Physician Outlook

Trust tools Scaling Your Patient Relationship -Individually and Collectively


These days, in the presence of post-COVID health landscape, many solo physicians are faced with the need to rethink the way to go about their businesses and lead their patients to listen to them and build a stronger relationship.

Last month I asked, what would you do to get a few minutes of breathing room in your day?

With today’s post-COVID health landscape, many solo physicians find that it’s not enough to go about business as usual. They are realizing that they need to think ahead of the rest. And that kind of creative thinking takes time and energy.

The good news is that in the last six months we’ve seen something that never happened before. We’ve seen medical norms change in response to COVID-19.

If you’re interested in a simple way to utilize this shift to benefit your patients as well as yourself - and get the extra bandwidth you’d never have otherwise, keep reading… because the answer is so much more straightforward than you might realize.

In last month’s article, I talked about how to protect your staff’s time simply by pre recording your FAQs and sending your patients to that content instead.

This month I want to dig deeper into why this strategy might just work for you - whether you are a solo physician, group partner, specialist, direct care, fellow, or hospitalist. No matter what role you play, some variant of this principle will absolutely have the potential to save you energy, time, and margin in a clutch situation.

Have you ever become frustrated by patients who listen to celebrity doctors? Today’s tip will show you how to turn the tables on illegitimate health voices that often exploit the vacuum.

The Power of 1:Many:1 Communication

Pre-COVID, all of traditional medicine was about the 1:1 and only 1:1. The result?  A lot of repeating yourself to different patients who had a similar problem and needed to do a similar thing.

Here’s an alternative - take a look at last month’s article  about creating your own FAQ Library to save you time and empower your patients.

You don’t need to keep doing things the same way. You have time to reinvent yourself now before the “suits” learn of these tips. I don’t know about you, but I always prefer “get-to” instead of inside.

This approach is the best of both worlds. If you’re like a lot of doctors, you paid the price and learned the ropes not for money or prestige but to serve your patients. You went through that gauntlet for the sake of the physician-patient relationship - 1:1.

I’m suggesting that you have more options to do this than you ever imagined especially if you’ve been feeling secretly overwhelmed by new pressures and regulations in this post-COVID world.

1:Many communication doesn’t mean you become fake or cheesy like some TV physician experts. You don’t have to trade in any of your values or authenticity because these are already your patients, and they are already listening to you. Instead, 1:Many communications simply means that you begin to think of all of your patients instead of individual patients.

Again, whether you are a specialist, hospitalist, solo physician, or otherwise, there is an angle you can make a part or most of this work for you. Where would you like your patients to be in their health ten years from now? Ten months from now? When you think of your patients as a group, it becomes easier to position yourself to help them proactively meet their goals. Direct care physicians could easily differentiate themselves by doing this.

Do you have recurring issues in your practice that are draining you or your staff? Maybe it’s an unpopular payment policy or a regulation that is never fun to talk about in the moment. One way to lessen the negative impact of something like that - is to preemptively address it via a recorded message that goes to all your patients or a segment of them that would likely be impacted. How much staff burnout could we lessen or even entirely avoid when we use crisis-management thinking to preemptively relieve it.

Perhaps the best thing about 1:Many:1 is the last part. You might not particularly enjoy pivoting to all your patients as a collective. That’s OK - because you will pivot right back to 1:1 the next time they show up for their appointment.

But you might notice a difference in the way that patient shows up: how they listen to you, how readily they might comply. The reality is that we live in a media-saturated culture - for better or for worse. Once you choose to step into unfamiliar waters not only to build a “personal brand” but to scale your impact through recorded media, you might be surprised to see how differently your patients respond.

In summary:

You don’t need to be limited to 1:1 any longer

You can scale to 1:Many with targeted, relevant messages

You reconnect 1:1 at their next visit

Your advice when recorded can address some, many, most or even all your patients who share a given condition

Your patients will likely pay less attention to physician celebrities or “influencers” once they know you are also able to communicate on media

I hope this brief look into the power of 1:Many:1 fills you with hope and energy for your patients.

PS - the change has already begun.  I am already working with forward-thinking physicians who want to seize these tools - despite not being entirely familiar with them.  You can find out more at patient-proof.com 

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