Become 'Up Close and Personal' with Patients

February 10, 2011

Facts about you are arguably more important than your credentials. Get patients interested in you in a number of different ways.

“Up Close and Personal” was started years ago (I think about 1972) by ABC to highlight featured Olympians. ABC quickly learned that viewers liked the personal side of the athletes. We learned about their family, their likes, dislikes, trials, tribulations, etc. We learned their “story.” The athletes became alive.

The same can be seen in healthcare.

“Everyone Has a Story” - S.H.

A friend of mine says this about every patient. Sometimes he is making reference to their eye disease, but most of the time he is just interested in finding out something about his patients. This is how he remembers his patients and it is a major part of his “beside manner.”

In return, patients love him....because he cares.

“Ask Him About Tennis” - H.W.

When I was in Baltimore, a referring doctor friend of mine would always instruct his patients to ask me a personal question when I’d see his patients for their retinal disease. “How’s your tennis game?” was a common question.

This simple question was powerful. By empowering his patients to ask me a simple personal question, Dr. W. showed his patients he was somewhat intimate with me (thus building trust) and gave his patients a bit of information in which they could build a relationship with me. He also subtly singled me out as the person to see.

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Fast forward to Web 2.0 (i.e. nowadays). The “Up Close and Personal” is still going strong. On the Internet, we are getting use to getting up close and personal via social media champions such as Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps not exactly the same as watching traditional news media, but the impact is the same. Social media allows us to learn about each other...as people.

It’s Who You Are, Not What You Are

Go ahead and share just a bit about yourself in your office. Be daring and publish a few elements about who you are on your Web site. You don’t need full transparency, but you’ll be amazed who takes notice (your patients and readers).

Facts about you are arguably more important than your credentials. Next time you watch a personal profile of a celebrity or athlete on TV, see how interested you become as you learn about them.

It’ll work for you, too.