How do I differentiate my medical practice?

8 questions you should ask to attract new patients and retain existing ones.

If you look at some of the most successful businesses today, you might find a common trait that they all possess: the differentiating factor that positions them among the market leaders in their industry. Being different, however, isn’t what makes these businesses successful. Instead, it’s the fact that they are preferentially different in the eyes of their customers. Businesses accomplish this through careful planning and strategic brand positioning – tactics that can also work for physicians.

Physicians looking to attract new patients or retaining existing ones, for example, must understand their customers’ perceptions and behavior. They can use this knowledge to effectively communicate to patients the value that their practice can offer. They can also influence patients’ perceptions of their practice just by knowing how patients think and ultimately make decisions. This is important, seeing as patients – like all consumers – will make decisions about a business based on past experiences.

All of these experiences, coupled with other feelings, images and perceptions of the company, combine to form a brand image. Whether physicians realize it or not, their practices possess a brand image of their own; and there are certain perceptions about the brand that cannot be changed. Physicians can, however, control their practice’s positioning.

Are you working on positioning your medical practice? Do you know what your differentiators are?

Here are some questions to consider asking:

  1. Are our physicians and office staff “majoring in the minors” – paying attention to the details – in addressing patient needs and answering questions?
  2. Are we operating efficiently through automation of processes or other methods that allow us to see more patients?
  3. Is our office staff providing the best customer service when interacting with patients?
  4. Is there an innovative element in how we deliver healthcare as an offering?
  5. Do we have the perfect blend of the “3 C’s” – cost, convenience and consistency – in the delivery of our services?
  6. Does the message we convey through our marketing initiatives lead to high conversion rates?
  7. What do other practices offer that we don’t?
  8. What do we or can we guarantee to our patients?

By answering these questions, physicians can get started in formulating a strategic direction when assessing a practice or hospital. Stepping `outside of the box` by identifying the differentiating factors is one of the 1st steps in positioning the `brand`. In doing so, physicians will be able to gain perspective and move closer to achieving their desired results.

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