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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Should Your Practice Hire a SuperCoach?

Coaches are finding their way into medicine. Health coaches, diabetes coaches, nurse coaches, and life coaches are just a few of the myriad new types of practitioners you may have come across, all with coaching at the core of their work. Where did they come from? What do they do? Why should you care?

Over the last 50 years, it has become clear that the new epidemics of chronic disease are being driven by modifiable lifestyle behaviors. As medicine evolves from something that is done to the patient to something that requires behavior change from the patient, new skills they didn’t teach you in medical school are necessary and coaches are filling in that gap. Read more…


When Healthcare Providers Think Like Designers

I take care of children with type 1 diabetes in my clinic, and in comparison with other chronic diseases, there is an abundance of health data available about my patients. Blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitoring systems provide anywhere from four up to 300+ blood glucose measures a day; insulin is being dosed anywhere from four to 12 times a day, and carbohydrate information can be infinite with every meal and snack ingested. Furthermore, at the quarterly medical visits we have with our patients, there are additional measures available like Hemoglobin A1c, a blood test which provides the average blood glucose level over a three-month period. Read more…


Never Underestimate the Power of a Physical Exam

Like most physicians, I feel extremely rushed during the course of my workday. And like the vast majority of us, the “if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen” mantra has been beaten into me. So time-consuming is this process, I often feel enslaved to the quantitative.

As a result, it’s tempting to rush through physical exams, and to assume that if there’s anything “really bad” going on with the patient, some lab test or imaging study will eventually uncover it. Just swoop in, listen to the anterior chest wall, ask if there’s any new pain, and dash off to the next hospital bed. Then, construct a five-page progress note in the EMR describing the encounter, assessment, and plan of care. Read more…


Why Patients’ Questions Fuel Successful Treatment

Bill was at a loss. He was seated among a sea of white coats in a room that, to him, felt as large as a shoebox. His pulse raced as the big guy in a white coat spoke to the other smaller white coats.

Coming in at over six feet tall, Bill is no small man. He has just completed his third triathlon. By day, Bill runs a large agency in the city and has 50 reports below him. He is not the type to feel that his comments are not welcome, nor unimportant. He knows when to chime in, and when to remain silent. Yet, as he later told me, he was not sure how to behave in this environment. Read more…

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The Benefit of Breadth in Public Health

The buzzwords many use in medicine today are “personalized,” “individualized,” or “targeted.” Rather than doctors prescribing tests or treatments that work in most people but might not work for you, proponents argue, we should tailor medical interventions to unique patient characteristics, such as genomic data. (The White House’s Precision Medicine initiative is an example of this kind of thinking.) Although I am skeptical that big data-driven genetic sequencing will soon trump the personalized experience of a physician sitting down and speaking with a patient, many areas of clinical medicine stand to benefit from an improved understanding of genetic and environmental causes of diseases in individuals. Read more…

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Championing Evidence and Information in the Weight Loss War

What if there were a pill that you could recommend to your patients that would help them shed unwanted pounds – a kind of “magic bullet” that would miraculously transform their bodies overnight?

It’s a pleasant fantasy – one that supplement manufacturers and Big Pharma alike have pursued relentlessly for decades. New, exotic-sounding products like green coffee bean extract, yacon syrup, saffron extract, coleus forskohlii, African mango seed, sea buckthorn, garcinia cambogia, capsiberry, and raspberry ketones are constantly put on the market and are purportedly validated by scientific research. Read more…


Why Primary Care Matters

One night while on call, I was sitting in a loud downtown restaurant when I received a phone call from the hospital. I didn’t think I would be able to hear the call, and so I scurried around to find a place to speak. The bathroom appeared straight ahead, so I rushed into the first empty stall, locked the door and took the phone call. After wrapping up with the call I walked out of the stall calmly, and to my surprise saw three women whispering to each other. Awkwardness ensued, and I asked, “Umm … am I in the women’s bathroom?” They all nodded a shameful yes. I stared down at my shoes and said, “Oh, OK. That’s not good,” and I walked out of the bathroom. Read more…


What We Can Learn from Digital Health Power Curators

Increasingly, my social media life has become about finding signal. Noise grows by the day, so tuning for value has become a new preoccupation.

Therefore, I thought I’d share a few of the healthcare leaders on social media who do a brilliant job creating a clean, valuable signal for me. This is not a “best of” list, but rather a sampling of individuals who do a great job of finding and sharing great information on digital health. Instead of looking at them through the lens of who to follow, think of them as a group of who to study. Personally, I’d kill to have a look at the information workflow of these folks. Below each name, I’ve added a few comments about what makes their work remarkable. Read more…


Creating Healthcare Blue Zones

There’s one in Okinawa, others in Sardinia and Greece. On our continent, Costa Rica is home to a well-studied hub, with a second in a Seventh-day Adventist community in Loma Linda, CA. In case you haven’t guessed, these are all Blue Zones, parts of the world where populations live consistently to 100 and beyond with lower incidence of chronic disease.

Different as individual Blue Zones can be in terms of diet, medical care, and other factors that drive health habits, researchers have time and again pointed out that their inhabitants all share one very strong trait: a powerful sense of community. Residents cook and eat together, pray and play together. And these kinds of behaviors help encourage not just psychological wellbeing, but healthy lifestyles – in large part because they’re accountable to each other, residents in Blue Zones tend to eat healthier and exercise more. Read more…


Choosing “Upstream” Medicine

I wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I was inspired by TV shows like Marcus Welby, M.D., and I made it my goal to beat all the boys in my grade in as many subjects as possible. In this way, I soon became a science and math whiz, and won a Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Research award in high school. I loved the idea of the human body and how it worked, so when I enrolled at Cornell University, I immediately sought out work in a lab to continue my journey. Read more…