Your practice's leadership team has been successful with recruitment efforts to meet growing patient demand. The new physician has accepted your contract and you have a start date a couple of months out. This is just the beginning of your future journey with the new physician. The next step is developing a transition plan that makes the most of the new physician's talents, meets patient demands, provides better service, unites the physician team, and shares practice goals.
Beyond the basics of obtaining hospital privileges and getting the physician signed up with insurance contracts, there is a lot to be done before he arrives. Assuming you have a well-oiled integration plan that sets goals and ensures you are well prepared for the new physician's arrival, let's lay out the important details of a good communication plan to let your peers, referring physicians, patients, and the community know about the new physician and the contribution he will bring to the practice.
1. Prepare biographical material
Start by preparing a brief biographical sketch announcing your new arrival. This can be created using a postcard-size announcement to give patients and other medical practices. In addition, reproduce the biography on a poster board placed on an easel in your reception area. Be sure to include a color photo of your new team member. This announcement will encourage conversation and create enthusiastic anticipation. The content should be brief and include both professional and personal facts. For example: where the new physician went to school; why she chose her specialty; and how much she looks forward to being active in the community. Then get personal by adding such things as where she grew up, what her greatest adventure has been so far, what's her favorite sport, and even something fun like, "Does she crave chocolate?" Adding some family facts adds a warm touch. Expand this biographic sketch into a press release for the local media.
2. Update your website
Update your website, introducing the new physician, what his office schedule will be and let everyone know what insurance plans he accepts. Content from the physician biography can be repurposed on the website, as well. If you have a medical interest blog on your specialty, it would be nice to have the new physician prepare a blog to contribute once he has arrived.
3. Share through social media
An often overlooked, important communication channel is social media. Be sure to add the new physician to these outlets. This includes Linked-in, Facebook, and medical review websites such as Vitals and HealthGrades. You'll need to claim your space on these reviews sites and add in the new physician's profile and photo. It's a good time to make sure the listings for all the physicians at your practice are accurate and include photos.
4. Update insurance company directories
Make sure you notify your contracted insurance companies to provide information about the new physician for both print and online editions of their provider directories. Don't assume it's been done right. Go online yourself to make sure it is accomplished and that it is completely accurate. Social media has become a powerful influence in how patients choose a new doctor and make contact with the practice. The good news is that it's free and can be a boon to practice growth.
5. Make introductions to practice staff
Finally, plan a staff meeting to discuss the integration of the new physician at least a month in advance, followed by a welcome meeting when she arrives, allowing at least 30 minutes for everyone to get acquainted and get answers to their questions. This is an important introduction that creates a good impression and helps get everyone off to a good start. Once you have painted an impressive picture of the new physician, everyone will get excited. All of this makes your new doctor very real and creates a welcome "buzz." Patients will begin to look forward to getting to know the new physician — and so will the staff.