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Customers and the New Medical Landscape
The debate about the future of the NHS will probably rage for many years, but to those of us who work in and around it, it’s clear that big changes to the way our National Health Service is funded are on the horizon.
Although not publicly admitted, the state cannot afford to run a health service for all from the cradle to the grave and is slowly (and painfully) changing the way in which it is funded. A private health model of some sort is the likely future and this changes the relationship between practitioner and patient.
So how do you prepare for the new landscape?
Running a medical practice in the private environment is different in one significant respect: Patients become clients and in doing so they are given a choice. This means they are more discerning and, even if they are not directly paying the bill, they are more aware of the link between an insurance premium and a medical procedure’s cost than with the NHS model.
Your prospective clients are going to do their research before they choose you and therefore you need to be prepared.
Research can mean many things. It could be just looking you up to check your qualifications. It maybe they want to dig deeper and see details of the work you’ve done which could mean testimonials or even looking at review websites. The internet has brought convenience and also total democratisation of knowledge. Everybody now has the right – and expects – to know everything.
Whilst it may not be practical to launch a fully functioning website or hire a marketing person right now, you should take stock and prepare for the future. There are three main areas that you should consider.