A Summary of the Good, the Bad and the Useless in Social Media for Surgeons by Sarah Sherwood, Publicist
Social media can be a powerful tool for surgeons: it can provide medical information to patients and help you connect. It can also deliver the kind of visibility that helps with career advancement, third party relationships or as a resource when we want to be heard about a particularly important issue. But certain social media tactics and tools can also be a waste of time when you have such little time to begin with. Here, I’ll discuss how to navigate this still fairly new, vast tool.
How I Would Dedicate 15 Minutes Each Day to Social Media
The Twitter audience can work well for surgeons. It is designed to be quick and higher level. I highly recommend using Twitter for colleagues, not patients. You do not want certain patients to have public access to you, so please restrict who you follow and who follows you by choosing content only your target audience is interested in. Choosing this particular network will also save you time. The goal should be communication and relationship building with colleagues.
One method of limiting your audience to colleagues and peers is to use your first name only. Twitter CEO Jack Dorcey uses just @jack for a reason: to show that access to him is limited to those who either know him or would impress him. Using your first name with numbers or symbols with it can help secure the approved use of your name.
I also recommend defining your use of Twitter topics ahead of time so that there is a discipline to the process and you can gain comfort in knowing you do have boundries. For example, your priority content for Twitter may be something like this: news of my research; interesting news with my comment; my opinions on [this] topic; colleague praise. You will also want to tweet out any interviews you do or any on line coverage of your good work. Trust me, this saves time.
Further, I counsel my clients to tweet their impressions at conferences. It gives you a record of the event and stimulates appreciation from those who could not go.
You can quickly keep up with what colleagues and friends are doing.
It was once thought that people only use LinkedIn when they are job hunting, but that isn’t always true. LinkedIn can work well to remind your colleagues that you are practicing and that referrals are welcome. Simply fill in updates and let your connections know when there is something news worthy about your life or career. Connect with anyone who can be a referral partner.
Use updates to post your papers, any media coverage or events you are involved in. There is a place to post your presentations, and I recommend you do so to increase your audience. Make sure you announce that it is available.
I don’t recommend their message center—stick with good old-fashioned email to make sure they received your message.
I use Facebook to keep up with my adult kids, who are at the age where they use it regularly. But I also have a professional page—and that is my priority on Facebook. Here you can post updates on your activities and provide information on the same topics I mentioned above.
I recommend limiting your time and your content. Make sure it is restricted to ensure there is no drama or errors. There is new survey data that people who spend a lot of time on Facebook experience anxiety. While we don’t know for certain yet if this is true, it may be a good idea to stick with it as a business tool, because it is no substitute for good relationships.
If you want an on line platform for free-flowing information that is for physicians only, Sermo might work for you. It is popular with physicians in general. Keep in mind that you are still public and your words can be repeated, but having another place to share information among peers, much like this one, can be satisfying and stress-relieving.
Sarah Sherwood has been a publicist for 26 years, working with great clients like SLS. www.sherwoodcommunications.com
Legal Issues: Managing Your Money Effectively
By Harry Rein, M.D. J.D.
Doctor – Lawyer – Judge
Legal Issues: Managing Your Money Effectively
By Harry Rein, M.D. J.D.
Doctor – Lawyer – Judge
Physicians live in a world of financial uncertainty dependent on the actions of the stock market, government, the hospitals in our community, the uncertainty of future medical insurance, taxation of our hard earned income, and even the whim of our legislators. Planning, prediction, understanding and control are essential.
I have seen the metamorphosis of the medical enterprise system of practice go from cash only for services rendered and occasional bartering service for products, to negotiating with insurance companies for your employees, contracting with large corporations for their employees, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, to the further development of Medicaid, Medicare, and finally to the new controversial Obamacare. Amendment, alteration, and replacement of all of these events are certain to follow. They have and will continue affect your personal pocketbook, just as hospitals engulfing private practices has done. You know how these affect your emotional response better than anyone does, but the reach and understanding of such financial encroachments requires more.
I am Harry Rein, a doctor, lawyer and judge, who has lived through and participated in these events and in the development of a detailed money management technique that I will discuss here. I make this information available to private practices through my lectures and private consultations because these issues are so important.
The secret is an open method known to many but implemented by relatively few physicians and high earning professionals, because it seems much easier to accept the status quo than to invest in learning how you will be affected by legislation, your competition, and what hospitals have planned for your community. These plans are sometimes surprising; even, financially shocking.
One example that very few physicians know about, or think about, or plan for is what is known in Florida legislation as the ” balance billing” issue. This particular Florida statute was aimed at emergency room physicians, who, under its terms would not be permitted to bill the patient for a balance not covered by insurance, nor for any part of the fee if there was insurance company refusal to pay for the particular service. This law is one of many that negatively affect physicians. Others can be sure to follow. There are dozens of traps, but for every one of them, if you are in private practice, there are beneficial plans of action.
Business planning, professional expenses, financial prudence, and the old Benjamin Franklin teaching, “ A penny earned is a penny saved” is meaningful every day and must be expanded to include office overhead, negotiated insurance fees, the use of car purchases and leasing, your children’s education, golf weekends, and what physicians do worse of all other professions: investing and financial planning. I continue to be amazed by how poorly balance sheets are prepared and not understood by us, a large group of highly trained
professionals. I have concluded it is because of continuous substantial cash flow. This is particularly true in reference to investing – in the industry known as money management.
There are many kinds of business ventures: conservative, aggressive, balanced, speculative, domestic, international, bond portfolios, common stock, penny stocks, real estate, and more. Speculative portfolio salespeople know and frequently joke privately that the easiest high-income professionals to sell are physicians. This has serious implications and impact on your family financial planning; because we as physicians work under significant stress. At the same time we are subject to frequent and continuing financial opportunities. But these opportunities can be evaluated very poorly. The preparation process for determining a roadmap must not be done without the right knowledge, understanding and interpretation of family status and all financial resources and expenditures, present and projected.
At the core of financial planning is resource preservation. You may lose many of your good investments. And, you may even lose some of your great investments. But when you win, how great it feels.
If you are a laparoscopic surgeon, think of why you do not operate on acoustic neuromas. All of our individual skills require specialized training, understanding, experience, individualization, and successful repetitive performance. Ask yourself, “Is the right thing being done at the right time, in the right way for the right reason, and getting the desired result? And if not, why not?” That is the definition of my risk management method, applicable to all professional fields. This definition and method have been under continuous development for the past 40 years.
Dr. Harry Rein has taught SLS programs for over a decade and has consulted in 30 states and five countries. He is the only active physician, trial lawyer and retired judge in the U.S. and is known for his teaching and lectures. He is the author of From Stethoscope to Gavel: Of Becoming A Doctor, Lawyer and Judge (on Amazon). Currently a trial lawyer whose practice includes teaching doctors his money management program that “Money Can Buy Happiness”. You can reach him at: DrRein@uscourt.com; or see www.uscourt.com; or the best way is call: 407-333-4444