Profiling Your Perfect Patient
Some clients feed your soul, while others sap your spirit. This is true for all professions, but it is particularly true for the medical profession. According to the 2015 Medscape Physician Lifestyle Survey, the burnout rate among physicians is as high as 46%. If you provide patient care, every patient interaction has the power to either invigorate or exhaust you.
To tip the scale in favor of patients who vitalize your practice, you need to specifically market to those patients. Before you can market to those patients, however, you first need to have a clear understanding of their needs and desires. And before you can have a clear understanding of their needs and desires, you first must have a precise image of who those patients are.
You need to profile your perfect patient.
Identify 1-3 patients who energize your practice, hold images of them in your mind, and answer questions related to their demographics, belief systems, activities, and health habits:
- How old are these patients?
- Are these patients male or female?
- Are these patients single or married?
- Do these patients have children or grandchildren?
- What level and types of education do these patients have?
- What income level do these patients have?
- What religious or spiritual beliefs do these patients hold?
- What political views do these patients align with?
- What beliefs do these patients have about health and disease?
- Why did these patients seek care from you?
- Why do these patients continue to see you?
- What do these patients do for a living?
- What activities do these patients do for fun?
- What volunteer activities do these patients do?
- What positions do these patients hold in the community?
- What dietary habits do these patients have?
- What exercise do these patients do?
- What substances (caffeine, alcohol, drugs) do these patients use?
- What stress-management tools do these patients use?
- What diseases or health conditions do these patients have?
Some of these questions may be more pertinent to your practice than others. You may decide that your perfect patient has autoimmune disease and is committed to a healthy lifestyle, but you do not care if the patient is male or female. You may decide that your perfect patient is a postmenopausal woman, but you do not care what health conditions she has. You may decide that your ideal patient struggles with addiction and has a strong spiritual practice, but you do not care how old he is. Use the questions as a guide to discover what qualities you value in your patient population.
Find Out What the Perfect Patient Needs
Once you have a character sketch of your perfect patient, you are positioned to find out what that person wants and needs. Join social networking groups where this perfect patient might belong—LinkedIn and Facebook are good places to start. Talk with current patients who fit the profile, and ask why they love your practice. Use this information to create products and services that fit their specific needs.
Market to the Perfect Patient
The profile of your perfect patient defines your marketing niche. When you have the patient profile and you understand the patient’s desires, you are ready to market to that niche. Create programs that serve the needs of that patient. Tailor your website and marketing materials to speak to that patient. Schedule events in places where that patient hangs out. If you follow these steps, you will attract the patients that enliven you, and you will rejuvenate your practice!