There is no single key marketing tool that is going to drive patients to your office-other than good medical care, said otolaryngologist Martin L. Hopp, MD, PhD, a member of Tower E.N.T., the premier private otolaryngology group practice at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Hopp’s encapsulation of the basis of good marketing aligns with the views of three other otolaryngologists from different areas of the country who also recently spoke with ENT Today. Each has a different practice configuration and deals with different market realities. Some have one-stop complete service operations, whereas another focuses on one area of expertise. Nevertheless, they agree that the key to a healthy patient volume and a thriving practice is good word of mouth. And the most sure-fire way to generate good word of mouth is to maintain quality of care, and to ensure that patients and referring physicians are treated well.
Explore this issue:May 2009
Match Message to Audience
Most of the physicians interviewed reported that they have done many of the usual marketing activities: giving talks to educate referral sources about the practice’s areas of specialization and state-of-the-art treatments for specific diseases; producing brochures; updating and designing a user-friendly Web site. Preceding those activities, however, otolaryngologists should honestly assess the types of conditions the practice would like to treat. They should ask themselves: What sort of case mix do I want to have for a balance in my practice? Are there any treatment niches I can fill by focusing on specific conditions? Marketing campaigns will then flow from those decisions, Dr. Hopp believes.
-Martin L. Hopp, MD, PhD
For instance, if an otolaryngologist determines that he or she would like to treat snoring, the marketing campaign to boost calls to the office will likely be directed to patients. On the other hand, a marketing program to increase the numbers of cases of head and neck cancer seen at the practice will be directed to referring physicians, and might include making personal contacts as well as hosting informational seminars. It’s very important in your marketing campaign to understand what type of condition you’re going for, and how to reach that population, said Dr. Hopp. If you’re going to mail brochures to everyone’s house, you should be sending a brochure for a disease about which patients can call you directly, like snoring-not one they don’t know they have, such as a skull base tumor.