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Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

Dr. Ashlee Hendry
Dr. Ashlee Hendry spent no money on advertising, yet gained 600 new patients using social media. She joined in a SoMeDocs spotlight to discuss.

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When I read the statement in a Facebook group, my attention was piqued.

“I’ve spent $0 on real advertising and acquired 600 patients in 13 months. I just post on my social media accounts,” the doctor wrote.

It was music to my ears, having spent so many years lecturing to doctors about the various tools that are at our fingertips, where it comes to marketing our thought leadership and practices.

For those of us who are breaking free of the traditional system and starting our own practices, especially, this is pertinent because we don’t have the millions of dollars that private equity has when they advertise and market their behemoth corporations.

So we’re doing it, bit by bit.

Dr. Ashlee Hendry, who made the statement, agreed to share her experience with us, in an interview spotlight. She’s no stranger to the SoMeDocs family, having appeared in the 12-part series name Their DPC Stories, starring host Dr. Maryal Concepcion.

Stay tuned as we have a growing private practice section, featuring various resources, which you can find here.

 

What type of practice do you run?

I opened a Direct Primary Care DPC practice last April.

It is a membership based primary care clinic where patients pay me directly and I do not contract with insurance companies.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

Did you always know you’d choose the private practice setting?

I knew pretty early on after working for a large hospital organization that I would not be happy until I owned my own clinic.

It was never my goal to see 25-30 patients per day.

I am much happier seeing 8-12 and spending more time with patients in the Direct Care model.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

Got visuals from first opening up your practice?

 

What have you found to be the most helpful social platform for patient acquisition?

Overall it would be Facebook because it is the one I post on the most, however I did acquire a decent following on Tik Tok and have gotten several new patients from that platform.

 

It was never my goal to see 25-30 patients per day. I am much happier seeing 8-12 and spending more time with patients in the Direct Care model. Click To Tweet

 

Is there a specific method you use for acquiring patients for your practice?

I just post honest things about what I am dealing with on a day to day basis in healthcare.

I openly share my frustrations about insurance companies.

I explain why patients are actually charged more when they have insurance vs just paying cash for things such as labs and imaging.

I think taking this direct approach and shedding light on how the system is completely broken has really resonated with my followers and helped me build a social media presence as one of the “rebel doctors” who fights back against the system. Now that I am on a waitlist I have scaled back on the amount of content I post because I can’t take on additional patients currently.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

Can you share a tip or two for using social media?

My biggest tip is to keep it fun, when it becomes another job I think you lose your authenticity.

I think doctors can really jump start building their brand by just being honest with their followers about what they go through on a day to day basis.

I often post things about my family, hobbies and interests and just non medical “fun” things.

 

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Do you create social media posts yourself, or outsource to free up your time?

I do all of my own social media so far I haven’t really seen the need to outsource but I do see how that can be beneficial for people who are busy or not great coming up with fresh content.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

What would you say to doctors who are more introverted, or shy, who feel intimated by social media?

It is definitely something to keep the mentality of “fake it til you make it”.

I have always had anxiety and social media can amplify that but you just have to put that aside and know that everything is content and content is king.

Also it is fine to take a break when you are feeling overwhelmed. It can be helpful to pre-record content all in one sitting and then post it on different days in the future so you do not feel like social media is consuming you.

 

Is there a social platform you don’t find helpful?

Twitter has never really been appealing to me personally.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ashlee Hendry (@drashleehendry)

Is there a powerful learning lesson you’ve experienced over the the years that you can share with our readers?

Yes, when I was in medical school I posted a lot of fitness content on instagram and facebook.

I trained for a body building show and posted that journey as a single mom and what that looked like while finishing medical school.

When my instagram became popular some of my professors low-key shamed me about my social media and told me I would never match into a residency program with an online presence like that. Unfortunately, I listened to them and decided to step away from social media and deactivate my main accounts during match/residency.

 

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I think this was the wrong thing to do and looking back I wish I had not.

Do not let people who are not familiar with social media branding deter you from having an online presence due to “professionalism” concerns.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

It is absolutely possible to be both a professional and successful with social media.

When I opened my new clinic I was able to re-activate my old fitness Facebook account and re-brand it towards my DPC clinic which gave me an immediate 30 k + following of local patients to advertise my new clinic to.

 

"My professors low-key shamed me about my social media and told me I would never match into a residency program with an online presence like that."

 

We found a social media post where you speak about giving your phone number out to patients. Could you touch on how you make this work?

One of the perks of a patient joining a “DPC” clinic is that they have direct access to their doctor. All of my patients have my cell.

It has actually been great both for me and them, as I prefer to know what’s going on with my patients at all times and it used to be a huge source of anxiety for me knowing that all of my patient messages/calls were left up to a 3rd party call center.

 

"All of my patients have my cell."

 

Patients have been very respectful of my phone boundaries that I do not answer over night when I’m asleep and if it is non-urgent I get back to them during normal business hours. They are just happy to have direct access to me and not have to wait weeks or months to get responses from their doctor.

So many things can be handled over a quick text or phone call, the direct access is a game changer in health care in my opinion as long as you set clear boundaries with patients.

 

Zero Advertising Dollars Spent, 600 New Patients: Dr. Ashlee Hendry

 

Do giveaways work on social media? Do you engage in any and, if so, what is the context?

I do not do any social media giveaways.

I have never been interested in sponsorship even when I was in the fitness influencer circles it always came off as not authentic to me.

 

We’ve recently debuted a FB group called Doctor Side Ventures and this makes a perfect feature that can be shared there! Do you think doctors today can juggle running a practice with nurturing a side venture? Why or why not?

I definitely think its possible.

I am trying to start a side venture currently with selling my art work. My first love was always art but with medical training/residency/burn out I have never really made it a viable source of income.

Now that I own my own clinic and have full control of my work load and schedule I want to focus on things that give me joy and purpose out side of medicine. I do not think I would have been able to do this if I was still owned by hospitals and insurance companies being forced to play by their rules.

 

We want to see you doing something outside of medicine – indulge us?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ashlee Hendry (@drashleehendry)

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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2 Responses

  1. Great article. I experienced everything you discussed. I went direct in 2000 and was told by all of my friends and colleagues that I was going to create “professional suicide”. That did not happen. I have thrived for the 23 years I have been paid directly by my patients. When I quit insurance, I was up to 60 patients daily. Talk about stress and burnout! But the beauty inherent in direct-pay is something too many doctors fear. That is their loss. Kudos to you!!

  2. I totally resonate with the part about you being shamed by your higher ups. I was shamed by a medical school interviewer for doing a term abroad in Spain my senior year! And, the medical school was in South Florida. And I am pretty sure he was inappropriate in other ways. Anyway, the bullying that many of us females have been through is quite shocking!

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