Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Marketing: It Works Both Ways

Seeing a new patient involves both of us getting to know each other. Not only do I have to take the medical history and get a sense of the new patient as a person, but the patient is also feeling me out and getting an idea about whether or not I'm someone they can work with as a doctor. Even if they've heard about me -- quite a lot about me, sometimes -- from family or friends, there's still the transition from stranger to friend that forms the emotional backdrop of the visit.

One thing I do to help patients get a better sense of *me* is invite them to read this blog. This is where I let it all hang out, pull no punches, say what I really mean, and generally reveal my true self to the world (scary as that may be to all concerned). People who know me have commented that I do it well; that is, what you read is what you get, both on the blog and in the book.

That's right: it turns out the book is just as good as the blog for getting to know me without actually meeting me. And that's precisely what happened last week.

A new patient came in for an appointment. I introduced myself, escorted him back to the exam room, and began with my usual opening line, "What can I do for you today?" And here's how he started:
I picked up your book in Barnes & Noble and really liked it. Then I looked at the back flap and saw that you were around here. I was looking for a new doctor anyway, so I looked you up. I really liked your philosophy, so here I am.
Actually, my head started spinning right after his first sentence. Here was someone I had never met, but who already knew me (after a fashion). That was unbelievably cool nice. The flip side, though, was that he already knew most of my stories. Whenever I started trying to tell him one, I stopped and realized that he'd already read about whatever it was I was about to tell him.

I must admit that I've been talking up the book like crazy to my patients -- along with just about everyone else I meet; I just see more patients than strangers in an average week. Still, this was the first time that the book has netted me a new patient. It turns out that marketing works both ways.


At Thu Oct 15, 04:57:00 PM, Blogger Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...


I've actually had an occasional new patient tell me they liked the blog. Don't know if that's how they found me, but it made me feel awfully good.

The best feeling, though, was the day the second year resident doing office hours with me and I let it slip that I had a blog. (This was in the days I was still anonymous), When She aked the name, and I told her, the response was "YOU'RE the Blog that Ate Manhattan? Oh my god I read it all the time!"

I kvelled on that one, I tell you.

Happy Kvelling.

At Thu Oct 15, 08:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wait until the book is made into a movie -- you'll have patients coming out of your ears (and complaining that you're nothing like Anne Archer, who will have played you in the movie).

Kensington MD (who now actually in NYC, and going to Little Neck for a few heady yarns tomorrow)

At Fri Oct 16, 10:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on ya, Dino. I got your autographed book [thank you soooo much] and am itching to dig into it.


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