At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED) we know there are many ways to successfully market your practice. But one of the best ways to get referrals and keep your existing patient base has nothing to do with marketing. It’s all about relating to your patients and establishing the kind of rapport that conveys your compassion and care for them as patients and as people. Below are some tips for making better connections with your patients:
Start with a Smile—use your first seconds of an exam to immediately set a warm tone. A smile, firm handshake or hand on the shoulder will let the patient know that you are genuinely pleased to see them.
Be Human—start your conversation with something general. Comments on the weather, a recent community event or something more personal if this is an established patient. This will allow you to ease into the conversation about their podiatric complaint and help the patient feel relaxed and open about sharing their concerns.
Sit at Eye Level—standing above your patient gives an air of superiority. Conversely, sitting below them may give the unconscious impression of being unsure or indecisive. Eye level evens the playing field.
Speak English—once you have done a thorough examination and have reached a diagnosis it’s essential that you explain your patient’s condition in easy-to-understand layman’s terms. Speaking in medical jargon will leave your patient confused and they may be hesitant to tell you that they don’t understand what you are saying for fear of appearing stupid. This, in turn, may lead to less compliance with the treatment plan as well.
End Well—before you finish your time with your patient, ask, “Is there anything else?” This gives your patient a chance to add anything they may have forgotten and clarify something that is unclear. It also leaves them feeling like you’ve really listened, and they have been heard.