How should doctors market themselves in the age of patient empowerment?

In the age of Patient Empowerment and the trend towards patient consumerism, it’s important for doctors to market themselves to patients.  Patients are making informed decisions about who they see, and who they trust, which is a good thing for healthcare.  I believe strongly in patient empowerment and participatory medicine.  As I’ve said before, the age of paternalistic medicine is over.

Many physicians like to eschew the idea that they are actually conducting business, let alone try to market themselves.  A number like to pretend that medicine and business have nothing to do with each other, and that business pressures can only serve to pervert medicine.

That’s BS.  Medicine is big business, and natural market forces should create pressure to provide a better product.  That’s good, not bad.  We need a better product.

Patients should be seen as customers, because they are.  We often forget that in our third party payer system it’s the patient and not just the insurance company that is our customer.  That leads to the kind of crappy customer service that patients get in our healthcare system: long wait times, short visits, repetitive questioning, lack of patient-centric care, etc.  If we’d been focused on the patient as our primary customer (instead of the insurance company) for the past 3 decades, we would have developed a much better customer service.

At least we are forced to focus on it now, with patients having become engaged consumers.  To that end, I thought this was a great article about how the modern, patient-centric medical practice can market itself.  

This was especially interesting to me, as my patient-centric, patient-empowerment focused healthcare startup is working on developing our marketing strategy.

Got ideas for us?

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