If you are a private physician you already know the importance of staying on top of your professional development. By attending continuing education and conferences, like the AAPP’s Fall Summit, you learn about the latest advances in medical care and practice management so you can provide the best patient care. What you may not know is that the same events can be a prime place for networking, which can benefit your practice and increase your success as a concierge doctor. Here are some ways you can improve your practice through networking and conference events.
Become a Member of Professional Organizations
There are many different organizations to choose from when it comes to medicine, but private doctors fill a special niche and have specific practice management needs. For that reason it’s a great idea to become a member of a professional organization that specializes in concierge medicine. Some of the most common benefits of membership include:
- Early-bird or priority registration and discounted fees for conferences and events
- Newsletters and other periodicals published by the organization
- Directories and networking events to meet other private physicians
- Discounts on services and equipment
- Discount prescription cards for patients
Register and Attend the Events
While joining an organization is great, to really take advantage of networking opportunities you need to attend the events. Sometimes this can be difficult—you have to take time away from your practice and your patients to attend the event. The key is to recognize the educational and professional benefits that these conferences provide, and make it a priority to be there. When you know in advance, you can prepare your staff and patients for your absence.
Before you arrive at the event, review the conference schedule so you know which breakout sessions or classes to attend. You can also try to get a list of other attendees to see if there is someone in particular you want to meet; in many cases you can contact them in advance to make sure you get a chance to meet.
When you arrive at the event, get to know the other attendees. Arrive early at events, stay late, and attend the designated networking activities like cocktail hours, coffee breaks, and dinners. If you are attending a conference with hundreds (or even thousands) of other concierge doctors they can probably offer you advice on how to run your own practice. They may be implementing membership and patient care models that would work particularly well in your area, or they may have some advice on what not to do from their own personal experience making mistakes along the way. If you take the time to get to know them and build relationships you can continue to benefit from the camaraderie and shared experience of being a pioneer in the field of private medicine.
Follow Up After the Event
One of the biggest networking mistakes often comes once the event is over—you spent several days getting to know your colleagues, sharing ideas, and benefiting from educational opportunities, but you never get in touch with them again after you leave. While it can be difficult to keep up with patient care, running a medical practice, and networking, follow-up and post-event contact are often the most beneficial part of networking.
Make it a habit to collect business cards and send a short email to all your new contacts after you get back. Keep a list of your networking contacts, organized by specialty or area of interest, so you can share professional resources and interesting news when you come across it in the future. These small connections can turn into great collaborations over time.
Get Involved with Organizations Outside of Events
Finally, many private physicians fail to realize that there are networking opportunities outside of conferences as well. Professional organizations often have committees and leadership opportunities beyond just conference attendance that will keep you connected with your peers. Serving on committees, educating lawmakers and lobbying on behalf of your practice and your profession, writing guest articles for blogs or organizational newsletters, and other similar activities can keep you involved in all the things that impact your practice.
As a private physician you have an important role to play in helping patients live a healthy and happy life. It’s important that you also understand the benefits of networking with other concierge doctors to make the most of your practice and offer the best possible care to patients.