Some hospital marketers in Texas are growing business through doctor-patient “speed dating.”
At “Doc Shop” events at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford, patients and physicians sit paired at tables. The physicians describe their practices and specialty areas and the patients explain their situations and discuss what they are looking for in a doctor. After five minutes, the patients rotate and begin another conversation with the next physician.
So far, they’ve done it with OB/GYNs, pediatricians and primary care physicians. Would this work for cardiologists? I’m not sure.
Potential patients were informed about the events through e-mail and social media. Physicians were alerted via e-mail and administrator visits.
“Younger physicians and physicians that want to build their practice are more interested,” said Mary Lou Wilson, director of women’s services.
Kristen Vallery, MD, FACOG, is an OB/GYN on the hospital’s medical staff who decided to participate in a Doc Shop because she was the newest member of her practice and was looking to gain patients.
“The Doc Shop helps you see what may be the concerns of the patients currently seeking healthcare because there’s usually a trend,” Vallery said.
Apparently, Vallery has gained about 12 new patients as a result of the program and even more through new patients referring friends.
The effort is certainly affordable, as each Doc Shop costs only about $600, most of which is spent on lunch for physicians and patients.
Clearly, the effort seems to be working for these primary care areas, but could it work for a specialty like cardiology?
Maybe. As positive outcomes for cardiology patients continue to rise, cardiologists are increasingly becoming long-term health advisors.
Patients who have an initial incident that require an emergency procedure and/or hospitalization are becoming more savvy when it comes to choosing a physician to manage their follow-up care.
Dr. Vallery of Texas says the program’s value goes beyond attaining patients.
“The cool thing is you know when the people come to you they’ve already prescreened you, so the barriers are down to begin with,” Vallery says. “You’re able to get a lot done when they come in. It streamlines things more than it would normally be.”