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Getting Your Message Out


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Social Media for Physicians, presented at the 2015 American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL

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Getting Your Message Out

  1. 1. Getting Your Message Out Deanna J. Attai, MD FACS Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA ASBrS 2015 Annual Meeting Orlando, FL @DrAttai
  2. 2. No Financial Disclosures
  3. 3. Physician Advertising
  4. 4. The Problem with MD Advertising • Profession vs. Trade: Code of Ethics • “While physicians certainly have financial interests in their work, advertising can make this interest so palpable and conspicuous that it may compromise the trust on which doctors and patients rely.” Tomycz ND J Med Ethics 2006 Jan; 32(1):26-28
  5. 5. Medical Advertising • Alternative Healers • To distinguish – MD’s developed education and licensure standards, prohibited advertising Tomycz ND J Med Ethics 2006 Jan; 32(1):26-28
  6. 6. Trust and Professionalism • Emphasize professionalism and high standards – knowledge, skills, moral/ethical obligation • Obtain patients not by direct appeal to the public but by building reputation in the community Dyer AR J Med Ethics 1985; 11:72-78
  7. 7. American Medical Association • 1849 – AMA establishes board “to analyze quack remedies and nostrums and to enlighten the public in regard to the nature and danger of such remedies” • 1858 AMA establishes Committee on Ethics
  8. 8. Evolution of the AMA Code • “…derogatory to the dignity of the profession to resort to public advertisements… to boast of cures and remedies…” • 1903 revision: “Principles of Medical Ethics” – broader discretion to state medical societies. “Incompatible with honorable standing in the profession to resort to public advertisement….” Dyer AR J Med Ethics 1985; 11:72-78
  9. 9. Evolution of the AMA Code • 1912 revision – “Solicitation of patients…is unprofessional • The most worthy and effective advertisement possible… establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional ability and fidelity. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and conduct.” • 1982: Supreme Court upheld FTC charge: AMA in restraint of trade due to advertising restrictions • AMA barred from making reference to advertising, solicitation of patients Dyer AR J Med Ethics 1985; 11:72-78
  10. 10. Evolution of the AMA Code • 1980’s revision – no comment on advertising per FTC order. Competition between and among physicians and other health care practitioners on the basis of competitive factors such as quality of services, skill, experience, miscellaneous conveniences offered to patients, credit terms, fees charged is not only ethical but is encouraged • It remains for conscientious physicians to decide what constitutes ethical advertising Dyer AR J Med Ethics 1985; 11:72-78
  11. 11. AMA Ethics Opinion 5.02
  12. 12. Federal / State / Medical Board Restrictions • Consumer protection laws, FTC fines • State medical board disciplinary action • Cautions: pictures, endorsements, level of pain, safety/effectiveness of procedure, cure, expert • Testimonials prohibited in some states understand-legal-limits-physician-advertising May 2012
  13. 13. Getting the Word Out • Does not need to be expensive to be effective • Often “little touches” make big first impression – starts with customer service
  14. 14. Customer Service – Referring Docs • Consultation letters • One on one meetings • Office/dinner presentations • Hospital grand rounds • Newsletter / email • This can take time – be patient
  15. 15. Customer Service - Patients
  16. 16. Importance of an Online Presence • 87% of US adults use internet • 72% of internet users look online for health information Pew Research Center 2014 Health Fact Sheet
  17. 17. What’s out there? No control over accuracy of content Emmert et al J Med Internet Res 2013:15(2)e24
  18. 18. Importance of Your Digital Footprint
  19. 19. “When a physician asks, ‘Should I post this on social media?’ the answer does not depend on whether the content is professional or personal but instead depends on whether it is appropriate for a physician in a public space.” DeCamp M et al JAMA Vol 30(6) 2013 What is appropriate to post?
  20. 20. 10 Minute Social Media Profile LinkedIn – non-medical networking. Searchable. Content / links can be posted Doximity – MD site. Searchable. CME, journal access, secure messaging
  21. 21. Personal Website / Blog
  22. 22. Guest Blog Post
  23. 23. Guest Blog Post
  24. 24. Guest Blog Post
  25. 25. Patient-Physician Communities • Many patients not aware of basic breast cancer facts, treatment options • SoMe provide education, misconceptions can be corrected ASAP, patients say helps them talk to their docs • Establish as a thought leader
  26. 26. SM Best Practices for Physicians • General information, guidance, support ≠ medical advice • Don’t forget HIPAA!! • Posts are public • Everything is searchable • Posts live forever
  27. 27. Getting Your Message Out • There are ethical ways to promote yourself as a thought leader and a professional • SoMe essential to building your brand • There is a danger in not getting involved in some form of social media – word of mouth is now via keyboards