Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 21, 2013
The issue of practice visibility intrigues me because I trained in an era when marketing was a dirty word for physicians. Advertising was not allowed. Word of mouth was the key, which meant that networks developed (often on the golf course) which created referral bubbles. People referred to their friends which often meant that male physicians referred to male physicians and women, in smaller numbers at the time, responded, in kind. Then, drug companies began direct to consumer marketing, the internet appeared, and suddenly, or so it seemed, marketing was not only allowed, but expected. Of course, professionals still refer to their friends, for the good and bad of that, but now, the consumer is more sophisticated and does his own research into his providers. I am excited and pleased with this turn of events, even though, as per my previous post on crowd-sourcing, consumers can write critical comments, often unfounded, and this can tarnish a reputation. On balance, though, the internet has allowed the physician to present herself in a way in which she can beckon those who sense, from their website, blog, tweets, a possible “good fit”. This ‘good fit’ works well for both the physician and the patient. The physician sets expectations before the first contact. The patient has a greater sense of whose office they are walking into. So, yes, Jon, more visibility seems good to me. The more people understand where I am coming from, both in terms of my education and my attitude towards mental health, the better the chances that the person who reaches out to me will benefit from my services. Thanks, Jon, for stimulating this post.