Welcome to the Healthcare CEO podcast. Join us as Daniel Fernandez, healthcare leader and patient experience advocate, leads dynamic one-on-one discussions with healthcare executives, consultants, and other industry experts. Listen in as they share actionable insights and unique perspectives in the day in the life of a healthcare CEO.
*The following has been adapted from our interview with Brian Dooreck, which can be found here.
Meet Dr. Brian Dooreck
Dr. Dooreck completed his undergraduate degree at Stony Brook University and a post-baccalaureate at Harvard School of Public Health before earning his medical degree from Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University. He completed his internal medicine residency in New York City and was Chief Resident at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital at Columbia University Teaching Hospital. He received clinical training in gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital’s distinguished Center for Liver Diseases, which was named by U.S. News as one of America’s best hospitals for digestive disorders.
In 2005, Dr. Dooreck joined Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Centers and Memorial Healthcare Systems in South Florida. He’s also a member of the credentialing committee. His social media presence is focused on colorectal screening and nutrition.
Using Social Media as a Platform
Daniel Fernandez (DF): I have to say, you’re one of the most active physicians I’ve seen on LinkedIn. Would you encourage other physicians to use LinkedIn as a platform?
BD: There’s no right answer for everyone. LinkedIn is not the only answer. There’s TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and God knows what else is in the pipeline. I like LinkedIn because that’s where the bandwidth is. That’s where I find my target audience. They exist on the other platforms, and I check them once a day, but my lane is very clear: Colon cancer screening and nutrition. And I don’t want to get lost in the fluff. LinkedIn feels right for me. You’ve got to do what feels right. If I were a young doctor, I’d probably like TikTok. Each person has to do their thing. That’s how I connect with people.
DF: I see you sometimes post your lunch on LinkedIn, which is not a platform you typically see those kinds of posts in.
BD: Since one of my focuses is on nutrition, I like to be able to share with people: here are my healthy fats, here are the carbs. Lately, I’ve moved away from that because it was becoming a little cliché. And I don’t have an issue finding content, because I see patients every day, so there’s plenty to talk about. But I do like to sometimes go back to share meals because it’s an easy way to say, “Hey, this is what I’m doing. This is how I’m choosing to eat.” This is what I share with my patients and people outside my practice when talking about nutrition and lifestyle. It helps people. I hear feedback about how people are eating more colors now, or eating healthier, or they’ve lost weight. They’ve told me that their lives have improved after seeing pictures of my salads, so I keep sharing them. I’m sharing what works for me.
Being Transparent About Life Challenges
DF: 2020 has been a year like no other. Recently, you posted something very relatable, and the response was amazing. I’m talking about the post about stress. People in leadership positions tend to believe they must maintain this facade of being strong all the time, but there’s something relatable about being vulnerable, and you did that. It was well-received, and there’s a lot our listeners can learn from that as well.
BD: The core message is that I know what it’s like to hit benchmarks and accolades in life; to get to certain levels of success. If I’m talking to people in their mid-40s, 50s, or 60s, and they’re now in the corner office, in the C-suite, whatever their story may be, after hitting those benchmarks, there’s a void. It’s normal to walk through them. That’s real. Leaning into those feelings and being able to say, “This is what’s going on today,” instead of suppressing them creates a more positive world for ourselves.
Typically, when you’re on social media, everyone’s life seems amazing. Their bodies are amazing. They’re traveling the world. Their kids go to the best schools. They go on the best vacations in the lake house, and you feel like shit. Then there’s the other part of social media, where it’s all news. And you’re looking at the news — and everyone is dying and everything is bad news. So you’re often left in this gray zone, where you either feel like shit because people are posting about their great lives and filtered nonsense, or you’re self-elevating yourself because you’re seeing negativity and other people suffering and in pain.
What prompted me to post about being so stressed is a combination of many factors — COVID, being in South Florida, the economic ramifications of my medical practice, the cash flow in my home, my kids going off to college. I like everything to be organized and mapped out. But that’s not life. You can’t have it all organized and planned out. So yeah, a combination of all those things have been making me feel very stressed out. So I leaned into it, because if you don’t lean into it, you suppress it and it comes out in different ways — anxiety, physical ailments, internal stress, and God knows what.
When you talk with people in your life about these things, with no filters or emojis — when you keep it real — you start seeing that it’s like this for people. Sometimes therapy really helps. Talking with people of all different backgrounds and financial levels, and putting all that shit in the middle of the room. It fosters a very safe feeling. That’s what got me to open up the other day. It wasn’t premeditated. It wasn’t for likes or followers. I was like, “I’m feeling stressed. This is what’s going on. I’m still standing. I’m self-functioning. The world hasn’t collapsed. I’m still seeing patients. But this is how I’m feeling.”
The next day, there was so much action in my business to move it forward. So much went on in terms of my business growth. Everything exploded in two weeks in terms of creativity, marketing, and consulting. Strategizing how we could grow. All these things kind of exploded. Because when you let go and lean into your feelings, you can move forward freely.
Providing Consulting Services to Other Healthcare Practices
DF: Going back to the consultancy aspect, tell us about how you’re helping practices.
BD: I’ve been practicing for 15 years in South Florida. I can think back 15 years ago when I first started, and I asked my partners: Who are the five groups we want to target? I’d go to other offices in my complex and leave my card. Let everyone know that we were practicing next door. Those were the early stages. Now I have more than 150 Google reviews than the next gastroenterologist. At the end of the day, I know what works. What works is raw, basic communications. Having conversations. Talking with people. That’s one aspect. And now, more than ever, doctors need help. Winter is here. Game on. This is a throwdown. This is real. And if we’re not focused on getting ourselves together and building your practice, you’re gonna get crushed, because the next practitioner is going to do it. So if you’re not doing it, if you’re sitting stagnant, waiting by COVID to pass, you’ll be consumed by a hospital or venture capital firm who’s going to buy your group. Or you will retire because you can’t do it anymore. I’m not taking that road. I have too much to offer. I know what I’m doing works. My tools are so valuable. There’s so much at our disposal, and some doctors don’t know how to implement them. I know what it takes. I know what doctors need. I’m not a salesperson, but I’m available to coach them and teach them what works. The content and value of what I’m doing is being utilized in national publications. If someone wants to reach out to me on LinkedIn, I’m happy to have a conversation about it.
Everyone’s suffering. Yet, my practice itself is now positioning itself in the local South Florida market to dominate in the space that we do on Google, because I know what drives business. Practice growth and coaching are very simple: more patients, more revenue. That’s what it comes down to. I don’t want to be an employee for someone at this point in my life. I want more revenue from the work I do because I want more freedom to do the things I want to do. I’m going to continue the trajectory of living my life on my terms. Travel the world. Spend time with my family. The question is not how can I grow my practice through COVID or why is this happening? It’s how can I see more patients? How can I change my practice now? It all starts with you. It’s having the clarity and the focused vision in these areas and aligning yourself with the right people.
The Value of Google Reviews
DF: I see those Google cards for your practice, and you have no idea how happy it makes me to see them. We have had many battles throughout the years over those — where we’ve tried to rally physicians to hand them out to gather reviews from patients. But a lot of times, those cards end up in garbage cans, and it breaks my heart every time I walk by trash and I see a stack of cards like that. So the fact that you have them and use them as a powerful tool, I want everyone listening to understand that it does work!
BD: It works incredibly. Now I’m not giving them away because of COVID. We staple them to discharge papers. But I’ve moved to digital formats. Now I have a different model. Again, always think out of the box. I mean, at lunchtime today, I must have sent out upwards to 300 faxes, leveraging technology in a very targeted, structured campaign to identify pain points of referring practices, identifying those pain points with what we can offer. Same-day or next-day appointments. Telehealth is not a long-term solution. At some points, patients will need to be seen. We’re doing things smartly, responsibly, consciously. Colonoscopies and endoscopies within a week. Do you want to be the Nordstrom or do you want to be a K-Mart? I’m going to be a Nordstrom that chases independent pricing because that’s what insurance, and patients, and healthcare providers need.
Life Lessons from 2020
DF: Again, 2020 has been unlike any other. What has this year taught you so far?
BD: 2020 has taught me on a personal level — it’s validated and reaffirmed that you have no control. You really have no control over anything. The more you try to control, the more anxiety it’s going to cause in your life. Most of us in executive and CEO positions are trying to control things. There are situations where doctors are being furloughed, and businesses decimated. Everyone’s hurting. And industries you thought would be unscathed, are hurting. Look at hospitals. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. It teaches you that you have very little control. It reaffirms that life is short. Life is very short and fragile. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. I’m 49. There are 49-year-olds on ventilators. It’s taught me things in my personal life. It gave me a breathing space, when we were quiet for seven weeks or so in March and April. It gave me time to do things I wanted to do. I pulled stuff from Tony Robbins. You find the path and model that works for you. It gave me time with my family that I didn’t think I’d probably ever have. Kids coming home from college. Family of five all under one roof. The dog is getting more love and attention than ever in his entire life! In retrospect, a lot of us have lost family members. People with medical issues are surviving. But for me, if I can look back and I can come out physically unscathed, the time I’ve had with my family would define COVID for me. It’s a time to treasure decades forward.
DF: I think everyone’s had the conversation about everyone having to go work for Amazon, since packages are being delivered all over the world.
BD: We all have to adapt. We all have to adjust. This is real. And if you feel that you’re alone in these moments, and think, oh my God, I’m going to work for Amazon. What happens if my industry is gone? What happens if I lose my job? I’m not sitting home all day in my sweatpants, eating Cheetos, and going to group meetings. Businesses are suffering. Everyone’s home in isolation, trying to run an effective business. I’m still coming to work every day and seeing patients. It’s a blessing that I have that structure. I can’t imagine being at home. I’d be Zoomed out. I’d be like, leave me alone. This Zoom meeting is over. How do you stay engaged and function, and stay motivated and working at that level? It’s very, very challenging for many people, I’m sure. That’s why I tell people about that $12,000 thing.
$12,000 Giveaway for Healthcare Practitioners
DF: Let’s talk about the $12,000 thing. Where would people go to access any of that? Because it sounds very appealing.
BD: I decided I want to make an impact in a powerful way. And this is on LinkedIn. If you follow me on LinkedIn, you can see it. I’m slowly putting the teasers out. I’m putting the application out this week. It’s a $12,000 value give away. I actually put a poll up on LinkedIn about who I should give it to. I’ll give you some sense of where I’m headed with this thing. Option A is a corporate C-Suite, choice B is a non-profit group or team, and choice C is someone self-promoting themselves. I’m giving away something that’s very tangible in true value in terms of who’s gonna pay it forward? When that application goes up, it’s not going to be a long application. Tell me in 280 characters how your business is going to pay this forward. Keep it real. I don’t have time to read an essay. Give me something compelling. How will you use this $12,000 investment in you to pay it forward to help other people? How are you going to help your employees? All the people depending on you? Their families? It’s a trickle-down effect.
Just follow me on LinkedIn. I’m starting to drop messages about it every day. The application is about to go up. This is no e-book or webinar. You don’t have to buy a course. This is real. It’s a throwdown. Game on. Here, now, level it up. I’ll challenge anyone to say when was the last time they saw someone offering something of this value on LinkedIn. If the right people see it and apply for it, I’ll be able to make a sound decision. The more you give, the more you get back.
DF: I love your “Pay It Forward” mindset. That’s exactly why we started this podcast. I was always taught at an early age to surround yourself with intelligent people — even people who are more intelligent than you are. If I can learn something, anybody listening can learn something as well. Thank you so much for being on the show.
BD: I also like doing the same thing. I love meeting and talking with people on LinkedIn to see what I can learn. It’s not just about posting my salad I had for lunch. I’m learning about artificial intelligence, and hydrofoil trains, and semiconductors, and politics, and all this cool stuff. And that’s how we connected. Thank you so much for reaching out and having me on the podcast today.
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