When health tech companies work together with physicians to provide better communication and education for patients, it’s a win for everyone. As Michael, Scott, and Jared wrap season 3 and look ahead, they point out the most memorable ideas and mindset shifts they have discovered along the journey. In this episode, you’ll learn how patient and provider perspectives are converging, why oversimplifying patient populations can be dangerous, and why it’s more important than ever to diversify our approach to educating healthcare consumers.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about health care, but how do we keep up? The days of yesterday’s medicine are long gone, and we’re left trying to figure out where to go from here. With all the talk about politics and technology, it can be easy to forget that healthcare is still all about humans, and many of those humans have unbelievable stories to tell. Here, we leave the policy debates to the other guys and focus instead on the people and ideas that are changing the way we address our health. It’s time to navigate the new landscape of healthcare together, and here’s some amazing stories along the way. Ready for a breath of fresh air? It’s time for your paradigm shift.
Michael: Welcome to “The Paradigm Shift of Healthcare,” and thank you for listening. I’m Michael Roberts here today with my co-hosts, Scott Zeitzer and Jared Johnson. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about the journey that we’ve taken as hosts and as a company throughout the course of Season 3, and really how it’s reflecting the paradigm shift that we’ve been observing and we’ve been discussing with our guests. And we’re really excited to share, like, where we’re heading next as a company and kind of how we’re observing that that’s going to meet with where healthcare is going in the future.
So, you know, as we wrap up Season 3 and we look ahead, we’ve been on a journey ourselves since we really started the podcast way back in the summer of 2019. I was just having a conversation earlier today with somebody, and we were talking about how January seems like not that long ago, and yet forever ago. And so, you know, the summer of 2019, that’s beyond forever. And when we started off the show, it really was with this goal of trying to talk about how healthcare has shifted. Like, what are the things that we’re observing that make up the paradigm shift?
I think that conversation has become increasingly obvious, shall we say, as COVID-19 hit and really, as all of healthcare and really much of our lives shifted in some way to try to deal with such a massive event that occurred throughout the world. So there’s lots of different ways that we could go with that topic, but one of the things that we really wanted to talk about in this episode, in particular, is this concept of companies working together with healthcare providers to provide better communication and education for patients. And that’s something that, you know, as we’re talking through all of this change, this has been kind of one of our core beliefs that we’ve had as a company for quite some time.
And Scott, I’m sure that there’s a ton more that we can add to this topic. But we’ve had different types of scenarios where we’ve helped out companies with communicating and educating patients, whether that’s been through something like some sort of coordinated marketing campaign, whether it’s just working directly with a med device company or with somebody else to work on these kinds of campaigns.
And there’s a lot of this kind of stuff that needs to happen, but it’s that coordination with the physician. It’s working with the physician to say, like, “Yes, this is a good idea.” This is why we talk about that. Scott, that’s one of the things that I think that you and I have certainly discussed so many times over of, “Hey, it’s great that you have a marketing campaign, big company X,” whoever that is, “It’s great that you have a marketing campaign, but what about the doctors? How are you bringing them on board?” Can you share some of that conversation that you’ve had with people before?
Scott: And I guess the follow up to that it’s not… What I’ve noticed in the past, and a lot of companies are getting better at this, but ultimately, it’s like, “Hey, here’s this great thing that we came up with,” whether it’s a medical device company, whether it’s a pharma company. And initially, the company was rhapsodic about whatever device it is that they have, or whatever product that it is that they have, and then they start saying, like, “Well, here’s all the benefits to the patient that we think you can get.”
And sometimes the doctor’s voice is left out of that, or only a select few set, you know, a subset of those physicians. And one thing that’s always been clear to me is that in order to be very successful benefits about what empowers the doctor to take better care of the patient, ultimately, is what excites the doctor. And you see that in some ways where the company will come out with direct-to-patient advertising but leave the doctor out of it.
You know, guys, we’ve all been up late at night wondering, “Wow, are we watching the right TV show because a lot of these ads that I’m watching for much older people than me?” And you realize, “No, maybe we’re not that old.” But are they working diligently with the care providers to empower those care providers to really get good information to the patient? That’s where the real trust is. It’s nice to know that they’re trying to build trust between mega-company X and the patient, but in reality, the patient will more than likely finalize that decision about use with the doctor. Right, guys?
Michael: Yeah. And it’s definitely something we’re seeing with pharma all the time. Like, they’re very good at this. They’ve practiced this many, many times over, but it’s not that the rest of healthcare has necessarily caught up.
Scott: Yeah. And it’s funny because we have similar conversations over and over. You know, we’ll be talking to a particular company, and we’ll be talking about like, “Hey, we got all this great patient education, and that’s great. You should put it on everybody’s website.” Okay, that’s a thought, but it’s certainly selling whatever that product is very well. But ultimately, it really is, how does the doctor use that? And, does the doctor believe in that product, and how does the doctor use it to help the patient?
Jared: Yeah, well, I’ll tell you what, I feel like the thought of how does marketing fit in when we really have dissected a lot about what the doctor thinks, what the doctor needs, the tools that the doctor needs, the information the doctor needs to communicate. I think we’ve learned a lot about how a marketing or communications role or team plays when we are starting to talk about the things that need to be communicated in an outbound way to a patient, or to a patient population, to a community, and the educational aspect of all that. I don’t know if, prior to COVID, that we really thought about that as the need, Michael, that you first stated about bringing the doctors on board with anything we’re doing.
And, Scott, when you mentioned that and, you know, with anything, if it’s a marketing campaign, how are you letting the doctors know about it, that intersection just seems to have shifted or maybe there’s just a bigger spotlight on it now. We’re really starting to talk about marketing isn’t just off in an area somewhere doing things that nobody knows about and they’re bringing patients in. It has to be so much more of an integrated experience. I mean, then we had Dr. Costantini from Bright.MD talking about how doctors aren’t resistant to tech. They’re resistant to tech that doesn’t make their job easier.
I feel like it’s the same way with marketing. Doctors aren’t resistant to marketing. They’re resistant to marketing that they’re either excluded from or they don’t understand the value of, you know, that it does make their job harder. It’s one thing to say, “Yeah, we’re just going to take care of this campaign, and we’re kind of doing that in a silo. And doctor, hey, when you look up, you’re going to just see a whole bunch of new patients coming through the door.” And it’s a whole other thing to realize, well, usually, the strength of that marketing actually comes from having the doctors on board. So anyway, just some thoughts on how all this intersection is coming together and how that shifted.
Scott: Yeah, you know, I think it really does start with this. Patients are now empowered to make their own choices. And that’s happened very quickly and rapidly over the last two decades. We all know very well having conversations with our parents, grandparents, etc., about like, “I don’t know. I take two red pills and a blue pill, and I do whatever the doctor tells me.” And that is just not something that is a standard conversation with younger patients. When you were referred in the old days from the primary care provider to a secondary provider, you just went there, whoever it was. That’s not happening anymore. You combine that one statement about patient empowerment, right, with doctor empowerment.
So like Jared, you just said, “Hey, don’t worry, Doc, we’re just going to run an advertising campaign, and all these patients will show up.” And I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with a lot of doctors and surgeons where they’ll come back to me and go, “I don’t want three-quarters of these patients. This is not what I treat,” or, “This is not specifically how I use this device, or how I treat patients.” So by not connecting the dots, by not having an interdisciplinary approach between patient, doctor, and we’ll call it big medical company, you fail. You have a real chance to fail. And just as opposite, you have a real chance to really connect. And so if you’re effective at connecting the dots, you really can highlight your product correctly, you can empower the doctor to get good information and find the right patients, and the appropriate patients will be taken care of. Not everybody needs a particular device or a particular drug.
Michael: So true.
Scott: But there’s more than enough people out there, so there’s no reason to be greedy about it. And if we empower the doctors and the patients with good information so that good questions can be asked, and the medical company can do that, and we’ve helped a lot of companies do that, everybody wins and everybody smiles going to bed at night with a smile on their face.
Jared: Yeah. Michael, is that the concept you were talking about what Scott just described? Like, that’s how it’s a win for everybody? Like, when you’ve got those companies working with the providers to provide education for patients, you mentioned that’s the win for everybody. Is that what you were referring to?
Michael: Yeah, for sure. You know, there is this really important part of education, and I’m going to kind of make up some arbitrary definitions here, like, whatever the outbound process is, right? Like, how are you getting information out there to somebody? And these terms definitely overlap a lot in terms of whether it’s education, or communication, or marketing, or whatever. Getting that info out to people, that’s step one, right, that we’ve planned on that. And this is a way that we’ve seen work well with people that we’ve worked with. We help people do this, like, that’s a big part of, you know, that initial step there.
But then there’s that piece of the patients communicating back. You know, it’s got something about empowering the patients to be able to ask these questions. Well, what’s the plan for once those questions come up? How do you measure what patients are needing? How do you measure what people are trying to figure out in the midst of all this? You know, I think back to the episode with Danny Fell. And he was talking about how many stages of people we’re dealing with at the same time, people that are completely ready to go back to the doctor’s office, you know, back when we were talking about that episode, or like, “Man, no way. My leg has to be falling off before I think about going anywhere near a hospital.” But you can’t communicate to that entire group of people in the same way and expect that this messaging is going to be just as effective. So, there’s this really important feedback loop that has to happen.
Michael: You know, making sure that you’re getting, like, what they need out of it where they’re at, at the moment. You know, we talked to Dr. Cahill about reputation marketing and just getting patient reviews, getting patient feedback throughout the pandemic. You know, so there’s a sort of very, very large scale where if you’re a big medical company X, like, definitely, man, you need to be talking to patients out there, or you need to be finding this research that’s out there and really paying attention to what’s happening.
But that same concept, that same idea scales all the way down to the single physician practice. Talk to your patients. Get that feedback in some sort of, like, structured way. And, you know, Scott, you like to keep hammering home that word “measurable,” but it’s very easy for this to turn into, “Well, Gladys came in and said this, so I think that that’s the way that it is.” It’s like we have the tools to get patient feedback in a much more organized fashion. And then once you have enough data, you can actually start making some decisions about where you need to go next.
Scott: Yeah, no doubt about that. You know, it’s interesting on so many different levels. So we are blessed with the fact that we’ve got essentially two main components to how we do business. So one is we’ve got quite a large group of people, practices, surgeons that we take care of. And there’s a constant conversation of how we market to all these different patients and what kind of feedback they hope to get from those patients, how the doctors always want to get better at what they’re doing.
They really do want that feedback. They really do want to measure, better, are they doing a better job, you know, of communicating with their patients? Are they finding the right patients that they really want to help?
All of that is very, very important to them. In our knowledge that we gain from working with those individual surgeons, doctors, and practices as a whole, we’re able to have that with our second side of our company, I should say, that where we’re interacting with, you know, medical device and pharma companies, and we’re giving them feedback on, “Hey, here’s information about this particular product that you’ve got coming out. Here’s how I would present it potentially to patients. Here’s how I would present it to doctors.”
And by the way, let’s not lump everybody into one big pile as Danny was talking about how there’s so many different subsets. You know, don’t oversimplify this. There’s that old Dunning Kruger effect, right, where you don’t have a lot of knowledge about it, and so you tend to oversimplify it. Not everybody feels the same way about every single product. And so there’s many reasons why people may use a particular product. There’s many reasons why a doctor may use or not use a particular product, right?
Scott: It goes back to that connecting the dots, doesn’t it, guys, I mean, between those two things?
Michael: Just before we hopped on the podcast, I was reading something about the vaccines that are in development, right? So everybody’s trying to come up with the vaccine that’s going to help change the way that we’re engaged with this pandemic. And it was talking about how patients were going to be able to make decisions. Because if it’s not a single vaccine that comes out, but maybe it’s 1 of 10 to choose from because that’s a very, you know, decent possibility that that could be the case, so how do they make decisions? And when they’re engaging with their physicians, when they’re talking to their doctors about this, which one does the doctor recommend?
Which one is the doctor saying that this is the one that’s the best option for you, and this is where you need to go? That’s a huge challenge for every pharma company that’s out there working on this, I’m sure, that how do you shape that perception because the research that I was looking at in particular was talking about… And I’ll be sure to put a link in the notes on this so we give credit where it’s due, but it was talking about the fact that if the physician’s information is opposite of what the hospital is recommending or endorsing, then the patients are more likely to go with what the doctor is saying. And so there’s this chance for this to get so, so messy so, so very quickly as if 2020 hasn’t been messy enough for all those different reasons.
Scott: But use that COVID-19 vaccine, the potential one, you’re right, potential ones that are coming out, decisions will need to be made more than likely by the doctor about what he or she feels is the best vaccine for a particular patient, okay? And, okay, that makes sense to everybody. We trust our doctors. We hope we pick the right ones, and we trust that they’re doing the research necessary. How does the pharma company that comes up with this particular vaccine, if the doctor picks that one, help empower the doctor to help explain that better? Not in language, that’s good for the doctor to understand. They’ve already done that, right, guys?
Like, the pharma companies are great at providing information to the practice or medical device companies for their device in surgeon’s terms or doctor’s terms. That’s great. How do you, though, provide that information to the patient via the doctor, not directly to the patient, which could be for everybody, whereas the doctor is having a one-on-one conversation? It’s a different conversation. That’s, you know, how you’re going to get more people to get better educated. And I always do believe a better-educated patient is a happier patient with better outcomes. The practice is happier. The doctor is happier. The patient’s happier, and ultimately, whoever selling this thing is happier, right? So that’s kind of the connecting of the dots here.
Michael: You know, there’s so much more that we could talk about from this season. I mean, we really had the chance to have a lot of amazing guests on. We talked about everything from insurance. We’ve talked about, you know, different ways of patients interacting with physicians, just a really big variety of things that we’ve talked about this year and previous years as well. You know, we really have hit on a lot of different corners of healthcare and how healthcare is changing. And Jared and I were just recently talking about sort of, you know, where do we want the show to go?
How do we want to keep talking about what’s happening within healthcare? And, where can we kind of direct this conversation next? And it really is a shift for us as we’re looking at what our next season would be. You know, like, I put that in air quotes because we joke all the time internally about, like, “What happened at the end of Season 2? You know, did Danny get reunited with whomever.” But, you know, as we’re talking about, like, health care’s evolving, society is evolving a lot of different ways, and there’s all these different changes that are happening. You know, and we’ve had some changes with our company as well to where… We used to be called Mudbug Media. And if you’re from Louisiana, or you’re from the south, you know what a mudbug is.
And if you’re from many other parts of the country or the world, you have no idea what it is, and it sounds kind of gross. So, you know, a mudbug is a crawfish. I used to live in Indiana, and it was a crayfish up there. And when we lived in Indiana before we moved to Louisiana, when I was living with my family up there, a crayfish was something small in the river that you would fish out to maybe use for bait, you know, for other times. And so coming here was a big culture shock and learning all these different things. And so it was part of the name of our company.
We were, you know, really more of a like a programming and development kind of company, and we had things that we did for doctors as sort of growth out of that process. As we’ve more fully transitioned into really working in healthcare, and this is a process that’s happened over a period of years, but we are now completely focused in this space, you know, this is where we’re at. So, earlier in the year, we started talking about, like, “Hey, how do we start transitioning that name, that concept more,” so that we can talk about how we serve these two sides of our customers that Scott was mentioning earlier, whether it’s medical company X, or whether it’s the physicians?
You know, we work with physicians through the P3 platform and that may have been something that you’ve heard through the show or it may not have been. But, you know, P3 practice marketing is where we work with doctors, and now we have Health Connective. And the reason that we’re bringing all this up and the reason that we’re explaining that is because we’ve been making this transition towards this because it’s really an ideological shift. It’s really, like, who we want to serve the most. You know, getting to participate in this community, getting to work with doctors, getting to work with medical companies that are producing devices and producing the drugs that we use and to help us get better, and all those sorts of things, like, this is where we’re continuing to focus more and more, and that just kind of lines up with what we’re doing here on the show.
But it is this focus of, “Man, how do we contribute to this process that we’re talking about? What are the core beliefs? What are the core things that we want to get out there?” And sort of the main through-line of this show is this concept of we need to empower patients. And the way that we empower patients is working with companies and working with healthcare providers to create this more unified messaging so that some of that jumbled communication that does come out that is very common within healthcare, this group’s recommending this, this group’s recommending this, trying to alleviate that more so that we can empower the patient and do that from several different angles, help working with the larger companies and working with the providers to make this process sort of come together. So, you know, I’m talking about this from a super, super high level, but, you know, Scott, we’ve had the chance to do this kind of work for many years now. This isn’t a sudden shift for us. Like, this is who we’re about.
Scott: Yeah, it’s an organic growth kind of a thing. And I think, to your point, we’ve been doing this for, gosh, over 20 years. I’ve been doing it for a little bit longer than that on my own. And ultimately, I guess we’re very slow in changing the name but really it kind of came about because I guess we’re kind of tired of saying, “Well, here’s what a mudbug is.” And yes, our boss is a little goofy, and he came up with a goofy name. But I believe it’s a transition that’s been happening over the past 20 years. You’ve kind of come on board and taken a look at this and said, “You know what? We need to do a better job of connecting the dots internally so we can tell our customers what we’re about, and better and more efficiently explain how to take advantage of us, so to speak, and take advantage of our skill sets.”
Jared: You know what? It’s really cool, Scott and Michael. I’m on the outside looking in, and I’ve been in the passenger seat. And it’s been a fun ride. I’ve witnessed the success you’ve had helping practices as Mudbug Media. And personally, having been raised on the Gulf Coast, not Louisiana, but close enough, I knew what a mudbug was and I knew what a crawfish was. And so, you know, it wasn’t like this totally… I always liked the name personally, but I understood why this transition was happening and why this evolution happened for the company. And so first and foremost, I want to offer a genuine congratulations. I don’t want to be too self-serving here for you guys, but I mean it. Like, it’s been really enjoyable to witness the evolution that’s happening, and to think about really, why, why now, and why this is happening. I always look back and I see the need for it.
I came up through the ranks of medical device companies, and then I’ve worked for providers. And so I feel like I can actually see exactly what you’re doing from both perspectives, and I can see the need for it. The fact is, there is so much evolution out there in the industry that no one’s been able to keep up from every perspective, and everyone needs some help to connect the dots on it.
And so when we’re saying, when we’re kind of bringing the story of Health Connective of how this has been going on and how it’s happened, and now it’s here, and now we’re all very excited about it, I can tie that back to the very first things we talked about, Michael, about communication and education and how that’s helpful for patients and how that’s a win for all of us. The more that we’re all just starting to connect those dots from both sides of this, the providers and the tools they’re using, and the therapies they’re using, you see the need for ways to break through the noise and people to help guide that process that’s happening. So just from the outside looking in, it’s been cool to watch this happen, and now get to talk about it.
Michael: For sure. Sure. So, you know, this is really the end of what we call Season 3. It is a shift for us because I think that we do want to start talking more about this concept. How do we help enable this education, this communication, that two-way flow between really three…many directions for a flow that need to happen between patients, between companies, between providers, making sure that that communication’s happening back and forth.
And that really is where we’d like to start shifting the show towards and what we’ll be looking at more as we come up with future episodes and where, you know, the guests that we bring on will kind of more directly talk to that process because this is a huge, huge shift in the way that healthcare has operated. This year has been a change in so many different ways, and there is so much to talk about and to get into the specifics of it. I want to really kind of dig deep into how people can make these changes. And so we look forward to discussing that with you. Guys, thanks so much for your time today. This is definitely something that we could talk about for a long time, but looking forward to where we’re going next, and thank you always for listening.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning in to “The Paradigm Shift of Healthcare.” This program is brought to you by P3 Inbound, marketing for ortho, spine, and neuro practices. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.