What makes you different? Part I

For the third time that day, I was asked What makes you different? In this case, it was a prospective clinic interested in medication dispensing that had been inundated by sales people wanting their business.  As I thought about that question, I realized that it applies to so many of our interactions.  With endless amounts of information and cynicism the rule of the day, people are constantly asking and answering the question: what makes you different? what makes you special? what makes you worthy of my time or money?

5867d7ad7b7c1ec67ea3afc15a47f44c_w640For a clinic seeking to attract patients, it moves beyond physician dispensing, laboratory services, cool offices or high-tech equipment.  We all want to break it down into measurable factors: price, quantity, products, offerings, equipment, tests etc.  Decisions are so much easier when we can put the list in a spreadsheet and compare identical commodities.  However, the practice of medicine is incredibly personal.  Though the health care debate rages on with a focus on money, the reality is that when it comes to our health we focus on so many things other than money.  Sure the government, insurance company and myriad other organizations want to break down the services we receive into commodities that are equal across the spectrum.  But that isn’t really what we want, is it?

When a doctor calls me to ask about clinic dispensing, I always ask how it fits with his/her business.  Where does it fit with your overall approach to caring for your patients?  Sure, we need to find ways to increase revenue but that is only one part of a much larger discussion. Why do your patients choose you over all of their other alternatives?  How do prospective patients find you?  Why do they stay?

I like this thread.  It is so elemental to the questions we face and the results we get.  I will continue with it in a future post.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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