As part of the AAAOM practice management committee, they’ve putting together a series of videos to give the acupuncture community actionable advice on growing their practice. This is the second part of the discussion about how to approach and network with other medical providers. For the previous post and video, click here. We’ve highlighted some of the main points from the video in this blog post.
How do I follow up after my initial meeting with the doctor?
It’s usually a good idea to send a brief email the next day, thanking the doctor and office staff members for taking the time to meet with you. (It’s very important to take some time to meet the office staff members and learn their names. You’ll likely contact these people frequently during your business relationship with the medical practice.)
Then, sometime within the next two to six weeks, call and request a longer meeting with the doctor, preferably over a lunch date. (Don’t wait longer than three months for this follow up contact.)
At this point, you “schmooze” with one another and become better acquainted on a personal level. The doctor will probably ask you questions about your practice. Elaborate upon your areas of interest, and your skill set. Try and develop a stronger professional relationship by communicating with one another on an authentic personal level, but don’t confuse the doctor by using TCM terminology.
This is the time to ask the physician how you as an acupuncturist can offer assistance to the medical practice? Express your willingness to make a contribution of your professional time, either by writing an article for the practice newsletter about acupuncture, or by participating in a workshop or office seminar conducted by the medical practice. If you like public speaking, you might offer to address a local medical organization or society to discuss acupuncture.
The next day, follow up with a personalized email thanking the doctor for meeting with you. Good practice suggests sending along some literature or brochures about your practice at this point.
How do I communicate professionally with doctors about referrals?
First, always avoid employing TCM terminology during your communications with physicians. They usually do not understand the vocabulary of Traditional Chinese Medicine and they will find references to “Qi” or “excess heat in the liver” confusing. Instead, try and keep your discussions framed in terms of biomedical science and basic Western anatomical/orthopedic examination terms.
When discussing a referral case, it makes sense to use a form for communications purposes. The AAAOM can supply convenient forms for your use.
Big thanks to The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s (AAAOM), Andy Rosenfarb, LAc. and Jamie Davis, LAc. for putting together another great video for acupuncturists looking to grow their practice.
As always, I love to hear from you. Feel free to drop me a line. You can reach me at email@example.com.