Patients Feel the Need for Speed – In Choosing a Doc

July 23, 2010

Got 30 minutes? Then you have a chance at a match with a patient who deems you "Dr. Right.”

Got 30 minutes? Then you have a chance at a match with a patient who deems you "Dr. Right.”

That’s the concept behind Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center’s “Finding Dr. Right” event, which occurred recently in South Carolina. Prospective patients spent 30 minutes completing what the hospital called “the circuit,” going from table to table, spending five minutes with a variety of specialists to see who is right for them.

Based on the traditional speed dating method, the quick visits were geared to see if there was an instant connection and the chance for a second “date” of hopefully more than five minutes.
An administrator at the hospital said the event is a “fantastic way” for the community to meet doctors before they get sick, and “see if they have potential for that long-term medical home relationship that is so important.”

The novelty of this event alone is enough to get folks in the door and browse their medical options - a little food in the process will also helped attendance, I’m sure.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Dallas-Forth Worth used a similar match-making event to pair potential patients with OB/GYNs, and the program may be expanded to include pediatricians and primary-care docs.

Post-health reform, there will be a lot more consumers of healthcare, and events like this are just the tip of the iceberg in making the patient-doctor connection. But why stop there, I say.

Maybe you can sponsor weekend car washes, where your office staff scrub and wax while you sit inside with a potential patient? How about a “movie and medicine” event, taking folks out to the movies and talking - after the movie of course –- about some concerns and ways to help?

We all know the old ways of doing business have changed, from Web sites to Twitter and Facebook accounts, so the Greenville event should not be seen as an oddity, but a possible precursor of ways physicians will start marketing themselves for new patients.

(PS – In the time you read this article, you could have found a new patient in South Carolina.)