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Say NO to the WRONG Patients So You Can Say YES to the RIGHT Ones


Would you like to enjoy greater personal, professional and financial rewards in your practice? Work with patients with whom you are a good fit.

Would you like to enjoy greater personal, professional and financial rewards in your practice?

Work with patients with whom you are a good fit.

Help yourself further by gaining clarity about the patient you will not accept into your practice.

Here are some red flags that alert you to patients to avoid.

You observe:

  1. This patient lives in a black-and-white world populated by heroes and villains.
  2. This patient describes grandiose plans, and may refer to himself in the third person.
  3. This patient usually tells a sad story about how someone “done them wrong.”
  4. This patient tells you how wonderful you are and showers you with compliments.
  5. You discover the current villain used to be the recipient of the compliments.
  6. This patient is in conflict with someone close.

Your response to this patient also offers valuable information. Beware of patients with these qualities:

  1. You leave an appointment with this patient feeling drained.
  2. You observe the patient treating someone disrespectfully.
  3. You have the sense of walking on eggshells.

Listen to your intuition. If you sense something is not right, pay attention. You assume risk with each new patient you accept.

When you meet with a new patient, say, “I want you to work with the doctor who’s right for you. Let’s see if we're a good fit.“

If you decide to say no to a patient, communicate clearly with client-centered language free of judgment. “Thank you for meeting with me. I genuinely want the best for you, and my gut tells me you would be a better fit with a different doctor. You can go to this web site to find the names of other doctors to interview.”

Saying no to the wrong patient helps you say yes to the right one.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice