Slipping past the gatekeepers
Q. I seem to be spending more time in the physician's waiting room than in the back where the nurses and doctors are. How can I get past the gatekeeper?
A. The first step in getting a referral is to get in the back where the nurses and doctors work. Invariably, however, we're lumped into the drug rep category, assigned to dwell amongst the ill and waiting patients. So, our goal should be to distinguish ourselves as providers of care.
First we must clearly identify ourselves and our mission. When the receptionist says, "You can wait with the others," then points to a long row of attractive, well-dressed ladies and gentlemen, we can respond with a mix of these helpful phrases:
- "But I'm not a drug rep."
- "I'm involved in your patient's care."
- "Our therapists are taking care of Mr. Jones."
If that doesn't work, simply print your own admission ticket
You should have some type of patient program that allows you to present results to the physician or nurse. This can be a patient satisfaction survey, a plan of care, charting the progress of a patient, or a monthly update. In their own right, they're very effective tools to enhance your patient's experience. Equally important, however, is the ability it provides in getting past the receptionist. When you present documented information regarding a specific patient under the care of a specific physician, the receptionist will most likely let you through.
Now when she says, "Have a seat with the others." You respond with, "But I'm not a drug rep. I'm directly involved in your patient's care. And I came to talk to Dr. Billingswell about Mrs. Harbreather's clinical progress." Flash her the document and wait for those magical words, "You can go on back."
Eric Kline is the president of HME SalesPro. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-433-2514.