Doctor/Patient Speed Dating: Innovative Marketing Centered on Patient Experience

A new healthcare marketing technique caters to the modern patient

Online PR News – 18-March-2010 – – Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital has changed the standard marketing game for healthcare networks and physicians with a new program called “Doc Shop”. Potential patients drop in on an hour-long speed dating luncheon to meet, greet and find a fit with a new doctor. Those who have taken advantage of the Fort Worth-based initiative say it’s a fast, comfortable alternative to plucking a new physician from the Yellow Pages. National news outlets have already run with the story, creating a huge buzz for not only the hospital itself, but for innovative healthcare marketing. It’s easy to understand why; they have put the patient in control and touched a new base of people by finding a way to connect with them in a way that respects their busy lives.

Concepts like patient convenience and patient connection are far from new, they’re simply undervalued. Any practice looking to grow its patient base should be focusing on elevating this total patient experience- and there doesn’t have to be a speed dating luncheon to achieve it. “A simple act of making it a best practice in your office for each member of your staff to note the color of the patient’s eyes you are working with will go a long way in creating a personal bond,” says Jamie Verkamp, Director of Growth and Marketing at (e)Merge. “When you take a minute to look up from your computer and into their eyes, you are showing them you value them, what they are saying and going through.”

Dr. Manisha Parikh, OB-GYN, is a four-time Doc Shop participant. She echoes Verkamp’s emphasis on patient connection, which needs nurturing not just at the beginning of the relationship, but throughout. "There's a new attitude in medicine where patients want to feel like their doctor is their friend.”

The internet is also a great tool for attracting potential patients and involving your current clientele. In fact, Harris used social sites to promote its speed dating events. But event promotion is just the beginning. Sites like Facebook let a practice dialogue with patients continuously, on their own time. Verkamp says sharing your practice’s personalities, achievements, growth and news online will keep your patients up to date and make them feel like a valued part of your practice. “Practices with an online presence are shown to have increased referrals because they are staying in touch and engaging the patient even when they’ve left the office.”

(e)Merge is a medical practice growth consulting firm specializing in providing innovative, patient-centric marketing initiatives and medical mystery shopping services that enhance patient experiences to increase referrals. Our programs are designed to strategically achieve sustained patient volume growth for medical practices and health organizations. For more information, please contact us toll free at 1.877.362.6584, visit us at, or follow us on Twitter at .