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The Watering Hole – August 2019

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Readers, I am thrilled to present the first edition of a new type of article here on Look for Zebras. The Watering Hole is a monthly congregation of recent articles and resources for physicians and other clinicians who seek out “zebras” in their careers.

Between hectic work schedules and personal responsibilities, you may struggle to find the time to really nurture your professional life. Let us scour the internet for you for the news, highlights, tips, trends, and ideas that will help you find fulfillment in your medical career.

So, let’s gather at the watering hole. This issue focuses on earning more income, improving your online reputation, getting up to speed with the state of telemedicine, and preventing burnout.

Earn more income

The White Coat Investor hosted guest blogger Dr. David Beran with an article about one of our favorite topics here at L4Z: side hustles! Among the 7 Physician Side Hustles that he discusses are file review, medical writing, and pharma research.

You don’t necessarily need a side hustle to increase your income. Mint Physician Staffing delves into How to Become a High Paid Hospitalist with five strategies ranging from negotiation to avoiding burnout.

Many zebra-seeking physicians consider getting an MBA. It’s certainly not a bad idea, and in many cases, it can help you to earn more. But it can interrupt your career and tuition can be hefty. Forbes recently asked, “Is Entrepreneurship the New MBA?” Give this article a read if you’re feeling business-y, but may want to bypass business school in favor of starting a company right away.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you’ll have more to invest.

Eric Rosenberg says, “I spent 10 years working in finance and I’m convinced robo-advisers are better than human advisers for 5 reasons”. Among the five reasons are high-quality portfolios, low management fees, and the fact that robots take the emotion out of investing. Want to learn more about robo-advising? See our recent article on this topic and get a great deal when you sign up with Emperor Investments.

Improve your reputation as a medical professional

With the rate at which information is generated and shared on the web, physician online reputation has become an issue that few of us can ignore.

PatientPop conducted a survey about how patients assess, choose, and review healthcare providers. Here are a few highlights from what they found:

  • People consider reviews from patients to be the most important online resource when they’re trying to choose a physician.
  • Over half of respondents said they regularly look online to find out about healthcare providers.
  • And – fortunately for us! – patient dissatisfaction can be mitigated by contacting them to discuss their concerns.

A new product called LaunchPad from Valet Health helps physicians systematically gather patient reviews and boost their online reputation, says their press release. I expect we’ll start seeing more services like this and, for many physicians, the cost is likely to pay off in spades.

Don’t let someone’s criticism get you down, though. In their study published in BMJ, Kelly and Richards report that receiving feedback prompts reflection and constructive modification of skills.

Benefit from the growing telemedicine industry

Telemedicine comes in all shapes and sizes. There is likely to be a telemed practice or platform that is fitting for any physician looking for a side gig, increased work flexibility, or remote working options. In fact, Modern Healthcare predicts the global telemedicine market to eclipse $130B by 2025.

Why so much growth in the industry? Patients are demanding telemedicine. The percentage of physicians reporting that they have telemedicine skills has grown from 15% to 25% in just two years.

Several common myths of telemedicine are dispelled in a recent article from mHealth Intelligence. Telemed isn’t more expensive, lower quality, less personal, or a threat to providers.

Don’t burn out

A thoughtful New York Times piece by Dr. Danielle Ofri describes that healthcare systems currently get by because of healthcare providers’ professionalism and dedication to their patients. But given the demands placed on us, it’s not sustainable.

Not sure if you need a job change to prevent burnout? Borrow from the field of clinical informatics to “map the current state” of your job and your mental health. While Dirk Stanley, MD, MPH writes from an informatics perspective, it’s easy to see how this concept can be helpful in reflecting on our own lives.

Laurie Cameron, author of The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm, and Joy from Morning to Evening, discusses strategies for physician wellbeing in her American Association for Physician Leadership article, The Power of Mindfulness and Compassion. One of the strategies is mindful breathing. As someone who has difficulty staying calm yet struggles to learn how to meditate, I think mindful breathing is an attainable skill with a high likelihood of benefit.

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