Consultants – how to let GP’s know you are there?   Leave a comment

I am sure most of you if not all have heard of Networking. I have attended quite a few of these; mostly run by the Chamber of Commerce and a few others but I have yet to meet any doctors at these events.
It got me thinking that if I had difficulty letting the medical profession know I am here, how do newly qualified Consultants that wish to start-up in private practice go about it. Obviously GP’s know the regular Consultants to refer to, but for them to consider referring a patient to a new Consultant may take time and some effort on the Consultant’s part.
The usual form of interaction is to write to GP’s in the area and let them know where and when your private practice is held or maybe even a newsletter a couple of times a year. However is that enough or could you do more?
One thought may be for Consultants to hold a networking evening. A few Consultants may consider getting together and holding a social evening for GP’s and Practice Nurses either at the local private hospital or hire a conference room in a hotel. It need only be a couple of hours at the most and light refreshments could be arranged to make it more enjoyable.
It could be run as a social interactive evening and also an educational one. If there were a few Consultants they could give a 5-10 minute talk on their specialty and some of the problems that GP’s may face in the community when diagnosing patients with specific problems, and when to make referrals etc. There could also be a short discussion or Q&A time at the end. Most of the evening could be socialising so that you can meet the GP’s in person and interact with them, but also if there was a specific interest for GP’s surely they are more likely to attend.
This may be more worthwhile than sending out a mailing or newsletter:-
* You get to meet the GP’s in person and interact with them
* You make it a social evening and enjoyable setting so hopefully they more are likely to attend
*  You provide information that may be helpful or educational to them in specific specialties
Personal interaction and socializing with possible informative/educational benefit surely outweighs a letter of notification which probably gets filed and forgotten. This way you meet the GP’s personally and they will remember the evening and more importantly you; it gets your name out there and GP’s get to know who you are and your specialty. If it works well then maybe holding a Networking evening a few times a year may be beneficial to all concerned. It gives a chance for GP’s, Practice Nurses and Consultants to get together and interact in a relaxed social setting.   
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Posted October 19, 2012 by cmm in Blog

Why social media may not be necessary or worth it for doctors   Leave a comment

Social media in healthcare is currently very popular. Almost every healthcare website advises you that you should be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and now Pinterest. Yet the only reason given for this is “because they are really popular and everyone is doing it.”

Do you need to listen to them though, why do doctors need social media?

1. There is no return on investment (ROI)

If you are a clinician and paid by your patient’s insurance company for the services you provide, how would social media help you. You would have to be posting something that would make more patients choose to see you and pay for your services.

2. Is it just one more thing to add to your already busy schedule

Most clinicians have an extremely busy workload and time is limited. Any social media consultant always recommends you do more than one site, they usually advise two or three at least.

From personal experience I can confirm that each site takes time to learn. Facebook is very different from Twitter or Pinterest, and each one of them takes up valuable time; time which most clinicians find hard to spare.

3. It’s a craze which will fade, it’s not worth it, unless of course

You have a lot of spare time, don’t care about money and it’s a hobby.

If you are the typical doctor with a typical medical practice, there is no need for social media, in fact the additional workload could worsen the amount of stress you are under and increase your workload.

Taking good care of your patients and spending time with your family instead are very good reasons to avoid social media all together.

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Posted May 9, 2012 by cmm in Blog

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Digitial dictation vs audio dictation – have you switched yet?   4 comments

Unlike the change over to digital TV, you do have a choice whether to convert to digital dictation. However, check out the benefits to help you decide:-
Advantages:-
  • Digital offers higher quality voice recording and optimum playback through professional .dss standard. Excellent sound quality means less opportunity for errors. There is no degradation over time like using audio tapes.
  • Digital devices are small and lightweight.
  • The capacity for recording is virtually unlimited via memory cards.
  • Easy editing, insertion and annotation capabilities. Digital dictation job access is as instantaneous as it is to skip from one voice mail message to the next. For the author or transcriptionist to rapidly locate dictations on tapes they must rewind or fast-forward the tape; a slow and imprecise process.
  • If requirements demand it, digital recording time can exceed 100 hours per card. Recording capacity is limited with tapes. The longer the tape recording time  the thinner the tape becomes, increasing the possibility of it weakening or breaking during a critical dictation.
  • Facility to prioritize, ID, time stamp or catalogue dictations.
  • Ability to email dictations from anywhere to everywhere in the world.
  • Digital files can be safely and easily stored on a hard drive, making archiving and retrieval simple. Tapes must be stored, creating storage space issues and increasing the possibility of tapes becoming lost or damaged.
Time-saving:-
  • Digital dictation saves time in that it can be sent from any computer direct to the recipient. Distributing digital work to a transcriptionist is as easy as forwarding an e-mail file and dramatically reduces turnaround time. Distributing dictation tapes among transcriptionists is a manual process and dependent on the physical transport of the tape.
  • Urgent letters can be dictated and typed immediately without having to wait to receive an audio tape which increases turnaround time and increasing the possibility of lost of damaged tapes.
  • Letters can be sorted as urgent or routine as needed.
Simple to use:-
  • Digital dictation is very easy to use. It is very similar to an ordinary dictation machine that you use for audio. The only differences are that it is much clearer and also when finished you have to upload the dictation to your computer which is really easy to do.
  • Simply plug-in the lead supplied, one end to your computer and the other to the dictation machine. You can save the file to your computer first if required or simply send by email to your secretary and that’s it.
  • Then, when typed the letters can be sent through by email if required or simply printed ready for signature or emailed direct to addressee.
Not convinced yet, ask anyone who now uses digital rather than audio. I am sure they will convince you of the benefits of digital vs audio dictation.
There really is no reason for delaying a change to digital dictation. It is inexpensive, easy to install and the training time required is minimal. Moreover, the technology is tried and tested and it brings with it benefits for both you and your secretary in terms of both clarity of sound and also flexibility of working. Urgent documents can be dictated, sent and delivered on the same day.
What are you waiting for!
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Posted April 15, 2012 by cmm in Blog

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Social Media and Healthcare – how it can work for you   Leave a comment

Interesting article I found about Social Media and Healthcare. Maybe worth a look for those of you thinking about getting started with social media and your practice?
5 ways to make social media work for doctors and their patients
There’s no question that social media is taking root in the healthcare field, and will only continue to grow in importance.  According to a recent Pew Internet survey, four out of five Internet users have searched for health information online, making health one of the most searched topics on the internet. While on the one hand, this is good news for doctors since patients are often using the information they get online to get better informed and prepared for their doctor visits, on the other hand it can lead to a glut of potential misinformation.  After all, anyone with Internet access can set up a health blog, no credentials required. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly important for doctors to get involved in the online discussion. Think you don’t have time, are you worried about privacy and regulatory issues, or you don’t know where to begin? Participating in a consumer-facing social media platform doesn’t have to be as complicated or time-consuming as you may think. These five simple suggestions will help you on the road toward social media success.
1. Mind your time 
One of the things I hear over and over from doctors is that they simply don’t have time to participate in social media.  Contrary to what you might think, engaging online doesn’t have to require a huge time commitment.  There are many forms of social media available to doctors today, and it doesn’t have to mean writing constant Facebook or Twitter posts or managing a blog that needs daily updates.  Instead, you can choose a less time-consuming format such as an online Q&A forum where the doctor-patients channel is already established.  Find a site that provides a platform that makes it easy for you to maintain an online profile and answer patient questions, as your schedule allows.
2. Transparency is king
Let’s face it: A face-to-face doctor visit is never going to be replaced by websites or blogs. But the more information you can provide about yourself and your credentials, the more patients can trust the information they are getting online, and will use the information to be better informed and prepared when they do visit their doctor. Look for a social media platform that offers features such as a searchable online directory that provides clear and detailed profile information about medical providers in its directory, including licensing information and status (including board certification), disciplinary history, education, employer and contact information.  The last point is important, especially if you want to use social media to help grow your practice and generate new patients.
3. Size matters
Yes, when it comes to social media, finding a platform with a sizable installed user base of patients and doctors is important.  Not only does this help you reach patients more efficiently, but it also means that the platform has proven itself to be a safe and trustworthy place for patients and doctors to engage with one another.  While common sense dictates that you not engage in confidential doctor/patient conversations in a public forum, look for sites that have clear community guidelines for respectful and trusted online communications.  The internet has proven itself to be incredibly good at weeding out the bad and promoting the good. You’ll know a site can be trusted if it has a large community of people using the service.
4. Bring on the critics
People tend to trust their peers when searching online, which is why consumer reviews are becoming more and more popular for everything from restaurants and travel destinations, to yes, even doctors. Rather than shy away from sites that allow patients to write reviews, embrace them.  At Avvo, we’ve found that our users overwhelmingly want to share their positive experiences and provide constructive feedback that can be helpful to others.  By encouraging patient and peer reviews, you’re going one step further to build deeper trust with your patients.
5. Take two
Needless to say, it’s probably a good idea to keep your business and personal matters separate (after all, do you really want your patients to comment on your dog photos?).  While many of us have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts to stay in touch with friends and family, you probably don’t want your patients following you there too.  Instead, seek out a separate social media platform that is more appropriate for patient engagement, such as an online health-focused community.  This will make it easier for you to engage with patients, without having to explain that triple scoop ice-cream cone you indulged in over the weekend.
Mark Britton is the founder and CEO of Avvo, a free resource that rates and profiles 90% of all doctors and lawyers in the U.S.
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Posted March 15, 2012 by cmm in Blog

Mentoring during Medical Training   Leave a comment

The value of a mentor during medical training by Michael A. Zadeh, MD
I grew up playing a variety of different organized sports. Looking back now, I notice that no matter what the sport my best performances were always on teams which were led by inspiring coaches. The same could be said about my education, with teachers replacing the coaches. Whether I knew it at the time or not, throughout my life I have had a number of mentors who have brought the best out of me and helped contribute to the success I have achieved today.
There have also been those who may have thought that they were doing me a service through their mentorship, but were in fact more of a benefit in showing me what not to become as I advance in life. In today’s world it seems that many of us have lost the value of what it truly means to be a mentor, and how a strong mentor-protégé relationship can benefit both parties involved.
At the heart of a mentor’s motivation is an innate generosity and self-sacrifice for the betterment of others and society as a whole. True mentors leave their own egos behind, do not begrudge or impede the success of others, and build meaningful relationships based on mutual benefit and not personal gain. Honesty and sincerity are essential in maintaining a healthy relationship with those you mentor. It’s easy to talk about your successes, but often it’s being open about your mistakes and failures that are most valuable.
When it comes to your career there are several ways in which the right mentor may promote and assist in your success. An experienced mentor brings with them a vast network of important and influential contacts in their respective fields. True mentors will selflessly open these doors to you, connecting you with their network and making their contacts also yours. No matter how much you think you have learned during all those years of education, there are always going to be situations you come across that they didn’t teach you in medical school. The ideal mentor will help you take what you’ve learned in the books and apply them to the real world.
The beauty of mentoring is that there are just as many rewards in the relationship for the mentor as there are for the protégé. The way I see it, both individuals are investing a part of their lives into the relationship. The result is a feeling of commitment, value, appreciation, and the development of a loyal future colleague for life.
I always wondered how I would ever repay my mentors enough, to show my appreciation for all that they have done. As my dreams grow into reality, I hope that my gratitude will be reflected through the successes of those whom I mentor along the way. Everyone has something to offer; sometimes all that’s needed is an inspiring mentor who sees the potential in someone who cannot see it in themselves. For me, the greatest value in being a mentor is the opportunities to one day learn from my protégé.
Michael A. Zadeh is a General Surgeon
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Posted February 20, 2012 by cmm in Blog

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