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Nonclinical physician career, income & lifestyle.Freelance MD is an active community of physicians that gives you greater control of your medical practice, income, and lifestyle, even if you’re clueless about where to begin and you’re already working 80 hour weeks. Join Now For Instant Access To Members Only Content & Downloads. It's free!
 
Thursday
Oct022014

Survey: What Do You Think About Telemedicine?

telemedicineTake our 2 minute survey and share your thoughts and opinions about the future (or lack thereof) of telemedicine!

Telemedicine is gaining at least a toe-hold in health care at both ends of the health care spectrum. For some large hospital groups and insurers it offers an ability to scale with significant cost savings, and on the other end individual physicians like those in concierge practices are using telemedicine to stay in touch with patients and offer services on-demand.

We're asking you for a few minutes of your time to take this survey an answer a couple of simple questions to see what providers are thinking about telemedicine.

 

 

We'll aggregate the answers and create a report outlining the sentiment of physicians and other providers around telemedicine.

Here's a direct link to share with your networks: https://storyteller.typeform.com/to/CFMq33

Thursday
Oct022014

Become A Key Opinion Leader & Sought After Speaker

Putting yourself in a postion of opportunity.

Yesterday I was leading a conference call with two physicians, two publicists, a literary agent and an editor. The goal of the call was to launch a new book and raise the profiles of the two physicians. They are already well known in their fields, but with a new book coming out they can reach broader audiences. Their message is honed from months of work, and they are ready to share it. This call was about helping them to do just that.

If you were on the call, you would have heard quite a few "insider secrets" about how physicians can become key opinion leaders. If it was easy, then most doctors would probably be KOLs, because frankly most of them are very intelligent, creative, talented and have wonderful ideas that could really help others. But, it's not so easy to "bump up" and begin speaking at higher levels (for example, to bigger groups or to more senior executives) or having reporters contact you to get your opinion about something.

Here are a few highlights from that call for those of you who are thinking about taking your career to the next level.

1. Prepare an online folder with a new (and nicely done) headshot, updated bio (or two or three if you want to speak to different types of audiences), pdf of the special sales contact information for conference organizers to order bulk quantities of your book (if you have published one; if not, consider coming to the Harvard CME publishing conference www.HarvardWriters.com), a word document with the title of your talk and objectives and a short narrative description (to be used for CME accreditation or for marketing copy).

 2. Give your online reputation a makeover. Keep in mind that you will almost certainly be "googled" by any reporter, conference organizer, etc. So, what does Google say about you? At the Harvard/Discovery Channel conference that I'll be co-directing on October 19-21 in Silver Spring, MD (come join us and learn all this and much more--there's still some slots left http://dryou.discovery.com/) social media experts will be doing "online audits" for all of the attendees to help them figure out what others are seeing about them online and how that is impacting their professional reputation. The goal of the audit is to provide attendees with important strategies to improve their online reputations.

3. You need a TV clip to get on TV. I know it's frustrating, but if you've never been on TV, it's unlikely that you'll be asked to do an interview. Most producers, especially for major news shows, want to see a video clip (or reel) of someone before booking them for a show. At the Harvard/Discovery Channel conference, we will be doing simulated TV interviews -- both live and taped with a teleprompter–and all of the attendees will leave with a video clip so that they'll have something to show producers in the future.


At every conference that I attend (even the ones that I direct), I learn new things. While we always mention the faculty in the conference brochures, the attendees are usually an amazing group of high level physicians and others who become key contacts for future opportunities–especially at conferences like the two that I mention in this blog. This is my final "secret"– you need contacts. Networking is critical, and there's no better place than a conference with like-minded individuals who share your vision and your passion for changing the world!

Thursday
Oct022014

The Non-Traditional Pre-Med Student Effect

getting into medschoolGuest post by Christopher A. Perez

Pre-medicine as we currently know it has to change.

I’m not talking about the required courses that have to be completed or the ultra-important MCAT. I’m referring to the notion that pre-med students must carry a full load of classes every semester in order to demonstrate to medical school admissions committees that they can “endure a rigorous schedule of classes”. Commonly, pre-med counselors advise students that they must take 16-18 credits a semester and for many students it’s just not possible.

The traditional student who attends a four-year university directly after high school is not as common anymore. Many students work because they don’t have the financial luxury to only concentrate on school while other students choose to first attend a community college because the cost of tuition is considerably cheaper. Then, there are also career changers. Career changers are students who already have a career but have decided to return to school in hopes of learning a different field then what they have previously studied. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly three out of four college students are considered non-traditional (Choy). It is the single largest category of college students today. What makes up a non-traditional student? The NCES states that anyone who satisfies one of the following criteria is considered a non-traditional student:

  • Delays enrollment (does not enter postsecondary education in the same calendar year that he or she finished high school);
  • Attends part-time for at least part of the academic year;
  • Works full-time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled;
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but may also be caregivers of sick or elderly family members);
  • Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents), or  
  • Does not have a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate or did not finish high school) (Choy).

Getting into medical school is highly competitive and it’s time to level the playing field for all pre-meds, not just the “traditional” students. A student who excels academically whether they attend college part-time or first attended a community college should be placed in the same regard as the “traditional” pre-med student with the same academic statistics. The pre-medical community must remove all negative sentiments of “part-time” and “strength of class” (à la community college versus university courses) and adopt the idea of universal uniformity instead. This will expand the pool of suitable medical school candidates, increasing the competitiveness of getting into medical school which would ultimately benefit medical schools. It will also diversify the profile of matriculating students that are entering medical schools.

Guest post by Christopher A. Perez
Author of Getting into Medical School: A Comprehensive Guide for Non-Traditional Students

Choy, Susan. “Nontraditional Undergraduates.” National Center for Education Statistics. NECS 2002-12. U.S. Department of Education, 2002. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.

Thursday
Oct022014

The Statistics Of Medicine

Guest post by Aaron Schenone MS IV

As medical students, future residents and physicians we’re used to the statistics. Whether it’s to assess for appropriate screening tools, treatments, or patient outcomes, we have experienced the positive impact evidence based practice has and will continue to have in medicine. But are statistics an absolute in patient care, and if so what are we in jeopardy of leaving behind?

As we move forward in a world with greater chronic disease prevalence, diminishing medical resources, and a financial reimbursement system incentivized by statistical outcomes, do patients always benefit? Of course many statistics provide reassurance. A patient with stage one colon cancer may find some solace in their statistical prognosis, but how should we use statistics with more advanced diseases?   After all, even after confronted with bad news, how many patients are still secretly awaiting a medical miracle?

Dilemmas are something we’re used to in medicine. As soon as we open the door we prepare for the battle between costs, outcomes, and the needs of our patients. In many cases these responsibilities are fairly congruent, but how do we approach when they’re not?

On night call I met an 85 year old man sitting in his chair gasping for breath. He had just had an unstrangulated hernia repair indicated for his refractory pain. However he also heart,  liver, and renal disease. He was lucky to have made it off the table and when confronted with these statistics, he wanted to operate. The pain was just too severe. That night we identified ruptured esophageal varices, and pulled more than a liter of frank blood from his stomach. He was intubated, stabilized and passed the next day.

Weighing our responsibilities to patient needs, while refraining from harming them, is absolutely tantamount to medical practice. However, all too often we find ourselves weighing those responsibilities against our inherent desire to ease suffering. Until statistics create a crystal ball, we will need to enter the patient’s room ready to comfort always, cure sometimes, and weigh our abilities to ease suffering against the potential risks of our care.

About: Aaron Schenone MS IV is presently a fourth year medical student applying to internal medicine residency. He is a consultant with a Biotech Company Histogen Inc. where he applies Oncologic, Biocompatibility, Regenerative Medicine, and Tissue Engineering. He is a Siteman Cancer Summer Scholar Recipient, and have continued with the institute investigating both clinical and basic projects within soft tissue sarcomas. He was also the President of the Dermatology and Oncology Clubs in 2012 and finished Ironman New Zealand in 2002 before starting this whole medical adventure.

Submit a guest post and get the word out. 

Thursday
Jun262014

TruClinc - A telemedicine platform that is gaining acceptance with providers.

Telemedicine is finally getting off of the ground with TruClinic.

Very different from the doc-in-a-box model of other telemedicine players, TruClinic is the first truly embedded technology that closely fits how providers already work.

TruClinic has been built into a full telemedicine platform with a knack for tackling hard integrations, bottom-up user growth, and jaw-dropping uses. TruClinic’s cloud-based portal gives providders and patients access to each other from anywhere. All they need is a computing device, Internet connection, and a webcam, smart phone or tablet. From remotely wiring every home on the Goshute Reservation to facilitating interactions between a mother and her newborn child in an ICU to hosting surgical followup appointments, the uses of an always on, instantly connected telemedicine platform are only starting to be realized.

TruClinic is already being used actively by both small individual physician clinics, and larger hospital and clinic chains like the University of Utah Health Care that serves 5 surroundings states in a referral area encompassing more than 10 percent of the continental US and where TruClinc helps the U to reach their clients better, particularly in fields that mostly require communication, like mental health or post-surgery follow-up.

The University of Utah Health Care System is a thought leader in telemedicine. Here's a video:

You can request a demo of TruClinic here.

One of the places that this is likely to be addopted first by individual physicians is around concierge or cosmetic medicine, where a very high-touch interaction at a distance can really have an effect on an ability to scale and interact with more patients in the same amount of time.

Thursday
Jun262014

Theranos - It’s now worth more than $9 billion, and poised to change health care.

I see a lot of startups that look at some form of incremental increase. Theranos is looking to remake the diagnostic and blood testing industry entirely.

Theranos is a story worth learning about: Could there be one of the first real moves towards always-on diagnosis technology that really drives preventive medicine forward?

Holmes had then just spent the summer working in a lab at the Genome Institute in Singapore, a post she had been able to fill thanks to having learned Mandarin in her spare hours as a Houston teenager. Upon returning to Palo Alto, she showed Robertson a patent application she had just written. As a freshman, Holmes had taken Robertson’s seminar on advanced drug-delivery devices–things like patches, pills, and even a contact-lens-like film that secreted glaucoma medication–but now she had invented one the likes of which Robertson had never conceived. It was a wearable patch that, in addition to administering a drug, would monitor variables in the patient’s blood to see if the therapy was having the desired effect, and adjust the dosage accordingly.

“I remember her saying, ‘And we could put a cellphone chip on it, and it could telemeter out to the doctor or the patient what was going on,’ ” Robertson recounts. “And I kind of kicked myself. I’d consulted in this area for 30 years, but I’d never said, here we make all these gizmos that measure, and all these systems that deliver, but I never brought the two together.”

Tuesday
Feb252014

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Victoria Dunckley, MD first started blogging on her own website to share information with patients and parents. When she moved her integrative psychiatry practice and opened a new office in Los Angeles, the blog helped her grow the practice. The blog also brought in consultation work with patients from all over the country, and has led to expert witness work, as well.

The posts on her blog eventually evolved into ideas for a book. When I first met Dr. Dunckley and began working with her, I suggested she pitch a blog column to Psychology Today as a way to increase her reach and national impact and meet her goal of "increasing awareness about the ill effects of screen-time."

It would also help make her book proposal for her book, Reboot Your Child's Brain, more attractive to agents and publishers. She did so and the result is her Mental Wealth Column on PsychologyToday.com.

At first, she blogged tangentially about her book topic with posts on topics such as misdiagnosed bipolar disorder,  how electronic screens can contribute to tics and 10 rules for safer cell phone use, so as not to give away all the information in her upcoming book. However, over time, she began to blog more specifically about electronic screens and their effects on children's brains and mental health--including what she has termed "electronic screen syndrome."

Indeed, her high profile blog posts contributed to landing a top agent and a book deal with New World Library for Reboot Your Child's Brain. Even before that book comes out, though, her blog has already helped her have a powerful impact. Dr. Dunckley reports, "I've received emails from people all over the world telling me how a particular article has helped them. Those emails make all the effort worth it! Blogging has also helped sharpen my writing skills and has led to supportive connections with like-minded individuals."

So, should you be blogging? Here are some reasons to blog and a few reasons not to:

Reasons to blog:

1. Blogging can help you reach a large group of people with your ideas and make an impact.

2. Blogging can help hone your writing skills.

3. By inviting comments you can find out more about how your audience/readers think and what they want to read about.

4. Comments and other responses to your blog can help you clarify your own ideas, explore new avenues or see things differently.

5. Your blog can attract a large audience of fans who are then interested in buying your books, attending your seminars or hiring you as a consultant.

6. Your blog can attract media attention: more and more the media are finding experts for radio and TV shows through searching the web. Your blog helps them find you as search engines like Google love CONTENT and your blog is full of relevant content.

7. Your blog can attract patients or clients to your medical practice or business. Again, search engines like Google are looking for websites with lots of relevant content. Websites with extensive blogs and tagged with appropriate "keywords" win out on Google.

8. Publishers LOVE authors who blog, especially if you are reaching a large audience.

9. Blog posts can be short--less time cnosuming than writing a magazine article, for instance.

10. Blogging is a great way to be viewed as a thought leader--and rightly so.

So, why wouldn't you blog?

a. Blogging takes some time. You will need to figure out where that time will come from and schedule it in for blogging to work.

b. You don't get paid. Sure, some people have ads on their blogs, but that can detract. In general, you don't get paid directly for blogging.

c. You may need to learn a few new skills--beyond writing, you'll need to learn wordpress and get some sense of how search engines work so you can make your posts "discoverable" on search engines like Google.

d. You'll want to blog with some consistency or it's harder to develop a consistent following of readers.

I hope none of these reasons deter you. Basic blogging skills can be learned in a day and the benefits are many--to your medical practice, your business and your own personal satisfaction.

If you want to learn more about blogging and other forms of reaching the public with your medical knowledge, join me at Harvard Medical School's CME course on writing and publishing: Achieving Healthcare Leadership and Outcomes through Writing and Publishing March 31-April 2 atthe Fairmont Copley Hotel in Boston, MA.

There, doctors who are also bloggers and published authors, as well as agents, acquisitions editors and other experts in the publishing industry, will guide you in the many writing opportunities available to doctors and others in the health professions. You'll also have many opportunities to share your ideas with us one-on-one and receive guidance for navigating this exciting arena.

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