The Medical Future Is Moving From Patients To Customers


The natural Medical Practice Model is built on the basis that a Practice or Clinic has a location and people (described as Patients) seek out the Medical Services for whatever is bothering them. It is often Symptom driven and sets up a very reactive climate where the Physicians, PA’s and Staff attempt to help the Patient by knowing more than the Patient about the ailment and providing guidance with treatment to resolve the problem or reduce the issue.

A number of factors including Obama-Care, the 2014 changes, the economy and the current forecast are bringing major changes to the model.

The primary job of the Physician is to make sure that the Practice/Business performs to its full potential and produces sufficient results to justify staying open.

With all the changes, this has simply gotten harder. So the idea of changing the relationship dynamics to a Dialogue where information and performance expectations are explored, developed and shared becomes a way to proactively “own” your market. What this really means is that if you look at what Matters to the people who can come see you, then you have a basis of offering things that are meaningful and compelling to them.

You can be proactive here and focus on the process of Setting and Managing Expectations as well as destroying unrealistic expectations and demands.

Here is an example: As a Patient I have experienced endless waiting to see a Physician at times and I have the feeling that I am just herded based on the convenience of the Practice. It is annoying, frustrating and the world I live in, I am penalized for not being on time or keeping my appointments. Very often, this is missed or ignored at the Practice. Of course I hear people complain, but Staff usually shrugs it off, apologizes and then stays mad at the Practitioners for being made to hear it all the time.

As a Customer, I have had to wait for all sorts of reasons – but usually, the provider makes my waiting matter by helping me set, manage and update my expectations. They offer something to “make it right”, like a reschedule option or a discount or an extra bonus or some obvious consideration.

One office started with this solution. It sends a text to every person coming to see them. The text says this: We try our best to be on time, but many times people need unexpected attention. We don’t let anyone leave without doing the best we can to meet their needs and this includes you. We will be as prompt as we can and are happy to update you at your request.

Complaints dropped by 60% the first 2 weeks and people were willing to wait because they knew they would get the attention they needed and it would be thorough.

This is a great example of treating People like Customers you value versus Patients you just deal with. Customers naturally include attention to the Relationship, Patients generally feel like they are at effect Medicine.

Very often, Patients don’t “own” their well-being, they try to make the Doctor, PA or Practice be responsible for them.

As a Customer, the same people make it a point to know what they want and will converse as well as participate in getting the results they seek.