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Entries in social media (4)


New Media Boot Camp For Doctors

Harvard Medical School and the Discovery Channel have teamed up to offer first-of-its-kind media training conference for physicians.

About a year ago, John Whyte, MD, vice president for continuing medical education at Discovery Channel, introduced himself to me and said, "Discovery Channel and Harvard Health Publications should host a joint conference for doctors who want to take their careers to the next level."

What seemed like a bit of a wild idea at first has become a reality, and the conference titled Creating the Brand Called Dr. You: Media Training Boot Camp for Doctors will be held at the Discovery Channel global headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. When I visited John at Discovery Channel, it was truly an amazing place to be, and I think it's the perfect location for this course!

nonclinical media training conference for physicians

Doctors (and other professionals) who take this all-inclusive course will come away with:

  • Live TV training
  • Teleprompter experience
  • Radio coaching
  • Professional headshot
  • Video/reel
  • Strategies to improve an online platform
  • And much more!

This is a first time ever offering, and we're not sure if we'll do it again. There are only 100 slots for attendees, so we expect it to fill up fast. Therefore, if you are interested in attending, check out the website, and I hope to see you there!

Learn more about this conference here.


Interview: Zubin Damania MD aka ZDoggMD

Zdogg MDInterview with hard-rhymin rapper and hospitalist Zubin Damania MD (ZDogg MD) Slightly funnier than pacebo.

Did you ever wonder what kind of doctor you were going to be when you grew up? A hard-rapping stand up comic hospitalist with a penchant for drafting lyrics like, "I remembered she's demented with a nasty case of C.diff", and "I got one glove like Michael Jackson, but it's made of latex and it's your prostate I'm waxin'!" or calling Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz 'Sucker MDs' might not be it.

But that's exactly what Zubin Damania MD does, and it's worked.

Zubin started out as a mullet-wearing, Costco card carrying rockabilly and ended up (so far) working as a hospitalist at Stanford and making video satire with his pediatrician buddy Dr. Harry on (winner of the MedGadget Best New Weblog of 2010) as well as writing for Freelance MD. You can read all of Zubin's posts on Freelance MD here.

In this interview, Zubin discusses where he started and puts his current practice as well as his passion for combining entertainment and patient education in clear perspective.

ZDogg MD

ZDogg MD Video: Doctors Today


Interview with ZDoggMD

Part 1: Where did you come from?

In this video: oranges, UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford, Costco, physician parents, residency, Gastroenterology, feculent smelling burp juice, working for someone else, hospitalist, comedy, UCSF graduation speech, slightly funnier than placebo, youtube.


Part 2: Why are you doing what you're doing?

In this video: passion, entrepreneurship, opportunity, preventing ulcer disease, safe sex, physician burnout, testicular self exam, megalomania.


Part 3: What advice would you give to medstudents?

In this video: medical school advice, who you are, niches in medicine, pressure, jerks and homeless patients, kids, purpose and passion, picking a specialty, residency, real doctors, friends and rectums, vasovagal party jokes.


Part 4: What mistakes have you made and learned from?

In this video: Mistakes,, Mike Cadogan, wasting time, making money, cynicism, jerks, doctors and credibility, Osamacare, targeting your audience, standup comedy, hearing aids and dying onstage.


Techcrunch Interview (includes Hemorrhoid rap!)

In this video from Techcrunch Rhymes and Medicine: Hemorrhoid rap, Snoop Dog, Tony Hsieh, Zappos, Delivering Happiness, educating, Youtube, unprofessional behavior, a human face on medicine, internet patients and Google, medical technology, iPad, medicines culture of unhappiness.

Like this interview with ZDoggMD? Leave your thoughs in the comments below.

Click to read more ...


Is Social Media Worth Investing Your Time And Energy?

With the spreading of social media into nearly every aspects of our lives, it is worth pausing and reflecting upon their value.

Are you tweeting yet? Posting to your Facebook wall? How about connecting through LinkedIn? How big is your cirlce in Google+? With the onslaught of social media, there is mounting pressure to join each network, manage conections and monetize these various social media outlets. It seems as if social media has become the dominant measuring stick for how well you are doing as a business and how well you are connecting with others.

And while I think social media is something to be embraced, I do not think every outlet is for every person. Nor do I believe that social media serves as any type of barometer in your life (professional and personal). In fact, I think the more you are selective about where you garnish your social media energy and attention, the better you can use social media to your advantage.

Before I get to the specifics of the most popular social media outlets, I want you to come away from this article with one main point: social media presence does NOT equate to success. There is a lot of advice coming at us telling us to join all of the social media networks, trying to convince us that the only way to grow our business and connect with people is by creating these various outposts/hubs to connect with others.

The truth remains, however, that most of the time you can spend a lot of time and energy creating and maintaining these various social media outlets without actually realizing much results. And so while we embrace social media in medicine and beyond, we need to be cognizant as to the actual role of each social media outlet is providing for us. I think a better perspective is "what can I do for social media" not "what can social media do for me".

Let's review the major social media outlets. For each I will give you my personal experience and opinion:

1. Facebook: with over 500 million users, Facebook has become THE largest social media outlet. I read an article today that said the biggest competitor to Apple is now Facebook. Same goes for who competes with Google. Most of us are familiar with Facebook on the personal side. But I wanted to focus on the professional side--Facebook Fan Pages. I currently have two separate FB Fan pages: one for the clinical side of life and one for my consulting side.

The clinical side (Organic Medicine Now) was easy to build and grow. I post my personal blog posts to this FB Fan Page, ask my fans questions and interact. Within a few months of starting my Organic Medicine Now FB fan page I had over 3000 fans. I was excited about this, indeed. I was making a small dent with all of my followers. Really? Sure, it is fun to see fan numbers grow and it is great to get feedback from fans about my blog posts and comments, but what purpose is this fan page really serving? To date, I don't have a good answer. I fully understand the concept of being able to broadcast information about my practice and my views, but I can tell you that I do not think I have gotten any new patients because of my FB wall or sold any of my supplements to any fans. So the obvious question is why continue to put my energy into something that is not leading to any results ? For me, I initially thought my FB wall would help grow my practice, but I now view this differently. Now, I understand that my FB wall is for me to share my opinions and to interact with my fans. As such, I do not spend a great deal of time on my FB wall.

My consulting FB fan page is just getting started, but I am more excited about this one. It is called New Rules of Medicine and it is a place where I am trying to host a discussion about ways we can improve modern medicine. I see this FB fan page not as a way to promote my business, but as a means to host this discussion. Last week after getting my settings squared away I wanted to notify my colleagues about my new FB fan page. I thought about blasting out a mass email asking people to LIKE the page and spread the word. But this did not feel right, so I sent out personal emails to about 50 or so colleagues. Did that work to grow and spread my New Rules of Medicine FB fan page? Not really. I had a few colleagues jump on and LIKE my page. I now have 10 fans. Woohoo! But I have to start somewhere, and now I understand that the role of my FB fan page is to host a discussion, not promote a product. So even though this fan base is going to take a lot longer to build, it will be more worthwhile. 

In summary, I think Facebook can be a valuable tool for your business. But please understand there is ever growing pressure for people to LIKE your page without that meaning much. Please be sure you are not putting too much energy into Facebook without seeing results. 

2. Twitter: Twitter is appealing to many people as you can gain a huge following quickly without having to invest much time and energy. The appeal to Twitter, I think, is like text messaging--you can communicate without having to write much at all. 

I tried Twitter and hated it. I started gaining fans and following people and companies I was interested in. But after several months, I realized there was no point in me providing updates to what I was doing or even interacting with other Twitter users. I saw zero return for the time and energy I invested.

I think Twitter has a role if you are hosting a conference and want to be able to quickly broadcast messages to attendees. But trying to promote your business or personal life via tweets seems counterproductive to me. I like being able to connect with people by writing and interacting, but Twitter really limits that ability. Again, I think Twitter can help you broadcast information, but pales in comparison to Facebook which offers the same capabilities and a whole lot more.

3. LinkedIn: deemed the social network for professionals, LinkedIn seems to be steadily growing in popularity. I have recently opened a LinkedIn account, but to date do not see how using LinkedIn is much different than Facebook. Certainly I can connect with other like-minded professionals and network accordingly, but to me, LinkedIn represents another time sucking arena created to help people network and not much else.

This goes to the heart of these social media outlets--are you using them to just network and promote yourself OR are you utilizing them to host, lead and moderate the issues and values you created your business around? To me, the latter is so much more important as I feel that everyone is trying to network somehow and I would much rather be the host at the dinner party than the attendee just trying to pass out business cards. LinkedIn feels like a place to go to pass out business cards and so it does not have much appeal to me at this point.

4. Google+: Google+ seems promising because of how much energy and resources Google is placing into this new network. I also like how you can create different circles of people to share information with based upon your own tags that you assign. So for someone like me who leads two separate discussions (clinical and consulting) where the two do not overlap, Google+ seems to offer promise. 

Google has brilliantly become the leader in search engines and their Ad Words is a phenomenal marketing program, so I expect similar results from Google+. Since they are the latest kid on the block, I am not sure if they will be able to dig into the influential arenas that Facebook and Twitter have developed. But Google+ feels like a place where one can share information and lead discussions and for those reasons, I am looking forward to learning more.

5. You Tube: I am including You Tube here as a social network because I think video represents the most potential for the future of social media connecting. You Tube is now enormous and because we are all enamored with video, I think being a part of You Tube is a must for businesses looking to network, promote and lead discussions. 

So far, most of us use You Tube as a place to share information. We create videos of ourselves talking about our services and products. Video is a great medium to relay information because we can be much more creative with video (sounds, music, movement, etc.) compared to written text. 

But I don't think we have even begun using video like we will be in five years from now. If I have any advice for you, it is to learn about video production and how to make that work for your business. Creating a You Tube Channel is easy to do and only takes a few moments. 

I have not created many videos for my You Tube channel in a while as I have enjoyed taking a break and writing, but I plan on getting back to video creation and editing very soon. In fact, I think that video-casting is going to be something I do more than writing in the near future. Video is that powerful a tool and I encourage you to explore this medium.

With all of the above being said, I think the key questions are this: what suits your personality? what suits the goals of your business, your personal life? 

You have to be able to answer those questions before you can go using social media outlets. Because if you don't, these different social media outlets can take up a lot of your time. To me, I break it down as follows:

  • Blogging: my favorite way to share my thoughts, comments and opinions
  • Facebook: my favorite way to broadcast information and host discussions
  • Twitter: not suited to my personality or goals and therefore I do not participate
  • LinkedIn: seems to be like a big arena to pass around business cards, but not much else
  • Google+: seems to be moving social media in a good direction; too early to tell if I will be able to utilize
  • You Tube: represents video distribution and the future of social media

What social media outlet do you like to use? Why? We would all love to hear your experiences!


What Is Your Future Of Medicine?

We are holding ourselves back from visionary changes.

The business of our practices and careers often gets in the way of our visionary thinking of the future. In medicine, this seems to be more true than other sectors of our society. Our medical practices of today closely resemble the medical practices of 20 or even 30 years ago.

For the most part, medical practices all look the same. The front door of the practice opens to a waiting room filled with some variety of magazines, chairs and a large glass window that separates the “practice” from the patients. Patients are called back to the exam room and pass through hallways that are narrow and poorly decorated with wallpaper or generic art on the wall. And the exam rooms all look and feel the same: poor natural light and a large exam table placed in the middle of the room.

As well, the process of the medical visit is largely unchanged from decades past. The doctor walks in, sits in her designated chair and speaks with the patient for a few minutes before performing a physical exam and writing prescriptions and/ or lab/x-ray orders. (On a side note, have you ever wondered why the lab report of today looks exactly like the lab report of decades ago? Hasn’t technology changed how we view data?)

We do this over and over. We have been doing this over and over the same way for way too long. One of the problems with figuring out how to create a better health care infa-structure is that we cannot get the current/old/tried-and-true medical visit model out of our brains. We are literally stuck here (and there) because we continually feel that the way we are practicing is the best way because that is how doctors practice medicine. Over and over and over.

I feel that we would do ourselves and our industry a service by throwing away this model and starting fresh. Let’s face it, the modern society we live in right now is very different than 20 years ago. Back then we did not even have the internet, the iPhone or Facebook. 20 years ago we communicated with our patients solely by face to face appointments in our offices. The same offices we are using now.

In order for us to truly make progress, then, we have to reinvent how medicine can be practiced. Here are six visions I have that will make for a better medical practice, improve patient outcome and boost physician job satisfaction (in order from the most practical to the most visionary):

1. Embrace the virtual visit: patients don’t have time anymore to drive through traffic and wait in our waiting rooms and exam rooms anymore. They have questions right now and we have the technology to embrace this. Ask all of your patients to get a Skype account and then offer virtual visits and charge the patient for this convenience. They will love it. And so will you.

2. Take down the glass: this is a pet-peeve of mine. The glass partition creates an immediate sense of imbalance in the waiting room. Far better is to create an open waiting room where patients feel on equal footing with the practice staff. Staff can be trained to communicate so HIPAA violations do not occur. Why not add a pinball machine and coffee bar? Add free WiFi. Make the waiting room a place where patients don’t mind waiting, but actually enjoy the break in their day.

3. Offer Home/ Work visits: This goes back to idea #1. Do you really need a central office anymore? Would you serve your time better by working from home and making periodic house calls while employing virtual visits most of the time? There is so much wasted time in the office. We get interrupted all the time with this phone call or that fax. Wouldn’t your own time be better served if you could focus on one thing at a time? This would certainly free up time to focus on the other aspects of your life and career that you enjoy pursuing. So much of the office is devoted to running the office that many times our own personal goals are left out.

4. Create a Social Health Network: right now this is the big push with out society--belonging, joining and participating in different social media outlets. I think this reflects our desires to connect first. The problem with many of the social media venues is that we end up reaching out as opposed to actually interacting. Facebook and Twitter are great for developing a fan base, but not so good at focusing on the fans. By creating a Social Health Network, we could each have our panels of patients that we could interact with in more of a community way. This would allow us to interact on the individual level and at the community level. Employing a Social Health Network would also allow our patients to interact with each other. I think that having more of a niche network is exactly what people are longing for--more personal and deeper connections.

5. Redesign Lab Reports: have you seen Flipboard on the iPad? This is where we need to move medicine communication. The visual information our current lab reports provide is so boring and plain. There is no visual dimension to these reports. Far better would be to generate digital reports that are fluid and are actually enjoyable for the patient to interact with. Right now we have trained our society to detest looking at their lab reports because they are boring and don’t provide any visual information. But what would happen if we created digital lab reports that were full of color and motion?

6. Merge our virtual health and real health worlds: We are raising our children in the digital era with great emphasis on the virtual world that trumps reality. Video games, streaming movies, iTunes music, apps, you get my point. So why not take advantage of this and create a virtual health world? Much like the Sims game, we could all create virtual profiles of ourselves that we “play around” with. With the advent of monitoring devices on our mobile phones (sleep cycles, heart rate variabilities, pedometers, etc.) it is now easy to access information about ourselves we never could before. We could stream that type of information to our virtual selves: it appears you have not reached deep sleep for 3 nights in a row--how about trying some Melatonin or Ambien? We would then watch what happens with our virtual selves when we tried this. By combining real data into a virtual world, we would be able to see how our bodies react and respond to different tweaks and changes. As doctors, we could then communicate with our virtual patients in this game-like world as well, providing an extra level of support. By combining our virtual and real worlds we would bring an element of fun and style that is currently missing in medical practice.

One of the major obstacles in reforming our health care system is that we are stuck using the same tried and true methods of practicing medicine. I think we will only be able to break through and create a better system for patients and ourselves when we scrap our impressions of how patients are seen and how we practice medicine.

So what are your visions for the future of medicine?

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