Emotions & Loyalty: Root of Patient & Physician Decisions in Health Care

People are people, whether they are identified by their career or their role in the health care process. So whether you’re dealing with a referring physician or a patient, it’s important to consider emotions, their role in the sales process and how they drive and destroy value.  One of the most valuable emotions to have in our business is loyalty. Loyalty is what providers work towards with referring physicians and what they’re trying to earn from their patients, and in a society where health care is catching a lot of heat for a lack of transparency, loyalty and honesty are key.

Lloyd Banks said, “I take things like honor and loyalty seriously. It’s more important to me than any materialistic thing or any fame I could have.” It’s funny because a lot of practices think that the best way to attract referrals is to give gifts and tip-toe through shades of gray, tickling the line of propriety and Stark Laws, whether they can afford it or not.  Matt Schneider says that when your relationships are built off of gifts however, you’re only as good as your next present. Don’t think about yourself and your service from a strictly monetary scope, consider your value, because it is more important than any materialistic thing you could provide, as long as you’re not handing out keys to new Ferraris.

In Colin Shaw’s program Beyond Philosophy, he points out that in sales, professionals brand their customer experiences with their own emotional signatures. Over 50% of a customer’s experience relies on how they feel, which will then either drive or destroy their decision path. With 20 emotions ranging from happy to trusted to disappointed to neglected; your perception of value hinges heavily on your customers’ emotions, indicating whether they will become long-term, short-term or no-term customers. In health care it is hard to look at patients as “customers” but their emotional drive is intrinsically the same.

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It makes sense that in health care, more than in any other industry, emotional-selling plays a vastly important role. From a patient perspective, the health care industry is a confusing, money-hungry monster that is supposed to be able to fix the illusive medical issues they face before they die. They are operating in a state of flat out fear. Transparency in the system is a good start to helping patients sort through their emotions, aiding in their comprehension of what happens with their doctors and the bills that come out of their appointments. This is why it’s important for health care marketers and physicians to enter the conversation that patients are having already in their minds about price and quality.

The jump from reaching and making an impact on referring physicians is not all that far off as emotions go. Doctors have their own set of worries, whether it be about; patient loyalty, patients wellness, happy staff, having enough time to get everything accomplished, all while making money and keeping their practice alive.  This is especially challenging for independent physicians that don’t have the support of a hospital system.

Trends towards independent physicians getting bought out by hospital systems have cut down the number of private practices and many physicians and patients have been left wondering why hospital-owned physicians decided to sell.  The root of all patient and physician decisions resorts back to loyalty; emotional and financial support and security. With the changes that will occur over the next few years in our profession, we predict the rise of patient loyalty to independent physicians due to their ability and freedom to adopt transparency and patient-focused quality care.