How To Be The Rockstar Doctor

Women make 80% of healthcare decisions for their families, so when choosing a long-term healthcare provider they evaluate EVERY aspect before finalizing their decision. From insurance acceptance to convenience of office location, reputation, and most importantly, the quality of the patient experience. Connecting to your patient on every level is crucial, especially for new patients. Essentially, their needs become YOUR NEEDS to address, and their barriers become YOUR BARRIERS to overcome.

Every doctor in every field of medicine has obstacles to overcome in the interest of their patients. Orthopedic Surgeons have patients who are in need of a knee replacement, but put it off due to extensive and painful recovery time.  Gynecologists often find themselves with a terrified patient who has never had a pap-smear. In fact, all doctors have to overcome apprehensions of first-time patients. Dentists especially have to overcome this fear factor: Who doesn’t remember being terrified of the dentist’s office when they were a kid? If a dentist can make children feel at ease, provide a fun experience, and make us (somehow) look forward to the visit, that’s a slam dunk for mom. In every industry, the universal driver to bridge the connection between you and your patient is compassion, comfort and convenience – and you can get creative in providing these.

Dr. Scott Stiffle, a dentist based out of Chicago, took this connection concept to another level. Walking into his office is like entering a party in which everyone is glad you came: Guns N’ Roses is playing at a low-volume, black-and-white images of old rock bands are hung on the wall, the dentists are wearing black shirts under their coats that read “Gums and Roses” or “Plaque Sabbath”. His office features pictures of his patients wearing his shirts with the caption, “We have the world’s best patients”. Dr. Stiffle doesn’t have patients, he has fans that even stop by to just say hello. Who ever heard of someone going to a dentist’s office to hangout?

(One would picture Dr. Stiffle to be a millennial, but he is actually in his sixties. Hey boomer! Rock on!!)

Dr. Stiffle connects to his patients through music and overcomes any anxieties through an informal and welcoming patient experience. “Formality is a barrier, so we have a casual atmosphere to make patients feel good…We honor your anxiety and the fact that you’re here in the office and made it through our door,” Dr. Stiffle said in an interview.

Healthcare practices can take ideas from Dr. Stiffle’s strategy of patient connection. His practice is a prime example of how a doctor’s office can be both professional and personal; in other words, professional doesn’t have to mean “stiff”. Understandably, not everyone is into hard rock or making it the theme of their office, but choose something you feel connected to that will help bridge the patient connection. If you’re in pediatrics, for example, get a Spongebob-themed lab coat, be Patrick Star for the day and watch how differently your young patients respond to you. You can connect to your patients in ways that coincide with your branding, your interests or your personal values. Through music, art, conversation, follow-up emails of gratitude – there are so many methods your practice can implement in order to form a deeper connection to patients who, in turn, will become loyal fans.

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