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Medical Practice Business And Marketing Articles

Article #35-- JULY 2012                                     

“How to See More Medical Patients and Make More Money By Working Hard... Not Smart!”

(Part 1)

Important issues you must consider first, before wasting your
time and money hoping that increased patient numbers
will save your ass… financially! 

Any physician or professional healthcare provider can increase their income by seeing more medical patients each and every day as you well know... just common sense... more patients = more income. It's temporary... burnout ends it all!

Likely, medical doctors in private medical practice in today’s lousy economy are already doing that, at least to some degree, as their response to fee restrictions and competition for patients. However, there are several additional profitable approaches you can use to ease the stress on yourself as well as stress on your
office personnel.  

The idea is to see increasingly more patients over years and years without killing yourself in the process. Is that even possible? But, if you’re willing to take a beating and work under continuous unrelenting stress, you may need to use these tools for

About the only reason doctors choose to do this is out of desperation and for financial reasons. However, the most important reason is that doctors lack the business knowledge to do anything else... or they would be doing it… right?

Fact: Every smart doctor should be using business and marketing strategies instead of beating a dead horse (working harder). But then, we all make our choices... even when we are forced to accept what we know is not the best choice (dictated by our circumstances) or is the only option left that our uninformed minds lets us see.


Several factors must be considered that make it easier to increase your patient load, work harder, and hope the income justifies the effort.

1. Good office communication

By this time in your medical practice troublesome times you are already aware of the drop in your practice income and the threats it presents to you. It’s important to gain employee support and agreement to work as a team towards an increased practice income project or their jobs may disappear. You must inform your office staff what your intentions are and what their role in the project will be… and repeat it often.

As part of the effort, employees must be told about what you expect of them. Some of those factors are that they...  

  • Must improve their efficiency of patient management

  • Must accept extra work hours and a variable work
    hour schedule

  • Are expected to maintain their friendly and professional
    attitudes even if in a rush

  • May need to work over lunchtime or even into the
    evenings (no overtime $)

  • Must arrive early to work to accomplish preparations
    for the day

  • Their extra efforts will be compensated for, but no promises
    given about overtime pay or increase in salaries

  • If any staff member refuses or is unable to comply,
    they are replaced... period! 


Be aware that your office employees are working only for their own benefits… not yours. Employees have their own agendas and lifestyle that is more important to them than their job is. Having this in mind, whenever you interview a potential employee, it’s essential to be very selective of prospects your hire.

Hire only those who are agreeable with, willing to comply with, the business rules you present to them for the accomplishment of your goals for your practice and how you choose to have your medical practice run.  

Your employees must be convinced it is critical to the financial stability of your practice and their paychecks to readjust their personal agendas to fit your requirements regardless of their family and personal situation. Never assume that they all will bend to your wishes.

You should start a couple months early to inform your present employees of the changes you intend to make. It permits them to find another job if they can’t or won’t fit in to your plans. It permits you to recruit a more suitable employee to replace the ones who leave.  

This process actually is a perfect screening procedure for learning which employees are loyal to you, understand why you are doing what you have told them, and are anxious to participate actively in this new venture. These employees also are those who trust you when you promise to compensate them for their extra hard work on your behalf. 

Although it may be hard to accept, you have to be comfortable at replacing employees because your whole career and medical practice business is your life and livelihood. No employee should be allowed to interfere with your decisions. I personally had great difficulty with this situation. You don’t have to be liked… just respected.

2. There’s the issue of where all these new patients are going to be coming from and how to encourage old patients to come back more often. 

  • Increase the results of your doctor referral system, if
    you have one

  • Entice your old patients to refer new patients to you

  • Promote your medical practice by being a joiner,
    participant, in your medical community

  • Become socially known... charity work, speaking to
    community groups, teaching various groups
    about healthcare

  • Start a patient newsletter on topics your patients
    want to know about

  • Do things in your practice for patients that no other
    doctors locally are doing

  • Start a local newspaper column on medical topics

  • Use press releases or newsletters to promote your
    new skills, treatments you’ve learned, and changes
    to your practice focus... all about how you have
    increased your patient’s benefits


When you do these things, you are marketing your medical practice, often without even recognizing it as marketing strategies.

Any doctor who has made the decision to increase their practice income by seeing more patients is faced with figuring out how to get all those new patients. Meaning, it will be necessary to go far beyond their present and already-being-used efforts, if any, to recruit new patients.

Very few medical doctors today are significantly involved in such an important activity. Most doctors have no idea how to set up and use a doctor referral system or how to entice other doctors to send patients
to you.  

After all, over 60% of new patients you get are doctor referred patients (Practice Surveys). Wouldn’t that be an important resource to kiss up to?  

The terrible mistake most doctors make is that they totally neglect their old and loyal patients, while courting new patients. Marketing statistics have demonstrated over and over again that a present customer is far more valuable to their business than new customers... and cost a lot less to keep than trying to get a new customer in the door.  

Another important consideration is that everyone is looking for knowledge about something today... none more so than medical patients. The fact that doctors are now spending less time with patients is the primary reason a doctor should create a newsletter for his or her patients.

It may be that a newsletter specifically for your patients may be far more important to them, impact them more, than their annual checkup exam or an office visit just for medical advice. Your newsletter feeds your patients a constant stream of medical information all year long, while repeatedly reminding them that you respect their needs for health advice...  it keeps you in their minds.

Newsletters often are much more personal and relationship building than a 20 minute office visit once a year. In effect, you would be doing some marketing for your practice without even paying them to have it done

In coordination with your keeping your patients informed about medical issues, you should keep them informed about any new skills you have learned and how that can help your patients in new ways. This boosts your patients desire to refer friends, family members, church buddies, and others to your practice---because you are showing them that you are a doctor that keeps up with the newest treatments and skills for
their benefit. 

In the same manner, after you open yourself up to the local community interactions such as volunteering to speak at gatherings, potential new patients in the audience get a unique personal impression of you that they might never get otherwise. This prompts them to join your practice. 

This is all about medical practice marketing!  I’m telling you, that even when you create your increased patient flow to earn more, it directly involves the use of marketing your practice to make it happen and to make it persistent. So, if you can’t seem to get away from the idea of marketing your medical practice, why not make it a commitment to learn how to market your practice the right way, using the right tools for the
right reasons.

If your desire is to get good patients, this is the most efficient way to accomplish that. If actual marketing of your practice seems like an impossible task for you, then call it something else instead, like, “patient recruitment” or “drilling for income prospects” (kind of a dental term I should think).

Fact: You can’t increase your patient flow
without using one or more of the common
marketing strategies.

3. Judging the limits you and your office staff can tolerate and still persistently perform at a top level...

  • How many hours a day can you work and avoid making
    big mistakes?

  • How much work can be pushed onto your staff without all
    of them moving elsewhere?

  • How much time will it take (not whether it will happen)
    for your burnout to occur?

  • Are you willing to compromise your family life for the
    sake of increasing your work load, practice income,
    and patient flow?

  • Working beyond your personal mental and physical
    limitations will result in errors and worse. 


You can work hard for a prolonged time but there will be a point in the near future where you will begin backsliding, which leads to burnout. To prevent that you not only have to be aware of your own vulnerabilities but also those of your employees who are even more susceptible to burnout.

Employee burnout means they up and quit suddenly one day. To avoid that you have obligated yourself to yet another work load of spending the time and effort to keep them motivated and passionate about your goals for your practice. Do you know how to inspire people? You need to use Tony Robbins tactics.

You don’t really believe that your employees have the same inspirational mindset as you do… right? Or, do you?  

You can be a martyr for your career, but your employees pushed to work harder and longer each day aren’t. Present day work attitudes should tell you that even raising their salaries would never keep them around long in this circumstance.

Constantly keeping employees happy in their work, inspired to function at high levels, and willing to work hard for you for long periods, takes a special rare employee and a boss that has the capacity to do what it takes to reach medical practice business goals. Your pressure to constantly learn and improve didn’t
end when you finished your training.

In my experience and memories of doctors running a “patient mill,” working harder rather than smarter, rarely if ever reach their desired income levels. If they do, they have sacrificed their family life, health, and future productivity. They bring-on their own catastrophes that ultimately leave them alone and isolated from the medical community in one way or another.

(In the second half of this topic, next newsletter, I’ll provide you with the three most reliable and profitable methods to insure that your “work harder” philosophy can be made to elevate your medical practice profits to satisfactory levels.)

The author, Curt Graham, M.D., an experienced physician, author, marketer and expert in medical practice business and marketing strategies, is an expert author and inspirational leader for medical  professionals in the business world. He is a platinum expert author with and has been published in Modern Physician and Medical Economics Magazines. His three books have been published online.
Discover how to make your medical practice flourish and exceed all expectations with simple business and marketing strategies. Click the link now for the profitable ways to do it.

©Copyright 2004-2011, Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.

     handwritten signature of Dr. Graham


Professional Prods

photo of bum on sidewalk holding up a sign saying 'Cash needed for alcohol research'.

If you intend to, or are thinking about  dropping out of clinical medical practice today, give yourself one last chance to fend off the causes of your frustration.

Most private practices that fail today are caused by financial deficiencies. Any doctor facing this problem can eliminate this disappointing problem rather quickly by using the advantages and tools found in the process of marketing your medical business.

It doesn't require years of education nor millions of dollars you can't afford. Not only can you do it yourself (with some minimal help), but also offers minimal cost strategies a 12 year old can do. It does require you gain some reliable business and marketing knowledge and advice... which can be found on this website. What you don't know can
harm you greatly.



photo Dan Kennedy riding on a bull


          "Worriers and spellers can be hired for
              minimum wage."
--- James Tolleson

I won a couple "spelling bees" when I was a kid, and I'm a reasonably bright guy. But unless  you're going to teach English lit, it turns out that mastery of grammar and spelling is not particularly important to most careers or businesses. I get letters from time to time offering to edit everything from my books and newsletters to my sales letters, to correct the grammar and syntax or present a more erudite, professional image-but these letters always come from people who have never had a book published or never made any serious money from creating advertising.  

You CAN hire these folks for minimum wage all day long. Most of the highest income earners I know have a few of these people around.  

The point, of course, is that "perfection" and "professionalism" as defined and perceived by most people has not one darned thing to do with making a lot of money. It turns out that book publishers all have editors who can fix what you write - what they need is somebody who can come up with salable books and then sell them. Ad agencies can hire people to fix grammar easily; what's hard to find is the guy who can come up with something like "They All Laughed
When I sat Down At The Piano..." that can actually sell something.  

See, when you have the ability to cause people to jump up and part with their money, you can hire - or the world will ante up and provide - people to run around behind you and do everything from fix your grammar to get your laundry cleaned to mollifying hotel managers after you've trashed the penthouse suite. This tells you the one and only business skill worth focusing
on, worth mastering.
  And I can't tell you how happy I am to have had that revelation early in life.

As an aside, if you really want to do your son or daughter a favor, push them into summer jobs in selling.  Even if they want to become doctors or, God forbid, lawyers later, the most valuable part of their entire education will be the three months spent selling in the store, car dealership or door to door.  (Some years back, I did a survey of 100 chiropractors with practices earning at least $500,000.00 a year; over 80 of them had worked in direct sales, like selling vacuum cleaners, fire alarms, cookware, etc.)

Similarly, you can also hire a bunch of pinheads and bean counters to sit around and worry over every imaginable detail and potential problem for a whole lot less than you can make from the same time selling or causing sales.  In essence, it really doesn't pay to worry!  Hard to break the worry habit:  most of us are taught this habit by our parents and have it deeply imprinted in our subconscious.  

The best antidote or, at least distraction though is positive, productive, proactive action.  I do know one entrepreneur who actually hired a guy to worry for him - he pays him $35,000.00 a year.  Every morning he gives his Vice-President of Worrying a list of stuff to worry about, and then he goes on to focus on selling and causing sales. This pretty much tells you the only
two functions of business worth investing your time and energy in.  And note this:  everybody who takes your time or attention away from those two things is your enemy.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up.  His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.

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    E-mail = cgmdrx(at)
     © 2004 - 2015  Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.