Thursday, July 14, 2016

Young doctors need to leverage their digital expertise in order to grow their medical practice

 Most senior doctors who have an established practice are busy seeing lots of patients in their clinic on a daily basis. They are digital dinosaurs and are uncomfortable using computers. They're very used to seeing patients face to face in the clinic because this what they have done their entire life, and they are happy to continue doing so until they retire.

Because they have acquired a reputation as being the leader in their field, patients are happy to come to their clinic to see them . Of course, this is not very conducive to creating a great patient experience , because patients often have to wait for weeks in order to get an appointment; and then wait for hours in the clinic once they do get the appointment. Finally, they are lucky if they get to spend a few minutes with the senior doctor , simply because he's so swamped with patients who are clamoring for his attention.  This means that  his patients are often dissatisfied, but they put up with this because feel they don't have a choice . There are only a handful of brand name senior doctors , and patients are not willing to risk their health going to anyone else.

Now, this is a huge opportunity for the younger generation of doctors who are digital natives. They're often extremely well-trained and have a lot of expertise , but they cannot demonstrate this because they are not able to attract patients. It can takes years to build a reputation, and what do they do till then ?

It's a chicken and egg problem, and until they start getting a steady stream of patients to display their clinical skills , how do they establish a word of mouth reputation? This is why young doctors are often so frustrated . They are forced to work in a large corporate hospital which has a huge captive patient base ; or they need to offer kickbacks and cuts to other doctors to refer patients to them.

These young smart doctors will find that they have a lot of time in their hands, but rather than getting upset that they have nothing to do, they need to be smart and leverage this spare time and their digital skills so that they can reach out to patients , rather than wait for patients to come to them. All patients are online these days, and clever young doctors need to use digital technology in order to go to where their patients are.

Patients have changed, and lots of them are online. They want instant gratification, and don't want to have to wait forever to see a doctor. They want a quick resolution to their problems, and are happy to connect with a doctor who is available and affordable , because he provides online services.

Many patients will use digital consultations as a complementary solution, which means they will go to a real world doctor and will often seek a second opinion from a digital doctor to make sure they're on the right track. Young doctors need to tap into this huge market , so that they can keep themselves busy and establish a reputation for themselves online. This will then automatically translate into to a good real world reputation as well. This is an untapped niche area where there is little competition from senior doctors , because they're so busy in real life that they don't have the time or the energy to explore digital outreach channels. This is where young doctors can learn to shine - by playing to their strengths !

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