Let’s Talk About What Happened In Vegas

My friends from the Pediatric Management Institute (PMI) put on another great practice management conference in Las Vegas last January.Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.55.37 AM

The content was excellent, thanks to the fabulous faculty PMI brought in.

The topics varied from customer service principles to fundamental changes happening in the health insurance industry and how those changes are – or soon will be – affecting doctors’ financial bottom line.

Below are a few highlights and notable points that resonated with me.

ANCILLARY SERVICES | INCOME DIVERSIFICATION

Dr. Jeanne Marconi presented an account of how her practice diversifies income streams by incorporating ancillary services into her practice.

Admittedly Dr. Marconi’s comprehensive – almost overwhelming – plethora of services (they even offer in-house exercise training programs for children with high BMI) is probably too much for the standard practice to implement.

But for me, her talk wasn’t an invitation to follow her footsteps, but instead, provide insight into what is possible, what can be done and what is available to practices.

Dr. Marconi dished out several challenges to the physicians in the crowd. But the one that resonated with me the most was her call for pediatric practices to challenge the status quo, expand their minds, think creatively (or to use a cliche, think outside the box) and begin to think about ways to diversify practice’s revenue streams.

HOW HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE PAYING DOCTORS

Susanne Madden arrived in Vegas with her extensive knowledge and expertise of the health insurance industry.

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Dr. Jeanne Marconi and Susanne Madden

She presented attendees the sobering reality of how health insurance companies are adjusting, changing – even experimenting in some cases – with their models to continue delivering value to “their” shareholders. And by value, she means lower cost and higher profits.

Susanne underscored the importance of implementing quality measures such as P4P, HEIDIS, PCMH into our medical practices. But not for the reasons you might think.

While many of these health insurance programs are currently in place as rewards (e.g., enhanced or incentive payments) for medical practices that achieve quality measures thresholds in patient care, Susanne highlighted that these programs will soon become a requirement for practices.

What does this mean exactly? Insurance companies will soon stop offering enhanced payments programs to practices for achieving PCMH level III certification (or other types of incentives). Instead, they will reduce payments to doctors don’t meet PCMH certification.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she added that many payers are evaluating providers based on how much the provider costs the company in benefits payouts.

How is that different than what they do now?

The difference is that they are not looking at the practice as a whole, but rather evaluating each provider individually.

The implications are that if you have physicians in your practice that don’t adhere to designated quality standards, payors can potentially pay each doctor in the practice different amounts.

HOW MUCH CAN WE AFFORD TO PAY AN EMPLOYED PROVIDER?

PMI’s very own Paul Vanchiere gave two of his hallmark presentations. The first one focused on customer service using the acronym KIDS (Kindness, Integrity, Dignity & Service).

His second talk was my favorite. Why? Because Paul took a complicated, MBA, executive consulting level exercise (determining how much can your practice afford to pay an employed provider) and distilled it into an easy to follow, step-by-step, process, which only requires one to understand a few financial concepts and enter value sets into a spreadsheet.

BROADEN YOUR CODE REPERTUAR

Dr. Rich Lander went over the fundamentals of proper coding. In addition to reviewing the differences between coding Level 2, 3, 4 & 5 for a sick visit, Dr. Lander stressed the importance of documenting “time” correctly in a patient’s chart.

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Joanne Blanchard and Dr. Richard Lander

Dr. Lander shared multiple clinical scenarios that we often encounter with patients. But some of the codes he suggested I wasn’t all too familiar with. I couldn’t recall if we used them.

So I wrote down a reminder to myself to check how well (or not) providers at Salud Pediatrics were using the full scope of codes available.

NO PRESENCE, NO INFLUENCE

Dr. John Moore – a new PMI faculty member – brought us up to speed with some of the new social media trends (Are you familiar with SnapChat and how kids are using it?)

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Dr. John Moore and Paul Vanchiere

One of the points that Dr. Moore articulated that I appreciated the most was the importance for pediatricians to embrace social media.

He said something that I’ve been saying for a long time; which is, had pediatricians adopted social media at a faster clip, the pro-vaccine vs. anti-vaccine arguments would have been balanced. Moreover, there was the potential to stifle the anti-vax movement.

CHANGE IS THE NEW STATUS QUO

You can always count on Chip Hart to deliver great wisdom and insight. Chip also gave two talks.Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.56.11 AM

I’ve heard Chip speak many times, but this time, I felt his talks were different. Chip’s talks had a subtle, tough-love tone to them.

While addressing the challenges practices are facing today, he stressed that pediatricians have faced similar challenges before. He mentioned that during all previous tectonic shifts (aka industry changes) naysayers shouted out the demise of private practices. Much like many are shouting today.

Chip eloquently argued that not only are the doomsayers wrong, but that pediatricians are actually in a better situation than most think.

Chip wasn’t disregarding the challenges or downplaying the potential threats. We are indeed going through tough times. But these tough times were an opportunity to transform and reinvent our practices, he argued.

My takeaway was: If the plan is to defend the status quo and hedge the long-term success of your business on account that you have the initials MD after your name, thus somehow inoculated from change, the end is certainly near for you.

MEETING, CONNECTING, NETWORKING, SOCIAL LEARNING

Attending a seminar like this to learn from the speakers is certainly worth the price and the time. But more often than not, the icing on the cake, at least for me, is the immeasurable, intangible value I glean from networking.

The people who attend these events are the smartest and brightest in my opinion (and I’m not talking about the faculty, although they are good too).

Whether attendees are veterans in managing practices or opened their first private practices last week and believe they have no clue what they are doing, the truth is, there is opportunity to learn from everybody.

The faculty makes the trip worthwhile. But I would say the attendees make the event special.

Next year I hope to see you there. Especially if you didn’t get a chance to attend this year.

Place: New Orleans
Dates: Jan 27-28th 2017

 

Do Pediatricians Have A Marketing Problem? [Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast]

WorkingTogetherToday, Chip and install about pediatricians’ marketing problem. We dive in and discuss how pediatricians have not done a good job of distinguishing themselves from the competition. And when we say competition, we don’t mean other pediatricians, but rather retail based clinics and large hospital networks.

The result of our poor efforts in differentiating ourselves? Parents don’t really understand the value that comes from visiting the pediatrician’s office rather than a retail based clinic. So in many parents’ mind, going to retail based clinic is the same intern of quality of care as visiting the doctors office, but faster and cheaper.

We also talk about what each of us thinks peds could do to begin fixing this problem.

We hope you enjoy the Awesome cast, and if you do, make sure to tell your friends about it.

For the audio version, click below:

iTunes link

Q/A With Dr. Kristen Stuppy: Mother, Wife, Practicing Pediatrician, and Social Media Maven

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.46.47 AMLast year, Dr. Kristen Stuppy and I had an opportunity to do a webinar together for the AAP about social media.

While preparing for the webinar and deciding on the content we were going to address, Dr. Stuppy and I exchanged several emails. Below, I’ve compiled our email and phone conversation along with the questions I asked Dr. Stuppy in preparation for the webinar.

Dr. Stuppy’s answers provide a lot of insight in to the value of social media; not only personally, but also professionally. She shares how she manages her online presence, where she finds content and patient’s reactions to her online efforts.

Dr. Stuppy, could you share with us a little bit about your how long you’ve been practicing, where your practice is located, and how many docs?

14 years, practice in Overland Park, a south west suburb of KC. 4 docs and several midlevels

So, you are the SM champion of your practice, I know this because I follow you closely. But before we get into how you manage a strong online presence, work in a busy practice while balancing work and home life, share with us how long have you been on social media?

Some time in 2009-10 a senior partner suggested I start our office FB page. He suggested me because I had done our website’s articles. At the time I had a personal FB account that I rarely used, so I first played around on it for a bit to see how it worked, then opened a business page.

Did you first dive in as most people do with Facebook as a way to connect with family and old high school friends?

I don’t know that “dive in” is accurate. I have a personal page, but it is not used as frequently as my business page. It can be very addictive to spend time looking for good updates. Big time waster. When I find an old friend, I look at pictures of their kids. That is always fun. I will sometimes see updates, but I don’t post very often to my personal page. No one needs to know what I eat and everything I do. Those posts I find annoying. Business pages are much more informational and suit my needs more, so I spend my time there.

At one point, you started hearing about the potential of social media in medicine, walk us through how this idea of using social media as a pediatrician started to form.

As I mentioned, a Sr partner suggested it. He was good at coming up with ideas and giving the work to someone else. While I could have declined, I thought it was a good idea that suited me. I enjoyed being on the high school newspaper/yearbook staff and even my medical school yearbook staff. This seemed like a new way to share that type of information. I wasn’t afraid of computers, so thought I’d try it out.

Did you have an epiphany of sorts or did your interest grow as you learned more about SM?

My interest grew as I did more online. I originally planned on posting several times a week and more about our office itself. I still post our flu shot clinics, weather closings, reminders to schedule PEs, and other office business, but I have found that another great purpose is to share information.

The more I followed various pages on FB, the more pages I found to follow from their shared posts. I soon found that I had to register for email newsletters from my favorites because I missed great posts on their FB pages. It has become really important to me to share reliable medical information, something I don’t think I considered much when first starting out. The information out there has grown too. My original goal was to post 2-4 times/ week. I currently post 3-4 times/day on average.

Can you describe what is so cool about it? As a practicing pediatrician, what is it that you see in these internet tools?

Very little in medicine gets immediate positive rewards. Telling a parent that their child has a cough and it will take a couple weeks to get better, watch for these complications… it can get old.

Parents never give thanks for that. But with social media, you get instant “likes” or comments. I found that I can share solid reliable information with many people in a short time. Safety, illness treatments, insurance tips, and more.

We can communicate with followers in a way that fosters learning in both directions. Comments might drive me to find more articles to post that show it in another way because parents are still questioning, or comments might even initiate a discussion in my office on how we can improve based on a negative comment.

Do you view your SM media efforts as a hobby, or do you view this new way of communicating with people part of your job as an advocate for children?

Some people watch TV. Others golf. I surf the web. It is a hobby to me. I enjoy my time reading and sharing the right articles. It is also an advocacy position. That makes the hobby more rewarding.

You manage more than just your practice’s Facebook page. You have a presence in other social media sites, like Pinterest. Run down for us all SM platforms you engage.

In addition to my office FB page, I am one of the administrators on the unofficial AAP SOAPM “We Are Pediatrician’s” page. You mentioned Pinterest– that page is personal, but linked to my office website so I can share websites with patients. I also use Twitter and have an account at LinkedIn but don’t use it. I have a GooglePlus account, but use it mostly to share my own blog updates. I probably need to work more with Google, since more people are joining it.

Share with us your philosophy or your purpose. Do you do this as a marketing strategy for your practice? Do you view this as just a more efficient way to advocate for children in a broader capacity?

The original purpose of SM for our office was of course marketing. I’m sure it does draw new patients, but we’ve never measured that number. I personally feel the biggest benefit is educating my current patients. I love it when I start to do the car seat talk and mom says, “Oh, we’ll be rear facing for a long time… saw that on your FB page.” I then can stop that discussion short and spend more time on something else. I know the people who frequently interact on FB and I do change my well visit discussions with them. I can spend more time on things I don’t post regularly. It makes the time in the office better spent.

How about the tools you use and the difference in each one of them?

I rely heavily on HootSuite to manage my accounts. It is one of several scheduling tools that allows me to pre-post articles. I can choose post to my 2 FB accounts and Twitter at the same time, different times but the same information, or select which SM site I want it to go to. It doesn’t take any more time to post to all 3 than it does one – except that Twitter limits characters, so I often change my intro statement for Tweets.

Often times, people think of SM as Facebook and Twitter, but SM is more. For example, blogging. You also blog, could you tell us why blogging matters?

Blogging allows me to talk about what’s on my mind. We all get tired of giving the fever talk a million times a day, but I can write about it and share with hundreds within a week. It can slow the phone calls in my office or when I’m on call to blog about the current illness going around.

I have also used it to answer common questions that I couldn’t find good information to post, such as “will standing hurt baby’s legs?” I also hope to educate families about children’s healthcare on a bigger scale.

I find great satisfaction knowing that thousand’s have read my article on generic Concerta substitutions. I am worried that going back and forth between brands will cause overdosing due to the difference in time release of the different formulations. If I can save one child from the effects of an overdose, it will be worth while.

How do you find topics for your blogs?

I tend to write about what is on my mind. Most are illness related or parenting topics. This time of year complaints start coming in from parents who get billed for summer PE components. I really hate those phone calls, so I wrote about why they get a bill.

I can refer to that when I talk to parents, but my hope is that people start reading this information before the next PE, so they won’t have the surprise bill in the first place.

 How often do you post?

I schedule 3-4 posts per day. Sometimes something comes up, such as recall notices or a fun community event that I learn about too late to pre-post. Occasionally our office administrator will share things, such as a fun picture taken at the office (with parental written consent if applicable), phone problem notices, etc.

Where do you find content to share?

I follow many FB business pages, such as other pediatric offices, parenting sites, AAP section and State pages, poison control, pro-vaccine sites, CDC pages, sleep consultant pages… so many!

FB rotates which pages I see on any given day, so I can choose to go specifically to a page to see it. I also manage the pages by adding them to interest lists, so I can choose from Nutrition, behavior, fun kid stuff, etc. (whatever I have grouped together).

My favorite blogs I don’t want to miss I subscribe to their newsletters so their posts come by email. Twitter is another great source that I don’t use as much as I should.

How do you decide what content goes where or do you post the same message all across the board?

I differentiate posts based on the audience. My office posts are geared toward patient families. I watch the Insights statistics to see what posts people are actually reading.

Highest numbers tend to be funny cartoons, quotes, or other quick information. Another trend I’ve noticed is when I post something with a warning (such as “don’t read if you get offended with bad language”), people tend to read those more.

I guess parents are like kids, they want to see what’s of questionable nature. I do restrict those types of articles to only those with a very strong good point, but sometimes it is too good of an article to not post.

When I first started, I decided to steer away from funny cartoons and things, but when I posted one and got such a response, I started to post more. I still try to mostly post information I want people to read, but we have fun on the page too! It is good to try to get people to comment or at least Like a post so it shares on their wall– that’s how posts go viral!

The We Are Pediatricians (WAP) page has a completely different audience. I see this as a blend between personal and professional. The followers should be my peers, not patients, though it is an open page and anyone can follow it.

I do post the same patient directed articles there, but also business management articles. I do post more liberally the questionable or controversial articles on that page, since I want pediatricians to be aware of those issues. I hope people read articles before they share on their office FB pages!

My Twitter followers also tend to be more professionals, so I post some business things there as well as patient information. I keep it pretty non-controversial too since the feed displays on my office website.

My blog automatically posts to Google+, but unless I hit the G+ on an article I really like or comment on a Google blog, I don’t post to Google specifically.

What are your thoughts on hiring somebody to drive a practice’s SM effort?

While I can see how starting a FB page seems like a time consuming and daunting task, I try to make it easy with the WAP page. If someone follows it and a couple other pages they can find plenty to post every day. The benefit to doing it yourself is that you can add your own thoughts in the introductory statement. This is a great opportunity to let your patients know your thoughts.

If you hire someone to do this for you, you will need to know how that person will choose content, what they will say about it, and how they will respond to comments.

Be sure they understand how to pick articles that have reliable healthcare information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I will sometimes love an article but one part of it is not what I agree with. I can use the intro statement to add my 2 cents about what I would do or say differently with an overall endorsement of the remaining article. How would a non-medical marketing person handle that?

As long as you have the ground rules for them, it can be done. But in my opinion that is money not well spent. It is not hard to do it yourself.

How much time would you say you spend on SM a day or a week?

This is hard, because I spend about two hours weekdays doing computer work, all before my kids get up or after they go to bed. This is all my personal and professional email, scheduling posts, checking FB for comments, and more. I do spend a little more time on weekends, but mostly because I use that time for blogging and reading articles I didn’t get to during the week.

 Is it necessary to spend that much time? Could you spend less time and still have a presence?

Remember that I probably do a lot more than someone who just wants to post a few articles per day. This is my hobby too! I make it easy for others to just share articles by posting to WAP. If all you do is share some of those articles, you could do this in a few minutes a day.

What do your patients think about all this?

I hear so many positive comments, which makes it very rewarding. I’ve even been stopped in the hall by my partner’s patients who thank me. They love the information and have given many specific examples over the years on how it helped them.

How do you think social media has benefited your practice, your patients or your parents?

As I mentioned before, sharing information has allowed fewer phone calls due to improved education of parents. It can decrease time during visits discussing common issues, saving time for more specific concerns of a family.

It has also allowed sharing of important office events, such as late openings due to bad weather, phone line problems, and vaccine clinics. Patients have had fun seeing their pictures at times.

Do you separate your personal digital presence and your professional presence? If so, how do you?

I think since I must be professional on my social sites, I don’t really separate them much. I tend to be a bit more careful online- especially with my office page, since in the office I can be a little more free of speech if I know who I’m talking to. That’s the same with all social media. I would advise anyone to be careful what they post since it can be misunderstood and it is forever discoverable.

To visit or follow Dr. Stuppy’s online presence, click on the links below.

Thoughts On The AAP NCE 2013 – Orlando

photoIf you follow me on social media, you probably know I was in Orlando at the AAP NCE this past week.

Every year right before the date of the convention, I start to dread going. Leaving town is always hard when you have a million things to do. And since we still have little ones, and I don’t travel often for business, I feel a hint of guilt leaving my wife behind fending for herself.

But once I arrive, the anticipation, excitement, and nervousness starts to settle in. I like the feeling.

The Disney Institute

The highlight of my trip was attending a class lead by the Disney Institute. That class was probably one of the most fascinating classes I have attended this year (I say this year because I go to the Global Leadership Summit and those sessions are hard to beat).

The Disney’s Institute class gives you a behind the scene sneak peak at Disney’s stellar approach to customer service. Part of the class was in the classroom, while the other half was at the Magic Kingdom where we toured parts of the park, including going “back-stage” to see first hand how they manage the operations.

Meaningful & Fulfilling Dialogue

The best part of NCE is the people you meet and see. This year, I met up and chatted with more people than ever before.

Many were old friends, others were strangers that came up to me after my talks, while others became new acquaintances. I even got to meet a couple of long time online-virtual friends IRL, which is always fun.

Topics & Trends

You know that observation that many of us make when we buy a car or a phone and right after, we start to notice all the people around us that also have the same car or phone? Well, I don’t know if that applies to the trends I observed during the conferences, but what I heard over and over were two things:

Patient Engagement & Data

PE is always been an important topic, but this time, it seems there was more emphasis on finding different ways to involve the parents/patients into one’s practice.

Speakers emphasized that PE will not only be important to remain relevant in a tectonic-shifting, healthcare landscape kind of scene, but parents are/will demand it.

And the data discussions had to do with implementing systematic studies that will help physicians/managers establish facts and reach new conclusions on how to work in a pediatric practice more effectively and efficiently.

However, the narrative went beyond the clinical and addressed data analysis in the practice management side of things too in an effort to understand the needs of our parents, thus provide meaningful “engagement.”

Thus, the data, the research and the analysis is fundamentally going to help us with the PE portion of this more prominent trend.

I came away with lots of ideas.

Going to something like the NCE  is expensive, consuming and tiring. But just like vacations or time off is needed to replenish one’s soul, reduce stress, and recover emotional balance, attending AAP’s NCE is a needed activity to replenish our minds and share experiences with other like-minded-people.

Look forward to see you in San Diego next year.

Practice Mgt Webinar: Have a Social Media Presence While Managing a Thriving Pediatric Practice

MBAOne of the questions I almost always get when I do a presentation on social media goes something like this…

Where do I find the time to see all my patients in a day, manage my practice, be a mom, be a wife and on top of that, manage social media?

This time, I wanted to do something different. So instead of listening how I would address this question, I’ve asked  Kristen Stuppy MD, FAAP to come on a webinar I’m doing for the AAP and be my co-presenter so that she can answer this, and other questions, regarding managing one’s social media presence.

Dr. Stuppy works at Pediatric Partners in Overland Park, KS.  She also heads up the practice’s social media efforts on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest where she keeps patient/parents and the community up to date on all kinds of stuff.

Dr. Stuppy also manages her blog at Quest for Health where she share personal reflections on different topics related to pediatrics.

And if that wasn’t enough, she is one of the sources behind all the great links posted on the We Are Pedidiatricians Facebook page.

In other words, she is perfect for the task.

This webinar is a first in the series of monthly practice management ‘fireside’ webinars sponsored by the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) and the Pediatric Practice Managers Alliance (PPMA).

Below are the details:

Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013

Time: 7:30 PM – 8:15 PM EDT

Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/693973542

#14 Dr. Natasha Burgert Joins Us To Talk About Social Media [Pediatric Practice Management Awesome-Cast]

Wow, we scored big this week and somehow convinced Natasha Burgert – queen of pediatric social media – to speak to us. Her real-life stories are great.

Don’t believe us? Watch/listen and see her Twitter effort or check out her blog.

A special shout out to an awesome vaccine-related charity that Dr. Burgert supports: Shot @ Life!

As always, you can get the AwesomeCast in different formats:

iTunes

Google+ PPMM Community Page

Pediatric Practice Management MediaCast

How to Leverage Our Voices, Our Patients and Social Media

Fed up with learning that many kids in her community were getting the measles, Dr. Natasha Burgert decided to take the vaccine epidemic in her city head on.

Over the 12 weeks of summer, she partnered with her patient’s families to support ShotAtLife. This vaccine advocacy group allowed her to have a way to actively respond to the measles epidemic that affected her Kansas City community.

In just a few weeks, she collected $6,740. That is enough to protect 1,348 children against measles.

Click on the video below and you’ll see her story.

I think there are so many lessons for those of us that work in pediatrics.

I can’t think of a better public display of advocacy for the pediatric community. I also appreciate how she is leveraging her social media platform (ie blogging, Twitter, YoutTube, etc), to get her message out.

But more important to me, is how she is wisely using her status as a trusted source of medical information to reach out to her community in an effort to bring awareness to a cause she feels deeply about.

What I love the most about Dr. Burgert’s initiative  is that she didn’t wait for the AAP to initiate the campaign or any other large entity. She took matters into her own hands with the resources she has; which includes her voice, her relationships with parents, and her social media platform.

Almost all pediatricians have a voice. Something they feel passionate about. And all pediatricians have strong relationships with their patients. But most pediatricians do not have a strong online presence that will give them the opportunity to be heard or to influence more than a few patients at a time.

Think about this… the AAP has 60,000 members. Let’s say only 10% of those 60,000 members had a strong online presence. That is 6000 pediatricians. Right?

Now, Dr. Burgert raised $6740 in just a few weeks. Let’s say each of those 6000 pediatrician raised half of what Dr. Burgert raised ($3370). That would be over $20,000,000 when one multiplies $3370 x 6000.

Just imagine what kind of an impact 6000 pediatricians (only 10% of the AAP membership) would have if that scenario played out.

Think about what type of a message pediatricians would be sending to their patients and their community. Think about how the media would react.

By the way, I’m not suggesting that we all get behind Dr. Burgert’s measles initiative (although I believe it is a great one to support). Everybody is free to support what they want, of course.

What I’m trying to point out is that with social media, a cause, and our position of influence with our families and patients, pediatricians could cause a lot of disruption, in the good sense.

My last point is this… movements rarely start within the establishment. It has to come from the fringe, from the unconventional, and sometimes the extreme.

Dr. Burgert has an awesome blog. She also Tweets. And apparently she is an avid texter. She was recently featured in a NYT article where she talked about how she uses text with her teenage patients. Dr. Burgert is also a regular contributor to Survivor Pediatrics.

NCE AAP: Do You Know How To Market Your Medical Practice?

Most of the time, we think of marketing as a direct mail piece or an ad in the paper or a Yellow Pages ad. These things, however, are merely marketing tactics. They are not the essence of marketing.

Marketing is much, much more. It is more than a pretty Facebook page or a website. It is more than an ad in the Yellow Pages or even an newsletter from your practice. All those things are important, mind you. But it isn’t the extent of a marketing strategy.

Companies that do great marketing understand that marketing is not a department, but rather an attitude. It is a way of life for the organization and everyone that works in it. It transcends the organizations. In fact, marketing begins even before you create your product or service.

At NCE, I will also be giving a talk on marketing with my friend Dr. John Moore.  I will be focusing on the essence of marketing. Specifically, I’ll be addressing five components that when woven together, you get marketing gold. Dr. Moore will be bringing it home by describing how social media can affect the inner workings of your practice network and your communication outside of your practice.

The talk is called Information Management: Marketing Your Practice From Handshake to Hashtags.

Dr. Moore and I will be presenting at 10:45 am Saturday, October the 20th. It is part of the Joint Program between the Section on Administration and Practice Management (H1020) and Section on Young Physicians. Check your brochure for details.

If you will be attending NCE this year, make sure to stop by our  talk. I think you will not be disappointed.

You may also consider attending all the sessions on this track.  Some of the most savvy doctors from a practice management perspective will be in attendance. This is the Superbowl of practice management, in my opinion. If you want to learn how to manage your practice, you will not want to miss  it.

Click on the link to download the flyer for all the practice management events at NCE this year.

Oh, and remember to come say hi. I’d love to meet you in person.

10 Things I learned from managing my practice’s Facebook page

I while back, I blogged about my favorite Facebook Pages. Among them was Winnsboro Pediatrics. Dr Kim Burlingham manages what I think is one of the best practice Facebook pages out there. Dr. Burlingham does a lot of cool things on there, but if I had to say why I like the page so much, I would have to say that she does a great job of  adding her own personality to each one of her post. Quick little remarks about the links she is posting which add character to her site and of course to her practice.

When you get a chance, take a look at  Dr. Burlingham’s Facebook page. In the meantime, here is Dr. Burlingham’s  10-things she has learned from managing her practice’s Facebook page. 

  1. There are some people that “like” everything- mostly the retired grandma types and if several days go by without them liking your posts, you’ll want to check with their families to see if they are OK.
  2. Just because somebody doesn’t hit the “like” button doesn’t mean they didn’t read it- I am always surprised at the number of people that mention that they read about “it” on my page while in the office with their child but never once have hit the “like” button
  3. People take the time to “like” stupid stuff and jokes a lot more than a good solid article. The post that has had the most likes/reach during this past month on my page was an “E-Card” that had a picture of a mom resting her head on an armchair with a quote “the moment you realize that the kids have been in bed asleep for thirty minutes and you are still watching Nichelodeon.”
  4. It takes time to keep the page up but it is a heck of a lot easier to do if you “like” other pediatrician’s pages and freely share the gems they have found on to your own page. Also “like” hospital, poison control, safety, etc pages.
  5. Always try to add a bit of your own voice onto the links you share on your page.
  6. Middle school and high school boys will “like” the oddest posts, for example 3 of them liked a post about the fact that stepping on a Lego hurts more than childbirth.
  7. Info-graphics and e-cards are in, pictures of cute babies are in, links without thumbnails are rarely liked.
  8. Let people know about things going on in their community – plays, library events, etc. The non-profits love help in spreading the word.
  9. Include visual office contests on your Facebook page. Our last one, right before the 4th was to guess the weight of a watermelon.
  10. Somehow my practice Facebook page is attached to my Twitter feed and whatever status update I put on Facebook goes to Twitter which is not very twittery. I have to fix that.

Dr. Burlingham also manages a page called We Are Pediatricians  which is a great resource for those of you looking for content to share on your Facebook Page.

Is Social Media Bad for Physicians?

I read with great an article titled Facebook and Physicians: A prescriptions for Trouble.  In it, Lucas Mearia references a guy by the name of Crotty who advocates strongly on the notion that doctors should refrain from engaging patients and collegues online.

The article highlights several situations that could potentially lead doctors into trouble.

For example, a doctor who gave a patient a prescription for medicine that could have an adverse affect when mixed with alcohol might decide to check out the patient’s Facebook page to see if the individual is telling the truth about his drinking habits, Crotty said.

To me this is a little far fetched and an extreme example to make an ethical point. Let’s be realistic though, do doctors have time to check every single patient’s profile on Facebook? How long would that take? How would the doctor know if he/she was even on the medication?

The article also talks about sites like Doximity and Sermo which are social sites exclusively for doctors . Crotty equates these types of networks where doctors ask other doctors for advice as curbside consultations.

“What if the treatment they suggested was wrong and you chose the wrong one?” he said. “The thing is, when you get a second opinion, the doctor you’re getting the opinion from has no clinical context or clinical relationship with that patient.

How is this different than calling up a collegue and asking her for an opinion on a patient? Does Mr Crotty think that a physician is not smart enough to discern the fact that the consult physician isn’t seeing the patient, isn’t examing the patient and knows only what she is being told?

I think this Crotty guy is completely missing the boat with his assertions.

I think social media has giving us the tools to connect with our communities in ways we have never been able to do before. We can now broadcast, share, be published, connect, educate, curate, an collaborate thanks to social media tools.

And you know who are the ones in the best position to take advantage of these tools? Pediatricians. Why? Because peds’ demographic will always skew younger than other specialties. And guess who are the ones using all this new technology?

If we want to have any type of influence over generations to come, we will have to have a presence online. Simply put, this isn’t going away. This is the future, no doubt.

We can continue defending the status quo, like this Crotty guy, or we can find ways to leverage these wonderful tools the Internet has afforded us.

And as for Mr. Lucas Mearian of ComputerWorld, I think he should stick with writing on issues of storage, disaster recovery, business continuity, financial services and healthcare IT, because clearly he has no clear idea of how doctors could leverage this technology.

To read the entire Computerworld article, click here.