Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Choosing a doctor, finding patients

I'm on my winter break, hence the dearth of posting lately. But yesterday, I was in a music store, asking for a specific and (I guess) rarely requested piece of music for my guitar, Spencer Doige's Fingerpicking Joplin. Check it out here, but give the guy 22 seconds to start the real piece. And here. I digress.

Anyway, the woman helping me find this piece said "I assume you're a professional then, getting this book," which started a bit of a discussion about my job and what I'm going to do. And as we ranged over my theories on accupunture and osteopathic manipulations (I'm an allopath), she was evidently impressed. She stated finally that "when you get out of your residency, come back by, because I need a new doctor, and it's so hard to find good ones."

Which got me thinking down the road. I don't really know much of how someone in private practice goes about getting a panel of patients. We aren't taught a whole lot of that in school, and as an internist, most of my time for the immediate future will be in the hospital, out of clinic. But eventually, I'll be out in private practice, and I'm not sure I want to be a hospitalist, so I'll be doing clinic and needing patients. So I guess I'll start with the guitar stores to drum up business, eh?


zhoen said...

Don't underestimate nurses for referrals. Impress that bunch, with professionalism, kindness, and keep in touch. Make sure the secretaries who work in your office think highly enough of you to slip your name to people looking for a doc. It may not be huge numbers, but we do spread the word, and love to send patients, and friends, to good people who will listen and are competent.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

medstudentitis said...

I intend to find someone who's retiring and try to steal all of their patients. People need doctors so word of mouth also really really works - you will be full before you know it.

Zwerver said...

I guess it depends on whether you join a practice or start your own. Jessica (suburbkvetch.blogspot.com) joined a practice that had a six-month waiting list for appointments so she had a patient base waiting for her. But I guess that doesn't happen for everyone.

Ibid said...

I imagine it depends upon the location of your practice... word of mouth in a smallish town still seems to work wonders, if your competence and manner are worthy of being discussed. At least, this was the impression I got as a kid.