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Dr. Chrisette Dharma, family medicine - customer video testimonial

PatientPop Customer Chrisette Dharma, MD, discusses her experience with PatientPop, the leader in practice growth technology.

Thousands of healthcare providers trust PatientPop to manage each step of practice growth, from the moment patients find them online to post-visit feedback. Today, we hear from customer Chrisette Dharma, MD.

Dr. Dharma is a family medicine doctor and founding member of the Dallas practice Southwest Family Medicine Associates. In this video, PatientPop representative Lisa Christy asks Dr. Dharma about her experiences and successes with PatientPop. Watch the video for conversation highlights, or see more of their conversation in the below transcript.

Lisa Christy: Dr. Dharma, thank you so much for taking this time to be here. You are a founding member of Southwest Family Medicine Associates, which is in Dallas, Texas. Let me just ask you a couple background questions about your practice. First, what year was Southwest Family Medicine Associates founded?

Chrisette Dharma, MD: Southwest Family was founded in 2009. I’ve been in practice for 18 years.

Christy: Congratulations on having a practice that’s been open for 10 years. That’s very exciting. Have you always been in the same location?

Dharma: Yes, but when I started practice, it was called Clark Family Medicine. It was after my mentor, Dr. Clark.

Christy: Oh, that’s very nice. Why did you end up changing the name?

Dharma: She (Dr. Clark) had retired, and it had become so many different providers, so I wanted to make it a little bit more welcoming to the other providers.

Christy: So Dr. Clark was another of the founding members of the practice?

Dharma: Yes. She was actually around in … like 40, 50 years ago. The practice itself is super old. I have five generations of patients that come to us. Now those patients are probably in their late 80s.

Christy: How would you describe a typical day at your practice?

Dharma: Chaos. We’re a full-fledged family practice, and there are six providers. Then we have all the ancillary providers such as chiropractor, physical therapist, nutritionist, and counselor at this facility. There’s just a lot going on. It’s 10,000 square feet, and every part of it is full.

We must turn around about 1,000 patients minimum per month, when we’re all working. So someone might walk in with a fracture or a laceration. We have our chronic care visits and acute care visits all at one time. It’s a typical family medicine with a lot of moving parts.

Christy: Let’s talk about how the practice marketed itself before PatientPop. Did you do any kind of traditional marketing like direct mailers? Did you have a website?

Dharma: We had a website, but it was so tiresome. It was probably from when we first created the practice in 2009. It hadn’t been updated, and patients complained that they didn’t know all the things we did.

I had mentioned to one of my patients that we do alternative medicine, and she said, “Well, why do I not know that? Why is that not on your website?” I’m thinking, “OK, this is not a business; it’s a doctor’s office,” but doctors forget that they are actually a business. People expect the same kind of customer service that they would get from any other business.

Related: Why physicians should run their practices like online retailers

Christy: Did you have any other kind of online presence? Maybe social media?

Dharma: Not really. We did have a Facebook that no one followed and that we never actually posted to. We never did mailers, we never ever did any actual advertising. We never did billboards or newspapers.

Christy: How did you discover PatientPop?

Dharma: I joined PatientPop from Facebook. You know, when you’re scrolling along and you’re like, “Oh, what’s this? This is kind of interesting.” That seems like forever ago, but I guess I started in September of last year, and my experience with PatientPop has been amazing. I’m not even getting paid to say that.

(mutual laughter)

Christy: What was it about PatientPop that you were like, “I need to click through and learn more information?”

Dharma: You always have something educational. And I think the whole company’s philosophy — at least how I see it — is you are always trying to provide more than just a sell. You’re always educating, giving information on how to do the best job that you can in marketing your practice.

I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I sometimes still click on a PatientPop article. So it’ll have some educational thing about how to market to patients, and so when I click on it, then it goes to PatientPop. And PatientPop does webinars all the time.

Christy: Tell me about the implementation process with PatientPop. When you went from your salesperson, to your implementation manager, to your customer success manager, how was that process?

Dharma: I went through different teams of people, which honestly was one of my favorite parts of onboarding. You (PatientPop) are very organized, because you have one team that talks about what you do, then another team that onboards you.

It’s a very good baton handoff, where you know exactly what that person does, and then you have a timeframe in which to put everything together. I love the fact that PatientPop has very clear expectations of who does what, when it’s going to occur, and how to be successful at it.

There are meetings that are very succinct and around my schedule. Then your site goes live, and now your website becomes this amazing engine that turns patients toward you. It becomes this live engaging, interactive site that drives patients your way.

I have multiple other companies that I run, and I would love PatientPop to do my website for any one of them. I’ve done my fair share of cheap website developers, you know. That is not the experience that you get with y’all. I think that the way that it’s set up is just so much more professional. You know, the saying you get what you pay for is true.

Christy: Yes, it is. Let’s talk about your website. What were your impressions of your website when it was shown to you?

Dharma: There were some graphic stuff that at first I was like, “Oh no, that is not my vision.” So I just had to communicate that better, and they changed it to what I was looking for. But in general, the way that it was set up, it was organized and so easy to navigate for patients.

Check out: 5 tips to get the most out of your medical website design

Christy: Talk to me about your online scheduling. Have you noticed a lot of patients using the online booking tool?

Dharma: Yes, the numbers have increased dramatically from before. It’s so much easier when patients can schedule online. People don’t understand that there is a cost involved with everything that you do. So every time my staff has to make an appointment for a patient, versus them being able to make an appointment for themselves, that’s time and money. Those little things make a huge difference when you have front office people who are completely slammed all the time.

Read: 3 signs your front office staff is burnt out — and how to help

Christy: So you said you noticed that online scheduling reduces the workload for staff?

Dharma: Oh yeah, 100 percent. And then, the reviews. Amazing. I always ask the patient, “What made you pick us?” And they’re like, “Oh, your reviews on Google are fantastic.” Do you know how many reviews we got last month? I think it was 30 five-star reviews.

And on the other side, the best part about PatientPop is when they send them that questionnaire to answer about whether their experience was good or bad, and the negative ones come back directly to you.

Now, Friday we had a tragedy. I mean, it was chaos beyond our normal level, and there were people who were upset. So even though we got 30 five-star ratings last month, on that Friday, I got four patients who were very unhappy.

So yesterday I called these people individually and just apologized for what their issues were. They really appreciated that, and I was able to do it real time based on the way the systems are set up. I don’t think people understand how valuable that is. We go through all this effort to get one patient, you cannot afford to just lose them over something stupid. That day was a bad day. They all left very valid complaints, and we addressed all of them.

With PatientPop, they get the, “Hey, how was your experience?” And you can address it all real time. And even though they were all negative comments, it didn’t go on my Google profile or on my website. It’s secretly sent to us. So even though the patient is voicing what they’re feeling, it doesn’t go into, like, the business social media, which is huge.

Look: 5 patient retention strategies proven to work for healthcare practices

Christy: About how long after you started working with PatientPop would you say that you noticed some results?

Dharma: I could see results from Day One.

Christy: What’s it like to work with the PatientPop team?

Dharma: With PatientPop, there is a whole team of people behind you. They’re just always so innovative; PatientPop is innovative. They are a team. It’s real-time if you need to change something. And then they kind of taught us how to … I’m blogging, which connects to our Facebook, that then churns the clicks on Google.

Christy: Let’s talk about your relationship with your customer success manager. Is he really responsive?

Dharma: Yeah, that’s all that can be said about him. He’s professional, amazing. Just like I get reviewed by patients, he gets reviewed by customers. And so I think that’s important. It keeps everyone on their A-game, which I love. People don’t get complacent.

Christy: Say I’m a doctor at an independent healthcare practice. I’m thinking about using PatientPop, but I’m a little hesitant. What would you say to convince me that PatientPop is worth it?

Dharma: So when I joined, at the very beginning, I was like, “Well, do you really do all the things that you say you’re going to do?” because it just seemed a little too good to be true.

I changed to PatientPop because you actually get a whole team of people who will help you market to patients. It’s like doing advertising every day, 24/7, and you actually are able to track and monitor that it’s getting patients in the door.

There is no other point to a website than to engage patients. So if you’re trying to get a website, then you need to consider them, because you have a live, interactive website that will engage patients with SEO and good graphics, great design that is user friendly and also visually attractive. Just in their website alone, it’s worth the money when I calculated it out.

Listen: Healthcare practice website must-haves – the Practice Growth Podcast

So Lisa, as my doctor friend, don’t be cheap. When you’re cheap on the front end, you’re going to see less patients on the back end. So if you spend the money and the time, then you’re going to see a tenfold return on your investment of both time and money. You could just pay for website once and have it done, but it’s a dead website. It becomes outdated. It’s not engaging. You don’t know what’s going on with it. With PatientPop, you’ll feel the difference in the number of patients that will be coming to your practice.

Christy: I am convinced! Dr. Dharma, thank you so much for taking this time. We really appreciate it, and we’ve loved hearing your feedback about PatientPop.

Dharma: It was my pleasure, Lisa.

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