Using Your Competitors to Promote Your Medical Practice

June 8, 2012

Frustrated when you have to clean up a mess created by some sub-par competitor in your area? Leverage that angst into an opportunity to promote your practice.

A patient recently came to see me for a finger problem: painful arthritis from a fracture that never healed correctly. Apparently the doctor who saw her 10 years ago told her “there’s nothing we can do for a finger.”

Lovely.

In our medical practices, we all see problems that could have been managed better by the patient’s previous or referring physician. Sometimes these problems are just annoyances - other times they cause significant morbidity.

Pounding your head on the desk is a valid reaction, but here’s a way to channel that energy into your marketing and practice promotion efforts.

Start making a list of commonly missed diagnoses or common medical mismanagement issues you run across in your practice.

If you’re a specialist, there may be a list of five to 10 problems that get missed frequently, like subtle fractures or skin lesions. If you’re in general practice, you may see a wide range of patient misconceptions about disease that you’re constantly re-explaining or working to change.

Once you have your list, you can use it as a springboard for marketing or educational outreach. Create an educational website article about each one and post an article every week to your blog or Facebook page.

This type of exercise accomplishes several things:
• educating patients on the most problematic areas of health and wellness
• educating referring docs and practices about effectively managing hard problems they see every day, while establishing yourself as the definitive source for specialized information on those conditions
• creating fresh website and marketing content you can use online or offline to reach the local community

Once you’ve developed and outlined your material on each of these topics, start thinking of even more outlets for the information.

Start a video series on your YouTube channel. This could be as simple as reading a summary of your blog post with some pictures for emphasis, or creating a slide show with titles, moving video, and voice over narration.

Create handouts for local ER doctors who send you patients. Offer to come in and give a quick talk about one of several topics over one of their business meetings. Give a short mini-training session to the staff of an office who refers to you regularly.

A pitfall to avoid

Be absolutely sure that you want to see the types of patients and problems you write and talk about when promoting your practice this way.

For example, if you constantly see annoying complicated infections in diabetic patients and you give a talk on that subject, you may suddenly find your practice overflowing with that exact type of patient!

Just be prepared and be careful what you wish for.

Do you have any favorite stories about having to clean up messes other physicians or practitioners create? Share them in the comments below!

Find out more about C. Noel Henley and our other Practice Notes bloggers.