Five Steps to Becoming Everyone’s Favorite Rheumatology Practice in 2021

There are many things that patients want and need from their Rheumatologist. Patients want to visit a practice dedicated to trust. They want to be involved in their care, and they want a more personalized care experience. Implementing these simple things for your patients can put you way ahead of the average Rheumatology practice.

Creating a care experience for patients at your practice will not happen overnight. However, when done correctly, it can be powerful for your practice and its patients. So, show your patients some love in the new year with these five steps to become everyone’s favorite Rheumatology practice in 2021.

Utilize all forms of engagement.

If you aren’t already, it’s time to utilize social media to engage with your patients. Here are some ideas:

  • With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is a great social media platform for marketing your Rheumatology practice. It’s also relatively cheap—while you can pay to get your posts in front of more people, you can also expand your reach organically with a few creative tips and tricks.
  • Create a Facebook support group for your patients. Facebook groups are usually organized around a theme, cause, or interest. Many medical practices are beginning to create Facebook groups for their patients, which is an excellent way to help patients connect, share information and resources about their diseases, and stay connected with their physicians.
  • Implement an informative blog section with resources, tips, and tricks. Also, be sure to add an online patient portal so your patients can easily access their records and essential documents.
  • It is crucial to engage with your patients online, but don’t forget to do it face-to-face. A big complaint among many patients is that they don’t feel respected or have enough time with their physicians. Ensure that your patients are heard by your whole staff – doctors, nurses, and office personnel. Take the time to sit down, talk with them, and truly listen.

Develop a strong relationship.

Because of the intimate relationship between medical practice and patient, a special bond is formed almost instantly in an otherwise clinical setting. While these relationships are built quickly, they are also very fragile. You must continuously nurture that connection. So, what are the best ways to foster relationships with patients that you only see for a handful of minutes at a time?

The simple answer is to stay in contact regularly. All relationships require effort, the patient/practice relationship included. You would be surprised how the little things can make a big difference. Simply sending a text or a customized email can go a long way. They know you’re thinking of them, and the bond is strengthened.

Focus on compassion. 

Rheumatology offices are busy, things can get stressful, and some days can be overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being detached when interacting with patients, but don’t do it! When you have a patient in the office, do everything you can to go above and beyond. Learn the names of patients and those crucial details that make them “them.” Some things you can do include:

  • When they enter the office, smile and look them in the eye.
  • Devote all of your attention to the patient when interacting with them.
  • Really listen to them.
  • Don’t interrupt or rush.
  • Ask questions like a friend about things not related to the appointment.
  • Treat the patient like a person and not just a number.

Give your patients more control.

One major strategy you can put into place right away is meeting the needs of engaged patients. Today’s patient wants to have more control over their healthcare and what happens before, during, and after an office visit. It’s essential to address each of these needs individually.

Before the visit, patients want to learn as much as possible before they visit your office, so ensure that information is available to them. Regularly send out informational newsletters and emails and be active on social media. Find simple and cost-effective ways to educate and inform from a distance.

During the visit, listen to patients when they tell you what they’ve learned about their condition. Take them seriously and consider that your patient may have good ideas while still offering your professional diagnosis.

Be sure to follow up visits by listening to any feedback and implement needed changes. Again, technology can help with this through automated surveys and follow up emails. Keep in contact via email, social media, and text until you see your patient in the office again.

Offer technological connections. 

The vast majority of patients want to be able to connect with their practice digitally. Websites, patient portals, apps, self-scheduling, video messages, emails are all ways you can boost patient access.

Fortunately, most of this can be done without a lot of work by the office. By taking advantage of automation, you can reduce your staff’s workload and still meet today’s modern patients’ growing demands.

The bottom line is that today’s healthcare environment is more competitive than ever. Practices that can provide a more personalized care experience will not only become everyone’s favorite Rheumatology practice; they will win the loyalty of their patients and will enjoy a more profitable future.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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