Add patient advisory to block solicitations

October 10, 2011

Learn how to deal with aggressive salespeople.

Q: My elderly patients, particularly those with diabetes, have been receiving aggressive telephone calls from home medical supply companies. Yesterday, I received a fax from one of these companies, asking me to confirm an order for medical equipment, and when I called the patient, he said he hadn't given the company his consent for the order. I tell my elderly patients just to hang up when they get these calls, but they're too polite to do that. Do you have any tips on advice I can give my patients on how to deal with these aggressive salespeople?

A: Accurate information is the only way to compete with inaccurate information. You might consider adding an advisory to patients that your office does not condone or engage in medical solicitations of any kind. Advise your patients to tell the telephone callers and salespeople that they need to provide written information that your patients can share with you for an informed response. Include a strong statement that essentially says that no prescription for any medical device or treatment will be given without your direct assessment, which means a scheduled visit. These are probably ideas you have already conveyed on an individual basis, but there seems to be an apparent need for some general patient education to help your elderly patients fend off these unwanted and aggressive solicitations.

Answers to readers' questions were provided by A. Michael LaPenna, The LaPenna Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Keith Borglum, Professional Management and Marketing, Santa Rosa, California. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com