By Christina Acampora, DC
CONSISTENCY IS VITAL to your medical outreach efforts. Routines are vital to maintaining consistency. Here are some tips on what a weekly schedule might look like to help you maintain medical outreach consistency, and one you can adapt to fit your schedule.
MONDAY: It’s smart to take a meeting when you can get one. However, Mondays may not be the best choice for meeting days. This is a day when you’re more likely to have patients calling in after the weekend that you need to accommodate. Monday meetings with physicians tend to be more rushed and there is a higher likelihood that a meeting might be cancelled. This doesn’t mean that Mondays are not marketing days! Lunch hours are a great time to review planner notes (see below) to prep all material for that week’s meetings and review your call cycle.
Always on Monday:
• Review call cycle, make notes, calls, etc. (Note: A call cycle is simply a system to track and prioritize your marketing targets and should include meaningful notes for a particular office, next-call objectives or what you think the next talking points should be as well as what you feel is the next best time to follow up.)
• Prep for any meetings that week and order any necessary lunches, including those falling on Monday or Tuesday of the following week: • Research the doctor you’re meeting with if it’s a first meeting, or review notes from previous meetings in the call cycle. Accumulate all marketing material that will be the most meaningful based on the results of your research of the office or doctor you’re calling on.
• Call offices to confirm a meeting. If it’s a lunch, ask about allergies or special diets and inquire about the start time for the staff and the available meeting time for the physicians — this is especially important for larger offices where staggered lunches are common.
TUESDAY/THURSDAY: Many chiropractic offices schedule clinic hours on these days with a later start and finish or vice versa. This makes Tuesday and Thursday ideal days for scheduling meetings with little disruption to your patient hours. In addition to any meetings, these days can accommodate other business responsibilities.
Always on Tuesday/Thursdays:
• Patient reports
• Print marketing materials, such as medical newsletters
• Calls to set up MD meetings based on Monday’s call cycle and research
• Review recent research
• A follow-up from recent MD meetings (i.e., a request for information)
• Attend MD meetings/lunches
• Research local hospital Grand Rounds and add to calendar. (Grand Rounds take place at most local hospitals and are open to community physicians. Consider attending one to better integrate with your local health care community. They’re free and chances are you’ll learn something of value. Consider meeting the coordinator and ask to present on chiropractic care.)
• Administrative tasks (e.g., bill pay, payroll, office maintenance, etc.)
WEDNESDAY: Another option for medical meetings. Always on Wednesday:
• Review research
• Catch up on anything not completed on Tuesday
• More MD calls to set up meetings if necessary (The newer you are, the more necessary this is!)
• Attend medical meetings
FRIDAY: Similar to Mondays, this day can be full of last-minute schedule changes. Patients try to get in before the weekend and everyone is trying to wrap up the week. On the flip side, it could also make for a more conversational meeting as the physicians are already winding down for the week — it’s worth trying out to see how it works.
Always on Fridays:
• Thank-you notes (could also include new patient welcomes)
• Mail all patient reports
• Tie up all loose ends from the week
• Daily planner for next week
SATURDAY: Unless you offer patient treatment hours in lieu of other off-time during the week, it is advisable that you do everything in your power to not have any work fall into the weekend. Being in business for you demands a fresh mind and a strong will to stay on task. Nothing is more distracting than trying to relax and refresh on a weekend, knowing you’re entering the week already behind. When possible and if your personal life allows for it, it’s better to come in early or stay late during the week to prevent a Saturday/Sunday work day. Try to avoid the rationale that it’s only an hour or so of work! Note that this does not include catching up on trade publications or research reviews.
Even the most organized plans can be disrupted. Thus the schedule is always a moving target, but having a plan will at least help you stay on task and keep you organized.
A well-organized desk makes it easier! These items should be front and center:
MARKETING BINDER: This is always ready to go and refreshed after each meeting if necessary.
RESOURCE FILES (printed out and ready to go): Includes copies of frequently used research, medical newsletters, information on your practice, your CV and other useful marketing material that can be quickly inserted into letters and your marketing binder.
Have one inbox dedicated to research. As you read professional journals, place here any mention of research, in addition to a virtual file in your email to flag any RSS feeds. Use a highlighter so later you can quickly access important sections. Note research on your weekly planner to serve as a constant reminder.
: You will be more efficient using a rough outline, written out in a binder by your computer. Take a look at an example at www.alignedmethods.com/acanews
. It allows one to quickly reference things to do by the day of the week, check them off as they are completed and add items. It keeps you accountable for your time and on track for the week. Anything not checked off is forwarded to the next week. Combine this with an online calendar, working between the two.
However you achieve it, try to implement a system that keeps you on track and works for you and your schedule.
Dr. Acampora is the author of Marketing Chiropractic to Medical Practices and the founder of Aligned Methods, a company specializing in helping DCs establish informed working relationships with medical physicians.