Proxy Measures (or How a Patient Decides if You’re a Good Doctor)

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We all use proxy measures to ascertain the quality of a service provider before we entrust them with our lives.

When you board an airplane, you haven’t checked out the engines to make sure they are well maintained and in good working order, but instead you assess the condition of the cabin. If the seats are tattered and stained, or if the whole interior is outdated, you’re not going to get that confident feeling that this is a top-notch airline.

Patients use a similar method of deciding if a doctor is up-to-date and skilled in their field.

More likely than not, the first place you, as a doctor, can make a great impression is through your website. If it looks reputable, then you’re that much closer to getting that patient to make an appointment.

Then when that patient steps foot into your waiting area, they will begin to evaluate you and your practice using proxy measures. Is the waiting room dirty? Are the furnishings old? Is there a TV blaring some worthless daytime program? Are there announcements taped on the walls and windows? Or is there an old bulletin board with notices pinned to it?

Your expertise is being judged by looking at all these things.

Now I’m not an interior designer, so I’m not going to advise you on your décor, other than to say “make it inviting and tasteful”. What I do know a little about is the fact that if you have a high-tech, sophisticated program showing on your TV that is branded with your logo and educating patients about all the things you do, while presenting you as an expert in your field, it’s going to make a profound impression.

Patients are going to think  “WOW!” “This practice is really prestigious and cutting-edge. They have their very own network! If they are this technologically advanced in their waiting room, there must be this same level of sophistication throughout. I’M IN THE RIGHT PLACE!!”

Be aware of the proxy measures that are used to evaluate your practice and make certain that they are a positive reflection of your expertise.  Clean and high-tech in the waiting room = clean and high-tech throughout.

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