Secrets To Ensuring The Growth Of Your Practice
- Volume 18 - Issue 12 - December 2005
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During the visit, introduce yourself and spend about 90 seconds telling the person on the other side of the window about yourself and your practice. Be brief as they have a business to run. Explain to them that you will no doubt be sending patients their way who need items including prescriptions, braces and running shoes, and ask for their card. Leave a set of your information with them. For the businesses that ask you to meet with their human resource administrator, explain that you would be happy to put on a brief seminar. Always look the person in the eye when you talk to him or her, and shake his or her hand. They have had very few, if any, practitioners meet them face-to-face. Many of them will appreciate your effort.
After each visit, enter the person’s name, address and a comment onto your spreadsheet, which now becomes an important database. During the first two years of your practice, send them a note on a subject you think they will find interesting. Always send your card. In years three through five, send the note twice a year and after five years, do it once a year.
For all the internists, pediatricians and family practitioners, find out their hours. Try to schedule a drop-in to introduce yourself but get there early. Spend as much time with the receptionist and office manager as possible. If they like you, they will send you patients. The physician has already set up his or her referral base so it will take time to break into that process. However, if you present yourself as polite and considerate, the receptionist and office manager may keep you in mind when referral situations arise.
Why Sending Timely Consult Letters Is So Important
Many practitioners overlook a very important point in building a successful practice. Every time you get a referral from any of these physicians, fax them your thank you consult letter and mail a hard copy within 24 hours. Do not wait two or three days.
Do this throughout your career. If you are going to perform surgery, explain the details of the procedure and why you are performing it. Write in the letter that if there are any questions, the doctor should call and ask to be connected directly to you. If he or she does call and you are not able to pick up the call, return the call immediately.
Primary care physicians often spend 15 to 30 minutes with a patient, review a chart 1 to 4 inches thick and receive less than $50 for their service. They then refer the patient to the podiatrist and you may perform a consult or a procedure for which you receive a multiple of what the primary care physician received. Referring physicians know that. They don’t expect anything back but do appreciate your appreciation and quick response.
Years ago, I was working with a practice administrator who was delivering holiday gifts to a podiatrist’s most important referring physicians. One primary care physician took us aside and said, “These are nice but as long as I get my consult letter as quick as I do now, he will be the only podiatrist to whom I refer my patients. I never get a letter back from the cardiologist, the gastroenterologists or the surgeons. However, I know I get them from Peter and I appreciate it.”
Mr. Peltz is the President of Peltz Practice Management and Consulting Services. He can be reached via phone at (845) 279-0226, via fax at (845) 279-4706 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.