Q: I have tried all different variations on the theme of new patient orientation classes. The running problem I can’t seem to get a handle on is compliance. Currently we have been doing lunches at my office. We had even thought about doing a room at a restaurant on a weekend. We are just not sure if there is a better night, day, venue, etc.
Do you know what has been working well for others?
A: I don’t know of any magical day or time.
I’m assuming you’re communicating the patient benefits of attending? The three patient benefits that I’m aware of are:
1. Save moneyI’m assuming you call or refer to this class as something other than a “class” or a “workshop!” And by the way, to patients “orientation” sounds like a sales session. (They don’t have to go to an orientation to see their MD, so they imagine that you have some other agenda, probably self-serving, in mind.)
2. Get well faster
3. Avoid a relapse
Naturally, one way to solve the compliance issue, depending upon how important it is to you, is to dismiss patients who don’t attend within say, the first two weeks of care. (Not recommended.) That said, it sounds as if attendance is more important to you than them. As a presenter myself, I have a personal understanding of having to be “up” for a small turnout! The fact is, some people would just rather you “work on them,” like having their hair cut or car’s oil changed, without knowing any more detail. You can do little about that other than adjust your reaction to their lack of interest or attract a different caliber of patient who is interested.
Sometimes the inability to attend is merely a time constraint and is not a reflection of you or your promise of a spellbinding presentation. (Remember, coming to your office just for their regular visits is an imposition for those with busy lives!) If I were in practice, I’d create an audio CD of my presentation so patients who don’t/can’t attend after several invitations can listen to it in the car instead.
Finally, remember that giving your talks is as much (or more) for you than it is for them! (By the way, if you're not doing some type of group presentation, you should. Consider our Astonishing Dr. You lecture that's based on our Astonishing Dr. You booklet.)