Introducing Yourself to Healthcare Providers

[Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigtialPhotos.net.]

[Courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigtialPhotos.net.]

People struggle with phrasing letters. It’s dicey. You want to show your personality, yet be clearly professional. When you write an introductory letter to a member of the medical profession, you are often asking for a favor — for their time, for their support, for their faith in you.

Each letter must be written to fit each specific doctor and each specific situation. You need to know what kind of patients the doctor deals with and their approach to healing. Remember that you are writing a letter from your practice, not from you. Get a trusted friend to read over your letters. Then get another.

Our two primary suggestions are to write a fact-based letter and to invoke a third party. In your letters, doctors want to know you are legitimate and deeply trained. They want to know exactly how your work will benefit their patient (facts! figures!) and that your work will not interfere with their work. Invoking a third party gives you a better chance of being granted a hearing.

The third party would be one of your clients. Rather than choosing a doctor from an Internet search, work on contacting doctors who are already working with your clients. Your shared patient/client will give you common ground. This is even better if you believe your client has the respect of her doctor. If your client comments on her doctor shrugging or scoffing at the idea of bodywork… never mind.

A Resource to Help with Your Letters

Marketing Communications for Massage Therapists is resource with well over 100 sample letters already written for you. These letters are updates from a previous product, the Business Mastery Supplement, written by many Sohnen-Moe Associates over the years. They carry just the right balance of personality and professionalism. There are sample letters for several different, general situations including: introductions, follow-ups, and contacting primary care offices. Each general topic has sample letters for specific situations like: letters to folks in the medical professions, letters to the media, announcements, non-payment issues, and cover letters for resumes. To be honest, you hardly need change the text in most of the letters. But if you have something particular to say or to address, you’re in luck. After immersing yourself in these solid examples, you will have a clear view of how you can write your correspondence. And, although these letters were written from a massage therapist’s perspective, they can easily be adapted for whatever your specialty or practice.

Disclaimer: Yes, Marketing Communications for Massage Therapists is a product we sell, and yes, we’d love it if you bought it from us. But, really, we encourage you to seek out sample letters, no matter where you get them. They save a tremendous amount of time.

Tips on Writing a Letter of Introduction

Let’s talk about writing the letter of introduction. First, you need to mentally separate The Doctor from The Healthcare System. If you think about approaching medically trained people as trying to “crack the system,” you’re in the wrong headspace. As a rule, doctors, PTs, LPNs, dentists, chiropractors, etc. chose their career for the same reason you chose yours. The need to heal and promote health is etched into their psyche. That is your common ground. Phrase every letter and focus every conversation around the needs of the patient.

Scope of Practice: Choose to contact doctors who share your specialty. Oncologists, as a group, are not interested in prenatal massage.

Facts Trump Emotions: In your introductory letter, stick to the facts.

  1. Tell them why you are contacting them (e.g., switching the focus of your practice, recently certified in something that complements the doctor’s practice, new to area).
  2. Give your experience/credentials/certifications/affiliations. Be brief. Be concise. If they want more details, they’ll ask. Or, if you must, include copies in your intro packet.
  3. Discuss (briefly) how your specialty can assist their patients and how. Include copies of any brochures or information sheets you use that explain your specialty, hours, fees, etc. Go ahead and ask doctors to hand them to their patients. Do you have any professional articles that discuss the benefits of your specialty? Include those, too.
  4. In your letter, ask for five minutes of their time. Tell them you’ll call by such-an-such a date for an appointment.

General Guidelines:

  1. Learn — and use — the “language.” When you demonstrate mastery of medical communication, you elevate your own profession.
  2. Be clear and brief in your communications. This is really hard to do. A letter shouldn’t be more than one side of one page. An introductory conversation shouldn’t be more than two minutes (Practice. Time yourself. Seriously.)
  3. From conversations we’ve heard, there seems to be a general complaint from doctors about not getting treatment reports. Find out what doctors’ general complaints are about working with practitioners of your specialty. Address these complaints in your communications and your actions.

Really, folks, when you’re looking to introduce yourself to healthcare providers, start with your clients’ doctors. You’ll have more luck if you begin by talking to people that have already seen the effects of your work. Once you impress them, you can get their letter of reference to add to your credentials, and branch out more.

[Adapted from previous blog articles by Natural Touch Marketing, with permission and for your benefit.]