Marketing For Healthcare Providers

Healthcare is rapidly changing. As a practitioner, how should you think about attracting new patients, navigating online reviews, and building a brand? Read this report.


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Recognize the Potential Victims of Human Trafficking

If you’ve ever worked in an emergency room, you’ve likely treated a victim of human trafficking. We all have, often without knowing it. With nearly thirty million people in modern-day slavery around the world, trafficking is more prevalent today than at any point in history.

Human trafficking is defined by the State Department as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.” It’s the third largest criminal industry in the world, outranked only by arms and drug dealing. Human trafficking is most commonly known for the severe forms of violence it entails – such as incarceration, rape, torture, and sexual enslavement. Up to 95 percent of victims experience some form of sexual and/or physical abuse during trafficking. Read more…

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Lessons Learned on a General Surgery Rotation

There is a lot of mythology surrounding the third year general surgery rotation.

Before I began mine, I knew I would spend the next six weeks hungry, exhausted, frustrated, and – as the newest member of the team – a permanent resident at the bottom of the food chain. What I did not know is how constantly jumbled up those emotions would be with feelings of achievement and heartache, and how touched I would be by my experiences there. Read more…

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Five Reasons Doctors Should Curate Their Patient Education

Every physician knows that at its linguistic root, “doctor” means “teacher.” With medicine evolving to keep pace with modern epidemics such as obesity, a return to effective patient education is long overdue. Providing information about self-care, prevention, and the cause of chronic disease can help patients live longer, healthier lives.

In the past, this education has taken many forms, from one-on-ones to handouts, wall charts, books, group orientations, and patient advocates. But the digital revolution has opened up new opportunities, and it is allowing for much more effective and efficient knowledge-sharing. Curation is now the key skill: Pulling together and sifting through information to present to others. In fact, the root of the word “curate” comes from another thing we want to value as a profession: “care.” There are many reasons to curate your patient education in the digital age, but here are my top five. Read more…

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The Rise of Medicine’s Creative Class

Are we witnessing the rise of a creative class in medicine?

The creative class in medicine may be seen as a key driving force for change in a post-analog era. They are the disruptors willing to poke the box. The reason that this emerging segment of health care providers is so remarkable is that medicine typically punishes creativity. In medicine, makers make at significant professional risk.

The creative class in medicine is facilitated by the democratized tools for writing, recording, photographing, making, and publishing. Anyone with an internet connection and a good idea can have a talk show. Everywhere I turn, I see docs making things. This weekend Joyce Lee collected a bunch of makers and tinkerers at the University of Michigan for We Make Health Fest. FOAM has evolved beyond a global movement to a mindset about education. Digital provocateur Larry Chu and the thinkers at Stanford’s Medicine X have driven a new conversation about patients and medicine. Look under the hood and you’ll see that Medicine X is driven by medicine’s creative class. Read more…

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Why We Must Address Physician Burnout

The epidemic of physician burnout is heartbreaking. Daily, I am contacted by good doctors who are struggling with symptoms of burnout syndrome and who have become overwhelmed by the challenges of attempting to practice medicine in today’s healthcare environment. As a psychiatrist who runs a program to address and treat these distressed doctors, I am troubled by the ever-growing number of calls I receive.

The burned-out physician is exhausted – mentally and physically – and often no longer able to find empathy or connection with patients. The question of how to escape from what has become a highly unpleasant situation becomes a frequent one. Given the high demands of the profession and serious consequences of mistakes, the burned-out doctor is a potentially impaired one. And the impaired physician is not able to maintain the unflappable, perpetually cool under fire, always objective, professional and yet compassionate demeanor that is expected by society. Worst of all, the impaired physician is at great risk for developing depression, suicidal ideation, or a serious addiction. Read more…

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What Color is My Pill, Doc? Using Technology to Improve Medication Compliance

We know that patient compliance with prescribed medications is critical to success in the treatment of any chronic disease. Last month, a new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a change in pill color was associated with a 34 percent increase in medication discontinuation, while a change in pill shape was associated with a 66 percent increase in medication discontinuation. In other words, when a pill looks different, people often simply stop taking it as prescribed.

In cardiovascular patients, the sudden discontinuation of medications can result in increased hospitalizations for chest pain, congestive heart failure, and other more serious acute cardiovascular events. Among diabetes patients, cessation of insulin can lead to dangerous spikes in blood sugar. The list of conditions disrupted by pill cessation is endless. Read more…

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How Stories Can Drive Diversity in Medicine

Leading into my education and career, I was mentored. My first mentor was my grandmother, a registered nurse; she had a huge impact on me. In 2000, while still in college, I participated in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded program then known as the Minority Medical Education Program (now the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program). Through SMDEP, I gained early exposure to careers in medicine. I met a black physician who allowed me to shadow him in the emergency department at the University of Alabama. I don’t know if I would have discovered medicine without that experience. Now, I offer the same opportunity to the students we reach. It is a way of paying it forward.

In 2012, we launched the Tour for Diversity in Medicine (T4D), an effort to promote careers in the health professions to underrepresented minorities. Alarming trends show that fewer percentages of African-Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics enter health professions than do members of other groups. Their absence is felt: More diverse perspectives are needed to properly address health disparities among such populations. Read more…

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#HCSM Review: Early August Edition

Welcome to the latest Doctor Blog-hosted edition of HealthWorks Collective’s Health Care Social Media Review, a peer-reviewed compendium of timely, on-topic writing about healthcare from across the Web.

More people in the world own a mobile device than a toothbrush; grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter; and over 78 percent of US Internet users research products and services online (most restrict their resulting clicks to their top four results). Health policy advisor Nicole Fisher filled her Forbes.com article, “10 Things Hospital Leadership Need To Know About Social Media And Marketing,” with compelling facts like these about how social media is being employed now. Fisher uses this to craft informative advice for what providers can do better to connect with their patients online. Read more…

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The Doctor Blog is Hosting the #HCSM Review: Here’s How to Submit Posts

On Wednesday, August 6, The Doctor Blog will be teaming up with HealthWorks Collective to host the Health Care Social Media Review, HWC’s biweekly peer-reviewed blog carnival for published posts about topics related to social media use in healthcare.

From today until 11 PM PST on Monday, August 4, we’ll be accepting links for inclusion in the round-up. If within the past two weeks you’ve blogged something that you feel connects to this topic, we’d love to see it! Send it to us at editor@zocdoc.com, with “HCSM Review Submission” in the subject line of the email.

In the message itself, include the URL for your piece, your name and post title as you would like them to appear on our site, and a sentence or two describing your article. Wednesday morning, we’ll share a selection of links to our top picks here, as well as on HealthWorks Collective.

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A New Era for Over-the-Counter Medicine?

“Make-over your medicine cabinet.” That was a key headline for this month’s International Self-Care Day (July 24), an initiative promoting the opportunity for people to take a greater role in their own healthcare and wellness.

Sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), consumer products companies, health advocacy organizations, and legislators, the day was meant to raise awareness for the $102 billion savings opportunity generated through people in the US taking on more self-care by using over-the-counter medicines. Read more…