East Coast, West Coast, Midwest-when it comes to effective marketing techniques, otolaryngologists in private practice sound themes parallel to those shared by their colleagues in academic and group practices. George Shorago, MD, a solo practitioner for 39 years in San Mateo, CA, has a very simple marketing plan: I treat my patients very well, and they go tell other patients; and the patients go back and tell their referring doctors, he said. That’s my sole marketing; that’s all I do! Of course, embedded in that direct and simple formula is lots of attention to detail that yields a fully booked office calendar, Dr. Shorago admitted.
Explore this issue:June 2009
For this installment in our series, we spoke with Dr. Shorago and two other otolaryngologists in private practice-another solo practitioner and one who is a partner in a large single-specialty group practice. Our sources shared additional techniques that have worked in their specific markets to enhance the foundational marketing principle of quality patient care.
Service Is Job One
Otolaryngologists continue to practice in a variety of settings. (For a breakdown, see Otolaryngologists’ Practice Settings.) Steven Woodruff, MD, a partner in Head and Neck Surgery Associates in Ft. Thomas, KY, began practicing solo in the mid-1980s after his partner changed his focus to facial plastic surgery. However, Dr. Woodruff soon discovered that running a solo practice did not mesh with his work-life balance, and within a year he had formed his first private partnership with three other community otolaryngologists. Head and Neck Surgery Associates now comprises 10 physicians who serve patients throughout the northern Kentucky, greater Cincinnati, and southeast Indiana regions.
The enterprise has grown as the medical community in northern Kentucky has blossomed, said Dr. Woodruff. He also emphasized that regardless of a practice’s business model, the most important element in medicine has not changed. When the exam door closes and you are there with the patient-that’s really where medicine is practiced, he asserted. And if you’re doing a good job listening to your patient’s concerns and spending the time that’s necessary to help them understand their problem and your treatment plan, I don’t think there’s any better marketing that can take place.