How speed dating can help the doctor patient relationship

Not literally, of course.

In an interesting marketing concept, some would call it a gimmick, a Texas hospital is utilizing speed dating concepts to match patients with obstetricians.

I like it.

As chronicled by the American Medical News, here’s what happens:

It involves setting aside a room for two 30-minute sessions over the lunch hour. About five or six physicians sit at tables while a dozen or so potential patients rotate through. Every five minutes, [hospital marketing specialist] Forbus signals patients to move to the next doctor. There is no cost to patients, and doctors do not get paid for their time.

It’s a worthwhile investment for doctors, who can gain 3 to 4 new patients in one hour. That’s not bad.

But it’s also a great opportunity for patients. There are a variety of primary care practice styles — ranging from those who are more terse, yet stay on time, to those who take more time with patients, but tend to run late — and it’s important for patients to find a doctor who’s their ideal match.

Using a speed dating-like setting is a novel way for patients to get a glimpse of their potential doctor’s personality. It’s certainly much easier than scheduling an appointment simply to meet the physician.

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  • Doc99

    I’ve found that word of mouth is still the best and most effective referral source. The most common – the little insurance plan book.

  • Anon

    Haven’t studies shown that people going through speed dating are swayed by physical attractiveness and other superficial qualities instead of their pre-formed desires in a mate? It seems like attractive doctors will get the most patients, regardless of whether they are the best qualified or are the most logical patient-doctor fit.

  • http://thedoctorwriter.wordpress.com/ Leigh Ann Otte—TheDoctorWriter

    I like this idea too. You can only tell so much from a list of specialties, memberships or accomplishments. I just moved to a new town and would love to be able to meet a bunch of doctors like this before picking one. Cool.

  • B

    What difference does it make when you can’t get an appointment with a doctor for two months and end up with the nurse practitioner in urgent care. My doctor is only mine on paper.

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