We’re starting to see the rise of school programs seeking local sponsors to aid in reopening strategies. Grocery stores, pharmacies, tree companies, restaurants, dentists and pizza places are getting involved. Why not Doctors?
You’ll soon see these opportunities to donate technology, Chromebooks for virtual learning, Lunch Angels, etc., open in your community. They’ve already started here in Georgia, one of the first states to reopen. Should Doctors get involved? If so, why? Our belief is, ‘because Doctors can embed themselves and their good name even deeper into the heart and hands of our local communities. They can lead others by their example. And whether at the end of life or the end of the day, a relationship with our Doctor is critically important.’
By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
My wife is a middle school teacher. We’ve had a lot of back and forth discussions on the pros, cons, science, data, op/eds, etc. It’s a tough decision.
We have three kids now entering three different schools this fall.
Life is busy again.
Sure, we have our doubts.
We have concerns and we’ve listened to the commentary and opinions.
Of course “what will happen?” lies in our rear view mirror each morning as good parents and the answer(s) to these impossible questions are on all of our minds.
As one of the States (ie Georgia) to open earlier than most and wrestle with COVID and what’s happening in our schools, we’ve noticed a trend.
This trend will continue in our area, rise within your community, happen in your city, suburb and state in the months ahead.
That being, how and why to support school programs seeking local sponsors to aid in reopening strategies.
This moment in time should give pause to how Doctors can embed themselves and their good name even deeper into the heart and soul of our local communities.
Author, former Advertising and Marketing Executive for the Atlanta Braves and Chick-Fil-A, now Pastor and speaker, Jeff Henderson recently wrote “When you have a heart for your community, you don’t have to compete on price. Without community, you’re a commodity. The reason 74% of customers don’t care if brands disappear is because they don’t think brands care about them.”
We hear from Doctors each day that might say “I’m just too busy … [to pursue opportunities] in my community.”
Meaning or in case that statement needs further translation … “There’s not a lot of ROI (return on investment — i.e. time, money, volunteering, etc.,) so that’s a hard ‘No.'”
We get it.
You don’t need another distraction or request for a handout or solicitation for a donation to further empty your pocketbook.
But I want us to pause for a moment and look realistically at what local restaurants, grocery stores, tree cutting companies, roofing outfits, pizza places and even barber shops are doing to support their local community in this Pandemic.
They’re getting involved beyond the four walls of their business.
Let’s circle back to Henderson’s statement. “Without community, you’re a commodity.”
And research has proved this out as well.
Doctors already have a pretty negative stereo-type or “typecast” before a Patient even enters your office or parks near the building. (See supporting Graphic A above)
Doctors more than most business owners/operators “get” probably more than others do that … “I cannot grow my practice unless I connect *relationally* with my patients.”
How many times have you heard us say in a Podcast or story “Five words from you mean more than fifty words about you!”
When you ask most retired Doctors what they miss most about practicing medicine, they almost always say “Of course, … it’s the patients!”
Followed by them also stating ‘People. They’re the best part of the job and the hardest part as well.’
Business principle 101, right?
We also understand that growing a medical practice can be a challenge. Opportunities to be a part of the local community beyond the exam room used to be plentiful — but now have suddenly dried up as mass gatherings have hit the pause button, for now.
Word of mouth advertising for Doctors is critical to drive your practice into the future.
You can’t survive without it. Your “good name” is measured by it.
It’s a difficult task and near impossible to measure exactly how these “magic words” (i.e. word of mouth referrals) actually happen. So ultimately, these mysterious walk-ins just get channeled into your system/process and we don’t really know how or where they came from.
Beyond word of mouth is the benevolent nature of most Physicians today.
Your concern for your Patients, community and even local businesses and programs that support them continue to remain important to you.
Nothing can replace the intensity, insight, guided instruction, social interaction and knowledge that comes from learning in front of a teacher and sitting next to your peers and friends.
We know today that many of our communities are in search of a safe space for elementary-aged, middle school and high school students to be supervised as they participate in virtual learning and in-class instruction as we walk through this Pandemic together for the foreseeable future.
Herein, the point of this article and subsequent CMT DocPreneur Leadership Podcast is to encourage more Doctors to get involved in their local school programs. Let us explain.
You don’t have to have kids in that school to help support the elementary, middle or H.S. in your community.
For many of you, your kids are well into their career now or starting (hopefully) their third year or so of college, etc.
Henderson also says “Personable leads to remarkable. Remarkable leads to memorable. When you get small and personal, your customers will demand that you grow bigger.”
This is so true and important for us to remember in the weeks and months ahead.
Doctors and Physicians must understand the greatest source of your credibility isn’t the degree on the wall or the name on the sign – it’s the patients of your practice and the community upon which they come from.
So instead of posts on Facebook about new programs, your political commentary on current events you post on Twitter, photos of (hopefully) happy staff and shouting from the rooftop how great your practice is, what if the Physicians in our communities started talking more about how great the people in their community are and engage with them about their life where they currently are?
You might say, we’ll that’s great “theory” — but that’s not grounded in reality.
Well, to help prove our point, recent (ie. 2020) research, Physician surveys and polling has teased this out.
Take for example our own niche-based Concierge Medicine Today (CMT) and our sister publication, The DPC Journal’s polling of our readers.
Earlier this year we asked Physicians, “What is the average cost to acquire “ONE” new Patient?”
- 56% said “I honestly have no idea.”
- 38% said $100-$200/patient.
We decided to dive deeper into this topic and also ask Doctors and their Staff, “How Do You Accurately ‘Measure’ Patient Satisfaction In Your Practice On a Regular Basis?”
- 53% – Patient Satisfaction Survey Card/Questionnaire – Quarterly
- 26% – We Look At Repeats and New Patient Referrals, But They’re Not Accurately Tracked/Measured For Monthly Reporting.
- 11% – We Look at Financial Reports Primarily.
With these stats and trends as the backdrop of our conversation today, a unique opportunity in this Pandemic is rising.
We’re starting to see the rise of school programs seeking sponsors to aid in reopening strategies. You’ll soon hear about it in your community as well.
Should Doctors get involved?
If so, why?
Our thought as it pertains to not simply Concierge Medicine, Private-Pay Physician Offices, Micro-Clinic Models and even Direct Primary Care (DPC), is that because all Doctors can embed themselves and their good name even deeper into the heart and soul of our local communities. And whether at the end of life or the end of the day, relationships matter most.
The school districts today are adapting to the needs of their local communities. Similar to how many Doctors offices did just a few months ago.
The spotlight is now on our schools, administrators, students and teachers. It will be this way for the months ahead of us all.
So today, in their time of need … schools, teachers and administrators are turning to their own community and they’re looking for your help.
Doctor’s can and should be there with open hands and hearts, ready to help support their efforts.
The Latest Examples, August 2020
According to Marietta City Schools, ‘this list is continuously updated and is compiled as a resource for families.’ For example:
- Marietta City Schools is grateful for our relationships in the community and the resources they provide our district. During the extended school closure, many of you have reached out to see how you can help. While we continue to post volunteer needs, we know at this time, for some, it’s preferable to donate. These funds assist our students and families, should you be inclined or in the position to give.MCS CARESWhen a crisis or emergency situation impacts the Marietta City Schools family, our School Social Workers are on the front line, responding to families’ unique needs. The MCS CARES (Crisis Aid Resources for Emergency Situations) Fund will provide resources for the Social Workers—augmenting those of other social service organizations—to help provide food, clothing, supplies, and other items needed by families during or immediately after the crisis.https://marietta.revtrak.net/marietta-city-schools/#/v/-mcs-cares
MCS Corporate/Business Sponsor Opportunities – Download Brochure PDF …
- CONNECT-A-KIDMarietta City Schools is prepared to continue instruction during this extended closure for students through our digital learning platform. But we know that students without access will fall behind. With your support, we can help ensure access for ALL our students. Donations will allow us to outfit school buses with mobile wi-fi “hot-spots” to be placed in safe locations throughout our community. Additionally, you can temporarily support Marietta families who may need access to a computing device and internet access in their homes. $35 provides one month of internet access for a Marietta student; just $277 replaces a Chromebook. All donations will support student technology needs.https://marietta.revtrak.net/marietta-city-schools/#/v/-connect-a-kid
- LUNCH ANGELSDonations made to our Lunch Angels account are used to cover accumulated student lunch debt and to help offset the costs of student meal delivery during school closures, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.Donors may designate a specific school in the comment box; otherwise, Marietta City Schools will work with the School Nutrition Department to apply the donation to the program and/or school with the most immediate need.https://marietta.revtrak.net/marietta-city-schools/#/v/-lunch-angels
So, if you have pediatric patients or you’re a Physician and a parent, you already know that schools are in constant communication with their parents, partners—nonprofit organizations, child care providers, businesses, and churches—and they’re working round the clock right now to offer their services to families in our communities at an affordable cost to help kids learn.
Doctors can and should do their own research and verify all information before they sponsor or support a school program in their community.
Today, amidst the Pandemic … amidst the school reopening rhetoric … amidst the uncertainty and headlines that compete for our attention, unique opportunities exist for Doctors in their local community.
You can and should explore how building deeper relationships with the people in your practice and serving the larger community around you will grow your good name, your practice and your bottom-line. These are simply some timely, cost effective and relevant examples that can leave a tremendous impact on the next generation of Patients walking through your doors and into your exam room in the years ahead.
If you do decide to “do” something, you’ll probably learn precisely how and why your unique story and your unique practice matters to the people and Patients you do life with every single day.
Let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you! Email us or submit your own story/op/ed. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.