President's Perspective September 2016
Always Moving Forward
“You must never stand still. . .”—John Wooden, Basketball Coach
Sean T. Grambart, DPM, FACFAS
of John Wooden’s best messages for sports can be applied to the
business of medicine: “You must never stand still. You’re either moving
upward a little bit or you’re going the other way. You can’t expect to
go upward too quickly, but you can surely go down very quickly. Progress
comes slowly but steadily if you are patient and prepare diligently.”
ACFAS sent out its most recent member survey, it asked what we should
do to continue moving forward. The overwhelming response, as it has been
for years, was to increase, even further, our promotion of
board-certified foot and ankle surgeons to consumers, other healthcare
professions and the media to garner more patient referrals. For years,
we’ve invested heavily in consumer education (FootHealthFacts.org,
our consumer PR campaign, etc.), so we decided to launch a significant
second public relations campaign aimed at other healthcare
First, we did our research
and probed healthcare providers in eight specialties. It was clear we’d
have the most success getting our message across with three groups:
nurse practitioners, diabetes educators and family physicians. We then
retained the national communications firm of Fleishman Hillard to
conduct a print and social media advertising campaign, develop a special
website and exhibit at trade shows—all with the theme of “Take a New
Look at Foot & Ankle Surgeons.” The campaign clearly explains the
unique training and surgical expertise we offer to patients, and, most
importantly, why these healthcare professionals can feel confident in
referring their patients to us. Our research showed that “trust” was a
major concern for these referrers.
To get a taste of our campaign messages, I urge you to visit TakeANewLook.org, including the video that appears on the homepage. You can download several fact sheets and a “When to Refer Guide” for
your own use in building relationships with referring professionals. I
had the pleasure of being in our exhibit booth at the recent American
Association of Nurse Practitioners conference. Believe me, it was an
eye-opening experience! Many of the nurse practitioners who stopped at
the booth said while they do refer patients to DPMs, it’s not always for
surgical problems. It was energizing to be able to share how we as
surgeons can truly help by being both their surgical and nonsurgical
partners in their patients’ care. Board Member John Steinberg, DPM,
FACFAS, staffed our booth at the diabetes educators conference in
August, and Board Member Christopher Reeves, DPM, FACFAS, will staff our
booth at the family physicians conference in September.
Now, the rest is up to YOU! Here’s how:
your own “Take a New Look” campaign focusing on these three specialties
in your hometown. Many of the NPs, MDs and DEs have seen our ads in
their own journals and social media.
–Download the documents described above in our Healthcare Provider Marketing Tools section in the Marketing Toolbox at acfas.org/marketing where we have even more information on what makes you a certified and trusted surgeon.
–Make sure your practice information is up to date on acfas.org. Patient referrals are geographically generated from your member profile on both TakeANewLook.org (for healthcare professionals) and FootHealthFacts.org (for patients).
an active member on your hospital medical staff. Join a committee,
attend surgical Grand Rounds and M & Ms or offer to lecture at a
local or state society.
However you choose to educate other
healthcare professionals on your unique training and expertise, always
heed John Wooden’s advice to “not stand still.” Let’s all work together
to encourage our healthcare colleagues and patients to Take a New Look
at Foot and Ankle Surgeons and show them what we offer to provide the
best patient care possible.