Why do medical patients switch doctors?

why medical patients switch doctors

About ten percent of medical patients consider switching doctors each year. To put this figure in perspective, imagine that at the end of the year, all of your left-handed patients decide to turn to someone else for their medical advice. That would be a pretty sinister blow to your revenue. In many instances, there isn’t much you can do to prevent your patients from switching doctors — sometimes the switch is necessary in cases where your patients are relocating to another state, for example.

On the other hand, some patients will switch doctors simply because they are dissatisfied with their current physician. In either instance, a little effort can go a long way to help you retain current patients, as well as attract new ones to your medical practice. Here are a few reasons medical patients switch doctors:

Convenience, location, and life in general

Sometimes the reason for making a doctor swap is as simple as “life happened.” A patient’s insurance provider may have changed because of new employment. Families move to different states all the time. Sometimes people need to lay low after pulling off a grand casino heist, so they actively avoid anyone who might know their government given names.

In many of these instances, patients will turn to the Internet to find a new doctor. In which case, a solid inbound marketing strategy can help you attract patients to your medical practice. Make sure you’re easy to find online in order to take advantage of this cyclical opportunity.

The doctor won’t stop talking about himself

Earlier this week, another AGENCY H content specialist wrote an article about the first rule of inbound: Stop talking about yourself. This is an important rule to follow whether you’re a medical practitioner, an IT specialist, a professional ferret tamer, or that daft, insecure, meathead frat boy who somehow got invited by a mutual friend to my Independence Day party. Nobody cares that your band covered Coldplay, dude. Also, it sounded like garbage, which, to be fair, means your cover was pretty true to the original.

In practice, the rule makes perfect sense for both inbound marketing and in-person doctor/patient relationships. Nobody wants to know where you went to school and how long you played minor league football. They just want to know how you can help them and what treatment they need.

If a doctor doesn’t stop talking about himself or herself, the patient may get the impression that their doctor doesn’t really care about anyone else. Also, it just reinforces all those stereotypes about how doctors have the biggest egos in the world. We’ve all seen House and Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t be like the TV doctor. Your patients will leave you if that critical component of the doctor/patient relationship is missing. If you really want to talk about how great you are, record a rap album.

The doctor doesn’t listen to patients

It’s understandable why a doctor might occasionally veto a patient’s request for prescription methamphetamines, and it’s understandable that a doctor might ignore the self-diagnosis of the occasional paranoid hypochondriac. But reasonable patients will become frustrated and annoyed at doctors who fail to listen to their complaints and hypotheses. I’ve definitely had a conversation with a doctor who insisted that “it can’t be broken. If it were broken, you would be screaming in pain.”

Which I was. Internally. Because it was broken. But I didn’t find that out until I switched doctors.

I know dozens of other people with similar stories, and convincing a doctor to take your pain or illness seriously is a fairly common problem for many patients. Listening to your patients can greatly strengthen your relationship, which can potentially lead to future referrals.

If your medical practice needs a stronger online presence to attract more patients, then drop us a line! AGENCY H Inbound can help you develop a comprehensive strategy that will help you attract new customers, retain current customers, sell more products and services, and develop the tools necessary to create a steady flow of new business.