut Flasch, medical and dental practice management consultant, CEO of Doctor Relations, an international marketing consulting company in Canoga Park, CA. Mr. Flasch has coined the term 'Un-Advertising' and for 20 years, has created a unique marketing strategy needed by doctors to attract patients.
"As much as the best technology and the best trained doctors are needed, the patients -- you and I -- CANNOT really evaluate those equipments and the expertise of a doctor. We are after all not trained as a doctor - and if you put 10 doctors in one room about one heath case, you will get 10 slightly different opinions." said Mr. Flasch.
Patients need to trust a doctor as a person first before they are willing to be patients.
And it is not enough to have good bedside manners once the patient is in the practice.
It is a good thing to have and it does help, but it is too late. Patients need to have a very favorable, very human, very personal, very humbling impression of a particular doctor way before they are ever in the need of such a service.
Especially in times where insurance companies have cut the re-imbursements of the average procedure by 1/3 and doctors responded with cutting the time spend with patients by at least that much to make up for the loss of income, there is little time to instill trust on a personal level.
One of the reasons doctors have gotten used to getting work through patients and other physicians' referral, is that in the old days, those doctors were known to lend a hand in all matters of life. They were known and trusted way beyond their abilities as doctors.
Patients like to have a doctor they effectively can trust their lives to, someone they could have a conversation about the weather, about their kids and other matters dear to all of us. Those topics are important to us even if we are eternally sick.
In the modern days, where doctors are no longer making house calls and having the luxury of spending more time with a patient, trusts and liking for a doctor has decreased - reports about 'bad apples' of doctors cheating insurances or involving in malpractice have not helped the image of a doctor. Doctors need to learn how to be part of the community life, making their presence felt in community events and all the good causes.
"It is not done by donating money, but by being a driving force," Mr. Flasch gives some examples, "Involve yourself in helping children perform good deeds" or sponsor a Food Drive in your office or open a day to give free treatments to people who could not afford health care etc. There are plenty of ideas which one can do without spending a lot of money and time and yet create trusts with potential patients in the community. This is not the same as medical or dental advertising. We call this 'Un-Advertising' - to not try to advertise your service but to do something positive for the community first."
Over the years, many doctors have used traditional advertising to help build a profitable practice. Statistics however shows that that is not the way to build trust and a successful practice.
According to Mr. Flasch, "Doctors seemed to have a hard time waking up to the fact that the main motivation of choosing a doctor by patients was and always will be the personal liking of the doctor."
This liking could only be accomplished by the doctor actively being part of the neighborhood he wants to help people to get well.
If it sounds unorthodox and far-fetched to some of the doctors, it is not surprising as most doctors are taught by their professors in schools that as long as they focus on doing good work (high quality health care) patients will come.
Having witnessed dentists spending lots of money in their dental marketing, Flasch said, "If a doctor does not make himself visible to many potential patients, very few people will find out about his services. But there are cheaper and more credible ways of getting a doctor's name out there than just advertising."
For help with a specific practice, to learn more about putting Flasch's methods into a private practice, visit http://www.DoctorRelation.com