It is time in the practice to bring on a new doctor, whether it is a new associate, partner, or new owner, some things must happen for this to have a chance of being successful. I will share with you eight must do’s to help during this process.
Step 1: Be excited and get the team excited about the new addition. It is great idea to have a “social” so the new doctor and team can spend some time getting to know each other. Find out things that you know patients will ask. Where did they go to school, any specialties? How do they spend their spare time? Where are they from? Let the doctor get to know the team as well. Not just their names, but what they do in the office and how they spend free time.
Step 2: As soon as contract is signed, start the process of getting the doctor verified with the insurance companies. If you are a participating doctor for insurance, make sure the new doctor becomes a provider. Work with all your insurance companies to get the doctor listed as a provider and a provider ID. There’s nothing worse than claims being denied because doctor is not listed with the insurance company, this can really mess up collections for that first month. This is a great time to put him/her in the software system as a provider. Put all his/her pertinent information in, like license number, tax ID, and DEA number.
Step 3: This is a great time to look at branding and the name of the practice, is it time to rebrand? Whether the practice name changes or you add a doctor, you will want to update your phone messages, business cards, appointment cards, and letter head to include both doctors. If the way you answer the phone is changing, work with the team on the new verbiage.
Step 4: Let patients and the community know the exciting news! Introduce the new doctor through letters/newsletters and Smile Reminders to existing patients. Use social media to create some buzz about the new doctor. One of my favorite ideas is to get a picture of both doctors together and put it in a nice frame and introduction note at the front desk. Work with the team to talk about the new doctor and how excited we are they joined the team. Have the on-boarding doctor create a bio to share on the website and through social media, as well as in the office.
Step 5: It is important for the associate to meet the specialist and labs that you refer to and use. I recommend the owner/lead doctor make sure to go around town with him and introduce him to his specialists and labs. You can do that by scheduling time to visit with the referring doctors and labs, or just do a “drop by” and leave the associate doctors business cards there with them. Another approach is hosting an Open House at the office and invite your business associates and/or patients to attend. Keep it simple and just do a meet and greet. There are several ways to do this, brainstorm with your team and see what would work best.
Step 6: Once the doctor is working at the office, encourage him/her to be in the “halls” to meet as many patients as possible. Make sure the team is talking about the doctor and “talking him up.” I like when the associate can step into those hygiene visits and meet patients, whether they need an exam or not. Just get them comfortable meeting new patients. I like to work with the team and help them have a great “hand off” when associate doctor comes into the room. Tell the patient something about the associate doctor, be excited, and then tell doctor about the patient.
There are many things to consider when bringing on an associate, but these tips are a great start. When the team is talking to patients, make sure we are excited about the addition of a new doctor and are saying good things about them. I like to say something like, “Dr Smith was hand picked by Dr. Baird, and we are so excited to have him here.” Make sure we are saying things like, “You will like him, he’s so gentle, you will enjoy getting to know him too!” One other piece to remember, watch the new associate, see how they interact with patients, and listen. Owners and lead doctors, make sure you have time to mentor him/her and help in areas that need it. Some associates can be nervous, and when they are, they forget to smile and make eye contact – which is so important. Marketing is key when bringing on associates as well. Make sure you have done your homework and have a plan for new patient flow. Take a look at our website and make sure you are ready with marketing strategies.