I’m just going to address this upfront: never in a million years did I think I would be referencing Gordon Ramsey with respect to healthcare, especially with house calls. But it seems to be the most appropriate resource for this blog’s topic.
One of the many shows in Mr. Ramsey’s television empire is called Kitchen Nightmares. In one particular episode (I can’t remember which; they’re all practically the same thing, right?), Mr. Ramsey sets out to help a beleaguered seafood restaurant. It has the usual problems – bad management, poor menu, sinking in debt – but the key issue that Ramsey finds is that the town already has a number of seafood options ... and his client is getting lost in the shuffle. He recommends they change to a steakhouse offering; something the town doesn’t have. It works – customers find their way to the restaurant, and all is well.
The key takeaway here is not to change from a house call practice to something else, but to be mindful of your name when establishing yourself. We work with clients across the United States and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the vast majority of their names involve a combination of the following words: visiting, physician, house call, provider, mobile, in-home, and doctor.
With the growth of new practices in the house call space, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your practice isn’t confused with another. It sounds like common sense, but we’re seeing numerous instances where practices in the same city are switching just one word – (In-Home Physicians vs. In-Home Doctors, for example only) – and it’s eroding their growth potential in those important first few years.
Oddly enough, the two words we see the least in a practice name? Geriatrics and Care.
I’m happy to report that many of our clients have gone out of their way to make sure that they began defining their practice with a distinct name. One is Transitions Geriatrics Group in Austin, Texas. Another is CareTrek, in Phoenix, Arizona. There are many others, of course, but the point is that neither of these groups will be confused with a local competitor.
I recently wrote a blog about the value of doing a proper SWOT analysis before opening your practice. I would consider this to be an extension of that. The truth of it is, house calls will always have a set of referral sources: home health agencies, hospitals, and some self-referrals. If you market yourself correctly, they’ll know you provide house call services. The key is making sure the referrals they send don’t go to your competitors because your names are too similar – something I’ve seen happen way too often.
Oh, and just in case you were curious – I looked it up and the restaurant Ramsey advised? It’s still open and doing well.