Fewer family physicians are taking on young patients as pediatricians increase their share of the market. But caring for infants, children and teenagers can make family medicine more enjoyable and rewarding. It adds variety to the work day, keeps critical preventive care like vaccinations top of mind and allows you to follow patients through many stages of development. Here are six steps for increasing the number of kids in your panel:
Measure the market. Determine how many underserved children are out there and, if you work for a large health system, if they can be referred to you or only the system’s pediatricians.
Get needed training. Consider continuing medical education courses on childhood illnesses such as Kawasaki disease.
Create a kid-friendly space. A special area set aside for children in the office could feature books, toys, “Where’s Waldo” posters and smaller furniture.
Establish a competitive advantage. Set yourself apart with strategies such as flexible appointment times for busy families.
Get the word out. In addition to using traditional advertising, offer to give talks at hospitals or schools on topics of interest to parents, such as nutrition or concussion awareness.
Ask for referrals. The most direct way to get more young patients is to ask internists and obstetricians to refer them to you.
Read the full FPM article: “Scope of Practice: Reclaiming Young Patient Care."
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