Dr. Brown, a board certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon located in Wesley Chapel, FL, shared his insights into patient care with us at the 2019 GS Symposium. Here are nine questions and answers from the interview.
Question 1. What is the most important thing you personally think when it comes to patient care?
Dr. Drew Brown: The patient comes first should always be our motto. People entrust a lot of good faith, time, money and energy in our ability to guide them along a path to better health. Our ability to care for them can be clouded by insurance companies, drug companies, hospitals, limits to coverage, patient factors, clinic/OR time, and personal issues. We must always remember that the patients best interest comes first then good medicine will follow.
Q 2. What would be a good way to build great impression or trust to patients coming to clinics?
DB: It is important that clinic staff greet patients with compassion during the first phone call and continue that care throughout their visit to the clinic. Providing an introduction and practicing strong eye contact with everyone in the room is vital for building trust. In addition, sitting at eye level, allowing the patient to finish their thoughts and providing them with time to ask questions are all crucial behaviors that increase patient confidence. Lastly, communicating complicated topics in a simple manner ensures understanding.
Q 3. How to keep the patients to trust surgeons and keep walking though the process?
DB: Ensure that the patient understands surgery is a last option for their particular problem. It is important to lay out risks, benefits and alternatives in a concise manner. Be confident that whichever surgical option you present is the best option in your hands with your particular skill set.
Q 4. How your current patients referring new patients in your area? Is word of mouth good way to build the practice?
DB: Word of mouth is extremely powerful. Even nonoperative patients who feel like you treated them well and took time with them will send everyone they know your way because they enjoy being around you.
Q 5. How important surgeon ratings on website (like Vitals, Healthgrades) is for actual practice?
DB: Nowadays it’s one of the only ‘objective/subjective’ measures we can use as a guide. It’s important to have this maintained by yourself or a third party to ensure bad ratings are answered or handled in a timely manner. Complications will not cause a bad rating, but the way we handle them absolutely will.
Q 6. What is a good way to manage those online review site/grading?
DB: Be upfront with patients who you have good outcomes with that online support helps a practice grow. Provide links or iPads in the office that so they can easily access the sites.
Q 7. Is SNS marketing important? Any practical tips to increase visibility in local community?
DB: Visibility in a local community can be strategized through marketers or personally with whichever referral source is most helpful to your practice. Providing community outreach talks, lunches with PCP’s or dinners with companies that want to get involved in a marketing campaign for your business can all be very beneficial.
Q 8. Any other referrals systems to help running clinics in your area? Anything interesting or to share?
DB: There is a fine line between referrals and patient brokering. It is our duty to ensure that there are no stark/anti kick back laws being violated with referral sources. Treat people well, this includes patients and their families, staff, facilities, referral sources, etc.
Q 9. Any other questions/comments you want to go over?
DB: Move toward problems early. A stitch in time saves nine with all problem patients. Deal with patients and their potential problems personally as most bad outcomes are from miscommunication not actual surgical complications. Our best patients can be our worst complications.