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About Philippa Kennealy

 

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Tuesday
May082012

This CEO enables physician collaboration via your "virtual back office line"

How many steps does it take you to reach your referring physician colleague to give feedback regarding your recent consultation with his or her patient? Do you have to dictate a letter that must get into the hands of the physician? Must you have your staff get him or her on the phone? 

What is involved in finding an expert who can quickly answer your pressing clinical question while the patient is still in your office? How do you find that expert, and then actually reach him or her?

And, most importantly, how much productive time are these activities costing you each week or a month, as a result of this effort? 

Jeff Tangney is out to transform your experience and return hours of time to you, using the connective power of technology.

As a co-founder of Epocrates, he saw firsthand what having "power in your pocket" looks like - instantly available information that a physician can look up in a moment, to ensure the best care.

This got him wondering about the other transformative powers of mobile technology.

What if you were able to access the intelligence and years of experience of a group of physicians, with a few taps on your mobile?

How would physicians be able to use mobile technology to collaborate? And what was needed to rapidly connect with a referring physician or specialist to who you'd like to refer a patient, or get a quick curbside consultation?

To respond to this perceived need, Jeff Tangney founded Doximity, one of the fastest growing physician networks. Not only is the company thriving, but Jeff has a vision of how networks like his can help sustain the professional freedom that we physicians have come to appreciate and value as necessary to provide the best patient care possible, despite the increasing "corporatization" of medical practice.

Listen to my 20-minute conversation with Jeff and then please add your comments here.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday
May042012

Could You Turn Your Medical Knowledge to Copywriting?

It's easy to see why so many physicians contemplating a non-clinical business or career change feel a sense of nervous excitement and apprehension about branching out on their own. After all, you've put a ton of time into becoming this highly-trained professional, and being a doctor could be all you've ever known.
Starting your own non-clinical business can be a nerve-wracking experience. Perhaps you're wanting to get out of clinical practice but are still looking for that "perfect" business idea to take to the next level. Thankfully, there are many non-clinical career options that will not only let you get a taste of the world of business, but also allow you to put your medical knowledge to good use.
 
One great example of such a business is copywriting. There is currently a significant demand for copywriters with deep insights into healthcare - from hospitals and medical start-ups that need website content, to private research firms and surgery insurance firms.  All sectors of healthcare need technical, scientific and promotional materials.
 
Let's start by looking at what medical copywriting is, and how you could turn your current knowledge into a new revenue-generating career.
 
What is medical copywriting?
 
Copywriting, if you don't already know, is the process of writing words to promote a product or service. Whenever you read an ad anywhere, it's very likely that a copywriter has had a hand in writing it. They are the custodians of the written word in advertising, ensuring that all text content (or copy, as it's known) is accurate, grammatically correct, and that it works conceptually. Don't worry if you don't think you're a great fiction writer; being a copywriter is driven by facts (or at least, making those facts sound as appealing as possible).
Medical copywriting is a more technical discipline, sometimes crossing the boundary into technical writing (another writing-based profession). Consider it to be a subset of medical communications. Most medical copywriters spend time describing devices or various effects of medications, possible side effects, chemical composition, and more. This factual non-poetic writing demands concise, clear factual writing and it's easy to see why those with a solid medical background can find success in this field.
 
How easy is it to transition into medical copywriting?
 
Pharma is an industry that continues to grow. Unlike others that have been negatively affected by an economic downturn, drug companies have tended to thrive - because people always need drug therapies in one form or another. This is great news for a medical copywriter or someone looking to enter such a role. There are many medical copywriter needs in the market, so it's likely that demand outstrips supply - someone with the right qualifications and writing experience can step in and take on the role. Even if you don't feel your writing skills are up to scratch, there are employers who would be happy to offer training in exchange for the right knowledge. As a former physician, you should be able to display this level of knowledge with no problem.
 
Tips for good medical copywriting
 
There is a large divide between 'regular' copywriting and the medical stuff. The language must always be accurate and factual, using medical jargon appropriately, and should not be overtly promotional. This latter difference marks a large separation from the copy you read in typical ads. Whereas regular copy will make promises of benefits to the consumer, a medical copywriter needs to use more measured terms. For example, rather than saying a product will 'cure' a medical condition, the copywriter may choose to say that it relieves symptoms. These clarifications are far more important with medical writing.
 
So now you're asking 'what are the next steps?'
 
The first step is to create a portfolio of writing. This may mean offering to write copy for free for a while. Some aspiring copywriters start blogs, to communicate their writing style, practice writing and market themselves for future positions or freelance projects. Consider joining the AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) - they offer training programs. Or sign up for a certificate program (google "medical copywriting certificate program"). One of your biggest challenges down the line will be to find clients or employers; with a solid clinical background, you should have no problem convincing someone that you're up to the task of the actual writing. Your job as a self-marketer is to persuade your audience that you are worth the investment. After you've got your first gig, simply rinse and repeat. You might just find that medical copywriting was right for you all along! Good luck!
Wednesday
Apr252012

Use the power of the visual to communicate with your audience

I get sent a lot of content, aimed at physicians, to potentially post on The Entrepreneurial MD Blog and most of it is irrelevant or way too cheesy for the likes of you, dear reader. Once in a while however, something piques my interest as it is thoughtful or provocative.

This time it's an "infographic" (contemporary lingo for cool images that are designed to convey information quickly) that caught my eye. 

The information is largely "duh" for most of my physician readers (although I found some of it interesting) but I offer it to you as a way to stimulate your thinking about the ways in which you could present complicated information to your colleagues, patients or clients. 

I imagine it takes someone with an artistic sensibility to create the actual image - but it's nothing that can't be found as a design on guru.com or elance.com -- the last time I used one of these services, I paid $50 to a smart fellow in India to create something a US national might have charged 4 or 5 times as much for.

Let's see what you think of it. 

[Created by: MedicalBillingAndCodingCertification.net - with thanks for your willingness to share]

Decoding Your Medical Bills

 How about that "doctors are overpaid" bit? Provocative!

Isn't it a more fun way to tell a story and make a point?

What compelling idea do you want your next infographic to convey?

Friday
Apr132012

Networking your way efficiently to a new non-clinical position

I recently received this communication via my other website (Women Leaving Medicine) and thought it pointed enough of a question and commentary that I decided to share a portion of it and my response with you.

“I am the primary bread winner in our family.  We have two boys - 3 and 1.  My husband is going back to school for his Masters while he also juggles being the primary care giver for our boys.  I left emergency medicine almost three years ago and did a preceptorship in treating a disease that is medical as well as cosmetic.

I now work for a big corporation and the job allows me to be home nights, weekends, and holidays (which was not possible in the ER).  For that I am grateful.  Ironically I make more now than I did in the ER when I was actually saving lives.  We live modestly and try and save as much money as we can. 

I feel like I have exchanged the crappy ER hours and feeling unsafe in a busy violent urban ER for now being in corporate medicine’s grip. 

I am still amazed at the complete disregard for ethics and the patient-doctor relationship - all for the sake of making money.  I fight and try and stand my ground as firmly as possible but I don’t know how much longer I can keep up the fight.  I really hate that these people can be like this. My gut is telling me to leave.  I have always been good about listening to my gut and know that doing so ensures my happiness in life. 

My question is - how do I find a non-clinical job that will pay me at least enough to support my family while my husband finishes school? 

My interests are in public health, women’s health, international health, politics, policy making, advocacy, the environment and its effect on our health and our children’s health.  I would love to eventually go back to school for a Master’s in International Public Service and work for an NGO or start my own someday- of course, that is on hold until the kids grow a bit and my husband finishes school.

 Any advice or networking leads?”

I initially responded this way (I’ve elaborated some since I’ve had time to think more about it):

Dear X,

One of your best tools to securing work in your areas of passion is your Internet access. You can begin by doing the following:

  • Thoroughly research the organizations and companies whose mission and work truly appeal to you – play Internet Detective, scouring out the information you really want to know.
  • Find out who the key players are in your area of interest. Who are the speakers? Who are the authors? Who is most widely quoted in the press? What are they saying or writing? You are on the path to identifying your next heroes … or mentors!
  • Develop your LinkedIn profile, in which you express your interests, along with your experience.
  • Become a LinkedIn "super-user" - there is a ton of info out there on how to maximize your use of LinkedIn.
  • Using LinkedIn, reach out to those key players or folks in the organization whose profiles you can find on LinkedIn or in other places (try Facebook or Google+) and begin to create relationships. Please note: - This is very different from asking for a job. It is about finding mutual interests, giving, giving, giving - being an excellent listener, making people aware of useful resources, sharing things...
  • Do all of this actively, and over time, you will be able to target the places you truly want to work it AND have the people working there begin to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you. That, at its core, is the basis for getting asked to join organizations.

Since then, I came across this post that I truly believe says it all -- 3 Simple Steps to Making Money From Any Passion by Scott Dinsmore.

So I would add – Don’t be afraid of your passion, and don’t spend the rest of your one precious life wishing for a different one.

Monday
Mar122012

Successful book writing secrets for aspiring physician writers

I confess that I have long fantasized about writing a book, along with learning Italian and learning to play the piano, or reconnecting with my adolescent guitar-playing self  ... for now the fantasies have to remain just that. I guess this blog is my creative outlet for the near future!

But for those of you for whom writing a book is a pressing or deeply engaging matter, the news is good. Help is at hand.

My "Insights from the Professionals" conversation today is with Lisa Tener, a book writing coach, published author, blogger and speaker who is passionate about helping aspiring authors get their message out by helping them write a book and get published.

Not only does she have her own company, but she also serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School continuing education course of writing and publishing books.

Lisa is a whiz at what she does - she has helped several of my clients figure out how to express themselves and their expertise or ideas through the written word, and we talk about some of her book-writing success strategies, such as:

... how to overcome those blocks to getting started
... how to know if you really have a book in you
... how to get a first draft done is as little as 8 weeks
... and much more! 

Lisa is about to launch yet another of her excellent Bring Your Book to Life programs ... designed to walk you through the process of getting your first draft written by the end of the program. It is the one that several of my clients have participated in and used to get their books written and comes highly recommended by them.

Note: She has generously offered a 40% discount for my readers for the class if using the paid in full option, using the coupon code "SAVE40". This is only available until 3/20/2012 so act quickly if you want a considerable savings.

Listen to my conversation with Lisa and then return here to add your comments or questions.