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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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Monday
Feb272012

The general surgeon who sculpted a new physician career

Kathy Stecco MD is the poster child for the physician career of the next generation.

A general surgeon who trained at Stanford in the hotbed of Silicon Valley innovation, Dr Stecco was soon lured into the world of medical device due diligence, biotechnology startups and venture capital.

Encouraged and aided by remarkable mentors, Dr Tom Fogarty of Fogarty catheter fame, and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Mir Imran, she transitioned into co-founding four medical device startup companies, with plans for more in the near future. 

Talk about the patchwork physician career of the future!

She maintains a small concierge-style medical practice to "keep her hand in", while consulting, maintaining her role as an entrepreneurial physician and business owner, and staying sane through her passion for mixed martial arts. Additionally she spends part of the year traveling while supervising global clinical trials.

Listen to my interview with this successful physician entrepreneur and then return to share your thoughts and comments.

And if you would like to be in touch with Dr Stecco to learn more, her email is kathysteccomd@gmail.com.

Friday
Feb242012

Are the physician careers we know today becoming endangered?

As a child, the only physician I ever knew was our crusty opinionated and entirely trustworthy family doc. His physician career spanned almost five decades, in one unbroken line from his first days as a GP in solo practice until his retirement, which occurred way past the age at which most of us would like to stop working. 

His was the typical physician career, representing continuity, professional satisfaction and a lifelong commitment to a largely stable community of patients.

The other physician I know and admire greatly for these same qualities is my husband, a urologist, who still loves what he does and wouldn't trade away any of his doctoring in practice for an alternative.

However, I am going to take a provocative stance and argue that these kinds of physician careers, and the men and women, who have created them are a dying breed.

  • Technology has changed the way we work and interact, permitting unprecedented mobility, flexibility and instant access
  • Healthcare organizations, and the healthcare industry in general, are undergoing sea changes that are upsetting the traditional medical practice model and introducing enormous uncertainty
  • The younger generations have come to expect more out of their careers - more gratification, more freedom, more flexibility, more time off, more control over their schedules
  • They are also less tolerant - of authority, of expectations of self-sacrifice, of work that doesn't give them a sense of purpose, of situations that lack choice and options
  • Even those of us who are boomers are looking for alternatives - seeking more professional fulfillment, greater meaning for the years of work that remain, relief from the "grind", less stress OR perhaps greater reward for the stress that is innate in being a physician. 

How then should you view your physician career?

The signs are pointing to a path that is far from linear. Instead, the physician career of the future is more likely to be comprised of a patchwork of opportunities, some sequential, others simultaneous, in which you will be offered the chance to exercise a wide range of skills:

  • clinical
  • administrative
  • leadership and managerial
  • analytic
  • research-oriented
  • communication, both written and verbal
  • technological
  • inventive and innovative
  • entrepreneurial
  • consultative 

Each is a distinctive skill set that you might want to begin honing.

Does this prediction make you anxious? Or does this thrill you?

I find it rich with creative potential!

A forthcoming attraction in a couple of days -- my "Conversations with Trailblazers" podcast interview with a general surgeon who has truly sculpted a physician career of the future...

Friday
Feb102012

Your physician business website needs simple SEO strategies

How much business does your physician business website deliver to your door?

Do you even know?

My first website was admired for its good looks but I can't honestly claim it ever drove a single client to my doorstep.

Now, whereas I kinda like how The Entrepreneurial MD looks, that isn't what matters to me any more. How it performs as a relationship- and business-building tool is what really counts.

The reason I value this so much is that marketing can be very expensive. Ads, booths at health fairs or conferences, 4-color brochures, even traveling to places to give speaking presentations for no fee or small honorariums -- all this adds up. 

As my understanding grew of how the Internet and search engines work, I learned some important strategies to get business via that Internet doorway. Once your website is up and paid for, if you are willing to use some of your time in ways I'm about to suggest, your marketing costs will plummet, just like mine did.

1. Woo the search engines as vigorously as you woo visitors and prospects

I didn't understand anything about search engines when I first launched a website. But through somewhat painful experience and lots of reading of books like eBoot Camp, Mastering On-line Marketing and The New Rules of Marketing & PR, I began to appreciate the power of words to woo people AND search engines - how you use them, where you place them on your website or on-line content, and how create links from and to authoritative content elsewhere. 

2. Have your article or page title embrace your key words 

The "key" to keywords becomes the secret to unlocking the door to your website. Research one main keyword or keyword phrase you want to use for each page on your website or article on your blog. Include them in the title of your content as close to the beginning of the title as possible. The key is that they should show up somewhere appear in the title.

3. Use hyperlinks throughout your page or article. 

Linking is the fundamental basis of the web. Search engines want to know you’re sufficiently “connected” with other pages and content, so linking out to other pages matters when it comes to search engine optimization.
Here are some “rules of thumb” for linking based on generally accepted best practices:
  • Link to relevant content fairly early in the body copy
  • Link to relevant pages approximately every 120 words of content
  • Link to relevant interior pages of your site or other sites
  • Link with naturally relevant anchor text
Again, these are guidelines related to current best practices. Don’t get hung up on rules; focus on the intent behind what search engines are looking for – quality search results for people.
4. Use some of the excellent tools out there to make organic SEO easy
 

A favorite tool that I use without fail for every blog post now, is Copyblogger Media's Scribe software (this is an affiliate link). The goal is to write a post or article that you can then have analyzed, at the push of an on-line button, from the perspective of a search engine indexing "bot", showing how your copywriting would be perceived by the search engines. Naturally, as a competitive physician, my goal is to score 100% every time! What I love about the tool is the accompanying education AND opportunity to link to other authoritative sites on the web without having to do all that research myself!

They also offer a useful free report teaching principles of SEO - not that mysterious once you have read this stuff and used this tool!


Okay, time to analyze this post and see how I did :-)          (Yay - I got 100% first time!!!)

Friday
Feb032012

Is Physician Dispensing for You?

Occasionally I accept guest posts on topics that I think are relevant to my readers and non-commercial.
This post is an update of an earlier post I wrote on physician dispensing in the office.
--------------------------------------------------------

In 1241, Pope Frederick II signed a law prohibiting physicians from acting as their own pharmacists, and his legacy is still felt today in medical circles. But Frederick didn’t live in a time with FDA regulations, medical licensing, 80 hour work weeks, and real-time video chat. Today, many medical practices have found that offering the additional convenience of dispensing medications in-office has benefited their practices both fiscally, and in quality of care. Patients appreciate the convenience and prefer this one-stop shop approach.

In-office dispensing is the service of dispensing medications directly to patients out of the doctor’s office or clinic. The practice can fill either a short or long term prescription for patients during the initial appointment, thus eliminating the 25% chance that the patient will not fill the prescription at a local pharmacy. Physician dispensing is gaining popularity in fields such as primary care, dermatology, urgent care, and pain management, and can benefit almost any private practice or clinic.

Here a few of the foremost considerations for physicians to keep in mind when deciding if dispensing is right for them, and in looking for a vendor in the pharmaceutical dispensing industry.

Where to begin?
Practices can get into the in-office dispensing business very inexpensively because they don’t need to outlay a lot of capital to test-run the program.  Many practices initially start with a very small medication formulary, comprised of lower cost generic drugs that they prescribe most frequently. As they get more comfortable with the program, and are more confident that it is a fit for their practice,  they can develop a more extensive formulary.

What are some of the various pricing models?
Price and cost  vary greatly from vendor to vendor. In addition to the price for medications,  additional charges may include: a fee to get started, shipping fees, a per bottle dispensing fee, and in some cases vendors may require the practice to buy computer equipment or a monthly fee to run their dispensing software.

While some vendors may suggest it, entering a long-term commitment is unnecessary. Practices should be careful about entering binding contracts that require monthly minimums or that legally obligate them to buy medications for a certain period of time.

Who is repackaging the medications and where are they coming from?
Vendors either repackage the medications themselves or buy unit of use bottles from a third party and then sell them to the practice. Working with a company that is a pharmaceutical repackager eliminates unnecessary middlemen and may provide more flexibility in inventory and custom packaging.

Is the company’s proprietary software up to the industry standards?
The proprietary software of the company you choose should have adequate security to safeguard your patients’ important private data and be HIPAA compliant. A good vendor should be able to integrate with your EMR, and their software should allow the dispensing process to be as efficient as possible, reducing the time spent on dispensing to a maximum of 90 seconds per transaction.

What do I need to know about regulation?
Physician dispensing is regulated by each state so the laws vary. In addition to standard medical licensing and DEA licensing, some states require a dispensing license, a few require an inspection of some kind from the state, and most require the dispensing physician to abide by the same standards as a pharmacist in regards to record keeping, storing, and labeling medications. Before you commit, be sure to ask your vendor, or double check with the appropriate agencies in your state that regulate pharmaceutical dispensing, in case any laws havebeen changed or updated.

What sort of customer service can I expect?
As in any long term business relationship, fast and reliable customer service can be the number one ingredient in choosing a vendor.  In health care, it is imperative that the vendor share the outlook of the practice that patient care and safety is always the first priority.

Thursday
Feb022012

Networking niceties for physicians; even introverts can succeed

When asked about my circuitous physician career and how I have made it happen, I can probably best describe my "strategy" as "opportunistic".

What I really mean is that I have always come up short on having a 10-year career plan (it must be the Aquarian in me who rebels against too much structure), and instead have followed my nose and instincts for opportunities that have presented themselves over the years. And no, those opportunities are not just the result of sheer good fortune, although I do feel fortunate.

They have arisen as an outgrowth of my ongoing efforts to build and maintain a network of friends and acquaintances. It helps that I was raised to be sociable and friendly, despite a tendency to shyness inherited from my reclusive engineer dad -- it was a cultural expectation to show interest and hospitality.

I recognize how hard networking can be if (a) you are super-busy and (b) extremely shy or introverted. But I'm here to argue that your success in your medical practice, your nonclinical business or your physician executive or administrative career is tightly linked to your ability to build up your "know, like and trust" factor!

A recent article on the Harvard Business Review blog, "An Introvert's Guide to Networking" reminded me of the tips I previously put together to help physicians create lasting, valuable networking relationships.

The article author describes her feelings this way:
While I wanted to attend the party, as an introvert I usually avoided these types of events because they made me uncomfortable. Knowing there would be a lot of senior executives at this party made me even more fearful.
Her success secrets (the emphasis is mine)?
  • I learned to appreciate my introversion rather than repudiate it.
  • I stopped being afraid to be the one to reach out.
  • I learned to prioritize time to re-energize.
This last suggestion is powerful, as one of the glaring differences between an introvert and an extrovert is largely a function of one's energy level. Extroverts are energized by social interactions while introverts feel drained and need to find ways to restore their energy.

Your success as a medical practice owner or physician entrepreneur may be closely tied to your ability to build strong relationships with others - isn't it worth mastering these skills?

For a quick a refresher on how to do this well, check back to my Networking Made Natural for Physician Entrepreneurs series (the links to earlier articles that complete the series are all on that page).