Tag Archives: doctors

Should a Bad Grade in Organic Chemistry be a Doctor Killer?

NYU Professor Fired for Giving Students Bad Grades

Should a Bad Grade in Organic Chemistry be a Doctor Killer?

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

A recent article described the termination of an NYU organic chemistry professor in response to a student petition. When the professor pushed students’ grades down, noting the egregious misconduct, he said they protested that “they were not given grades that would allow them to get into medical school.” The reporter noted that, in short, this one unhappy chemistry class could be a case study of the pressures on higher education as it tries to handle its Gen-Z student body. Should universities ease pressure on students, many of whom are still coping with the pandemic’s effects on their mental health and schooling? How should universities respond to the increasing number of complaints by students against professors? Do students have too much power over contract faculty members, who do not have the protections of tenure?

And how hard should organic chemistry be anyway? One faculty member said, “Unless you appreciate these transformations at the molecular level, I don’t think you can be a good physician, and I don’t want you treating patients.”

I know the feeling. While organic chemistry is termed a “doctor killer” by premedical students, getting any grade less than an “A”, typically in science, technology, engineering, or math subjects, can doom your application. When I saw that B I got in physics in my junior year of college, I started thinking about Plan B. Then I really learned the gravity of the situation.

Despite the noise and groaning, medical school applications continue to rise, driven by many factors. However, the medical school education model dates back to the Flexner report issued in 1910. Many are trying to address the challenges of how to train the biomedical research and practice workforce to win the 4th industrial revolution, but progress has been slow. Here were the challenges facing medical schools in 2015. Things have not radically changed. Medical educators, particularly those in public medical schools, will continue to face several basic problems in the coming years. The “invisible enemy” has exacerbated many.

We should rethink how we recruit and accept medical students.

Here are some questions that should inform that transition:

1. Do doctors really need to be that “smart”? GPAs can vary significantly across different medical schools, so it pays to do your research before applying. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported an average GPA for medical school of 3.60 across all applicants for the 2021-2022 application cycle. For the same year, applicants had an average science GPA of 3.49 and an average non-science GPA of 3.74.

2. What kind of intelligence do doctors need to meet the needs of their stakeholders and communities?

Types of Intelligence by Mark Vital

3. Do patients really care what grade their doctor got in organic chemistry, or, for that matter, whether they graduated last in their class from medical school?

4. How has the pandemic and the persona of Gen Z changed medical education?

5. What do doctors and patients need to know to win the 4th industrial revolution? Organic chemistry?

6. How does the present system and its reliance on undergraduate STEM academic performance impact inequitable socioeconomic and demographic acceptance rates?

7. How should we transform premedical, medical, and post-graduate pedagogy? Examples are project-based learning and peer reviewed feedback.

8. Why do we insist that undergraduates declare a major?

9. Is the purpose of a medical school education solely to graduate students who have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies to take care of patients, or should we provide them with exit ramps too?

10. How do we balance a medical culture of conformity with a culture of creativity?

11. What will be the future of medical work?

I’m lucky that I dodged the bullet. But I still have Plan B.

Image Credits: Adioma (Mark Vital), Pixabay

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The Reasons Physicians are Losing the Branding Wars

The Reasons Physicians are Losing the Branding Wars

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Maybe the last time you walked into a retail-based clinic, you did not see an MD. Maybe the same thing happened at your hospital outpatient clinic or an urgent care center. Physician “extenders” and advanced practice professionals, like primary care pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are winning the war on branding. They and their professional associations have done a good job branding their services while complacent doctors have not. What happened? Doctors are now “providers”. The latest spin is to call yourself a surgicalist. A surgicalist is a highly trained, board-certified surgeon who provides emergency surgical care within a dedicated hospital setting – the foundation of a surgical hospitalist program. A surgicalist career path affords talented surgeons the chance to design the life they want.

Staffing shortages among healthcare providers are having numerous downstream effects on everything from patient care to reimbursement and thinning margins. But they’re also causing a shift in public perception: More people now trust pharmacists to play a larger role in their care management, according to new research from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City and Express Scripts Pharmacy.

With more than half (51.8%) of the U.S. population experiencing at least one chronic condition, and one-quarter suffering from multiple chronic conditions, prescription medications are often the first line of defense to help patients manage these conditions, the report found.

In the period from 2015–2018, nearly one-half of the U.S. population was using at least one prescription drug, nearly one-quarter (21.4%) were using three or more, and over 10% were using five or more prescription drugs.

All of that is putting pharmacists in the spotlight – along with the rise of chronic disease, increased medication use and shifts to value-based payment models.

Doctors don’t understand that branding a service, particularly one that is becoming more and more commoditized, is not like branding a product, like toothpaste. There are four keys to branding a service:

1. Don’t Mass Market To Your Target Market Take a look at the doctor ads. They are filled with platitudes like “quality care”, “personalized service” and “caring staff”. I would sure hope so. But, marketing to the masses with platitudes is like a CPA saying “I can do your taxes”. Instead, you need to “touch” your patients with highly targeted messages.

2. Focus On Relevance Over Differentiation Most product branding is about cheaper, smarter, faster, better compared to the competition. Service branding is about how I can solve your unique problem.

3. Worry About Growing Revenue, Not Market Share. Payer mix is an obvious difference when it comes to sickcare branding compared to product branding. As we all know, doctors don’t make the same profit seeing all patients. Some, in fact, are loss leaders. Soon, all of sick care might be a loss leader.

4. Help Your People Be Your Brand. Particularly in sickcare, your people are your brand, including the doctors. You are the product, not the doctor.

When it comes to these four elements, non-physicians are doing a better job than physicians and they are building brand equity. Take a page out of the FedEx playbook, and expect to see

  • A genuine and defensible market position
  • Improved external awareness, perception, and desirability
  • The development of a collaborative internal culture
  • Alignment and integration of all messaging
  • Revenue growth

Here are 10 ways to beat Commodity Care. For doctors to brand their services and win as incumbents in the market, they need to practice Othercare .

In the face of competition, substitutes and turf wars, doctors need to do more about their sustainable competitive advantage, particularly when it comes to practicing at the top of their license, building brand equity and innovating, all things that, up to this time, they have not done because they didn’t have to.

Maybe then, they won’t call you a provider anymore, doctor.

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19 Things Physician Entrepreneurs Don’t Get About Sales and Marketing

19 Things Physician Entrepreneurs Don't Get About Sales and Marketing

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Many biomedical and health marketing and sales people ask about tips and techniques on how to sell to doctors. But, very few doctors or physician entrepreneurs have much interest in how to market and sell to patients and other customers. The conventional wisdom goes that they are “too busy” or “don’t have the time” and that they are trained to take care of patients, not take care of business.

I disagree, as I’ve explained in many other posts. However, sales is not in the medical school course catalog.

During a pandemic, that is not an option. Here is what you need to know about digital marketing now.

Here are some social media strategies you should use in the post-pandemic world.

Do you know how to rank #1 on Google?

Ogilvy, one of the most respected marketing firms globally, has recognized this shift by stating that the traditional “4 Ps of Marketing” are out and the 4 Es are in.  

  • Experience is more important than Product
  • Everywhere (Omnichannel) is now Place
  • Exchanges outweigh Price
  • Evangelism is more valuable than Promotion

Here is the job description for a social media manager for Microsoft:


  • Design and execute a slate of rich social media strategies that resonate with our diverse and global audience and drive its implementation across our key campaign moments.
  • Define social media priorities, set goals and targets, aligning with audience insights. Proactively identify areas of optimization, set best practices, and communicate these across teams.
  • Partner across MSR Labs, Campaign Marketing, Community Engagement, Comms, Editorial, and Web/Media Production to support opportunities for rich scientific storytelling.
  • Serves as a trusted advisor to senior leaders through strong communication and influencing skills.
  • Creates and presents business reports that outline impact driven and provides recommendations based on outcomes.
  • Ability to focus on business priorities and create boundaries to ensure successful project completion.
  • Work with the paid social media team to execute and deliver on overall campaign KPIs.
  • Continuously improve on results by capturing and analyzing the appropriate social data/metrics, insights, and best practices, and then work with marketing managers to execute on those KPIs and leading indicators.


Required Qualifications:

  • 5+ years of practical experience in a global enterprise social media environment or global agency in the field of social media.
  • Experience in the use of social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, TikTok, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, or Club House, etc.).

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Exceptional formal and colloquial communications skills.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively within a team and across organizational and team boundaries.
  • Ability to manage complex projects in a fast-changing environment.
  • Proven track record for new, innovative approaches, and smart risk taking.
  • Understanding and natural curiosity of evolving social media trends.
  • Experience with tools like Sprinklr, Opal, Excel, and Power BI.
  • Positive attitude, detail and customer oriented along with strong multitasking and organizational acumen.

Here are 10 things docs don’t seem to understand about healthcare sales and marketing:

1. That they are different. Said another way, the marketing team figures out the strategy. The sales team executes the battle plan. Marketing serves the interests of the buyer. Sales serves the interests of the seller.

2. That they are complementary and have to be aligned

3. That the sales plan should not be an afterthought when building the business model canvas or business plan for a new venture.

4. That branding is not sales and marketing and that B2B marketing is different than B2C marketing.

5. That the Internet and social media have revolutionized how they both are done.

6. That service after the sale is just as important as selling the product and that they need to pay attention to the aftermarket.

7. That they don’t need to worry about any of this because they work for someone else who does it or they are busy enough.

8. That they should just outsource sales and marketing to someone else and just see patients.

9. That they can just depend on word or mouth referrals. It used to be docs played golf with their friends, but they now work on Wednesdays .

10. That all they need to do is hang a shingle to be successful because they have been reading about the shortage of doctors.

11. If you are a physician entrepreneur selling to doctors, you will relate to these tips on how to sell to doctors.

12. Every customer segment in sickcare requires a different value proposition, marketing and distribution/sales strategy. The 4Ps can rapidly become the 8, 16 or 24 Ps.

13. They actually believe they are the best and that “there is no competition”. Maybe it’s time for you to step back and create a competitive analysis matrix.

14. AI, changes in social media and VR/AR are rapidly changing how marketers are building their brands, engaging customers and driving sales and lead conversion.

15. There is a big difference between vanity numbers at the top of the funnel or prospect funnel and people who are ready, willing and able to buy (about 3% of the people you contact). Here’s a way to tell the difference

16. The difference and practice of segmentation, targeting and positioning

17. These ten most effective marketing techniques are a diverse group of online and offline strategies. Each technique is most effective when it is working in concert with the others.

18. When to hire a marketer

19. Consultative sales is more about leadership than sales

Most importantly, they don’t understand that branding a service is different from branding a product. That’s, in part, why they are losing patients to non-MDs.

Most entrepreneurs, including doctors, are still stuck in the spray and pray marketing mindset instead of inbound model. The idea is , instead of you finding patients and customers, help them find you.

What’s more, they don’t understand sales operations . The main function of the sales operations team is to smooth the sales process—reduce any friction and incorporate itself to the organization so as to ensure the execution of the sales strategy.

The basic building blocks of medical practice online marketing include building a website, having an search engine optimization (SEO) plan, using social media and managing your online reputation.

Hospital strategy and marketing officers, particularly those who have been recruited from consumer goods and service industries, stare in amazement at board meetings trying to understand why their docs won’t wear the sneakers and compete with the guys down the street. They fail to understand the culture of medical education and the profession that fundamentally places institutional affiliation and engagement way down the totem pole compared to peer acceptance and cooperation.

Another problem occurs when non-sick care entrepreneurs want to hire doctors as advisors, when, in fact, they want them to be salespeople to hospitals and other doctors on commission. The fact is that , in most instances, doctors lack sales knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to do the job.

The main reason most doctors are not sales and marketing savvy is that they never had to be and they don’t want to be. But, times have changed. Maybe with an attitude adjustment, they’ll be able to get in a quick 18 holes after all.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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