A resident approached an elderly man on a gurney in the E.R.

Resident: “Do you know who I am?”

Old Guy: “Sure, you’re the doctor, but I don’t know your name.”

           Resident: “So what brought you to the E.R.?”

Old Guy: “An ambulance.”


Branding is the commercial concept of developing a recognizable reputation that is marketable and has value in terms of goodwill. Professional practice incorporates the same concepts. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics all value their reputation and branding offers increased patient flow, research grants, and overall fiscal valuation of the entity. Most private practitioners are more concerned with their professional reputation out of pride and often don’t think of the business benefits derived from such branding that comes from their good reputation. There is nothing more potent for increasing the reputation and branding of the health-care professional than having a great bedside manner.


“I never would have expected to see the day that patients had no clue as to who their doctor is. They could care less nowadays. All they worry about is the ten-dollar

co-payment. When I started out, they would only see the doctor they had grown to love and respect. They knew my name.”

The lament of an older doctor.


For the provider in solo practice there is only one name on the door, making name recognition easy. In today’s professional practice, you may be the new associate or one of many practitioners in a group practice. To remain anonymous in a large practice will not serve you well. You need to create name recognition for yourself. If your compensation is based on productivity, it makes good economic sense to have patients requesting to see you and only you. If you decide to go on your own and you are not encumbered by a restrictive covenant, your patients will follow. 

 In a practice with more than one provider, you must make every effort to make sure the patient knows your name. You must be subtle and not get carried away in flaunting your name or you run the risk of looking egotistical. It’s easy to have your name mentioned and if you provide appropriate scripting it will get your name out there along with your reputation of having a great bedside manner.

The first opportunity to mention your own name is upon initial introduction, but it is often missed or forgotten by the already apprehensive patient. Another opportunity presents when using humor that gets your patient to laugh as described in the comedy chapter. After they laugh at any of your comical lines, it’s easy to say, “Just make sure you don’t tell your friends you were laughing during root canal treatment with Dr. Fleisher, or we’ll both get in trouble.” Not only does this get your name repeated in case they forgot the ten other times your staff mentioned it, but it also gets another laugh.

Besides mentioning your own name, you must make sure your staff mentions your name on all appropriate occasions. This begins with the very first contact by phone. “Mr. Smith, your appointment will be with doctor Fleisher, on Thursday, July 11.” When the patient arrives, your receptionist should repeat your name, “Good morning, Mr. Smith. You’ll be seeing Dr. Fleisher this morning. We’ll be with you shortly.”

“The doctor will be with you shortly. You can have a seat and fill out these forms,” is the greeting most often used and it is totally inappropriate.

When your patient is brought back to the treatment room, your assistant should again mention your name before and after they have done their preliminary workup. “Good morning. Mr. Smith. I see you’re here to see Dr. Fleisher.” They take the medical history or get an x-ray, and when they are ready to leave the room they say, “Dr. Fleisher will be with you shortly.”

There should be no reason for a patient to ask, “Which doctor are you?” If they do, your staff is not doing their job, the patient didn’t hear the staff’s numerous attempts to mention your name, or the patient just wants to be sure whom they are seeing.

When they do ask, “Which doctor are you?” reply with, “I’m not a witch doctor, I think you may have the wrong office.” Not only will they soon know your name, they know you have a sense of humor and it sets the stage for the fast bonding that humor engenders.

If the patient needs another appointment, make sure your receptionist again mentions your name. “Here’s your appointment card. Dr. Fleisher will look forward to seeing you on the twenty-sixth.”

Some people just can’t remember names–especially if you are in a specialty practice, where the patients don’t see you often. Even if the patient can’t remember your name, they may remember a particular trait that keeps them seeking you and only you. Always be distinctive.

Name recognition is what makes up the nebulous concept of goodwill. It is often goodwill that is bought and sold when professional practices change hands. Make sure you have an identifiable name, as it adds value to your goodwill.

• Craig (2021/11/03 06:57)
Making sure the people around you are creating the conditions for name recognition will be just one part of developing a script that I look forward to using in a future practice. Endodontics is particularly suited to have office scripts because our scope is limited to so few procedures, and many patient interactions can be boiled down into a manageable amount of categories that I and the staff can be ready to respond succinctly and effectively to. The name recognition will be particularly useful if working as an associate, with the hope that the patient will return to the referrer and mention you in a positive light by name, thus differentiating you from the practice owner.
• Gabriela (2021/11/02 21:42)
I never thought about having the staff mention your name frequently so the patient remebers it. I guess it will also give the patient a sense of already knowing you... I have always find challenging the individual growth in a group practice. While I think this is the best scenario for a new endodontist since we can benefit from experienced clinicians mentorship I see somehow difficult to create your own name since you are basically competing (in the best way this can be said) with someone well stablished and literally next to you
• Ben (2021/11/02 07:19)
I agree with the lament of the older doctor. Respect for the doctor seems to be waning, especially within the dental world. With so many group practices popping up, the dentist\'s name is less important to the patient than many other factors. This doesn\'t mean it\'s less important to establish our reputation and attach that reputation to our name. We have the unique opportunity within the specialty of endodontics to establish our \"brand name\" both for the patients and for our referring docs. Our patient population is based largely upon our relationship with the referring docs in our area and less so by the insurance companies. We have the opportunity to earn patient\'s and referring doc\'s trust through our clinical skills and bedside manner. It was Dale Carnegie who said \"Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.\" When you strip away everything else, we have our name. It\'s our responsibility to protect it.
• Ton (2021/11/01 20:46)
Branding is a very interesting topic. As mentioned above, this is particularly not emphasized in a specialty practice, since specialists aren\\\'t the primary provider for the patients. When I practiced as a general dentist, patients sometimes returned from a specialist office without knowing the specialists\\\' name. However, building a brand and recognition from patients is very important and plays a big role in patient satisfaction. Branding also builds better provider to provider communication, and will help in word-of-mouth advertising and lead to additional referrals. Therefore, this is a great reminder for us to be aware of establishing our own brands and name recognition.

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