“The Little Things That Make the Big Difference”
10 Little Things That Make Little Practices Big
- Always ask your PI patients if there was anyone else in the car with them. If they respond in the positive, insist that they bring that person in to get their spine checked, even if they are not in pain. Once you examine and show them their x-rays, teach biomechanics and the high probability of injury because the other occupant was exposed to the same forces of the crash that they were.
- If an attorney wants you to cut your fee, have a policy. My policy was always never to take more then 1/3 of the total settlement. If the fee is $10,000 and my fee was $5,000. My policy was to take $3,333. This concept ties in with the lawyer’s practice of giving 1/3 to the referring attorney. They have this weird 1/3 belief system. As a side note, this was just presented to me by a lawyer yesterday. I was negotiating the balance of my fee. He said, “Please take 1/3 off of your fee, because that is what lawyers usually give." I found out that the settlement was $100,000 and my fee was $6,448…I said that unless he was cutting his fee, I would not reduce mine and I needed to see a copy of the settlement check and a copy of the check to himself to verify the lawyer’s reduction of his fee. I got my full fee because as soon as you verbalize that you will do what they do…Well, the answer has been consistent for 25 years; the lawyers rarely cut their fees.
- When meeting with a lawyer, ask them to send you their most challenging case, if they have never referred to you before. You will have, by then, explained to them that you speak their language of admissibility by clinically correlating causality, bodily injury and persistent functional loss. Once they understand that you understand, they will be more apt to refer you the first one, albeit a difficult case. This will be their way of checking you out. This tact has always produced results.
- When a PI patient’s compliance in keeping their appointments becomes poor, meaning they don’t show up, call the lawyer and tell them that their client is non-compliant. This will negatively impact their case and they will call the patient and encourage them to follow your recommendations. This will increase your volume and also keep you in front of the PI lawyer’s face, so they remember you. They will also appreciate that you are on top of their cases.
- Always call the patient after the first visit. A patient is usually very nervous and often confused on the first visit. Call them the same evening. If they say they are feeling better or worse after the first treatment, the answer is the same…that’s good. You want change and in the beginning, any change in symptoms is positive. If they are very sore, I always suggested increasing the use of ice, as inflammation was the prime culprit of the symptomatology. The patient will also tell their friends and family that the “Doctor” called….So do not have your staff make the phone call.
- Call the lawyer the day after the patient’s first visit. Let them know what their client’s complaints are and what your treatment plan is. Also, request a release of records form, so that you can automatically send them the records in 6-8 weeks time, when you have gathered all of the test results. This way they do not have to work on a case that has no merit. By the lawyer not working a non-fruitful case, this will save them $$$ by not wasting their time and staff’s resources. They will appreciate you letting them know early on that there is no case, as much as letting them know when there are findings. Either way, they are profiting and you maintain a high level of ethical standards. The only difference is that you are communicating more effectively.
- When a lawyer calls your office, instruct your staff to immediately put them through. Although this holds true for everyone, you need to pay extra attention to all referral sources. If you cannot get to the phone, return their phone calls promptly and make sure that your staff gives them a time frame witin which you will return the call and keep it.
- Never (this is an absolute) tell anything to a lawyer that isn’t 100% factual. This means not even a little BS story, assuming they won’t know the answer, because they will eventually find out and then never work with you again. Lawyers live in the world of facts, not beliefs. If there is a medical or technical question you can’t answer, call me and I will either have the answer for you, as I teach personal injury to both doctors and lawyers, or I will get the answer for you (and learn more myself). I have earned the respect of more lawyers by saying, “I have no clue, but I will get the answer and let you know.” Then get them the answer. No one has all of the answers; however, you are supposed to know how to get them.
- Give out business cards…always.A very good friend of mine is a dentist and during our first few years in practice, we had a competition. The one that gave out the most business cards got breakfast every week from the other person, verified by the bill to buy the next 1000 cards. There are rules of success in practice. The first rule is, if you want to double your practice, do not double the people that you know, double the people that know you. Business cards followed by “Thank-You Grams.” A thank you gram is a way of thanking people for their hospitality and just another reason to get in front of their face once again to remind them of who you are, what you do and where you do it. If you need more information on this subject, let me know.
- This is perhaps the single best practice tool I have used to increase volume. It is a concept developed over 3 years by myself and 3 other doctors to ensure compliance of visits by patients. MUM. This stands for “Made Up Misses.” When a patient misses an appointment, your staff has a recall list to do just that, recall the patient. Do not simply recall the patient; have them “make up the visit.” There are critical components to creating the system, so that no patient “slips through the cracks,” and the patient ends up not following the doctor’s care plan. If done properly, this system will increase the volume consistently as a result. I instituted this in over 20 offices in the last 10 years and each office had significant growth in volume in a very short time.
The complete system is available in the section "Forms and Templates" on the upper left of this page. I usually don't push you to purchase forms or templates from me. Here is the exception, as you will have instant positive results in your practice. Do not try to re-invent the wheel. As a side note, I also offer a 100% money back guarantee within the first 30 days if it hasn't made a significant positive impact in your office.
If you choose not to purchase the system, the concept still needs to be put in motion in your practice...immediately.