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Episode 36: Making patients evangelists (raving fans) with Dr. Brad Block

The latest BOSS podcast features Dr. Brad Block. He is an otolaryngologist and began podcasting nearly 4 years ago to help doctors learn better ways to take care of patients. He realized that as residents, our focus is on the OR, but as attending surgeons we spend most of our time in office hours. He focused on social engineering ideas and found inspiration everywhere including dating podcasts and invited guests onto his podcast that could offer new ideas like nonverbal communication. 

 

When he realized that hanging out in the doctors lounge and bringing gifts to practices didn’t help fill the clinic, he realized that making patients evangelists for him was the way to increase his referrals. Here are some highlights:

 

- The key is showing interest in the patient (nonverbal cues and dialing up our persona) and maintaining authority (facial expressions, vocal tonality and not hem/hawing)

- Dialing up our persona to ensure they know we are engaged and interested in them. We may not be showing we are as engaged and interested as we actually are

- Sitting down makes the visit seem longer 

- We lead the patients with our cues to help set boundaries for the visit

- He documents in the room with Dragon so they can hear and get a visit summary at the end of the visit. They know what is said and walk out with a plan. It is also a cue that it is time to leave. 

- They will often come with a question behind the question- they come in with a concern, but they don’t verbalize their concern. You must predict it and verbalize it. What is it that bothers you about this? Don’t minimize that problem. Leave room for doubt in case there is an issue you are missing. Explain your thoughts and offer them follow up. Add a personal anecdote to humanize their concern. Follow ups offer relief for anxiety and provide boundaries. 

 

He reminds us that clinic can be a grind if you don’t learn how to enjoy it. And that notes are a gas that will fill the space that is given. We can apply artificial urgency to help get the notes done. He encouraged us to practice office hour skills just like we would practice operative skills. 

 

The goal is for the patient to tell their friends, family and referring doctor, “You HAVE to see him (or her!)!”

You can find him at PhysiciansGuidetoDoctoring.com and on Twitter and rarely on Instagram @physiciansguide. You can’t find him on TikTok, Snapchat, Etsy or on Pinterest and you probably never will.