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The Entrepreneurial MD Blog

PS: I'd love to hear from you. Click on the blue "Leave a Comment" link at the BOTTOM of each article, follow the simple instructions, and write away! Feel free to share with others by clicking on the "Share Article" via Facebook, Twitter or the other "social bookmarking" tools. Just a few rules: Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam!


A physician business owner keeps abreast of SEO changes

physician business owner Responsive web design Whether you’re a non-clinical physician business owner or a physician with a medical practice, it’s vital to keep up with our changing world… Right?

To my chagrin, I realized several months ago that my website, which has been highly productive, was now out of date. Yes, it was a ranking well with the search engines, but that was all about to change.

Dr. Google had once again changed the rules! But, in fairness, it was due to our behavior as humans. It seems that the computer is no longer where we do most of our searching. With a plethora of devices such as smart phones and tablets, we’re preferentially peering at these much smaller screens as we hunt for information. And my trusty old website was no longer cutting it!

I had to have a website worthy of a contemporary physician business owner.

How did I handle this?

With the invaluable help of webmaster Dawud Miracle, my outstanding virtual assistant Ashley Newman, the exciting new Rainmaker platform, I have been able to reconstruct The Entrepreneurial MD maintaining most of its familiar appearance, while having the website be fully “mobile-responsive“, thus hopefully pleasing the search engine bots! What’s even better is that SEO (search engine optimization) is built into the platform and guides me every step of the way to make sure that my pages and posts are search engine-friendly.

On your computer, not much will look different. It’s your smart phone or tablet where the biggest change occurs – the website adapts to whatever size screen you’re using.

What I also enjoy about the new platform that I’m using is that I can now fully integrate a program such as Physician Marketing Mastery — this can be delivered to you without having to use clunky external resources. The Physicians Odyssey Program, as yet, is not on Rainmaker but is on a very similar Word press platform and is therefore also mobile-responsive.

So, as they say, onwards and upwards, and here’s to your revamped website as a physician business owner if it’s your turn to get up to date!

Physician financial wellbeing … turning to the expert for insights

4-30-15Denniston_financialfreedombkAt last, I’ve been able to check an item off my to-do list. And what a valuable exercise that was. Many months ago, I was sent a draft release of a book written by Dave Denniston CFA, titled “Freedom Formula For Physicians: A Prescription for First-Class Financial Health for Doctors”(A).

People send me books all the time for review and I have the best intentions of doing so… I really do! And when they reach out to me personally, and politely and persistently request my opinion, my sense of obligation shoots up. This inevitably means a new item on my to-do list, and a nagging sense of something incomplete until I can check it off. I do try to follow through on my promises!

I’m happy (and relieved) to be able now share what I learned from Denniston’s book with its prescription for financial health for physicians.

Unless you have some big fancy economics or MBA degrees behind your name, I believe even those of you physicians or readers who consider yourselves financially literate will benefit from the primer’s many insights.

Enlivened with personal stories and anecdotes, the book’s journey starts by challenging the reader to know where you are, and know where you want to go, by reflecting upon and developing a 10-, then a 3- and finally a 1-year vision, both for life and for business.

The next challenge Denniston insists we consider is implementation! How to achieve the vision … This is where disciplined planning become critical. Just as having the right mindset is essential. The author addresses both of those in some detail.

Subsequent chapters focus on helping the reader become educated and financially literate. There are chapters about debt (how to get out of it, or at least get it under control), understanding and minimizing taxes and capital gains, and developing investing strategies.

And since this book was published in February 2015, the content appears to be updated and timely. Instead of pontificating and engaging in political rants, Denniston calmly discusses the implications of updated laws and regulations and how we in the medical community should adapt our financial strategies and tactics.

The book offers tools, tables, examples, detailed chapter summaries (for those who like to cut to the chase – although you’d be gnawing on bone instead of enjoying something meatier!) and lists of online and offline resources.

The final chapters point out 7 mistakes that physicians are prone to making (based I imagine on the author’s experience working with physicians) and 8 actions readers can take to gain greater financial freedom.

For those of you who can set aside 30 minutes a day to devote to a chapter at a time and work the exercises, and who are committed to gaining control over your financial destiny, this book, especially being tailored to the peculiarities of what we need to own is “our physician lifestyle”, is a worthwhile investment.

How physicians will find new jobs in 2015

Contemplating a physician career change or at least a change of scenery? 2015 may well be your year.

According to an HR consulting firm ManpowerGroup Inc., nearly 20% of U.S. employers expect to increase their numbers of new hires in 2015. One of the better performing areas will be health services, anticipated to grow between 10%–20%.

This is the good news.

The not-as-good news is that it will take a somewhat different skill set than has been traditionally used to be able to locate and qualify for one of these healthcare positions.There will be changes in how those of you physicians who want a career change and your prospective employers will find each other.

Social media is anticipated to play a bigger role. In this article “How You’ll Find a new Job in 2015″ from Fast Company, there are 5 key ways that job seekers and employers are best likely to connect:

1. “Social recruiting” will outpace the job boards
The author writes “In a recent survey conducted by Jobvite, 79% of recruiters reported they’d found candidates through LinkedIn. Twenty-six percent reported finding candidates through Facebook, and 14% through Twitter.”

2. “Job seekers will become more educated about employers”
Yes, you still want to earn a decent salary as you move into healthcare administration or a role as an executive in pharma or a health plan – correct? However, more and more folks looking to make career changes, especially when leaving clinical practice, are searching for the organization that is going to offer them a good cultural match. They are less keen to jump from the fat into the fire, as leaving practice is scary enough. This suggests that they are doing or need to do a lot of homework about the organizations that offer job opportunities to suss this intangible stuff out.

3. Companies will focus some of their marketing dollars on attracting employees
Many companies want to be the employer-of-choice and are using portions of their marketing budgets to position themselves as such.

4. Face-to-face networking still counts
As convenient as online social media is for virtual networking, I suspect that our ancient communal wiring will still make in-person contact a primary source of intuition, gut check and info gathering for most of us.

5. Job seekers will cast a wide net”Your success in landing the new job of your dreams is likely to come from a combination of these strategies AND being well-informed about how the marketplace is both changing and staying the same. Keeping a pulse on these changes and responding in kind is going to help you come up with a winning strategy for your physician career change!

For those of you who take some pride in being a technophobe or Luddite, perhaps it’s time to cozy up to a high schooler or college-age kid to get some help building an online profile that tells the story of your accomplishments to date and how they will add value to your future desired job.

Keep your eyes peeled over the next week or so, when the updated version of The Physician’s Odyssey will be released. It will help make your physician career change journey a whole lot easier!

“Crucial Conversations” tips for physicians

3-10-15crucial_conversationsWhen last did you have a tough conversation with an employee, a colleague or a family member that went really, really well?

As a physician, you are well aware there are certain difficult conversations that we are well-trained to have — delivering difficult diagnoses or alarming prognoses to patients and their families. However, I’d argue that these are not true “crucial conversations” … at least for us. Perhaps you’ll agree once you see the definition.

In fact, most of us struggle to tackle those conversations that seem destined to flare up into full-blown conflict or hostility … or at least that is our fear.

Since this topic has come up in my physician leadership coaching recently, it seems like a good idea to offer some tips, based on the excellent book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high” (A) by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.

What is a crucial conversation?

It has 3 elements:

  • opinions are varied
  • stakes are high
  • emotions run high

Sound familiar? 

Here are ten tips for getting such a conversation started and for conducting it. 

1. “Start with Heart”: begin by taking a long hard look at yourself. What are your motives for having the conversation? What do you really want as a result? How can you work on yourself to get that result?

2. Understand that when emotions run high, yours or others’, your rational thinking brain shuts down to some extent. How can you stay focused on the desired outcome and not get sidetracked into name-calling or withdrawing?

3. Stay away from “either/or” choices (in the book they are called Sucker’s Choices) and opt for the “and” — the idea that there is ALMOST ALWAYS another option no matter how challenging it may seem to get to the desired outcome.

4. Keep coming back to Dialogue (“the free flow of meaning between two or more people”) by repeating “What do I really want for myself?”, “What do I really want for others?”, “What do I really want for the relationship?” and “How would I need to behave if I really wanted these results?”

5. Create safety for the conversation. Spot the moment when the other person is either moving to hurt and anger (“violence”) or fear and withdrawal (“silence”).

6. Get clear about your Mutual Purpose – why bother having this talk?

7. Get clear about the Mutual Respect that is necessary for the talk to continue.

8. Step out of the conversation, build safety, and then go back to the discussion at hand. You can use phrases like “Can we change gears for a minute? Check in with yourself to see if an apology is called for – if you went too far. Clarify potential misunderstandings (in the book, the technique is call “Contrasting”).

9. Recognize the difference between the FACTS and the STORIES or interpretations that get made up to explain the facts. It goes something like this: We observe something >> we tell a story to ourselves about what we observe >>this generates one or more feelings inside us >> and then we act or react.
Our partner keeps leaving the bathroom in a mess (the FACT is there are dirty clothes on the floor near the shower, and the sink counter has three toothpaste smears), we tell ourselves that he/she doesn’t care enough about us or value us (our story masterfully created from what we observed), we become furious (our feeling) and then we launch into a tirade about how uncaring and disrespectful he/she is.
Mastering our stories may be one of the most important steps as it allows us to recognize our tendency to demonize the other, and instead move towards humanizing them.

10. Use the STATE skills to express your point of view.
Share your facts.
Tell your story
Ask for other’s facts and stories
Talk tentatively – don’t be absolutely positively correct
Encourage testing – make it safe for others to express a differing point of view.

There are many additional invaluable tools in the book. The biggest takeaway is that all of this takes emormous practice AND is eminently learnable!

When a physician’s hobby becomes an entrepreneurial venture

How do you cope on those days when you walk into your exam room, only to be confronted by a patient clutching reams of computer printouts, and demanding answers? “Because they told me I should get this/take this/have this ……”

Not well, I bet! Especially after the 5th or 6th patient of the day.

The frustration and tedium of these repeated experiences prompted ENT surgeon Russell Faust MD PhD into action.

Not content to put up with the health information garbage he felt patients were being exposed to, he decided to publish his own patient education materials on a website, and steer both new and old patients to the site for answers.

The rest is his history … and his story, which you can listen to in my interview with him. In this conversation, I explore how his hobby of computer geekiness, along with his passion for accurate patient education, morphed into a full-fledged consulting, coaching and speaking business, now housed under the umbrella consortium of Windriven Group Inc., one that has now become his primary occupation.

His current blog also offers free guidance for practitioners and health systems to better connect with their communities.

When you are done listening to us chat, please stop by once again and add your comments or questions.