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Essentials for a Thriving Practice

By: Richard Linder
Posted: November 2, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of
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Each time a patient visits, take her picture using either a professionally designed photo system or, at the very least, a good camera. It is imperative to be as exacting as possible in matching the patient’s positions for each photo. This ensures consistency and allows you to quickly identify the visible changes in the skin from one consultation to the next.

If you are using electronic medical records for your charting, chart as you normally would and attach the correct photos to match up with the respective visits. This creates a catalog for reference and shows progress over time. When put in the context of a proper case study, it tells a compelling story to your prospective patients, especially when used on your website and in marketing materials.

Review all of your patients’ charts and photos on a monthly basis, comparing their most recent visits with a baseline, the initial visit. This will give you a clear indication of the progress and can quickly highlight patients that would be best suited as the subjects of case studies. Also, it is incredibly important to get a signed release from patients to be able to use the photos for marketing and promotional efforts.

Authentic relationships

When you build relationships with others in your community, you become a powerful and trusted resource for those around you. Many people refer to this as networking, which it is, but it is important to think of networking as more than simply handing out business cards and drumming up referrals. Successful networking comes from taking a genuine interest in other people and learning more about them and their needs. Is there something you can do to help them, or do you know someone else who could help? Whenever possible, use your network to make introductions among those who complement each other, can support each other or can provide needed services. This process is much easier and more genuine when you network with people you enjoy being around.

As you build these relationships, those you meet will want to know what they can do to help you. Be prepared when this question comes along so you can clearly articulate what you do, why, for whom, what makes it special and how others can help you do it better. When you do receive referrals from others, you will want to follow through quickly and efficiently by thanking the person at the time they make the referral, as well as following your first meeting with the individual referred. It is vital you treat that referral with the utmost professionalism, because how you treat them is a reflection on the person who made the referral. Respect and honor that, and more referrals will come your way.