Since private medical insurance first began, the number one route by a patient to a consultant surgeon has been the patient’s GP. Most time the patient will follow the GP recommendation but what if they don’t?
What does the private patient look for in a consultant surgeon?
Ease of access is the most often quoted reason a patient chooses a specific consultant. This is a logical progression from why the patient has private medical insurance originally – because he/she wishes immediate access to a consultant surgeon. Allied to this is the location of the consultant surgeon.
But how does the patient narrow down the search if there are many consultants to a geographic area all of whom are easily accessible?
The patient will look for recommendation from friends and colleagues who have been patients of the consultant. They almost certainly will check the internet for the consultant’s website. That said, it is not unusual for the patient to check the website AFTER making an appointment. Further still there is a gender divide with almost 90% of female patients looking at a consultant surgeon’s website but only 50% of male patients.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Empirical evidence confirms the first impression of a patient when he/she contacts a Private Medical Practitioner is a big influence on whether the consultant is actually engaged.
It is perhaps significant that one MHM client insists the telephone is answered within 3 rings and enjoys an extremely busy initial patient schedule. A second uses an answering machine service but consequently has a much lower number of initial patient consultations.
So, the patient is looking for ease of access to the consultant, a good reputation and to be managed by the Practice extremely professionally.