Hail the Lowly Business Card

Business cards are often an afterthought for physicians, but they are still an important and potentially powerful tool for both your patients and your career.

Business cards are often a taken-for-granted afterthought by physicians. Especially in this age of dominant electronic communications. Even the card’s design may be defaulted to someone else in the office amid the hustle of establishing or running a busy practice. But business cards are still an important and potentially powerful tool for both your patients and for your career. People expect them and know they portray your professional image.

Take a serious look at your business card. Even if you are in a group there is much that can be accomplished by a review.

Number one, does the card accomplish your purpose? Is it professional in appearance and easy to read? Does it contain all of the relevant contact information that you want it to have?

Does it clearly state what you do, where you do it and perhaps when? Does it stand out; does it command attention? Are you proud to have it represent your professional image? For that is what it does and it may be the primary point of contact for many of your patients and associates — websites, Facebook, etc., notwithstanding.

The most important quality for a physician’s card is that it should shout “professional.” Heavy stock, a white or off-white color, embossed printing. This is one area where some additional expense shouldn’t matter as it can be more than quickly be recouped. The standard business card size is 3.5” by 2’’ and should be followed, both because people expect it and because odd sizes and shapes do not readily go into wallets and may get lost.

Other concerns involve how much you might want to personalize the card. Be careful here; you are not pushing an ad agency or hair salon. Add a small photo or some catchy or funny phrase? Probably not. Keep your profession and intent in mind; you want to reassure folks, not amuse or confuse them.

Some might consider using the back of the card, either for extra information, or, commonly, as a place to write down when the next appointment is.

If you wear different hats, clinical practice and some administrative function, for instance, you might want to generate a separate card for each to avoid confusion. Your sick patient might not care that you are doing some partially related professional activity; however, a mention of your status on a medical school faculty might be reassuring.

There are many good companies online that offer a myriad of customizing details with good prices and quick service. But whatever you decide, the last thing — and it’s important — that you must do is check and double check every detail.

Sure, mistakes can be corrected, a re-order made, and only time and money will be wasted. But, ultimately, no one wants to see “Dr. J. Smith — OB-GYM.”