DON’T LOCKDOWN YOUR PRIVATE PRACTICE –
With the prospect of ongoing lockdowns and tiers over the next weeks and months, it’s important to adjust the way you manage your consultations.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
Despite widespread news about pending financial armageddon, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are a number of things going on:
Not everyone has been badly impacted financially
Many members of the public are working from home and saving money by not having to commute. Holidays and leisure activities have been put on hold for the year. There’s a large section of society that is more financially secure than it was a year ago.
Fitness & health is a priority
COVID has caused many people to reassess their lives. Fitness, health and wellbeing have become the focus for many people since the onset of the pandemic.
Time on their hands
With lockdowns, furlough and less commuting, people have more time. They are using that time to research health options. After the initial shock of the first lockdown, many of our clients noted an increase in website traffic and enquiries.
Don’t lockdown your private practice.
A consultation isn’t just an opportunity for a diagnosis – it’s the beginning of a relationship. It’s an opportunity for you to ascertain what ails the patient and formulate a treatment plan, but it’s also an opportunity for a patient to decide if they like and trust you.
A high percentage of self pay patients will contact a number of clinics in order to find a practitioner that suits their needs.
Remember: you are in a competitive environment and although your website will do the initial work to introduce you, the next phase is always to start that relationship.
Introduce a short, free, conveniently-timed online ‘introductory chat’ to your consultation process so that you get to meet the patient virtually and begin to cement that relationship. When the tiers change, lockdowns end and your in-person consultations commence you already have developed a relationship with the patient.
How to improve your consultation process.
Go back quickly to enquiries
A quick response even during lockdown shows your practice is professional, open for business and one that cares about patients.
Arrange a date / time for your initial chat
Find a time that suits your patients. It might be early morning or after official office hours. Remember the the 9-5 working week has been blown apart in 2020. People are working differently and the rhythms of our lives have been irrevocably changed.
Get your secretary to contact the patient a few hours before
Your time is valuable and no shows are not acceptable to any clinic. Additionally, a courteous friendly reminder demonstrates your practice as professional and on top of things.
Get the tech sorted
Don’t wait until the consultation to decide if the meeting is taking place on Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts or other chosen video platform. Get your secretary to agree the format first. If the patient is not familiar with video conferencing, then get them to set up in advance so that you’re not fiddling around with connections during the consultation.
Make sure your secretary or assistant is up-to-date with all the tech options and can talk the patient through the process. They can always arrange a tech test run first if necessary. It’s important that your consult is about the patient’s health, not about technology.
Invest the time that you, your secretary and the patient would have wasted arranging and commuting to your in-person consultations to make your online consultations as slick as possible. Even in a post-COVID world, telemedicine will continue to play an important role in how you interact with patients.
Get your surroundings set up
Consult in a place that is private, quiet and looks professional. If you’re using a smart phone to conduct video chats then buy a phone stand. Your camera angle should be at head height, not on the desk looking up your nose! If you really want to go pro, then buy a branded portable slide-up banner to be your backdrop which can be zipped up when needed.
Follow up with an email & tentative physical consultation appointment
Ensure you follow up with a polite email putting a tentative date in the diary for an initial consult. Keep them up to date with developments over the coming weeks to maintain that relationship.
When the COVID pandemic is over you will have compiled a database of very warm, motivated enquiries that can all be followed up with in-person consults.
TALK TO US
We’d love to help you build your practice. We can help you answer your phones and manage your clinic with cost-effective secretarial services.
Tell us about your requirements below and we’ll come back to you with some price ideas.
Call us on 01789 224124