Mobile health considerations and tips for new physicians

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by Amelia Laing

Gone are the days when those in health care viewed the nascent mobile health industry as some sort of many-headed hydra to be feared.

The wariness with which patients and physicians once viewed health apps may have waned, but it has not disappeared; ambivalence toward mobile health remains.

Kevin Pho, M.D.—founder of the aptly named KevinMD blog, “social media’s leading physician voice”—recently penned an article titled “Why I’m not ready to prescribe mobile health apps.” In it he raises legitimate concerns about privacy and FDA oversight (or lack thereof); he also points out that inaccurate apps may lead to dangerous delays in treatment.

While Dr. Pho raises important points, others are celebrating mobile health’s current capabilities and looking for ways to realize fully mobile health’s seemingly limitless potential. Many have lauded the efforts of apps like iTriage, Epocrates and SharePractice, and private and public organizations alike are exploring the potential of mobile health.

There are as many kinds of apps as there are patients, it seems, and just as many opinions about those apps. Every physician, new and experienced, needs to determine how to approach this volatile and ever-evolving marketplace.

In hearing from three physicians who use mobile health or are actively involved in mobile health development, it becomes clear: physicians need to embrace mobile health, but they also need to be discerning. While more patient-centric models of delivery are fast replacing the paternalistic “doctor-knows-best” approach, physicians are still the experts. They owe it to their patients to contextualize information, to guide patients to reliable, trustworthy apps and to steer them away from suspect ones. These three physicians each had a unique perspective, but there were a few commonalities, including:

Get on board, mobile health is not going away.

“Pay attention to mobile health. The field is evolving very quickly and is really only now starting to reach the potential to improve care and to enhance the patient-provider relationship. . . . Patients are going to use mobile health apps. They already are, and that will only increase as the available technology becomes more sophisticated. As their health care providers, we should be familiar with the tools our patients are using and be able to help them find the right ones to fit their specific needs. . . . It is crucial to become familiar early in your medical career with apps that enhance your knowledge, improve your skills and increase your efficiency.”

Neil C. Evans, M.D., Co-director, Connected Health of the Veterans Health Administration

Research condition-specific apps.

“As a lymphoma specialist, I am committed to educating patients regarding the specifics of their particular disease and providing maximal support through the diagnostic and treatment process. The Lymphoma Research Foundation’s Focus on Lymphoma app provides a wealth of reliable and well-written information for patients. . . . I would encourage new graduates to be aware of the disease-specific tools available for patients. These apps serve to improve the quality and satisfaction of patient interactions with their providers and the health care system.”

—Ann LaCasce, M.D., Lymphoma Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute 

Beware the data deluge!

“As hard as it is to believe, there is also too much data. Some of the applications being used by patients enable them to collect unbelievable amounts of data. Because they don’t know what to do with all that data, they ‘dump’ it on their physician and health care team. And that data deluge can be overwhelming. So it’s very important to sort through the noise to find the important data points.”

—Dennis Deruelle, M.D., FHM, National Medical Director of Acute Services, IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc.

“New patient-generated data has the potential to be overwhelming to health care teams, particularly if there isn’t a clear process in place for incorporating it into a patient’s record, an understanding of how best to use the data as part of clinical care, and embedded analytics to help synthesize and understand the data. . . . There is not one easy answer, but making sure that patient-generated data is presented in a meaningful way to both patients and providers is going to be key to the future of mHealth technology. If it is done wrong, it could prove to be just white noise, data generated for the sake of data. If it is done right, it could prove to be a tool that gives both patients and providers a more holistic and nuanced view of the patient’s overall health.”

—Neil C. Evans, M.D., Co-director, Connected Health of the Veterans Health Administration

Mobile health is a tool, not a panacea.

“It’s important for physicians to remember the importance of human touch. It doesn’t need to be a lot; simply holding a patient’s hand or giving a pat on the shoulder would do. It’s the act of human contact that’s important. . . . Make sure to learn the basics. [New physicians] need to understand that technology should be an adjunct, not a substitute, for good clinical skills.”

—Dennis Deruelle, M.D., FHM, National Medical Director of Acute Services, IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc.

“Mobile health should be kept in perspective. Mobile health is ultimately just one more tool available to the modern clinician as they partner with patients on the journey to improve health. Don’t lose sight of the patient and don’t lose sight of the mission we all share in health care—alleviating suffering and improving health for the patients who entrust their lives into our care.”

Neil C. Evans, M.D., Co-director, Connected Health of the Veterans Health Administration



PracticeLink Magazine Outlines Physicians’ Job-Search Process

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Job Search IssueFew professions require more rigorous education and training than the practice of medicine, but many physicians complete medical school and residency with little practical training for the job-search process that awaits them. PracticeLink Magazine’s Spring 2014 issue, the Annual Job Search Issue, provides training and practicing physicians with the essential tips and valuable advice they need to launch and navigate their job searches successfully.

The cover story outlines the job-search process from 18 months before training is completed, thus lessening the stress of the process and ensuring physicians have enough time to find the right fit—or change their minds as they explore their options. And because the job-search process includes crafting a CV that makes accomplishments clear, the issue also offers one professional resume writer’s examples of CV makeovers that resulted in more impressive career snapshots.

Additionally, for physicians wondering which direction their careers will take, the Job Search Issue highlights various practice models to consider, along with glimpses into what it’s like to live and practice in four small towns and a snapshot of one general surgeon’s own job search. Company, specialty and employer indexes within the issue also help physicians find opportunities in their specialties and areas of interest.

“The Job Search Issue is designed to provide physicians with the info they need when they’re completing residency or looking for a career change,” said PracticeLink Magazine editor Laura Hammond. “It makes the process manageable and helps physicians make the right considerations along the way.”

About PracticeLink Magazine

PracticeLink Magazine is a quarterly print and digital career advancement publication for physicians. Each themed issue provides relevant, compelling content on topics including contracts and compensation, quality of life, job searching and interviewing. The magazine is a 2013, 2012 and 2011 American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors winner as well as the 2014 ASPHE Publication of the Year.

About PracticeLink is the most widely used online physician job bank. More than 20,000 physicians and advanced practitioners register with each year in their search for a new job, and thousands more search the Job Bank confidentially when looking for a new practice. More than 1,000 recruiters representing more than 5,000 health care facilities nationwide use PracticeLink to recruit physicians and other health care providers.

PracticeLink is headquartered in Hinton, W.Va., and also maintains offices in St. Louis and Louisville, Ky.




PracticeLink Receives Two Honors in 2014 Aster Awards

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PracticeLink, The Career Advancement Resource for Physicians, is humbled to announce that it has been awarded two honors in the 2014 Aster Awards for its two quarterly publications.

In the 2014 Aster Awards, announced May 6, PracticeLink was recognized with:

  • GOLD AWARD: Newsletter/External Series — inTouch Physician Recruitment Newsletter, In-House Physician Recruiters
  • SILVER AWARD: Magazine Publication Series — PracticeLink Magazine, Practice/Physician Group

PracticeLink’s inTouch Physician Recruitment Newsletter educates physician recruiters quarterly and offers tips for successful recruitment methods. PracticeLink Magazine is a themed quarterly career advancement publication for physicians looking for their dream practice. The magazine’s themes include: Contracts and Compensation; The Job Search; Quality of Life and The Interview.

“PracticeLink is grateful for the Aster Award’s recognition of our two quarterly publications. We’re thankful for the opportunity to help both recruiters and physicians, and we’re proud of the efforts of both our clients and staff,” says Ken Allman, Founder and CEO of PracticeLink.

The Aster Awards are one of the largest national competitions of their kind, receiving more than 3,000 entries this year alone. They are hosted by Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine and Creative Images, Inc. This elite awards program has been recognizing outstanding health care professionals for excellence in their advertising/marketing efforts for more than 22 years.

All winners are posted on the Aster Awards website and will be published in Marketing Healthcare Today magazine. is the nation’s most trusted physician recruitment resource and is the leading online recruitment solution for more than 5,000 facilities nationwide. In addition to its premier online physician job bank, PracticeLink publishes the award-winning PracticeLink Magazine, which provides career resource information for 80,000+ residents, fellows and job-seeking physicians each quarter.



Ken Allman Recognized as West Virginia’s Small-Business Person of the Year

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Ken Allman, owner and CEO of and MountainPlex Properties, has been recognized as West Virginia’s Small-Business Person of the Year. This award, whose recipient is chosen by the West Virginia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration, recognizes small businesses for their local and national contributions and economic impact.

Allman will be recognized at the Small Business Week Awards Celebration on Thursday, May 29, at the West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center during the Teaming to Win Conference. Allman will also be recognized during National Small Business Week, May 12-16, in Washington, D.C. There he will gather with recipients from 49 other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, and the National Small-Business Person of the Year will be announced.

“Every year since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others … through National Small Business Week,” said Judy McCauley, district director of the West Virginia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Criteria used to select award winners include businesses’ staying power, employee growth, sales, innovativeness and community contributions.

In 1994, Allman founded as an innovative, cost-effective way to help hospitals and health systems recruit the physicians they need in the communities they serve. is now used by recruiters representing more than 5,000 health care facilities nationwide, and more than 20,000 physicians and advanced practitioners use each year in their search for a new job.

As Allman grew into the most widely used online physician recruitment resource in the country, he began looking for ways to give back to his hometown, Hinton, W.Va, which is located on the banks of the southern end of the New River Gorge. Allman chose to headquarter in the historic railroad town and, in doing so, committed to improving the town’s quality of life.

To meet the needs of PracticeLink employees and guests, as well as community visitors and residents, Allman and his team established MountainPlex Properties. Under the MountainPlex umbrella, Allman has founded The Market, a premium sandwich shop and upscale-gift store; The Guest House Inn, a 5-star bed and breakfast; The Ritz Theatre Cinema & Performing Arts, a restored 1920s venue that hosts movies, meetings, live performances and special events, and a number of other local gems. These properties draw tourists to visit the downtown Hinton National Historic District, and have helped provide more than 50 jobs in this naturally scenic community of 2,800.

“I’m incredibly honored to be receiving the SBA award for West Virginia,” said Allman. “I would like to thank PracticeLink’s clients as well as PracticeLink and MountainPlex team members, my family and the Hinton community for their continued support of these companies.”



PracticeLink Magazine named ASHPE’s Publication of the Year

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For the fourth year in a row, PracticeLink Magazine has been recognized by the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) for excellence in editorial, graphics and publication quality—and in the 2014 awards, as Publication of the Year.

Publication of the Year is ASHPE’s premier award, and only one publication is chosen for the honor each year.

Said one of the judges: “PracticeLink is a contemporary, trend-setting publication that combines solid reporting and analysis with an appealing graphics presentation. Top-notch writing and art direction.”

In the 2014 awards, announced April 30, PracticeLink Magazine was also awarded:

The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE) recognizes editorial and graphic excellence in the field of health care publishing through an annual awards contest. The competition provides an opportunity for editors to measure their efforts against the very best the healthcare sector has to offer.

“Being selected as the Publication of The Year is a huge honor. We are truly grateful to our clients, advertisers, contributors, readers and staff. We are thankful for the opportunity to help physicians find their dream practice, and thankful for the recognition from ASHPE,says Ken Allman, Founder and CEO of PracticeLink.

Other 2014 winners in a variety of categories include HealthLeaders, Hospitals & Health Networks, ACP Internist and Physicians Practice.

Click here for a full list of all ASHPE 2014 winners. is the nation’s most trusted physician recruitment resource and is the leading online recruitment solution for more than 5,000 facilities nationwide. In addition to its premier online physician job bank, PracticeLink publishes the award-winning PracticeLink Magazine, which provides career resource information for 80,000+ residents, fellows and job-seeking physicians each quarter.

ASHPE, The American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, is dedicated to enhancing the knowledge and skill of healthcare publication editors, and serves as the authority on trends in the healthcare publication sector.



Planning for a Sound Financial Future

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One of the biggest challenges facing doctors as they transition from internships and residencies to joining or starting their own practices is dealing with money. A resident’s salary is significantly smaller than that of an attending doctor or an independent practitioner, and many physicians do not give much thought to how they will budget their additional income once it arrives.

Most should address student loans, other debts and planning for retirement before increasing their spending. Seeking out advice from a financial planner will help keep you from living paycheck to paycheck—even as that paycheck increases.

This New York Times article pointed out why physicians sometimes struggle with managing their assets. According to the authors, three aspects make it more challenging for doctors:

  • Impatience: Due to years of sacrifices, physicians can be tempted to spend, spend, spend when their paychecks increase. They also tend to start retirement savings, college savings and other investments later than other professionals.
  • Faith: Many physicians trust those who pitch ideas and investments to them and unfortunately can be convinced to make investments in areas that are not in their best interest.
  • Confidence: As intelligent people, many physicians are overconfident and try to make a splash with a risky investment instead of focusing on more conservative investments that are likely to have a better return.

By taking a few steps, however, you can help ensure your financial success for today and the future. Check out PracticeLink Magazine’s financial planning articles — which cover topics like protecting the value of your future earnings, making “asset-protected” investments and planning your estate — to make sure you manage your money wisely.

Searching for your next practice? Check out our Job Bank of more than 15,000 positions nationwide and apply to promising openings immediately. To sign up for a free subscription to our physician career advancement publication, PracticeLink Magazine, register here.



Make Your Work Matter

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Everyone wants the time they spend away from home and loved ones to matter. Too often, those who are unhappy at work are unhappy because they don’t feel like what they do matters.

A recent article by Wharton professor Adam Grant cites many studies that show which professionals find meaning in their work. According to one study, those who find their work most meaningful are those who believe their work makes a positive impact in the lives of others. Another study showed those who view their careers as callings rather than just jobs find their work more meaningful.

As you work your way through residency and continue to push yourself as a physician, it may sometimes be difficult to remember why you became a physician in the first place, especially at times when your patient contact is minimal. The aforementioned research demonstrates that the further a person is from the “end user”—someone who benefits from their work—the more difficult it is for that person to find meaning in what they are doing.

One study from the Radiological Society of North America found that radiologists took a more personal and empathetic approach to patients’ lab reports when the reports had patients’ photos attached. Researchers also found that when a photo was included, radiologists spent more time examining the files and writing the reports on that patient.

As a physician, you have many opportunities to make a difference in your patients’ lives. Sometimes spending an extra few minutes speaking with a patient or understanding their health factors is all it takes to remind you of the meaning of the work you do every day.

Another recent PracticeLink article examined a survey that backed up Grant’s assertions. That survey found that, overall, physicians ranked the following five elements as most important to job satisfaction and engagement:

  • Respect for my competency and skills
  • Feeling that my opinions and ideas are valued
  • Good relationships with my physician colleagues
  • Good work/life balance
  • A voice in how my time is structured and used

It is imperative to keep these factors in mind when searching for a new job. Check out the environment and ask the fellow physicians how satisfied they are in the practice. Carefully choosing where you will invest your time and energy will benefit you for years to come.

Looking for your next practice?

Search our Job Bank of more than 15,000 positions nationwide, and apply to promising openings immediately.

To sign up for a free subscription to our physician career advancement publication, PracticeLink Magazine, register here.



Do physicians follow their own advice for staying happy and healthy?

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Most doctors know the right advice to give to help patients lead healthy and happy lifestyles, but how many of them follow their own advice? Medscape recently released their Physician Lifestyle Report 2014, which took a look at just this question.

If you are picking a specialty and your health and happiness are the most important factor, you may want to look no further than dermatology. Overall, dermatologists report being the happiest both at home and at work. According to the survey, 70 percent of dermatologists say they are happy with their home lives, and 53 percent are happy or very happy at work as well.

More than 60 percent of both male physicians and female physicians report being very to extremely happy at home, and 40 percent report that level of happiness at work.

Interestingly enough, dermatologists are also least likely to be overweight, according to numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only eight percent of all physicians are obese, but approximately 34 percent are overweight. Family physicians are the heaviest overall. Interestingly, more men than women report being overweight, which stands in contrast to the general population.

Whereas 17 percent of overweight physicians say they eat at fast-food chains, only 11 percent of physicians who are at healthy weights do the same. As expected, healthy or underweight physicians are more likely than overweight physicians to eat five or more servings of fruits or vegetables at least four times per week. Forty-four percent of overweight physicians also report that they eat a typical American diet that includes daily meat and foods that are high in fat and non-nutritional carbohydrates.

According to a 2012 Gallup poll, about 58 percent of all physicians exercise at least three times of week, compared with 54.7 percent of the general population, and a full third of all physicians report never having a drink.

Since health and happiness seem to come hand in hand, it is important to learn to love where you land and spend most of your days. Click here to read about physicians whose plans didn’t go exactly as planned, but who were able to make the most of where they ended up.

Ready to find your next practice? Search our Job Bank of more than 15,000 positions nationwide, and apply to promising openings immediately.



How and Why Patients Use Online Physician Reviews

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A recent Software Advice survey of more than 4,500 people looked at which patients use physician review websites, why patients turn to these review sites and what purpose these sites serve.

Use by Age

The survey found that review sites were most popular among 25- to 34-year-olds, with 30 percent in this age group stating that they had used such sites. The sites were almost as popular among 35- to 44-year-olds, with just under 30% having used them.

Surprisingly, patients 65 and older were third most likely to utilize such sites. Patients between the ages of 55 and 64 were the least likely to use such sites, with only about 17 percent stating that they had used them.

Use by Income

According to the survey findings, the higher the income bracket of a patient, the more likely he or she was to utilize online reviews. Thirty percent of those making upwards of $75,000 consulted online reviews, while less than 23 percent of those in the bottom income bracket reported using them.

Reason for Use

Sixty-two percent of patients who consulted online reviews did so as the first step in finding a new doctor, whereas 19 percent used online reviews to evaluate their current doctors.

Information Sought

Most patients looked both for physician ratings and for information on the quality of care provided. More than anything else, patients sought information concerning the accuracy of diagnosis. In addition, users searched for information regarding how well doctors explained information to patients, how well they listened, quality of delivery or treatment, and time spent with patients.

Online presence can play an important role in acquiring new patients. Find out more about the importance of an online presence in new patient acquisition here.

Physicians, looking for your next position?  Search our Job Bank of more than 15,000 positions nationwide, and apply to promising openings immediately.

To sign up for a free subscription to our physician career advancement publication, PracticeLink Magazine, register here.



Fall 2013: Crossword

By By Myles Mellor | Web Exclusive


Take a break from job searching with this crossword, appearing in the Fall 2013 Interview Issue of PracticeLink Magazine!

Stuck on a clue? Many of the answers can be found in the content of PracticeLink Magazine’s First Annual Interview Issue.

Looking for the answer key? Click here.

















1. Indicator of honesty in a job interview (2 words)

7. Nursing ___ (position)

9. GPS is the modern version

10. Big coffee holder

11. One of the three qualities PracticeLink looks for in candidates

12. Relating to neuron fibers

14. Compass direction

15. _____work

17. Not permanent, only for a short period of time

18. The word job applicants want to hear

19. Disapprove

20. Job promotion

21. Philosophy suffix

22. One kind of bone fracture

24. Welcoming object

25. Job search adviser and consultant

27. Blows away

29. Quality that PracticeLink looks for in candidates

33. Summa ___ laude

34. Four corners state

35. ____ogy, study of eggs

36. Certain flair

38. What hospital and job candidates are both looking for (3 words)

41. Enthusiastic enjoyment

44. Before, suffix

45. OR doctor

47. ”___ the season . . .”

48. Inside shot?

49. Farewell



1. “No problem!”

2. These will often be exchanged during a job search

3. Rental transport

4. Choices, it’s good to have many

5. Daily list (2 words)

6. Applicants for a position

7. Pop up

8. Try to get plenty lined up when doing a job search

10. Concern for a urologist

13. In an interview it’s probably best not talk about it too much

15. Patient’s need

16. Not bright

18. Talk too much

22. Role, informally

23. Contract provision

24. A little of this, a little of that

26. Old-time item for keeping contact information

28. Another quality PracticeLink looks for in candidates

29. Aorta area

30. Rude guy

31. Santa’s little helper

32. Fast plane

33. State where the City of Hope National Medical center is based

37. Put to work

39. They are performed in OR’s, abbr.

40. Retirement investment option

42. H____, really big!

43. Digit

46. Rock group, ____40





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