How to Retain Patients When You Buy a Practice

My client is a small, pretty, very young looking internist. She purchased the medical practices of three retiring male physicians. She could not have been more physically different from the sellers if she tried. They were not a group, but practiced in the same community. Two were planning to retire. The third had an unexpected coronary.

All three left their practices quickly. The patients felt abandoned. She was almost overwhelmed by caring for the hospitalized patients. But she knew her best chance for success was to bond with the patients who could choose to go another new physician whom they did not know.

She wrote a letter to each of the patients inviting them to meet her, at no charge, before they became her patients. She set aside two hours a day for these interviews, which took place in her consultation room.

She realized that most of the patients were the same age as the sellers and female doctors were rare at the time. She felt a meeting would demonstrate her respect for their feelings. She also wanted to show them her ability to provide good medical care.

The interviews began in July. By August she was booked solid for complete physicals through December. The patients loved her and appreciated the opportunity to choose her as their physician.

Her patient retention was almost 100%.

Lesson: Buying a practice only gives you access to patients. You need to cement the physician-patient relationship on your own.