Speaking at the AAFP DPC Summit 2018

Speaking at the AAFP DPC Summit

This weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians' (AAFP) Direct Primary Care Summit 2018. The DPC Summit 2018 took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from July 13th - 15th and we shared best practices about Direct Primary Care.

Several of the founding members of the Direct Primary Care Alliance, an organization advocating for the needs of the independent DPC doctors, including Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, Dr. Ryan Neuhoffel, Dr. Julie Gunther, Dr. Phil Eskew, Dr. Nicholas Tomsen, Dr. Landon Roussel, Dr. Amy Walsh, Dr. Delicia Haynes, Dr. Jeff Gold, Dr. Luke Van Kirk, Dr. James Gaor, Dr. Staci Benson, et al.

Several of the founding members of the Direct Primary Care Alliance, an organization advocating for the needs of the independent DPC doctors, including Dr. Paul Thomas, MD, Dr. Ryan Neuhoffel, Dr. Julie Gunther, Dr. Phil Eskew, Dr. Nicholas Tomsen, Dr. Landon Roussel, Dr. Amy Walsh, Dr. Delicia Haynes, Dr. Jeff Gold, Dr. Luke Van Kirk, Dr. James Gaor, Dr. Staci Benson, et al.

The name of my talk was "DPC Hustles Harder", an homage to the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude of my home town summed up in the phrase "Detroit Hustles Harder." I also see several parallels between Detroit and the DPC movement - embattled, not fully understood, at a crossroads, with the potential to grow rapidly. 

I named my talk DPC Hustles Harder because as a DPC doctor, your name is not on the back of your patients' insurance card and you will not get referrals from large health care systems or their doctors or administrators. In fact, as a DPC doctor, you have to go out, pound the payment, write for local papers, write blog posts, send emails, and leverage social media platforms to reach your target audience.

All of this can be a ton of work and it can feel overwhelming, especially for physicians who haven't had any formal communications or digital marketing training. So I set out to simplify the tools and processes for doctors to reach more patients. 

I did this because I believe in the Direct Primary Care model and the DPC movement, it's ability to lower the cost of care and deliver a higher quality of service for patients, families, and communities across our nation. I sincerely believe in the abilities of my DPC colleagues, and I want to help and uplift their efforts. 

I don't have the full video version of my presentation, but I will post it as soon as it's available. For now, I have several pictures taken by my colleagues (see below), some great memories from connecting with my colleagues, and a deep sense of gratitude for the ability to teach others about how to overcome challenges when it comes to branding and marketing their Direct Primary Care practices. 

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Summit 2018, my lecture was called DPC Hustles Harder and it focused on Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care Practice. 

Speaking at the American Academy of Family Physicians Direct Primary Care Summit 2018, my lecture was called DPC Hustles Harder and it focused on Branding and Marketing your Direct Primary Care Practice. 

Digital Marketing for my Direct Primary Care Doctor Colleagues

Starting a Direct Primary Care practice is a tall task, by any measure. Doctors emerge from residency with little to no business training. Starting a DPC practice is starting a business, and for many doctors, this is their first attempt at something like this. The journey from 'idea' to 'successful practice' is fraught with pitfalls and difficulties. 

Knowing how hard it is to start a business and how hard it is to start a DPC practice, I wrote a blog post for my colleagues. It is my sincere hope that they are able to grow while minimizing mistakes, errors, and difficulties. One area where I see that doctors could make significant improvements is their digital marketing. 

Specifically, DPC docs need to know how to build a sales funnel for their services. You see, when a doctor is employed by a large health system, her name is on the back of the insurance card for thousands of patients. That same doctor, when she breaks free from the insurance-based system, has to find her own patients. Where will these patients come from? 

Direct Primary Care (DPC) doctors must leverage social media, email marketing, networking events, etc... in order to grow their practices successfully. This piece that I wrote on the Hint Health blog will facilitate this growth, and it focuses on building a sales funnel for your practice.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health 

Plum Health Blog Post for Hint Health.png

Plum Health Direct Primary Care in Midtown Detroit

This week, I was able to sit down with Pamela Owens of yb2c Marketing and talk about what we do at Plum Health DPC. We had a wide ranging conversation and it was a really fun time getting to know Pamela and her husband Keith Owens. They record their podcast out of Green Garage in Midtown Detroit. For the full episode, hit this link!

We dove deep on some issues, like why I've chosen to be in Detroit to practice Direct Primary Care. Fist, I am here because I want to give back to a community that has given a lot to me and my family. Personally, I received a world-class medical education from Wayne State University School of Medicine along with so many volunteer opportunities at free clinics across the city.

I learned a great deal by practicing medicine at the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Hospital, Oakwood, St. John Hospital, Cass Clinic, the Student Run Free Clinic, and the Joy-Southfield Clinic. All of these learning experiences have shaped me into the physician that I am today. 

I also see an opportunity in Detroit. This is a medically underserved area, with a dearth of primary care physicians. Because of my unique set of skills and training in Family Medicine, I am able to fill some of these gaps in care. I am proud to be providing this kind of affordable, accessible health care service in the City. 

Finally, Detroit has provided many resources for small business growth. I've talked about this before, but being able to take classes at the Build Institute and with TechTown's Retail Boot Camp has allowed me to improve my business concept and execution substantially. It has also allowed me to network with several entrepreneurs in the community. Larger grant programs like the Motor City Match program has also provided funding for the build out of the next phase of my business, as Plum Health grows over time. 

As a side note, If you haven't been to the Green Garage, it is a beautiful space in the Midtown community. It has been created in the most sustainable way possible, with almost all of the construction materials being repurposed from what had been in the building before the Green Garage built out that space. The materials were painstakingly conserved, and the space turned out wonderfully. 

They hold a weekly lunch and meet up at 12 pm each Friday at the Green Garage, which is a great way to network and meet innovate people in the Detroit community. Here's a few photos from the last one that I went to (below).

Thanks for watching and reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care

Facebook Marketing for Doctors

Hello Doctor Colleagues! As I've started a new medical practice in the last year, I've had to become very familiar with several marketing channels. In this blog post, I will outline how to approach Facebook Marketing and how you can measure the results of your efforts for paid and unpaid posts. 


Set up a Facebook page for your business. This will allow you to use paid advertising via the Facebook platform, which is one of the most valuable and effective marketing channels available. You should not market your practice from your personal page only, because the number of people who can "friend" you is typically capped at 5,000, whereas your business page can receive unlimited followers. Also, you cannot pay to boost content or purchase ad space on Facebook via your personal account. 

Create Engaging Content:

If you want to attract new members to your practice, create unique, interesting and engaging content. In simple terms, the most effective content consists of video, photos, sharing articles related to your practice or practice philosophy, and short lines of text. You want to create the kind of content that is "shareable", where your Facebook page followers will want to "share" this content with their friends and family. Educational material about hot topics in health and healthcare are especially "shareable". 

An Example:

Recently, I wrote a blog post and made a video about bike lanes in Detroit. Accessible healthcare is something that I'm passionate about, and if I can further the progress that we've made in Detroit in terms of human-centered urban planning and Complete Streets, that would be ideal! Anytime we improve our walking, biking, and transit infrastructure, we provide more people with access to parks, grocery stores and doctors - all things that people need to be healthy. 

As you can tell, I care a lot about this subject! So, pick a topic that you're passionate about and try to start a conversation with your community. Maybe for you it's vaccines, seasonal allergies, antibiotic overuse, the opioid epidemic, etc... These are all great topics that you can write about and share with your Facebook followers. 

Once I posted my video into Facebook regarding bike lanes in Detroit, I opted to boost the post. You can boost a post on Facebook by linking your business bank account to your business Facebook profile. You can boost your content for a few dollars on up to thousands of dollars.

As I've started to understand Facebook, it's algorithm, my followers, and my community better, my skill with boosting content has improved. It may take a few months and several boosts for you to understand what works for you, so start small with $10, $20, or $30 boosts and see what does well. As your comfort level grows, add more money to get better results.

In this video, I show my Business Facebook Page, and demonstrate how to boost a post, choose a location, choose an age range for my audience, and choose interests that my potential customers may have. You can also set the duration that you want the advertisement to run, and in this instance I select for a 24 hour period. View it here:

From there, I keep tabs on the boost by answering any questions and responding to any comments from my audience. After the 24 hour period has expired, I look at my results. These results can be "soft results": likes, shares, video views, audience members reached, etc... But, as we are operating businesses, these soft results are not as important as patient sign-ups. I discuss the "soft results" in this follow up video: 

Additionally, the results of your Facebook boost can be measured by seeing how many people went to your website. I use Squarespace, which shows some "analytics" or data related to web traffic. Below, you can see our web traffic over the last 1 month. That spike on March 20th and March 21st came after we were featured on Local 4 WDIV in Detroit. The most recent spike on April 12th is a result of our recent Facebook post and boost, which linked directly to our Plum Health website. Our traffic typically hovers around 20 - 30 unique visitors and after the boost, we received 54 unique visitors. 

Furthermore, in Squarespace's Analytics tab, you can see where your web traffic came from. These traffic sources are called "Referrers", places like direct browser traffic, Google searches, Facebook, Twitter, etc... Over the last 1 month, 47% of our traffic has come directly to our website, or people typing "" into their browser. 39% of our traffic has come from Google, or people searching for "Plum Health" or "Direct Primary Care in Detroit" or something similar. 

Importantly, over the last 48 hours or the time frame of our most recent boosted post, 26.23% of our traffic came from Facebook or about 14 unique visitors followed us from Facebook to our website. This spike in traffic from Facebook outpaced Google traffic. This is demonstrated in the photos below:

Finally, if you received any calls or direct messages in the 24 - 48 hour period after your post, you can ask your potential customer how they heard about your service. If they respond that they saw your ad on Facebook, then your sales funnel is working to your advantage. As a side note, it is always important to ask your patients or customers where or how they heard about you - that way you can focus your marketing efforts into that area. 

For Plum Health and for this post, we received one inquiry during the advertisement and one inquiry in the 24 hour period after the advertisement ended. We were able to schedule both of those inquiries for appointments in the coming week.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC