With referring physician groups getting bought out and the ups and downs of patient volumes during the pandemic, practices need a reliable way to grow without having to churn through more patients. Chen Yen, an author, national speaker, and founder of Fill My Holistic Practice and the Introverted Visionary brand, joined us to discuss how practices can do just that. Chen explains her approach to practice growth that helps practices create new revenue streams the “introverted” way.
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Announcer: It’s time to think differently about healthcare, 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 health care together and here are 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-host Scott Zeitzer. This show is focused on the many ways that healthcare is changing and how the consumerization of healthcare is affecting practices. We talk about this topic on a regular basis at p3practicemarketing.com and we invite you to be a part of that conversation. One issue we’ve definitely heard over the years has been referring physician groups getting bought out and leading practices with the need to find new referral sources. If you combine that with the ups and downs of patient volume due to elective procedures getting put on hold due to COVID cases. So you definitely introduce a lot of uncertainty into practices with all of this going on so that’s what led us to our guest today.
Chen Yen, an author, national speaker and founder of Fill My Holistic Practice and the Introverted Visionary brand. Chen helps medical doctors and holistic health practitioners grow their practices the introverted way so they don’t have to focus on churning through more and more patients to have a thriving practice. You can look around Chen’s website at introvertedvisionary.com . And so, just right off the bat, that’s exciting because I definitely consider myself an introvert. We have plenty of introverts here at the company because we’ve got programmers, we’ve got marketers, we’ve got a lot of folks that enjoy working from home and enjoy having their own space. So as we’re digging into your story here some, Chen, can you tell us how you went from being a pharmacist to getting medical doctors and holistic health practitioners business make-overs and let’s touch on some of this introverted visionary component of that as well.
Chen: Sure. So I started out as a pharmacist working on native American reservation travel assignments and enjoy the travel and the adventure and getting to know the different tribes. But after a while, I started feeling a bit jaded going to work every day because I remember this one time I gave this woman, her Prozac medication, and I just felt so frustrated. Not at her, but at what our healthcare system was putting in front of her as if that were the only option and I was endorsing it because the truth was I grew up in a family that was pretty conservative with taking medications. And yet I would see little kids come in and get immunization shots and leave with a little cocktail of medications, Tylenol, and a few other medications, even when they weren’t hurting anymore. And then I would also see adults come and leave with bagfuls of medications.
15 to 20 was no big deal for a lot of our patients who were seeing their primary care providers and leaving with that all the time. And I just thought… It just drove me crazy. Have you ever been in a place in your life where you felt like you didn’t like what was going on, but you also didn’t know what to do next? Well, that was what was happening to me at the time. And so one thing I did know though is I had to get out of here. So I noticed that other pharmacists around me were unhappy with their jobs too. Some were counting down towards retirement and government jobs, and I thought, oh, not a way to live. So what if I could help them get into jobs they enjoyed more? And fast forward five years, I started and had grown a successful recruiting business to seven figures in that timeframe.
And I used to always just think, okay, if I make more money then I could just do what I really cared about outside of work, but it didn’t show up that way for me. I went through a timeframe where I did a lot of soul searching and finally came out the other side of it, realizing I need to stop pretending. Stop pretending that it was okay to still primarily be involved with selling my soul for people to be on drugs. I had this other side of me that was just very into holistic things. Little things, I still don’t own a cell phone and I can’t imagine I will ever own one. And so then I thought about what can truly integrate our healthcare system and imagine people had the best of both worlds, that people had access to conventional medical care, because it is amazing for a lot of things.
But then for the areas that there might be shortfalls then and limitations to drugs and surgery, there are other approaches that are available and can be very beneficial. And so that’s what led me to help many holistic health practitioners, functional medicine practitioners, MDs and DOs, who are wanting to get more into that space of integrative care. Since then, we’ve helped many clients both in the conventional medical side, as well as holistic health. For example, acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic doctors. And I believe that it’s not going to be the government that changes things, the insurance companies that changes things or the drug companies that changes things. It really starts with you being able to understand, as doctors, being able to understand… because people are, are seeking this themselves, whether they tell you or not, there’s more of a movement towards it. And so as a physician, it’s really important to understand these different options so that you can really be a better provider for your patients.
Michael: Absolutely. So, help me with the introvert side. How does the introvert part of it play into this as well?
Chen: Sure. So as a healthcare professional growing a business, I always found… When I first started my business, I didn’t know anything about business and I would struggle and I hired mentors from the start, but they would tell me to do things that are very extroverted-ish and by the end of the day, by two o’clock in the afternoon, I wouldn’t have done anything. And I thought, oh my gosh, it just keeps going on, this might go out of business. Did you know 30 to 50% of people are actually introverts, but most of what’s taught about how to grow a practice assumes that you’re in extrovert. And so it doesn’t work so well for us introverts.
And so that’s what led us to help, especially introverted visionaries who don’t necessarily want to do it the draining and exhausting extroverted way, both in the way of marketing, but also the practice, but also in the way of seeing patients, because this definition of success, many times, might feel like it needs to be a high volume practice. But for us introvert is very, very tiring. So then how can you build a practice that is an honor of your own energy flow and still have a successful practice where you’re helping many people? Our clients work with us to create those businesses and even bring in other streams of income beyond just seeing patients one-on-one as well.
Scott: That’s awesome. I know Michael and I go to a lot of meetings together. I am definitely an extrovert. Michael is not, Michael’s an introvert. And about halfway through the day, I’m completely energized. I’m talking to all these people and Michael just wants to go hide in a corner somewhere and just go, “Oh my God, how do you do this?” And I’m like, “How do you not? This is great.” And I am happy to hear about defining success, especially for people who they always got straight A’s, they were good hardworking students and, they go pick, let’s say medicine, as one of the fields they want to get into. Well, the only way for me to be successful is to just see millions of patients constantly and save everybody. And that’s not a great way to define success. I’m glad that you’re kind of repointing that a little bit. I think that’s helpful for everybody, quite frankly.
Chen: And also, especially with the current healthcare system and the pressures of insurance for the doctors who are primarily insurance based, it could feel that way. Even if they don’t want it to be that way, it ends up being that way. See, I know part of the conversation, we’re going to have today is more also about other possibilities aside from that too, so that you don’t get burned out by these paperwork, the insurance rigmarole and cat and mouse game and having a [crosstalk 00:08:49] time where patient-
Scott: That was my big question for… It’s a good lead-in for that. What are the biggest struggles that you’re hearing from doctors right now?
Chen: Definitely one of them being the insurance reimbursement issues, because I hear things about how there are people getting paid less than they used to be. Also the paperwork and the cat and mouse game just continues to be a challenge and even things that really should be covered… If you fill out paperwork a certain way, then it’s not going to get covered. And so it’s just a lot on either of the admin staff and also the physician ends up needing to touch that too. And so the other thing is that there are… Even if, as a doctor you’re busy, it also would be nice to bring in another stream of income beyond just seeing patients too. Because for one, this is something that as physicians, when you were seeing patients and busy with that, this may not be the first thing you think of, but think about all the things that you know about and that you’ve learned over the years after all that schooling and training and practicing. There are things that you can educate other people on, whether it’s the lay public or other practitioners on. And then even be bringing in another stream of income through that, for example, what would that look like?
So it could be anywhere ranging from, could you put together something that’s an automated online course where you teach about a particular health topic in one area of expertise and then share that with public, or it could be to other practitioners as well. Are there things that you figured out clinically that can be beneficial for other practitioners to understand, or maybe just even within the practice too. Are there things workflow wise that are, think back to when you first started practicing some things that you probably never really thought was that… you didn’t know what to do about certain things, but now you do, since you’ve been in practice. Now those things could be offered to other practitioners in the offices, more doctors to streamline their practices. So there’s a range of that. And then there are also physicians who end up having more of a brand where they are educating people on different supplements.
It’s of interest to you, whether it’s supplements or products that are health-related and having… you can either have your own store online with that. And it could be that you offer other well-known products that are through good manufacturing practice and everything, or you can also like big brands. Or you can end up private labeling, for example, there’s actually an MD who, I believe she has had degrees from a few different well-known universities. I was just seeing that she just created one supplement, not 10 or 20 or anything like that, just one. And it’s a blend of immune support supplements. And then she educates people about it and offers it. So there’s a range of what can be done too there that can benefit the public and also their providers bring in enough income.
Scott: I definitely see that a lot with dermatology. You’ll go to the dermatologist’s office and they’ll basically have a separate section in a lot of derm offices where there’s a lot of products that they just believe in, they keep referring about it and they go, look, guys, you don’t have to buy from here, but it’s here. I like it. And it does provide for another stream of income. It’s obvious that, that’s happening. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I think it’s actually intelligent to me to do that kind of thing. I remember I do a lot of pushups to try to stay healthy. I’m getting older now and my arms started twitching a bit. And of course I did the smart thing and at three o’clock in the morning, self-diagnosed myself, which was really not a good idea. Don’t do that.
And I remember calling my primary care provider and her answer was great, which was, “when was the last time you had a banana?” Why? “Well, there’s magnesium in a banana. And I think that would really help you and also stop going online to self-diagnose yourself.” And I had a banana and that took care of that. And she actually went down a pathway where she does do a lot of other things other than just seeing patients and her success is not volume. It’s actually slowing down, seeing more people and doing some of your other types of things. You mentioned other supplements or speaking, are there other potentials streams of income that you’re starting to see that… you mentioned automated online courses and products. Tell me a little bit more about speaking. When you talk about speaking, is that online or in person or, in COVID, is it a little bit of both I guess.
Chen: Speaking can be… I even consider speaking… So there are a couple of reasons to consider this, whether you have an insurance based practice, or if you want, especially if you’re wanting to transition to more of a cash based practice or offer other things to help people that can bring in another stream of income, because many people may not know about you. Or as you mentioned earlier, there are physician groups getting bought out and then you’re meeting new referral sources. So when you’re able to educate people about how you can help… and they get to see, they get to experience if they resonate with you or not, they’re much more likely to come to you then if they didn’t. I mean, just think about even the insurance situation. How do people end up finding their physicians? Well, for one, they might look in an insurance directory and this huge list comes up.
Or maybe the doctor, if it’s referring out to a specialist, which I know you work with specialists for orthopedics. So it comes through referrals, right, but like we were talking about earlier, having other alternative sources of patients is helpful. And so when you can educate people and then also have a way of inspiring them to come into the practice if it would be helpful for them or to things like automated online courses. There are actually physicians out there who’ve chosen now to have, okay, I just want to have a virtual practice or I just want to do telehealth, or I enjoyed practicing and seeing patients before, but now I just want to focus on, okay, I’m just going to do automated online courses, that’s it. Or I’m going to have the supplement store and then educate people about that.
So regardless of what you choose, or even there are some physicians who also just primarily teach other physicians or practitioners about different topics and anywhere charging from hundreds of dollars per person to thousands of dollars, depending on what kind of training and things that you’re offering people or other practitioners. So based on your interests and… the cool part about speaking is that all you need is to have one talk that is your signature talk, and you can give it over and over again in front of different audiences to inspire, whether its new patients to come from it or really get known as the go-to physician by speaking to other providers too so that more people would refer as well. So I think it’s, it’s overlooked. I think many times physicians think about this as, okay, if I like to lecture, then I’ll do stuff like that, but they don’t think necessarily, oh, I just enjoy educating and there’s this whole other world where it’s not like you have to be so, what’s the word, like professor to do well, or enjoy this and help a lot of people.
P3 Pro Tip
Hey, it’s Michael here with your P3 pro tip for the week.
While it’s fairly easy to track how many patients fill out your appointment request form after viewing your website, have you ever wondered how many website visitors opt to call your office instead? Though it sounds more complicated, there are some fairly simple and HIPAA compliant ways to track who calls your office after viewing your website. Call tracking services like CallRail are fairly easy to install on your website and can be relatively inexpensive depending on your volume of calls. These services collect data on who called, when, and how long they were on the phone. They also aggregate information on call volumes by day and time and missed calls and can provide HIPAA compliant recordings of calls to go back and reference. Not only can this information be helpful in making marketing decisions, but also to help staff your office during times when call volumes peak and to evaluate calls for quality assurance. All of this information can make call tracking worth the investment for a practice.
So listen, if you’re just joining us, this is the Paradigm Shift of Healthcare. And I’m Michael Roberts here with Scott Zeitzer and our guests, Chen Yen. And today we’re talking about additional streams of revenue for practitioners. We’re also talking about even using speaking and Chen, one of the things that we talked about before today’s call, before this conversation, we were talking about some of how Scott and I had been involved with a similar kind of setup. But kind of, what I’ll call the old school model, where basically an organization might say, pick out a meeting room at a hotel, invite a bunch of couples, a bunch of families in to hear about a particular topic, or they might even do the same thing with physicians.
Like the specialists that we would work with would potentially have some kind of gathering like that. And all the primary care physicians would come in to hear about it. So a lot of what we were talking about around this is kind of… this is kind of the new school model of the same concept. I mean, this is an idea that some people have even participated in it, but they may not have said, oh, I can do this on zoom also. I can set this up as a Facebook event also. There are other ways to kind of modernize this process.
Chen: Yes, it’s really exciting because instead of having to speak in person and in a conference room or at a hotel, you can do this virtually as long as you have an internet connection and a laptop or computer. And I would say this is available even before COVID happened. And now it’s just been fast tracked to the point where people are even more receptive to it now than before. So it’s really exciting because there are different opportunities that many physicians can take part in. Both in the conventional medical world or in the integrative world or in the functional medicine world. And what are those different kinds of opportunities? So there are opportunities where you could either do things yourself and create a platform yourself, or you could get booked in front of other people’s audiences. For most of you because you’re busy, I would say it’s just easier to get booked in front of other audiences, because then you don’t have to do the legwork of trying to get people to show up to your webinar or-
Michael: Or pick a hotel or any of that other stuff you’ve already done.
Chen: Right. But if you have your own platform, you could do things like, okay, YouTube you have your own YouTube channel. There’s for example, I know a physician who started a… he started the YouTube channel actually just during COVID and he just made it a point to share helpful Q&A types of things on there. And now he’s built a huge platform there. And so if you wanted to host your own platform, YouTube is one way to, in terms of medium, there are certainly other kinds of mediums, too, whether it’s through Instagram or Facebook lives, but many of you would probably think, I don’t want to mess with that kind of thing. I just want to be a doctor. So I think for most of you, it might be easier to… it is easier, not might be. It’s easier and my preferred way, as well.
Even for ourselves too, is creating one webinar and a signature webinar that you can give in front of other organizations. So what kind of organizations could it be? So there are organizations that are either more business kind of organizations or women organizations, or they’re also corporations you could be speaking in front of. Did you know corporations pay for speakers to come in and speak. And then there are also venues like universities where they often look for good speakers in their different departments and they always have a budget for every year as well. And those are just a few of the opportunities. There are other kinds of opportunities too, whether it be the… one great opportunity that, if you would like to be increasing the referrals you get, because how many of you would love to have more referrals for all sources.
And one avenue is, you could actually interview other practitioners or look for interview opportunities from other practitioners and how might that be helpful so that way, you could both expand your reach of your audiences. That’s an opportunity for you to have time for a connection with another provider who maybe normally wouldn’t… may not find the time to talk to you. And so that’s also one avenue that’s worked really well for our clients. And then there are, in terms of organizations that, because there’s a range of types of places you could be speaking at both paid and free talk situations. So what I decided to do is actually give you all a link to that, which will be in the show notes, and I’ll give it to you right now for those of you who might be listening and want to go to the site and download it. You can go to getbookedspeaking.com/podcast.
So it’s getbookspeaking.com/podcast. And we put together the Top 10 Best Places to Speak and Get Patients Quickstart Guide. I mean, although there are 10, there are also different kinds of organizations as examples underneath it too, specific ones as well. So that can help you get a head start on what kind of opportunities there could be for you as a physician wanting to educate people more. One thing about this too, is that when people see you as a go-to doctor, it’s really different than… when you’re featured as a guest expert, you’re seen in a different limelight and then other purchase. And again, especially if you’re interested in going, transitioning to more of a cash based practice, then it becomes even more important. Or offering other kinds of service offerings beyond seeing patients, then it’s definitely very, very helpful.
Michael: Absolutely. We have a variety of clients that we work with and some of the scenarios that you’re talking about here like cash pay for some of these kinds of procedures, if you were considering going from one country to another, potentially to get some kind of treatment around that. It’s more than just a quick shopping experience. I like to actually think about traveling somewhere else to think about that kind of commitment that the patient’s making. So really reassuring that patient that, Hey, not only is this person a good surgeon, but here are the talks that he or she gives, here are the different ways of reinforcing just how much of a go-to person they are and this kind of stuff.
It’s a different level of brand building and a different level of expertise building that I think that a lot of people are used to when it comes to working with patients directly. We know that they’re going to go try to speak at the big conferences, we know that they’re going to try to maybe get those kinds of spots, but it’s not always something that they’re thinking about in terms of just getting patients in the door, but the environment has changed so much. So some of these things where you’re talking about where thinking of this, almost like a media persona, right, where you need to get in front of other practitioners and get in front of their audience or their patient base. And it’s a lot of kind of media meets medicine to kind of make these things come together. So this is very exciting. I know that you had mentioned some other resources that you have for our audience. Is there anything else that you think would be really useful for them to hear about?
Chen: And then one other cool thing about this too, is that, and this is something that our clients end up getting really excited about, is that when you have a webinar that is very helpful and, and it ends up bringing in patients because it’s designed that way. Because there’s a difference between just educating in a lecture way versus the skillset of being able to not only educate and inspire new patients to come from it. The other thing is that I think there’s going to be more interest in certainly, of course, depending on what kind of physician you are, you’re still going to see patients in person. But they’re also more people interested in telehealth these days, too.
Michael: Quite a bit, yeah.
Chen: Even if they’re going to be coming down to see you for surgery or something, but then before, that you could do things through telehealth. But some patients don’t really understand quite the benefit of telehealth until they actually do it. And so this again is one of those scenarios where, when you’re seen as the go-to physician and you offer these services and people are more likely to say, oh yeah, okay. They’re really well known. They’re a go-to physician, then I’m going to do this telehealth thing with them. So, yeah. And so I think those are just a few other things that I wanted to point out.
Michael: Well, thank you so much for joining us today. As always everybody thank you so much for listening today. You can always find us streaming on HealthcareNOW Radio, on our website at P3practicemarketing. You can find Chen at getbookedspeaking.com/podcast, as well as the introvertedvisionary.com. So thanks so much for joining us today and everybody have a great week.
Announcer: Thanks again for tuning into the paradigm shift of healthcare. This program is brought to you by Health Connective, custom marketing solutions for medtech and pharma. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.