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2 Keys to Attracting New Patients & MD Referrals



So I thought I would share, two principles, keys for attracting these patient referrals, and how to communicate with medical doctors for those referrals as well.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

I want to thank the AAC for inviting me back to host, um, to the point. And, uh, my name is Lorne Brown. I’m a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine. I have my practice in British Columbia, Canada. It’s called acrobatics wellness center. I’m also a CPA, a certified professional accountant in a past life. And I’ve written the book I’m missing the point, why acupuncturists fail, what they need to know to succeed. So I brought my clinical experience and my, um, my accounting business experience and share that with my colleagues. And I’m also the founder of healthy seminars and online platform for continued education and the chair of the integrated fertility symposium. So I love coming on here and sharing practice management tools. So you can be those prosperous healers where you’re supporting your patients. You’re experiencing abundance, you’re creating great health, and everybody’s happy for that. Um, my presentation today, and we’ll bring up that presentation now is called two keys to attracting new patients and MD referrals.

And so to build up a busy practice and to heal your communities, you need patients, they need to come and see you and want to see you. So I thought I would share, um, two principles, um, keys for attracting these patient referrals, um, and how to communicate with medical doctors for those referrals as well. So one of the keys here is being patient centric versus doctor centric in the business world. When I used to be an auditor and we’d do consulting, that would be customer centric versus company centric. And the key here is to be customer centric in our case, patient centric, creating that value for our patients being of service for our patients. And a lot of us have the right intention. We believe, we really believe that we care about our patients and we’re patient centric. Um, but I would suggest that on an unconscious level, often we are still being doctor centric.

It’s, we’re making a more about ourselves than we are about our patients. And an example of that would be our brochures and our websites. How many of us have beautiful pictures of people receiving acupuncture on our website, on our brochures make sense? We’re doing acupuncture, right? Or you think it would make sense. And it’s something that we love. Like we’re quite passionate. We love getting our acupuncture. Most of us who are practiced love, getting it and love, um, providing acupuncture. But do you ever think of what your patients see when they see your brochure? And what they see is this actually a large part of the population actually has a deep fear of needles. And so I would suggest unintentionally, a lot of us are being doctor or company centric and not customer patient centric. If we were them, we would think more about what our patient’s experiences are when they come to our website and see our brochures.

I will add that I’ve learned in my practice and I think we’re successful because we don’t really think or believe our patients are coming to us for acupuncture, what we realize. And it’s all based on your attitude and intention. We realize that our patients are coming to us for a solution. And if it happens to be requiring acupuncture needles, then, and they, and there’s research to support it, or we have case studies and competence to say that we can help them. Then they’re open to the acupuncture. If I say it’s taking Chinese herbs or receiving GWAS or cupping, um, or laser acupuncture or [inaudible] or cheek gong, they’re coming for a solution to a problem. And that’s what they’ve come to you. And it’s not necessarily that they want or need the acupuncture in their mind. They’re coming to you for a solution. And it just may happen.

That acupuncture is part of that solution. I just want to give you, so I said, I’m going to give you two key, key, um, steps for referrals. So the first one is being patient centered care and really putting yourself into your patient’s shoes, really trying to experience it from your patient’s perspective. An example in my practice at [inaudible] we’re famously known for fertility, we do a lot of reproductive health. And at the beginning, we used to have a baby pictures on our site and in our office. And we did a focus group and we learned that the patients hate seeing pictures of babies in the waiting room and on our website, we thought they would like it because it shows success and hope, right? Hey, look, look what we can do for you. But most of them say that they’re reminded of them not having a baby they’re failures.

Um, they are miscarriages that are unsuccessful ideas. And so coming into the waiting room, um, added stress and not, um, pleasure or peace to them. So again, getting into your patient’s mind and trying to understand what they want. So the focus here is B is to be patient care. And so we meant that patient centered care is about having that intention to care for your patients. However, the intention, the desire to care for your patients, or you even feeling a believe, you care for your patients is not enough. They actually need to know that you care. They have to experience it and believe it. And I’m going to suggest with you, um, I tip, can we go back to that earlier slide story? I, I that’s that too quickly. Um, I’m going to share with you, um, what I do, um, to show I care and I’m, I like to be known.

I want to be known for simple and powerful and effective tips and tools in my clinical practice and business pearls for you guys as well. So what I’m sharing with you is simple. So simple that it’s easy to be dismissed or ignored. It’s not complicated, but simple doesn’t need mean easy. Simple means anybody could do it, but it does require some discipline. And so I say here, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. And I’d like to send, check in emails or call my patients to see how they’re doing. And you can do this after our initial or after a special milestone. Um, I make a habit and using that word unconsciously, a habit of following up with my patients, um, around their pregnancy test date, um, for an IVF cycle. So I support a lot of women through their IVF.

Our clinic does not just me and we show, we go on site to the IVF clinic, the largest one here in Vancouver, BC, and provide both acupuncture, laser acupuncture on site. And I make a point to check in with them between their transfer date and the pregnancy test day, just to see how they’re doing, see if they have any questions, um, and then asking them to let me know an update when they know whether they’re pregnant or not. And so I encourage you to do that and it could be as simple as the following. I want to sh I want to give you, uh, some of the copy that you can do. It doesn’t need to be a long email. It can be tight. It could be subject line checking in, and then your copy could be hi. So-and-so I wanted to check in to see how you are doing period.

Please send me an update at your convenience and then your name and that’s it. Now the intention behind this is you want to know how they’re doing this is important because if you’re doing it, I believe intention carries some chew with it, some energy. So if you’re doing it because you want them to be your patient, I think on a subtle level, they may pick up on that. The good news is that when you do this, you create mind share. They remember you and likely often they’ll get back to you. Many of them will, and they’ll book more with you if they haven’t already. So there’s good news to doing this wherever your intention is to find out how they’re doing, because if the patient hasn’t rebooked, it could be because you resolve their issue. And so wouldn’t, you want to know that in document that in the file, you can even save the reply and they say that everything’s great.

You could ask them, um, to write a testimonial or Hey, if you know anybody else that struggling with what you struggle with, please send them. Cause as you can see, I love to treat that so simple like that. So your email is, and I’m going to show you some responses from patients that I sent this email to. I just wanted to check in to see how you’re doing. Please send me an update at your convenience. Sometimes they’ll tell you something that didn’t work. So you got to learn from their experience. So, and you may be able to correct that in that email or call them to make it right, but it’s just important to follow up with your patients. So, um, here’s an example of just two examples of what I received back from when I sent an email to patients. Now, I would say over 50% respond to my emails.

And, uh, often they’re, they’re quite nice emails, surprisingly, but good to get that feedback. And then there are those that just never respond. Um, so I sent an email checking in on this patient wanting to know, um, she had any questions and, um, I, and I asked if she could send me the results of her IVF cycle when she knows, um, she said, thank you Lauren, for the email, this is very kind of you to reach out. Remember I sit in their previous slide, they need to know you care, um, saying it or thinking it is not enough. And one way to let them know you care is by checking in via email. My blood work results came in today and it’s positive rate CG is 5 96. The nurse advised that is very good number to have at this stage. Let’s hope everything continues to go well from here.

So, you know, we’re having that relationship that trust, and this is good that she’s actually sharing this March. I appreciate your and Ryan support, Ryan and I both saw her through our clinic. Your clinic has been a tremendous part of my journey. Everyone has been so wonderful kind and professional. Thank you for providing this kind of support to women. I could follow up and say, thank you and remind you that we like to support you throughout the pregnancy. So now I can have that conversation with her. Um, so continue the acupuncture and advice about what we do during pregnancy. I could ask her if we can use her this, um, email, um, for our testimony, if it’s allowed in your, in your state or province to put it on the website. Here’s another example. I willing to respond it from her. Check-in you’re Lauren, your ears have been burning.

Your ears must have been burning because I was just talking about you and how incredibly skilled, supportive and genuinely caring you are. My hubby really enjoyed meeting you as well. And I know you really impressed him as well. So it’s showing you that we care based on their emails back. They’re showing you that little touch point, so simple to do, but again, what’s easy to do is also easy not to do. And you want to create this a habit, a lot of clinics. Um, I would recommend you doing this after the initial, if they have not rebooked. And even if they have within that week, just send in a check in email or any special milestone. It’s good to check in. And if you haven’t seen your patients for so many weeks or after two months, and you think there should be more care based on what you’re treating them for, then send in a, an email. Hi, just want to check in to see how you’re doing. Please send me an update at your convenience. So the next thing for referrals and for good medical care is, um, communicating with other health professionals. And I’m going to give examples of what we send to medical doctors. And you get a busy practice by getting referrals for word of mouth, through patients and also referrals from healthcare providers.

So the key here in anything in life to be successful, any enterprise, whether you’re a clinic, whether you’re selling widgets, whatever you’re doing is creating value for the person that’s buying your services or your products. And, um, in this case, think of, remember, we talked about patient centered care, think of the doctor as a customer of yours as well. You’re wanting them to refer to you, right? Um, so, um, think of them that way and want to create value for them because when you create value for other people, they tend to like you and want to work with you. So it’s important to find out their needs and how your relationship can benefit them. I know most of us are going to them saying, I want you to refer to me and that’s needy and that’s not creating value for them. That’s creating value for you.

And I would imagine those relationships don’t flourish or go anywhere because you started off with what can you do for me versus what can I do for you? So find out what you can do for them. I know in the Canada social system, doctors are quite busy. Um, medical doctors, um, tend not to like to treat the patients that have pharma allergy or list of symptoms. And so, you know, you can ask the doctors, what are the patients that you don’t like to see or take up a lot of your time. And so just start developing a relationship with them and finding out what kind of patients, um, you can help them with. Right? And when I say help them with in this case, um, you know, patients that, um, again, in Canada being social medicine, they don’t want to spend an hour with a patient.

They want to spend 10 minutes, maximum 15 minutes. So if a patient has a laundry list of, of, um, issues, they don’t like those. And so they would love to refer those off to people like me, where we spend an hour with them so they can see more patients. Um, I remember one doctor said, um, he doesn’t like patients that have a whole list of symptoms. And I said, well, I’m a holistic doctor. So I likes it. Patients, the whole list of symptoms. Sometimes a little humor will help as well. You want to create trust, um, and allow time to build this long-term relationship. So it is a marathon. It’s not a sprint. You don’t meet the practitioner or the medical doctor that day and then expect them to be a great referral source. It’s a relationship and over years, um, I’ve been in practice since 2000 over years, you start to develop relationships where these physicians become your champion, where they send a lot of patients to you. Um, and that could take time. But if you’re in practice today, think of yourself three years from now, what do you want? What kind of referrals do you want? And think of in three years, I want that relationship with that MD. So today start that relationship knowing that you’re going to date, you’re going to develop a relationship and over time it’s going to become a healthy relationship.

So I’m sending him a letter to the doctor. I find very beneficial and it’s good medical, um, um, medical care on your part as well. So, um, when you see a patient, send them a thank you letter for that referral. Now here’s a trick for you. Um, send them the thank you letter, even if they didn’t refer the patient to you. So when you do your initial, um, if you don’t collect it on the document, ask the patient who their primary care physician is. And so when you send a letter, um, say thank you for referring such a patient, you’re almost programming them like, oh yeah, I refer them. You know, but even if they haven’t and just let them know, you have this patient and mutual care, and I’ll share a letter that we sent to a doctor here in a moment. So I will give you a little template here that we use that you can now use.

So send them a, you know, what, they’ve come in for what your plan is, and that you’ll send them some progress report. So it’s good to send them kind of your initial findings and your treatment plan, send a revaluation, let them know, definitely refer back to the MD as well for their followup and confidently communicate with them. When you have questions or suggestions, don’t put them on a pedestal, but don’t have counterwill or make them your enemy and fight with them. Either your colleagues working mutually for this patient’s benefit. So own what you know, um, but also read the room and know who you’re talking to as well. And it’s really good medicine to have this integration. So here’s an example of a letter. I apologize, the presentation, put the bullet points there. You don’t need the bullet points, but I took out some names and some information just to preserve confidentiality, but here’s a letter to whom it may concern.

Um, Mr. X presented to our clinic AquaBounty wellness center on Wednesday, August 23rd for pain in his left knee, which he shared with related to osteoarthritis. I’m using a technique. Our clinic calls, laser acupuncture, which utilizes a class three B medical grade, low-level laser therapy in combination with electrical acupuncture. And skeeted, don’t inundate them with too much information, keep her letter short. And also it’s a good thing to remind you, at least in Canada, that when a medical doctor receives a correspondence regarding a patient, um, they’re technically supposed to put it in the file as well. So again, reminds them when they look at their file, who you are in your involvement. I give a brief education of what laser is. So education here, low-level laser therapy has been shown to relieve pain associated with main diseases and syndromes and cleaning, osteoarthritis. It implements red and infrared light to decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines promotes blood circulation and promotes tissue regeneration by increasing mitochondria ATP production through fighter, by my white fire till biomodulation.

And then I give them a two links to go to my website. If they’re really want to learn more, some doctors are going to want to know about this, and they’re going to look it up. I’ve had doctors call me after to go for lunch. Cause he wanted to know more about what we were doing. Cause they had a lot of patients that they have been trying to help with drugs, drugs, or surgery, and they still have not found relief. So they they’re looking for anything to help these patients. Um, my Mr. Patient, uh, so put your patient’s name, your Mr. Patient’s name. So whoever their name is, has received a treatment. So in this letter, just so you know, I was slow. I didn’t send it when they first came in, patient came in and I did not send the letter, but I sent it, you know, I said to the progress reports.

So sometimes you get behind. So I sent them this letter anyhow, um, after they’d been seen with seen by me for a couple of weeks, they received eight treatments, um, since August 23rd and has experienced noticeable improvement in pain reduction by his third session. So I’m showing the progress and how good this was after three treatments, they already have no pain. His current pain level is not existent. Even with strenuous activity. We have not noticed any significant reduction in swelling. So he was quite swollen, but we hadn’t seen much change in that over the past three weeks. And then I let him know. My plan is to continue to offer one or two weekly treatments until he has results from his schedule. X-ray October 2nd. Do you have any questions about our mutual care of this patient? Or if you want to communicate with me about any aspect of his care, please feel free to contact me in health. And then you give your email and name. If you’re sending it by mail, which I recommend, um, I’d say both mail and email, but put your business card in if you send it by mail.

So just remembering being successful as not doing extraordinary things, the, um, thinking about the patient centered care, sending them a check in email, writing a letter to your doctor at best, not extraordinary, right? But being successful is simply doing ordinary things extraordinary. Well, and so you want to make it as a habit and just think for the next three years, if every patient you saw, you sent in a check, an email and you sent a letter to their primary care physician, I’m just curious how many extra referrals you’ll get because the patients now know you care. And the doctors now know you exist.

Do keep in mind. It takes 20 years to become an overnight success. Really the point here is to manage your expectations and that this is a marathon, not a sprint I’m when I’ve coached my colleagues often, they’ll say I did what you said and it didn’t work. And just so you know, this response, I did what you said, didn’t work is one week after I told them what they could do. So if you’re telling me did work after a week, you’ve missed the message on building a relationship and it takes 20 years to be an overnight success. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and just create this habit and do this over time. And then after six months rafter, you’re telling me how it’s going, but definitely not after a week.

So keep this in mind. There’s two types of human suffering. This is by Jim Rowan, a nice quote. Um, look at the image on the left. You can see the fit gentleman inside this obese body drinking soda, water, it’s the pain of regret or the pain of discipline. So either way, there’s going to be some type of pain or effort. So the pain of regret or the pain of discipline. So I’m inviting you to go for the pain of discipline and write these emails. Um, I talk about what we just shared in my book as many other and many other, um, what I consider a key points in mindset and activities to help you build a successful practice. Remember as a practitioner acupuncture, you’re a business, whether you like it or not. Um, small businesses, acupuncturist are always at risk of failing because we’re small.

Just the nature of us being small businesses, lacking resources and money or people to do everything that needs to be done, puts us at risk of not succeeding and then add to it that many of us are in denial that we’re in business or don’t want to learn about business puts us even at greater risk. And so to be an effective healer, you need to have the union balance. You need to know your medicine. So constantly work on your clinical. And we do this well. We’re always putting our continued education forward and a priority. I know this from healthy seminars, seeing how many people are constantly learning. And then you have to also the other side, the young, you have to also give attention to the business side of it. And if you didn’t young or out of balance, you have disease or they separate and there’s death.

You go out of business. And so you can’t ignore the business out of your practice. And if you’re not in practice because your business is failing, unfortunately, then you’re not able to heal your community. And it’s important more than now than ever to have practitioners like you available to heal your community. So continue your healthy seminar studying on the medicine side. And I want to remind you just also study the business side so you can stay in business, have a busy practice, feel fulfilled, um, healing your communities. And if you’re interested in my book, um, there’s free shipping this month go to missing the point. book.com, make sure books in the URL. Otherwise it will go to a different website missing the point book.com. You can order a copy and have free shipping this month. And if you want to contact me, um, you can either go to healthy seminars.com.

That’s where we offer online continuing education. And I get a copy of those emails on my own, a little website called Lorne brown.com, where I interview people on conscious talks and I share, but conferences I may be involved in. So you can check me out there. There’s the website for my book, missing the missing the point book.com. And my clinic is AQI balanced.ca um, stay tuned to future AAC webinars with me. I’ll be interviewing more, um, colleagues over the, over the months and years. And I want to let you know that next week our colleague and our friend Jeffrey Grossman is going to be on to the point for this AAC webinar series. Thank you very much.