President's Perspective September 2016

Sean T. Grambary, DPM, FACFAS

Always Moving Forward
“You must never stand still. . .”—John Wooden, Basketball Coach
Sean T. Grambart, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

One 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.”

When 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 professionals.

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:

–Launch 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).

–Become 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.

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