By Brad Smith on December 6, 2013
The first step to building a profitable practice starts with getting new patients in the door. But the key to long-term growth comes directly from your existing, loyal patients – the ones who show up consistently and refer you to their friends and family.
These are the patients who make their appointments without needing to be prompted by a marketing campaign or rigorous follow-up, which means the “cost” of each visit is dramatically lower. Often, these people become your own personal marketing gurus, spreading your gospel in their local communities, school districts, PTA meetings, little league teams, and churches. So how do you hang on to these patients, and nurture new ones like them? Read more…
By ZocDoc on December 4, 2013
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. The question of choice and patient agency has been front and center in the news lately, so we thought it might be helpful to pull together a collection of writing that addressed and gave insight into this issue. Last Wednesday, we put out a call for posts on the subject of “self-service health: proactive ways patients are connecting with providers and care.” Here’s what we’ve gathered. Read more…
By Oliver Kharraz, MD on November 29, 2013
Would you purchase a new phone without knowing its data plan? For almost everybody, the answer is an obvious “no.” We simply cannot make a good choice if we don’t know how much coverage the phone will offer, or how much money it will end up costing us.
Unfortunately, this type of blind decision is exactly the sort that many could face when purchasing a plan in the new health insurance marketplaces – assuming Healthcare.gov will remedy the basic functionality issues that have dogged it in the weeks since launch.
Beginning January 1, 2014, everyone will be required by law to have health insurance; the marketplaces will help consumers find and purchase new plans. But what happens then? Are there easily available doctor appointments covered by these plans, or will patients come up empty-handed when seeking care? Is an insurer’s online directory up-to-date or wildly inaccurate? Which plans have better customer service and which have none? Read more…
By ZocDoc on November 27, 2013
On Wednesday, Dec 4, 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 social media use in healthcare. This installment’s topic: “Self-service health: proactive ways patients are connecting with providers and care.”
From today until 11 PM PST on Monday, December 2, 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 email@example.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.
By Natalie Wilcox on November 21, 2013
“Well I don’t know why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right,” the song hummed through the speakers of the DC Medical Examiner’s office.
Something definitely is not right, I thought as I watched the pathologist and his assistant begin the first autopsy of the morning. With rough strokes, the assistant dissembled the body before us. Unlike the cadavers we had dissected one year previously, this figure displayed obvious signs of recent life: a garnet river of blood flowed over rippling folds of brick-red muscle, the tissues appeared spongy and fresh to the touch, and odors hit the nose sharp and pungent, with no trace of formaldehyde astringency. For us second year medical students, this was a new experience. Wide-eyed and restless, we gripped our notebooks and worked to maintain composure.
“Clowns to the left, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you,” the music continued from above. The stark contrast of the song’s tone and the dissection going on feet away gave me pause. What was I doing confronting death on a drizzly Wednesday morning? Read more…
By Kevin Campbell, MD on November 19, 2013
By its very nature, medicine involves close personal contact with others. Communication with patients, families, staff, and colleagues is essential to success. All physicians have different ways of communicating – some more effective than others. The best among us are able to inspire, engage, and cultivate trust. Recently, I came across an article by Jeff Haden (whom I’ve written about here before) that discussed the importance of charisma in the business world. As I read it, I began to reflect on how this applied to doctors, and whether it could make us better communicators and leaders.
As we always do when tackling an issue in medicine, let’s start with the available data. Merriam-Webster defines charisma in two ways:
1. A personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure.
2. A special magnetic charm or appeal.
So, how can “magic of leadership” or “magnetic charm” translate to better patient care? If we are able to inspire and produce excitement amongst our colleagues – from nurses to physician extenders to support staff – we can help create a more cohesive, responsive, even innovative team. If we can to appeal to our patients and their families, they will most likely reciprocate with trust, enabling us to partner with them in a much more effective way. Here, I’ve taken Haden’s ten insights about business leadership and translated the takeaways to a medical context. Read more…
By Howard Luks, MD on November 15, 2013
come across many people using the terms social and digital interchangeably. Some doctors are digitally savvy. Yet that does not mean that they are practiced communications experts, or that they have the skills to make the most of today’s digital social tools. I thought this might be a good opportunity to open up this discussion.
As physicians, we were among the first professionals to adopt smartphones and iPads into our workflow – and healthcare leads the way in proliferating new, innovative apps. From diagnostics to practice management, healthcare technology is giving digital doctors the chance to make their workflow more productive and efficient. Read more…
By David Hanscom, MD on November 13, 2013
“You are the worst doctor I have ever met.” This was the second patient in a row to explode at me when I explained that further back surgery for his back pain had a low chance of success. I spent a couple of minutes explaining the many successes of our hospital’s pain program. Then he exploded again: “You mean I drove five hours just to hear you tell me that you are not going to perform surgery.” He stomped out, cursing all the way down the hall.
The vast majority of my patients who came in after were eager to engage in their health and many had made significant strides. One woman whom I had written off as having given up on herself came in on fire and ready to take on the world. It was both unexpected and inspiring. Nevertheless, it’s tough not to reel from experiences like that early one. Read more…
By Harlan Weinberg, MD on November 8, 2013
If you are among the thousands of doctors who make their living as intensive care physicians, there is no normal work day with predefined hours or routine. Interruptions are the norm. Your day starts early in the morning, meeting with the ICU nursing staff and respiratory therapists long before morning rounds. Difficult clinical issues are reviewed as you and your team apply critical thinking on the challenging problems of the day.
Patient rounds begin, and you collectively go over each individual’s active problem list – respiratory failure, septic shock, acute renal failure, delirium, metabolic disarray, adverse medication reactions, labs, x-rays, EKGs, physical exams, sedation protocol, ventilator weaning, nutrition, central lines, foley catheters, family questions, resuscitation status, and on and on. The concerns are seemingly endless. In each case, for every ICU patient, there is both a professional side and a personal side, all differing as you change and adjust them to meet individual needs. Read more…
By Peter Alperin, MD on November 6, 2013
Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published a perspective by Lawrence Casalino, MD, titled “Professionalism and Caring for Medicaid Patients – The 5% Commitment.” In the piece, Casalino argues that physicians should commit a portion of their practice to the Medicaid population as a matter of professional obligation. Yet this got me thinking: if physicians don’t respond to the professionalism argument and, instead, insist on being completely market-driven actors, then how can we reasonably lament our loss of public stature?
There was a time when the professionalism in medicine was sacrosanct. I recall a conversation I had with one of my gray-haired mentors from medical school – 20 years ago at this point – describing how in his day, practically all doctors chose to treat poor patients. They considered it to be part of their duty and a way of giving back. Read more…