By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
One of the most intelligent and insightful physician practice marketing assessments of social media that we’ve seen comes from Kansas City (MO) pediatrician Dr. Natasha Burgert. She committed herself to a one-year project to see if social media would enhance or distract from her pediatric practice.
Fast forward to today. After 12 months of using social media, Dr. Burgert writes: “My practice has seen tangible, real valuable benefits. I have been intellectually challenged, and have professionally grown.” Social media—a blog, Facebook and Twitter (@doctornatasha)—changed her medical practice…for the better.
For her practice, Dr. Burgert notes that social media has increased new patient traffic, creating revenue for the medical group practice. She writes, “I average one new patient family per week who came because of our social media presence. I know this because they tell me, ‘I am here to see you today because I found you on Facebook,’ or ‘I found your blog. 52 patients a year x $2,700 (average pediatric care for 0-24 months) = $140,000 of average billable income over two years.”
She reflected on her year of social media in this post from her blog, KC KIDS DOC, about contemporary parenting. You’ll want to read the full post—Happy blog-irthday!—but some of the important highlights that caught our attention include the following.
Setting the stage, she writes: “I wanted to dip my foot in the pool, and see if it made any ripples. The unexpected consequence of this past year is how much social media has changed my medical practice, and me. Ripples have returned as tidal waves.” In addition, Dr. Bergert writes:
For my day in clinic:
- Investing time in relevant and complete posts actually saves me time in the long run. Questions I am repeatedly asked…can be answered quickly and completely by directing them to my site. This saves face-to-face clinic time for more specific concerns for their child.
For my patient families:
- I can actively communicate, acknowledge, and positively influence the choices that my families make for their children between the checkups.
- I can be a source of reliable, real [healthcare] information. I can act as a “filter” to promote the good and refute the bad [information].
- Being part of the health social media and blogging community has given me a connection and an outlet. I can express myself as a physician and a mom, creating a diary of my life.
And as for the future of social media in her practice, Dr. Burgert concludes: “I will continue to be challenged by the amazing peers and friends in the field. I will continue to learn about life through the eyes of my patient families who teach me something new everyday. And I will maintain the lofty goal of helping families make better decisions for their child’s health in my Kansas City community, and around the world.”
You’ll find related posts here on our blog, including this previous post, Look Who’s Talking: Physician Marketing Finds New Voice for Patient Communications. And you’re welcome to connect with us here for additional insight about social media and ethical, effective marketing for your medical group or solo practice.