This is where a public relations firm can come in handy, helping doctors get sound bites—PR speak for “quoted”—in mass media. “Most often, when a doctor is quoted with any regularity in print media, online or on TV, it is because that doctor has employed a public relations firm,” Rothman said. Classic examples can be found in sub-specialties of medicine such as plastic surgery, dermatology and cosmetic dentistry, where doctors who have utilized public relations have become national phenomena. These physician “stars” are able to charge as much as their local markets can bear, can choose not to have their practice insurance-based and can even pave the way for future endeavors such as books, product lines and paid speaking engagements.
“Public relations allows us a news-centric platform to share our expertise and perspectives, with varied constituencies, on any number of relevant topics,” said Wayne Eisman, MD, FACS. “And, unlike advertising, it does so in an environment of information, not selling.”
Dr. Eisman, president of ENT and Allergy Associates in Tarrytown, N.Y., said his practice has its own internal public relations team. The practice would have been unlikely to grow to its current size without employing public relations and, he said, the physicians’ influence and visibility would be greatly diminished.