Sunday, February 08, 2009

The “Socialized” Practice – Part II

With the advent of the various Internet social networking mediums on the world wide web such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and a host of others combined with other communication tools such as blogs, Twitter, Friendfeed and others, the challenge for any professional or in this case physical therapists is to find a way to effectively use these tools to promote their practice and communicate with their patients and/or clients.

Scott Shreeve, who founded Medsphere Systems, coined the term “Millenial Patients” and described them as “defined by their behavior rather than their  age, sex, or demographic.  He goes on to describe how they utilize the Internet for almost every aspect of their daily lives to “meet their personal, social and professional needs.”

This group of people, the so called millenial patients, are not interested in an authoritarian, top down relationship from a professional such as a physical therapist or physician.  They are far more interested in finding a trusted partner with whom they have an ongoing relationship “based on trust, mutual respect and open communication” according to Shreeve.

My experience leads to me to strongly agree with this paradigm and therefore makes me wonder how I can best serve these patients.  I believe that the answer lies within the integration of the various communication tools available through the Internet including email, social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and website based discussion forums into our practices.  The challenge will be determining best practices in the integration and utilization of these amazing tools and I think perhaps the best tool currently at my disposal might just be TxXchange.  (A disclaimer: I do not have any financial involvement with TxXchange other than as a customer.)

In the third party of this series I will look at how I am envisioning the use of the aforementioned tools and particularly TxXchange in tackling some of the challenges of modern practice.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Socialized Practice - Part I

With the advent and evolution of “the web” that part of the Internet that most people see as “The Internet”, the previously held notion that all information was proprietary and commoditized has been supplanted by the notion that information should be free and open and the normal socioeconomic barriers that determine who knew what have been shattered in the phenomenon frequently referred to the democratizing effects of information on the Internet. 

Professionals who previously held tight control on information within their domain, whether it was lawyers, physicians, physical therapists or any other profession, need to recognize that their closely held treasure trove of information is no longer their proprietary commodity to be doled out at a price they solely determine. 

Citizens can now look up medical conditions, treatments, drug trials, laws, regulations, court filings, contracts, rehabilitation regimens or practically any other information that is able to be printed or disseminated in some form of media as it all eventually ends up freely available on the web somewhere.

If we stipulate that information is not the proprietary commodity it once was and is likely never to be again, what value do professionals bring to the table that consumers will be willing to pay for?  Simply it is Expertise.  Expertise is not easily or quickly acquired.  It is an accumulation of skill, knowledge and experience.

The question then becomes how does one market expertise versus knowledge.  In my next post we will examine some tools and potential tools to address this issue.

New Blog Category: Cases!

After reading a Twitter post from a physician twitterer who commented that he has posted far more cases to his blog than he would have ever have considered submitting for publication in a more mainstream journal I had an idea.

What the heck, why not do it myself when one of those very interesting cases comes along?  So the next time one of those cases comes along, I’ll share.  Who knows?  It might just help someone else in the process.