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New York OB/GYN practice discovers 2 astonishingly easy ways to pull in more patients

A one-physician OB/GYN practice that opened in the last decade reached its patient census goals almost immediately using nothing but common-sense marketing. It became so busy, in fact, that it is now open an additional two nights a week plus Saturday mornings.

The marketing has focused on two elements.

First is no waiting. “We’ve had patients transfer here just because they know they don’t have to wait to see the doctor,” says Chris Sini, manager for Michael H. Polcino, MD, in North Babylon, NY. “That’s especially important to working women.”

But what makes the office stand out is the second element, which is patient comfort.

The doctor and Sini came from a 10-physician office “that had become almost factory-like.” They wanted the new office to have an atmosphere “that wasn’t sterile and industrial” and that made patients comfortable. To achieve that, they broke a lot of traditions.

It started with wall colors that are “serene” – mostly greens and mauves – and floors that are cherry wood. There are small patterned area rugs in the exam rooms, and the hall carpet is also patterned.

In the exam rooms are upholstered chairs “instead of the typical vinyl chairs.” And for privacy, there are bi-fold cherry wood screens where patients can hang their clothing without its being seen.

For lengthy testing such as nonstress tests for monitoring a baby’s heartbeat, there’s a separate area where the mother sits in a recliner, “as opposed to sitting on a table all that time.”

For consults, patients go to an area where there are four easy chairs “so they can talk and not feel they’re in a client atmosphere.”

The reception area has home-like furniture and even candles in hurricane lamps – and the candles stay lit.

And then there are flowers – lots of them. They start at the front door of the building, and the office changes them “so when patients come in, the first thing they see is what’s blooming at the time.”

Another patient accommodation was to bring in a young female PA. That was done, Sini says, to make visits easier for teenagers who come in for their first GYN exam or for contraception.

And to ensure every patient gets a personal greeting, the doctor notes in the record any significant personal information patients mention – perhaps that a child is getting married – and asks about it at the next visit.

Still more: there’s a Facebook page and also a website where the doctor has a blog addressing current issues such as HPV or urinary tract infections. And, says Sini, “people read it.”

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