Posted by: Tammy | August 10, 2011

Royal Pains!

“Royal Pain” is not only a USA Network series, but also how I would have typically described the process of finding a new doctor.

It all began when my local M.D. decided that in order to remain competitive he needed to change his business model to a concierge medical practice, charging his patients an annual retainer for the exclusive privilege of his services.  Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the good doctor for trying something new but since I’m really healthy and only ever saw his nurse, the limit to how much I was willing to support his innovative spirit was apparently somewhere south of his new $3,400 annual fee.

Thus began what I thought would be a painful hunt for a new doctor.  Typically I would have asked colleagues at work, searched the internet, called a few relatives, and if I got really desperate I would have scraped the layer of dust off the old Yellow Pages I keep around to prop up my wobbly printer.

Months earlier I was successful at finding a new home alarm system using FaceBook so I decided to leave the dust on my phonebook for another day and solicit suggestions from my FB friends.  Within minutes I received a number of recommendations.  I was thrilled!  Maybe it wouldn’t be so painful after all.

Days later I contracted a strange infection causing my finger to swell up.  I made a same day appointment with my new doctor (Dr. Bakos) and was overjoyed to be greeted by his office manager, my FB friend I hadn’t seen since high school.  After catching up with Cyndi, next came the dreaded process of filling out all the paperwork.  Given my condition it was going to be even more painful than usual.

But wait.  What are those iPad like tablets displayed around his office? This wasn’t “my grandpa’s doctor office”.  My new Doc was high-tech!  The on-boarding process was easy using the touch screen or stylus (for the more germ phobic) and all the info transferred into their backend system seamlessly.  No misspellings of my last name (a common occurrence) and no asking me to help them make out my chicken scratch.  Dare I say it was actually enjoyable?   And while I was only sick enough to see the nurse who was absolutely wonderful, the overall experience was completely different than what I was used to.  Dr. Bakos’ office seemed to be in touch with how I like to do business and gave the impression (or perhaps illusion) that I was going to be treated by people that had a better understanding of contemporary medicine.

"Not your grandpa's doctor's office"

The moral of my story….

FaceBook is no longer just a fun place to catch up with relatives and post vacation pics but is quickly becoming a destination we use (and will soon become reliant on) to get advice on everything ranging from restaurant recommendations to something as important, personal and lasting as a new doctor.  If you’re not using FaceBook to drive business, why not?  I’m not saying you should barrage your friends with marketing messages, in fact if you do they’ll likely “unfriend” you, but you have to stay in front of your network so when someone needs your products or services you’re top of mind.

Service is a differentiator.  My previous doctor had over 3,000 patients, most like me probably never saw him.  He was quickly making himself dispensable.  However, by changing his model he effectively reduced the number of patients to less than 400 allowing him to provide higher value added services to a select few.  While not a good fit for my needs, his new business model will cater to an affluent clientele that are willing to pay for this premium service in a community where concierge medical services do not exist.

Last but definitely not least, change doesn’t have to be a “royal pain” and can actually have a positive outcome.   The processes used for finding and on-boarding at my new doctor were dramatically better than approaches used two years ago.  What courageous steps are you taking to embrace change?  To quote my friend and colleague Larry Ritter, “If you don’t like change, you’re really going to hate being irrelevant”.

But that’s just the world as I see it.



  1. You’re a good writer. Have you written any other posts?

  2. Tammy just a wonderful story – thank you for sharing it. Good shot of the doctor’s high tech!

  3. Hi Tammy, Thanks for the article. Love the use of the iPad. Just shows what lateral thinking can do. Saves staff time at the counter and keeps transposition errors and misinterpretation of handwriting out of the medical records. Have passed this on to my wife’s clinic for their possible implementation. Keep up the blogging!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: