Healthy, Wealthy, & Smart Episode 349: Madeleine Silva - The Empowered Patient Journey
Karen Litzy touches base with Madeleine Silva to discuss the empowered patient journey. Madeleine supports a wide range of holistic doctors, healers, and practitioners looking to reach their dream patients. Madeleine is a sought-after healthcare speaker and an innovative healthcare futurist and an acclaimed healthcare business coach.
In this episode Karen and Madeleine discuss:
- The digital disruption of healthcare and how it's impacting providers
- What is the "Empowered Patient Journey"?
- How to build a community for your practice with Facebook live and Facebook groups
- Patient myths that can stifle success
Welcome to The Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart podcast. Each week we interview the best and brightest in physical therapy, wellness, and entrepreneurship. We give you cutting edge information you need to live your best life healthy, wealthy, and smart. The information in this podcast is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as personalized medical advice. And now here's your host, Dr Karen Litzy.
Hey everybody, welcome back to the podcast. Today's episode is brought to you by the fine folks over at Net Health. If you're not familiar with Net Health, they are ReDoc powered by xfit. It's a cloud based fully integrated EMR and billing solution where you can expand your visits, get paid for your services, ramp up patient engagement, and eliminate worries about documentation and compliance. Which is awesome when you have your own business. So to learn more about ReDoc and complete revenue cycle management services, check them out at nethealth.com/healthy. So thanks to Net Health for sponsoring today's episode with my guest, Madeleine Silva. Madeleine teaches health professionals how to thrive in today's rapidly changing patient driven economy. She helps entrepreneurial providers create a mission based marketing system to build trust and community, and of course, new patients. If you want to check her out and more information about Madeleine, head on over to freedomswitch.com and for all of the listeners of Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart, she has a special gift for you guys.
So head on over to freedomswitch.com/drlitzy and get your free gift from Madeleine. So a big thanks to Madeleine for giving all the listeners a nice, fun gift. What do we talk about in this episode? The digital disruption of healthcare and how it's impacting providers, what is the empowered patient journey, how to build a community for your practice using social media, and patient myths that will stifle your success. Lots of great, practical take-home tools today from Madeleine, so I hope you all enjoy. Hi Madeleine, welcome to the podcast. I'm happy to have you on.
Thank you so much. I'm so thrilled to be here.
Great. What I would love for you to do, is if you can tell the audience a little bit more about you and what you do.
Yes, so I'm a healthcare business coach. Sounds kind of cut and dry, but what I really do is teach health professionals how to really thrive in today's patient driven digital economy. Because, as you might have noticed, it is not business as usual. It changes.
No, it is definitely not business as usual. I love that you right off the bat brought up the digital world. There's a lot of... As you said as we were talking before we went on air... This digital disruption of our healthcare system. Can you expand upon that?
Yes, so digital disruption, I think, is actually greatly misunderstood in healthcare today because most people, when you talk about that, they think, "Oh, I'm in healthcare, I'm all high touch. So it doesn't really have anything to do with me because it's just about technology and innovation." Or, "It means I need to be on social media to market my business." And I think that's a big mistake, because the biggest disruption that's happening to healthcare right now that digitalization's bringing about, is that shift that it's creating for the patient. The patients are behaving differently, and what they want from the health professionals is totally different.
For example, we now have 80% of adults researching online their health concerns long before they ever step foot in a provider's office. So I'm sure, you know, people come in, they have their folder of information and they're searching and they're pretty well studied. Information that used to only be available to really huge organization and governments, are now available with a few clicks on somebody's phone. So people are highly educated, but it also mean they're highly skeptical. I think that it's actually harder to convert patients now than ever.
Mostly... And also this idea that we've been doing for a long time is what I call one touch marketing, where you're doing a little bit of marketing here, a speaking gig, maybe you do a health fair. Maybe you do a little patient appreciation day in your office. It's just one by one marketing tactic that doesn't really work anymore. You really need to create a journey for people that really builds trust. So they really get to know you long before they come into your office, if you want to have a success rate at bringing people in and having them actually turn into paying patients.
I love that you said, "People are researching more." So aren't they then also coming in with maybe more biases than they had been before?
Exactly. They're way more skeptical, and I think it's a couple of things. One is fake news is definitely tying in, they're researching online. So that's like your modern day patient, they're looking at these pieces, and they're also being bombarded. Aren't we constantly being bombarded with sales nonstop in media and everywhere we go? So how do you discern, and how do you sift through all of it and decide, "What is for me and what's not for me?" I think it's... Anybody who is looking and researching online for a health concern, you go online and type in arthritis, or joint pain, or sciatica. Imagine the ridiculous research that comes up. How do you even know what's true? So much of it is totally contradictory and really overwhelming for patients.
I think this is where it's really important for providers has an opportunity to really step up and be the leaders.
What can we do as practitioners, then, to get those people to come to us, to see our value, and to help them on that journey that you alluded to earlier, this empowered health journey?
Right, so I call it the empowered patient journey because I think what people are mostly looking for from their healthcare provider today, is actually to be empowered. To have a multitude of information available to them, but it's really hard to make good decisions. In recent research it's been found that patients are actually willing to pay out-of-pocket for a healthcare provider that listens, that cares, and that shares willingly information. Much more willing to pay out-of-pocket for that than somebody who's simply going to provide results. They actually care more about your bedside manner than they do about the results necessarily that your care will give. That, I think, is a huge shift-
... In just how patients show up. Huge, right?
That also means that they want you to help them make clear and good healthcare decisions. They want you to lead them and show them what it looks to be healthy. So when I talk about the empowered patient journey, the way it looks is that it has multiple touches. So for example, we utilize a lot of social media, we do, because I think it's phenomenal way of reaching hundreds, thousands of potential patients in a very short amount of time. You can do it for free, Facebook Lives are free if you want to do a Facebook Live or listen to a podcast. A lot of this information is free, right? It's a powerful way of sharing your message. And if you can go out there...the very first thing is to having a very clear message. I think a lot of healthcare providers make the mistake of really leading in their marketing with their credentials, "I'm a physical therapist." Well, that doesn't really let me know how you're different from the physical therapist, or even the chiropractor, or the naturopath down the road.
Absolutely. Can you give an example of... Maybe we can use me as an example. Yes, I'm a physical therapist. I have a home care practice in New York City where I see patients in their homes or their offices. I specialize in treating patients with chronic pain, or persisting pain, if you will. So what can I do to get my message out? I know that's a teensy little bit of information for you, but using that as an example, how could I market myself to differentiate myself from others? I know you only have that little teensy bit of info, but-
Great, no, that's a phenomenal question. I'm just going to utilize Facebook as a platform.
There's plenty of other platforms you can utilize. For example, I think starting doing regular Facebook Lives maybe twice or three times a week, when you are really just on for three to five minutes, giving people really tangible, useful tips about how they can recover from chronic pain, or persistent pain. Maybe there is some helpful exercises they can do at home. Maybe there is some home remedies you can recommend, maybe there is some dietary restrictions you would consider for people. Little tips that people can do from home, really educating them, too, on maybe the dangers of continuing having persistent pain and how it can maybe lead to disability down the road. And how important it would be for them to actually come in and see you and getting that checked out. So educating them on the broader picture, utilizing your own expertise, and articles, and research, building proof in a short snippets that's easy for them, and then inviting them in to a Facebook group.
So creating your own online community, because patients today are spending a lot of time in online communities. So inviting them maybe into your own Facebook group, where you are giving them a little bit more tidbits, teaching them. The next step would be to maybe take them through a five day challenge so they get a little bit more of an experience of what it's like working with you. Again, all of this is free, but you now are actually slowly building that trust and becoming their trusted advisor. The person they're going to turn to with questions. Now from the challenge, now invite them to maybe a smaller little taste. I call it the pink ice cream spoon. You know when you go to ice cream parlor and you want a little taste and they give you the little pink ice cream spoon. You taste it, and now you're like, "Oh my God, yes. I want three scoop on a waffle with a cherry on top."
Ready for the big offer. I think sometimes we jump from just somebody being referred to you that come into your practice, and now you're already offering the big package price, or bigger offer. It's a big commitment and they don't know you yet. So all of this empowered patient journey, what it does, and that little small offer makes it much more likely for them to be ready to step into your practice and take care.
I think that's what you were saying earlier about having these different touch points along the way. So that each time you have a Facebook Live, that's a touch point, you're getting people interested. Then you bring them into your group, maybe you have more of an interest, and then maybe those people want to reach out to you for a consultation, or then to become your patient.
Now with tele-health you have a little bit more options, right?
Aside from just the patient that's in your neighborhood. Of course tele-health laws, at least for physical therapists, differ from state to state and probably do with a lot of other practitioners as well.
But it is a way to open up the playing field a little bit.
The whole idea is that it has to be themed all the way through with your unique messaging. So your unique specialty, how you..., And if you lead them down and there's a step by step process that you actually are taking them through this whole journey, that by the time they actually make it into your practice, they just already know you, they already trust you, they already know that you are the person that's going to help them get better.
Yes, they know you, like you, trust you, and they're going to be more likely to want to stick with you, and possibly also refer other people to you as well.
Absolutely. Well, one of the things that I'm seeing with my clients when I start doing this, is just a side product, is that once you start becoming way more visible in your community and you constantly are really sharing your message, people start seeing you as an expert. Because if you want to be seen as the go-to expert at anything, you really need to learn how to specialize in something, right? Really own one piece of the market and really be specialized in that. Then what people start seeing, it's like, "Oh, she is the person who helps people with chronic pain. I need to send more people to her." Or, "Have you seen, she's always on Facebook sharing her message. I see her all the time." People just have an awareness that you're somebody that they need to send people to.
Hopefully your bottom line will be improved, but what are other ways outside of just the monetary aspect of it, that this empowered health revolution and patient journey can affect your practice?
Well, I think the biggest thing that it does is that it really sets you up to be the go-to expert in your community, and really seen as an industry leader and a community leader. I think other influencers really starts to paying attention to you and referring to you. So it positions you in a place where you can reach out to other industry leaders and make a connection, and they know who you are already. It gives you that recognition and open ups doors for you where otherwise might have been closed. If you'd then want to expand out and do local speaking gigs, meetups, do networking groups, it's a lot easier to get into these conversations and become a leader in your industry when you already have a lot of visibility established for you.
So that's a big piece. I think what it does, just working with patients, is like I said, I think the biggest piece is just building trust. Which I think is probably one of the biggest pieces that is missing in what I would call old school marketing tactics. Like the one touch marketing event, it doesn't really build a lot of trust before somebody has to make a decision if they want to work with you or not.
Right. So it's like if you are just doing... And we'll take Facebook again as an example, but doing a Facebook ad that is just telling people, "Hey, here's a video of me. Look at all the cool stuff I can do. Come and see me." But they don't know who you are, so you may not really have that conversion. Is that a one touch marketing?
Yes, exactly. That's another idea of one touch marketing. I'm actually finding, yes, Facebook ads and online ads do have a place in the empowered patient journey. You can infuse more enthusiasm.
When would you put than that in there?
Well, for example, if you are doing a five day challenge in your group, you might want to... Now you've been doing your Facebook Lives, and maybe you've been boosting them a little bit to a certain audience just in your radius. I recommend literally spending $5 for one day. So we're not talking thousands of dollars that a lot of the agencies are recommending that people are spending in the ad campaigns, not at all. Just really small snippets. You know, you can get visibility to 1,000, 600 people, very rapidly just spending $5. Then if you add a little campaign when you do your challenge, again, that's a free event to join your group, create some urgency. They already watch you, and they see you coming through. This happens all the time, people would ask to join your group because, "Oh, you just keep showing up in my newsfeed. I want to be part of your group now." It's a very powerful way to really establish relationships, because I think in the end, digitalization has also made people really hungry for community and connection.
I couldn't agree more, and what I find is the digitization of the world has actually created more in person events and more demand for in person events. Think about it 10 years ago, when a lot of this digitization was so new, everybody just wanted to talk to people online. Now I'm seeing the pendulum shift a little bit where yes, you're meeting these people online, but you want that in real life connection.
Absolutely, and so that actually brings me to the second piece of digitalization and how patients are changing. It's because millennials are now taking over the marketplace over baby boomers, and they grew up with all of this stuff. Right?
They are tired of it, right? I don't know about you, but I live in Austin. So I even see people walking around with an old VAS filming. People are back to cameras, typewriters are getting popular. People wants tangible, touchable experiences. The other piece that I find is that they really want...rather than a marketing event, they want a marketing experience with you. They want to really get to know you. So that's a really big shift that's happening.
Yes, and as healthcare providers, for the most part, what we do are in person one-on-one treatments, if you will. So this kind of empowered patient journey should be the perfect recipe for people in healthcare.
Absolutely, I think it's a huge benefit. I've I've been in healthcare for 26 years and I never seen a lane like this open up ever. I really feel like the people in their practice really caring for their patients, really wanting to make a difference in people's lives, who are in there day out and day in working with people, are going to win this game. I don't think the big conglomerates, the insurance industry, the big hospitals, the big certain drug pushers are really going to be able to survive, because they're not able to rapidly adapt to what's changing. But I do feel the individual professional, the health provider that's day in and day out is really taking care of patients, they are going to come out on top.
Well, I love hearing that because that's what I do, right?
Yes, but I really do believe that big-time. That's what I'm excited about too, because I feel like we have an opportunity to put health back in healthcare. I feel like patients are really waking up to the fact that drugs and surgery is not necessarily the answer, and maybe... Part of the empowered health revolution is really that patients are realizing that they actually want to participate in getting better. I don't know if that's something that you're noticing in your business and practice?
That patients actually want, "What can I do at home?"
Well, and that's what it should be. It should not be, "Fix me."
If you're selling the fix, I think you're going to have some disappointed patients. I think if you're selling this holistic healing moment for a patient, and then, like you said, empowering that patient through listening, through caring about them, and through sharing good information, I think the way we win is by being those practitioners who share solid information. And who empower our patients to take over themselves.
And not be like the operator.
Exactly, you become their partner, their trusted advisor. Somebody they can come to-
... And bring the information. Exactly. With bringing the information, I have found is that, "Hey, what do you think?" And you can say, "Well, here's the pros and cons of each thing, I'll trust that you're going to make a good decision." Let's put it back in the patient hands for them to make an empowered decision with you as the resource and guide to help them get to the best place. But trusting that they're going to choose for themself, they're going to be able to figure it out in a lot of ways.
And if you empower them-
And you're a partner in health.
... Properly with the right information, they will make those choices.
Absolutely, yes. I think that health professionals like you and other people who are really doing that for patient and showing up for them in a big way, that is going to be the future of healthcare.
And on that note, we're going to take a quick break to hear from our sponsor, Net Health.
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We talked about all the positives and all the good stuff that we can do, let's talk about some myths about patients that maybe are no longer true and may hold us back. So we spoke about the things that can help push us forward, what are some myths, or mindsets that may hold us back as healthcare professionals?
Well, I think a big myth is that patients are not willing to pay out-of-pocket, or that they are still relying heavily on insurance. I think that is changing big time. One of the things that I've noticed... 2016 the out-of-pocket expense for one individual was over $10,000, and that's with somebody who has health insurance, and that's just one person in a family. And so you know, if people are willing, having to pay that much money that's not their premiums, that's their out-of-pocket expense on top of their premiums. So if people are willing to pay that much out-of-pocket, they are definitely willing to invest in their health.
Yes, another myth is that I think it used to be that referrals were king. If you got a referral, people would definitely sign up for care, they were ready to become a patient. In today's marketplace I don't believe that is true as much anymore. You still need to build that trust along the way, and I think, too, that referrals overall are harder to convert because people are more skeptical. But I also believe that 94% of patients are now actually reading online reviews. And they believe that an online review view is just as critical as a direct referral from a family member or friend, which I find amazing.
It is amazing, yes. Totally.
I also think it actually means that the referral itself is not as credible as it used to be. So for me, I'm thinking like, "Online reviews?" But I also think that people don't trust their friend, or, actually family member as much as they used to. Trust comes back in.
Yes, I think also, in this age of Yelp, and Amazon reviews and things like that, even if someone says to you, "You should really get this piece of... " For instance, I have a ring light, so someone said, "You should really get this ring light. It works really well." Well, I took that recommendation, but then I went to Amazon and read all the reviews on it first, before I decided to purchase it.
Even though it was a direct referral from someone I trusted.
Exactly, and then you do your own research and you figure out which one is going to be best, right? We all do this. So it's a really big piece, and I think this is why the empowered patient journey just creates that place where so often you can just send a referral into your Facebook group, into your online community. Now they're getting to see you. There's all this social proof, where they get an experience with you and they can see you in action. I love utilizing video, because I think it's a really powerful way for people to really get to know you.
Yes, no, that makes a ton of sense. I am certainly seeing more healthcare practitioners using video, whether it be on Facebook, or Instagram, that has really helped to increase their visibility, and really get more people outside of perhaps a direct referral to want to learn more.
Absolutely, and so by 2019, they say that 80% of all content consumed online is going to be through video.
Wow, that's a lot.
Right, that's a lot. So there's video, and I love Facebook Lives because it's free and it's easy to do. You don't have to be a tech savvy person to do it at all.
You just jump on there, a couple of clicks and you're Live. It's a great way... Because of course, right, we're quirky when we're on video. I think that's the other piece. People want to see your humanity. They don't want you to be the white coat behind-
Right. They really want to see your quirkiness. They want to see your humanity, and your presence, and get to know you that way.
I know, it's so hard though. But I think once you start putting yourself out there on videos, you get more comfortable. I used to be terrified of putting videos out there, but now I'm getting much more comfortable, and I did that doing Facebook Lives. That's more comfortable.
Yes, I totally agree. I'm a total introvert myself and starting doing Facebook Live was definitely terrifying. The more I started doing it, the more comfortable I am. I think the biggest thing is I used to big audiences and speaking in front of people, but it's different when you're speaking into the empty camera, it feels like the empty camera.
Once you start getting the feedback, it's... What's really cool what happens for those of you who have a practice location, a brick and mortar practice where you see people. What happens with the Facebook Lives and the Facebook groups is that you start having a circular conversation. For example, a patient comes in, they ask you a question and you say, "Great, that's a great question." Then you go back, you do a Facebook live on it.
And you put it in your group, right? Then you tag the patient, said, "Hey, my patient asks this and I post... " Now you're posting this online, and it allows people to learn more about what it is that you do. Also those patients get more visibility and they get excited about what you do to share it with their family and friends. So that whole circle of conversation is really important to grow your visibility, for sure.
It makes a lot of sense. So you're creating your content based on maybe what you did that day. Because I find a lot of people... I was just talking to another physical therapist today and she said, "Oh, social media. It gives me so much anxiety. How can you come up with all that content all the time? It's so hard." But like you said, it can be one question and it doesn't have to be a huge, one hour Facebook Live. It could be a five minute Facebook Live.
Absolutely. Three to five minutes, jump on there, give somebody something really practical, tips. I find once you get started and you got a little theme going and you get excited, then the next idea and the next idea, and it's actually gets really easy.
Yes, it really starts flowing.
Excellent. Okay, so we've got a couple of myths, I think, about patients that are no longer true. And let's say even about your practice that may no longer be true. We've got that patients only want to use their insurance, they're not willing to pay out-of-pocket is a myth. That you can just rely on that doctor referral, or that word of mouth referral, which sooner or later, I think it works. But like you said, now people are looking for more reviews and more social proof. And that perhaps not getting on social media, or not putting yourself out there on video in some sort of way can be a little detrimental. Anything else that may stifle or hold back your practice?
I think that what's happening a lot of times, and what's happening right now in healthcare practices is that I feel like there's a squeeze. One of the squeezes is that overheads are going up, payroll is going up. So if you have a brick and mortar practice, it's getting trickier. And also a lot of times insurance reimbursements are going down. There's a real squeeze that's happening for healthcare professionals. So I think how do you streamline your practice in a way that you really utilize automated systems, and automated technology to help you run your practice and make it much more cost effective?
That's a really important piece, I also believe that patients today are looking for that. They don't want to wait to get their health account statement from your assistant, or a couple of weeks. They want to be able to print this offline. They want to be able to schedule online. So automate things, I think is really important for your practice, just for overhead and for simplicity of use.
Yes, that makes a lot of sense.
Yes, and simplicity. The other piece to streamline... I think having a lot of overhead...paying a lot of employees can be really cumbersome. It used to be a lot of practitioners had a lot of the operations of their business or practice inside their practice. They had four or five different people working for them. I think that's almost not sustainable anymore. It's just too costly to cover that much overhead in a solo practitioner office. So I think utilizing vendors, utilizing virtual assistants, and streamlining as much as possible is essential to just staying afloat and being able to bring home a nice profit.
I think we've covered so much today in this short amount of time. Like I said, beforehand, you have so much to talk on it'd be like a seven hour podcast. Can you recap and leave people with some take home points from the conversation?
Number one, I think, really creating an empowered patient journey. Creating a marketing experience rather than just doing a marketing event or one touch marketing tactics. Key piece if you want to grow trust and build a community online. Really realizing that building trust with potential patients is key in this marketplace. It's the only way for you to really win. Don't be afraid to share generously your expertise. I think sometimes we get afraid of giving it away on a Facebook Live, but I promise you the more you share, the more value you give, people are going to be more interested in coming and seeing you.
And if you can squeeze in a small offer before you make a big offer for your patients, that would actually... It's been proven that when somebody gets a little bit of results with you for a little price tag, they are 10 times more likely to actually invest in a bigger piece. It's like I talked about, it's the little pink spoon from the ice cream parlor. If you can squeeze that in before you make the big offer for your care package, you're going to have a much easier time converting potential patients to paying patients.
Excellent take home points. I love all of them and I'm taking them all to heart, I'm putting them into my brain, like, "Okay, how can I start doing this for my business?" So it's all in here, it's all written down. Now, before we get off the podcast today, I always ask everyone the same question. And that is, knowing where you are now in your life and in your business, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Yes, so if I was brand new in business-
There's a couple of things. I think, investing in the right thing at the right time. So really understanding what stage in business you're in and what makes sense to invest in. I think I wasted 10,000s of dollars.
Girl, I am with you.
I think if you're brand new to really work on your messaging. You have to get your messaging dialed in before you start investing in really expensive marketing. And you better have your marketing dialed in before you start investing in really expensive office systems and streamlining the procedures in your office. Once you have your system in place, maybe then you're ready to take on some team members, but really do it in a step by step and realizing where you, are and working on one piece until it's complete and then moving on. If I was brand new in business, I think the most valuable thing you can do is to find somebody that have done it all before you, who knows the ropes, and mentor with them. Either work with them, get a position in their practice, or just find mentors that can show you the way, because experience trumps all of it. For sure.
I agree, and that is amazing advice. I love the step by step, to build yourself up. Like you said, nothing beats a good mentor. I've heard that again and again, so thank you for that advice. Thank you for all of this information. Where can people find you if they have questions?
Yes, so I think the best place to find me on my website. So freedomswitch, Dr Litzy, I believe.
And we have a special page for everybody where you can find the information.
Also, my Facebook group called Healthcare Heroes.
Healthcare Heroes, that's awesome. I will be joining that today, and thank you so much. For everyone listening or watching, we will have all the links to everything over at email@example.com under this episode. So Madeleine, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.
Thank you so much. Really appreciate being here and thank you everyone who's listening.
Yes, and everyone have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart. A big thank you to Madeleine Silva for giving us all that great information, and of course, to our sponsor for today's episode, Net Health. Net Health is ReDoc powered by xfit, a cloud based fully integrated EMR and billing solution. Plus you can opt in to completely outsource billing services. That's the best way to optimize revenue. Imagine PT billing, coding, and compliance experts taking the back office work off your hands and reporting to you. To learn more about ReDoc and complete revenue cycle management services, check them out at nethealth.com/healthy.
Thank you for listening, and please subscribe to the podcast at podcast.healthywealthysmart.com. And don't forget to follow us on social media.