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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On Personhood and Doctoring

For someone who has spent the majority of his professional life sheltered in dark offices and aseptic hospitals, it’s a strange thing to be driving about in your car in the middle of the day. This must have been what it felt like before my immersion into the tribe of medicine.

Sometimes I have trouble remembering my premedical years. The divide seems vast. It is not only the effects of age but an emotional chasm that has formed over the years. The optimist says I was naive, inexperienced. The more harsh reality is that I have developed a cynicism, a coarseness which permeates all aspects of life. I am a person, I am a doctor. The two mangled halves rarely come together to approach a whole. Read more…

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A Petition for Prevention

During my surgical subspecialty rotation, I spent one week on the Limb Salvage service. As a branch of plastic surgery, this area of work requires extensive training and academic dedication. Yet a portion of the practice involves a task that, from a distance, appears primitive: amputation of unsalvageable limbs. Although most of my time on this service involved smaller procedures such as debriding old wounds down to viable tissue, the most unforgettable moments of that experience were spent watching surgeons meticulously remove patients’ legs and close up the wounds.

While many of my colleagues reveled in the technique and skillfulness of the procedure, I could not help but question, how did the patient get to this point? Read more…

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The Changing Scope of Medicine

There’s a change of the guard happening in medicine. Doctors are re-imagining what it means to be physician in the era of value-based, technology-enabled health care.

To see this in numbers, one need look no further than the newly released 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians from The Physicians Foundation. According to its findings, four in five U.S. doctors are over-extended or reaching full capacity in their practices. This is up from 2012. Moreover, only 19 percent of doctors say they have time to see more patients. Given the plurality of doctors (44 percent) planning to retire, go part-time, or migrate to non-clinical jobs, that low number should come as no surprise. Read more…

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Putting Apps in Your Treatment Plan

So far this year 23 new digital apps and devices have been cleared by the FDA, and 69 percent of doctors believe patients should be using such apps and devices to assist with diagnosis. In this regard, we are living in a new frontier, where digital tech is changing the doctor-patient relationship for the better, powering new health behaviors, and lowering cost by making healthcare more efficient.

Yet from what I have seen, despite notoriously being “gadget” people, the majority of doctors are not regularly talking to their patients about tech. Read more…

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Bringing Patient Voices into Decision-Making

Earlier this year, our hospital staff at Johns Hopkins was weighing a new 24/7 family presence policy to allow immediate family members to stay with patients 24 hours a day.

We presented the proposal at a meeting of our Patient and Family Advisory Council. One of the members of the council told a story that drove home the importance of this decision. When her son was battling a fatal illness in the hospital, she had to leave him when visiting hours ended. She couldn’t stand the thought of being far away, she told the group, so instead of going home she slept in her car in the hospital’s parking garage. Read more…

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How to Build Your Online Presence in Under an Hour

I frequently teach and speak to physicians concerning online reputation and digital footprint. Everyone’s pressed for time, and inevitably, I’m asked about the easiest, fastest ways to get started on establishing and owning your online voice. Here, I’ve compiled six of my favorite approaches, each doable in well under an hour.

Launch a LinkedIn page. Put a stake in the ground with a solid LinkedIn page. Along with your photo and some basic professional history, include a bio. That’s the single most important element of your profile. Make it real. Make it good. Bonus: LinkedIn has a very nice timeline where you can share links and update what you’re up to. Read more…

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Are Small Practices More Resilient Than We Think?

When I was in high school, a national hardware retailer opened a new franchise down the street from the mom-and-pop hardware store that had served my neighborhood for many years. Since the new store had the advantage of larger volumes and lower costs, it seemed to be only a matter of time before it drove its smaller competitor out of business, the way that big bookstore chains and fast-food restaurants had already vanquished theirs.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the inevitable. By the time I left for college, the new hardware store had folded, and the mom-and-pop operation had moved into their former building. How did this small business manage to retain its customers and win new ones? The answer was quality of service. I remember visiting the mom-and-pop store when a classmate and I were working on a physics project. There, the owner himself happily held forth for several minutes on the advantages and disadvantages of various types of epoxy adhesive. It was a special and unique experience. Read more…

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Patients, Exercise, and the Motivation Factor

“Plank? Is that a board,” asked my patient. I had been encouraging her to start doing exercises to strengthen her core in order to stabilize and support her back. My hope was that over time, these exercises would lessen the need for pain medicine. There are times for words and there are times for action. So I got down on the floor and demonstrated one.

Thinking back on the conversation (and many others like it), I’m surprised that amidst all the news articles and TV segments celebrating the benefits of exercise, many of my patients wouldn’t recognize the inside of a gym if their lives depended on it. Which, we’re learning, they indeed may. Read more…

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Non-Compliance or Failure to Communicate?

When surgeons publish their results, they include statistics regarding how many patients did well, and how many didn’t. And as the authors break down their failures, a major consideration is non-compliance.

It’s a very easy (and safe) assumption. We explained everything clearly, after all.

But did we? Did we ask the patient if he or she understood the restrictions? Did we ask if he or she understood the implications of non-compliance? Read more…

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Why I Still Don’t Hate Being a Doctor

Judging from recent articlessurveys, and blog posts, the medical profession is remarkably demoralized. Typical complaints range from “feeling like a beaten dog” to “living in humiliating servitude,” to being forced to practice “treadmill medicine.”

If you were to read the comments section of some of these articles, it would seem that there is, indeed, little warmth and sympathy left for physicians: “Poor doctors, making a little less income and not being treated like gods anymore? You have to do extra paperwork? You have to work long hours? Welcome to the real world, you whiners!” Read more…