Building MD Relationships in your Community
A summary of tasks
Any complex task is handled best when it is broken up into smaller duties not to mention it is better to understand the process. Let’s take a look how to best take advantage of the medical community’s desire to work with qualified doctors of chiropractic. Believe me, if it is not you it WILL be someone else. I have said for the last 10 years, the DCs that get on board with this will be wealthy, the ones that don’t will be working for others. This is how we market to the 93% of the US population that has never seen a doctor of chiropractic.
Step 1 – Infrastructure and Getting your Name Out there
Meet people – this is the #1 thing that you need to do NO MATTER WHAT. You cannot expect to run a business let alone a successful one if no one knows who you are or what you do. This doesn’t mean that you are “selling” them services, what it means is they get to know you, trust you, ask you for advise when the time comes then become patients. That is how it is done right and when you build your relationships and practice that way, it will last for the life time of your professional career. This means get-togethers, meeting for lunch or a quick breakfast, grabbing a coffee or a cocktail depending on your persuasion. They don’t have to be long, but you should be looking to “touch base” with everyone on your list at least quarterly. The better the relationship the more you should see them. Without fuel the fire will go out…when was the last time you entertained anyone professionally???
Step 2 – Doing the basics
This actually mean being a doctor and doing all that is required of you. That means the following
Patient’s not waiting for appointments – 24 to 48 hours tops
Someone answering the phone during business hours and a service for after the office closes
Communicating in notes to the PCP – faxing your initial and re-evaluations over DO NOT WRITE SEPARATE SUMMARY REPORTS – that is a waste of your time and not sustainable
Doing a report of findings which includes you TELLING the patient to let their family doctor know they are being treated
Screening patients for high blood pressure etc., you should be doing that anyway
Step 3 – Relationships with the Primary Care Physician
This is important and the trend of the future – more and more care in the US is going through the PCP and that is who we want to get to know. That is why the binders and all the consults relating to them are there. Use the binder to get to know EVERYONE at those offices, that is the best way in, be a good person FIRST then show them that you are a good doctor. It is about helping them work with the spine care patients, you are the outlet but it doesn’t work if they don’t trust you and/or you don’t do your part. You want to work with ALL primary care physicians that are interested in you and what you bring to their patients.
Step 4 – Relationships with Pain Management
This is an important relationship and will help you were the PCP; ER or surgeons want pain medicine involved when they refer. Sometimes the patient does need extra help in the form of a medication or injection, that is ok. You want to build a relationship with ONE pain management doctor and that is it, you need to concentrate your referrals to one office. Do NOT expect to get many referrals back from them, they usually get the patients at the end stage of care for long term pain management. Those are not the patients you want; you want the ones that are coming from the ER or PCP or Lawyer. The pain management doctor helps to complete your care path and for some PCP or ER as mentioned about, they serve a purpose. Always remember though, that YOU the chiropractor are the lead provider on the case, you will see them the most and therefore have the most face time with them, you are providing the functional component to the patient’s care, the pain management doctor is doing just that, managing their pain. This doctor however, MUST be on board to sponsor all your marketing efforts whether it is breakfast, lunch or CE dinners. I would suggest finding one that belongs to the best country club in town and entertain there, that is impressive (unless you belong there too) and many PCP don’t operate at that level, they would be happy to eat and drink there for free.
Step 5 – Relationships with Spine Surgeons
I would work with ONE orthopedic spine surgeon (must be trained in spine) for most routine stuff and also have a neurosurgeon for more complicated matters involving neural tissue. The orthopedic surgeon understands the biomechanics of the spine better than the neurosurgeon, you will relate better to them. I would expect referrals back from this provider, not necessarily 1 for 1 but more on a you give 3-4 and he/she sends 1. Times have changed and many times the surgeon gets them also at the end of care, they have been through all conservative care option and the patient is ready to be done. Historically they are not good patients, chiropractic care does best early on in the care path. As I had written above, this doctor however, MUST be on board to sponsor all your marketing efforts whether it is breakfast, lunch or CE dinners. I would suggest finding one that belongs to the best country club in town and entertain there, that is impressive (unless you belong there too) and many PCP don’t operate at that level, they would be happy to eat and drink there for free.
Step 6 – Leading with Education
This relates to the steps above and bring CE (continuing education) to the community. This can be done through simple lunch and learns or by hosting a CE dinner for area MDs. This can be the specialists and their staff/midlevels and all the PCPs in the area. This is one of the #1 ways to build credibility in your area since I will be promoting you the entire night. The CE is approved through the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine for all MDs in all states.
Please take the time to review these steps to see where you are and adjust your marketing to get out there and meet more people and make more professional friends. NOW!