Second opinions; why they are a great way to grow your practice           (and how to do them well).

https://www.privatepracticeninja.co.uk/second-opinions-grow-practice-well/

How often in your practice, are you asked to give a second opinion? How does it make you feel?

Do you squirm when a patient has told you that you are the fifth person that they have seen already?

Or, do you take pride in giving them the best assessment that you possibly can?

Why it pays to make yourself a go-to second opinion Clinician.

Rather than feeling that patients are ‘shopping around' or distrusting of the medical profession, try looking at it from their point of view. Most patients come for a second opinion because of one of the following…

They want a ‘proper’ diagnosis or at least to confirm the diagnosis they have already been given makes sense.

They want to know that the treatment that has been suggested is the ‘best' or the correct treatment for their particular situation.

They may be seeking some additional rubber stamping that they should push on ahead with the suggested plan.

They may be looking to see if there are further options that haven't been disclosed to them.

They thought that the last person they saw had the bedside manner of silverback gorilla.

A savvy patient may know that there can be some pitfalls in seeking a second opinion…

New diagnoses may muddy the water and leave them feeling even more confused about what to believe.

They may still get the bad news that they were hoping not to hear, (and now they get stung with it a second time).

Seeking further opinions can delay getting cracking with the actual treatment.

They may end up feeling torn as to whether to go with you next, rather than the clinician they originally saw.

Four ways you can best help patients and grow your credibility…

Private practice Ninja helper   Always take a completely fresh look at the patient before you read any hospital letters, look at any blood test results, or gawp at any MRI scans. Sometimes patients will want to butt in and tell you what Mr. Monty Montgomery – The Massive Mole expert, said. Ask them to refrain from recounting his take on things, until after they have told you their history, and you have examined them thoroughly.
It can be all too easy to be swept along with a previous diagnosis, especially if the patient comes along with something you weren't really thinking of.

Remember: It's your job to give an objective opinion from you and nobody else.

State what you think the diagnosis may be, and what (if any) additional diagnostic tests or rehab elements might be needed. Then, ask the patient what else has been discussed with them so far.

Private practice Ninja helper   If a patient tells you something that you think is completely outrageous, or just plain wrong, resist the temptation to burst into a snigger and go tearing strips off of the previous Clinician. Whilst this might give your ego a short-term buzz, patients hate to see Clinicians sniping at each other. At the very least, try to unpack what has been said and see if there are any elements that you can agree with.

Private practice Ninja helper Be prepared to stick your neck on the line. In other words, if you think they have ‘X’ when they have been told ‘Y,’ tell the patient, but you then need to provide the patient with best-next-steps.

For example: if the patient has severe gluteal pain and they have been told that they have piriformis syndrome, but when you examine them, their L5/S1 facet joint is as irritable as a nest of hornets, you could then discuss with them how further imaging is going to either prove or disprove this, and lead to potential treatment options.

Whilst this seems obvious, patients want to feel confident that you have really mapped out the process for them. But, this is not the time to ‘sell’ your services to the patient. Don't be tempted to poach the patient, if they are already in someone's care. Leave any potential asking to the patient.

This is particularly important if you happen to agree with the previous diagnosis and treatment plan that's been given. You should also write up your clinic letter accordingly.

“I totally agree that Mr. Monty Montgomery’s, massive mole mining procedure is the right way to go here.”

Private practice Ninja helper    If you also happen to be a Mole Miner, the patient may be tempted to inquire how you would go about it. Again tread very carefully. State any differences in the way you would manage it – and leave it at that.

Providing a second opinion in this manner will mean that you are trusted by other Clinicians and referrers and you will come across as far more credible with the patient. This may naturally lead to you ending up taking over their care – but don't push for it.

This way, you’re more likely to attract second opinion referrals in the future.

Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in building our practices – from a business perspective, as well as a clinical one.

Are looking for guidance and advice ?

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We are waiting to help you gain more patients and boost your referrals

 

                                                                               

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