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Physician Marketing Basics

Saturday, March 16, 2002 | 875 | 0 | min read

Physicians in the past didn't need to "market". Word of mouth was sufficient to successfully develop your practice. Once you have become established, this may be the case, but if you are breaking into an area of expertise that requires more than just treatment of patients, such as workers' compensation, more than just attending medical society dinners, shaking a few hands, and waiting for referrals is required.

Many physicians have turned to studied marketing techniques as a method to cultivate referral sources that will help maintain and grow their practices.

There are primary referral sources, such as other physicians; and there are secondary sources, such as self-insured businesses, insurance companies, or major corporations.

Reaching the broader audience of the secondary referral source requires solid marketing, and even sales campaigns. Physicians, however, aren't taught marketing in medical school, and most don't have the time to do the back end marketing grunt work necessary to pull off a successful campaign. Further, marketing and sales require entirely different skill sets requiring certain skills and knowledge that can be alien to a physician.

There are numerous ways for the physician to market his practice, and it is important that these techniques be used in a cohesive, thought out manner. Marketing the physician practice means demonstrating the physician's expertise, service commitment, quality of care, and especially in workers' compensation, writing skills.

To make all of these important facets known to the purchasing public the physician must be able to perform at different levels - this means writing, meeting, and perhaps most importantly, ensuring a quality patient visit.

In this series of articles we will discuss various important elements to physician marketing in the workers' compensation industry, following "Marketing 101" rules tailored to the particular needs of our industry. While marketing/public relations/advertising firms can assist in the planning and execution of a marketing system, remember that it is the uniquely personal nature of a professional that defines the physician.

Author Lynn Hartzell is the owner of Lynn Hartzell & Associates, and specializes in marketing physicians to the workers' compensation community. She can be reached at 626-331-7027, or by e-mail at lynn_hartzell@workcompcentral.com.

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