What Your Doctors Can Learn From Acupuncturists
My girlfriends might not be enthusiastic about their upcoming appointments with dentists and doctors, but there’s one healthcare specialist they all love: their acupuncturist.
“My acupuncturist is ahhhhmazing…she makes me feel so much better!”
“I’m definitely less stressed after acupuncture.”
“The treatment is really helping me deal with my back spasms/pregnancy/Donald Trump."
As a curious healthcare marketer, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. On a whim, I bought a Groupon and saw Lesley M. Heidrich, a Chicago acupuncturist.
Even before she started the treatment, I understood why all my friends had such strong feelings about their acupuncturist: they finally felt like they found a healthcare specialist who really cared about them.
Here's what your doctors could do to make patients feel this way:
Make the appointments easy. I didn't have to wait for months until she had an opening — just a few days. I could also make an appointment through her website. Plus, she stays open until 7 p.m., which is great for people who want to stop by after work.
Provide a welcoming environment. Her waiting room was filled with live plants, cozy chairs and pictures. Also, kudos to her wide-ranging, up-to-date magazine selection. This might seem like a minor point, but a good magazine selection makes a waiting room feel less like a waiting room and more like a fun nook in a bookstore.
Send out forms first. Before the appointment, she sent me medical forms to fill out. This takes the hassle out of rushing to do it all in the waiting room — and gave me some time to enjoy her magazines.
Ask interesting questions. With most doctors, you’ve got three to five minutes to talk about how you’re feeling and why you made the appointment. That's it. But she really took the time to get to know me. Example: Not only did she ask me how many hours of sleep I get each night, but followed-up with, “Do you dream?”
Explain what's happening. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Before she started the procedure, she showed me the hairline-thin needles she’d be using (and no, Mom, it didn’t hurt) and where she'd be placing them. As she was performing the treatment, she explained what she was doing. She made me feel like an informed patient.
And ultimately, no matter what doctor a patient sees, that's how they want to feel — like they were informed and heard. Do your doctors make patients feel this way?
PS: Don't forget that acupuncture is appealing to millennials. Want to see what else they like? Check out "Healthcare Marketing on Fleek."