Ronda Nelson: Well, hello, my friend. Welcome back to The Clinical Entrepreneur podcast. I’m your host, Ronda Nelson, and I am super excited that you have chosen to take a little time out of your life and your day and spend it with me. I want to make sure this next little bit is valuable for you. I think you’re going to like today’s topic because what I want to talk about is prequalifying your patients. We’re going to prequalify the patients whether or not they get to work with you.
And here’s why, we’ve all had this happen, right? The patient schedules a new appointment through your front desk, you see the name, and you’re going through the paperwork. As your going you don’t think anything about it, you’re making your notes, and formulating your treatment plan, right? And then, they come in, and all of a sudden, it’s just an argument. And everything’s an argument. They want to push back on you with everything. They’re Dr. Google educated, and they know more about XYZ conditions than you do. They want to tell you that they can buy their supplements somewhere else cheaper, or that they have an uncle’s cousin, nephews, brothers, someone that can get them a discount on whatever, or they can’t swallow pills, or they can’t do this and they can’t– and from the get-go, it’s a problem.
That my friend could have been solved so easily by just prequalifying them before the whole process gets in motion. If not, they get in your office and you’ve got this relationship established with the patient, that one of the two of you is going to have to terminate, or one or both of you are going to have to tolerate. So, your choice, you’re going to terminate it, or you’re going to tolerate it, but you can avoid having to make that choice by prequalifying them upfront. Now, what we want to think about is how do we prequalify? Is that you that needs to prequalify? Is it your front desk staff that needs to prequalify? What is your process? And that, my friend, is in part why you want to have these systems and internal procedures set up so that everybody’s clear about what the expectations are when a patient calls.
First, I recommend that you start to think about incorporating patient screening questions into your new patient intake process. For example, you may have a form that you have them answer. Have your front desk person or ask roughly six, eight, maybe ten questions on this form. And you ask the patient as you’re just having a general dialogue with them when they call to schedule the appointment. They might be questions like, “have you seen other practitioners for this condition? And if so, what was their recommendation?” And if the patient says, “well, I’ve been to 35 practitioners, and no one seems to be able to help me, and I just want to get help.” Well, there’s probably an exception or two out there, but a lot of times, patients who are practitioner hoppers are going to hop on you too. They’re going to come in, they’re going to stir up some stuff, and then they’re going to hop out because of course, you couldn’t help them.
Sometimes, asking these questions will prevent you from bringing that patient into your space that doesn’t align with you, your goals, or your way of practice. You want to filter those out in the beginning. You also want to reduce your emotional stress. None of us want to deal with a patient, those kinds of patients that are just full of drama, everything is drama. I had a patient at one time that was always in a constant fight with her spouse. Now, I probably wouldn’t go so far as to ask them what the quality of their marriage is before they came in to see me, but looking back, there were several clues that I could have picked up on that I probably would have made a different decision. Every time she came in, there were so much turmoil and stress and discord at home that I could never make any progress. The relationship between her and I ended up ending badly. It was like a bad breakup because she was just not getting the results. And of course, then that was my fault.
I could see that it was the drama that was going on at home that was driving her lack of being able to make progress with her health, but I couldn’t really tell her that I tried, and she wasn’t about to hear it. So, again, we’re back to sometimes spending some time on the phone with a potential patient will help your intuition kind of direct you, whether this is going to be a good fit, or maybe not a good fit. So, how do you do this? Well, one of the ways you can do this is by offering a free 15-minute call. Some practitioners are comfortable doing this, and some are not. Actually, I like doing the free 15-minute call, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I actually recommend it if you can, because it allows you to connect with that patient, or not connect with them, and you’ll know it right away.
Now, if you have a front desk person that’s been with you for a while, they’re pretty intuitive, they kind of get the flow of things, they know you, they know what you’re going to like and not like and who’s going to be a good fit in the practice and who’s not. In this case, you can have your front desk staff just do those questions during that interview. And if you offer online scheduling, you could also consider, before you finalize the appointment, have your front desk person or you just call and just ask a few questions, it will save you so much heartache.
So, I’ve got a free resource that I want to give you. And it’s the 10 questions that I love to ask for every single new patient. And if you’re listening, you can go to RondaNelson.com/10Questions. They’re part of this new patient process that I go through and actually, my staff does this, they will ask these questions to prescreen the patient, because I don’t want to have someone in my practice that I’m working with that isn’t a right fit, for me or them. It’s not fair to either person.
Begin including those 10 questions, or make your own 10 questions, but regardless, consider adding 10 questions to some kind of an intake form and screening those patients ahead of time so that you make sure that the people that you’re serving are people that align with your values, they align with who you are as a person, and they fit very, very well inside your clinic. Because remember, there’s always someone for everyone. You can’t help every patient in the whole world or in your whole city, you can’t, you’re only one person, you can’t. It’s okay to turn someone away. It’s really okay. Trust me, the stress that comes from having a bad practitioner-patient marriage is not worth it, it’s not worth it. You’re either going to tolerate them, or you’re going to have to terminate them and get rid of them. Better to screen upfront, so that you don’t have that problem down the road. Thanks so much for hanging out with me today.
Ronda Nelson: So, what do you think about that, right? That is a game-changer, when it comes to having an efficient, seamless process wherein you can integrate those new patients into your practice. I’m telling you, prequalify them, all the way, 100%. So, go to the show notes, download that free resource, RondaNelson.com/10Questions.
Thank you so much for joining me again this week. I love hanging out with you. I’m looking forward to being able to share even more business growth and business practice-building strategies with you in the future. If you’d like more of that information, be sure you head on over to my website, and you can sign up for our weekly Practice Growth Strategy email, and I am sharing some little tidbits and pearls in there as well. So, thank you so much for hanging out with me. I’ll see you next week.
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