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PatientPop reviews: Dr. Robert Harris, urogynecologist

PatientPop Customer Robert Harris, MD, discusses his experience with PatientPop, the leader in practice growth technology.

Thousands of healthcare providers trust PatientPop to manage each step of practice growth, from the moment patients find them online to post-visit feedback. Today, we hear from customer Robert Harris, MD.

Dr. Harris is a urogynecologist and founding member of Southeast Urogyn, a Jackson, Mississippi, practice that helps women who suffer from urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, and other urogynecologic disorders. In this video, PatientPop representative Lisa Christy asks Dr. Harris about his experiences and successes with PatientPop. Watch the video for conversation highlights, or see more of their conversation in the below transcript.

Lisa Christy: Dr. Harris, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re excited to hear a little bit about your story working with PatientPop.

You are a urogyn in Jackson, Mississippi, and your practice is Southeast Urogyn. It is a practice with two doctors and one nurse practitioner. You’ve worked with us since early 2017, so we’re excited to hear your feedback about PatientPop.

Robert Harris, MD: Good.

Christy: Why did you choose to specialize in urogynecology?

Harris: It’s a long story. I’ll make it short. I grew up on a dairy farm, and my dad did artificial insemination in cows, and the cows would deliver babies. They might have a breech calf or some other issue, and I started working with that.

Over time, I just thought, “I’m pretty good at this,” and I decided I might want to take care of real women. That’s where I got started.

Christy: Can you tell me a little bit about the services that you offer at your practice?

Harris: Yes. Urogynecology, it used to be called that. Now it’s called female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. It’s the newest subspecialty within OB-GYN.

A few years ago, maybe three, four years ago, we all had to take a test. It was my first test to take on a computer. I passed my boards, and I was excited about that. I was one of the first fellowship-trained guys around the country, probably. There just weren’t many of us. It has grown into a much larger subspecialty caring for women with any kind of vaginal, pelvic floor disorders, urinary problems, bile problems, support problems, those kinds of things.

We provide care both surgical and non-surgical [services], and all the other things that go along with that. My hope is to be able to help those women … to make them have a much better quality of life. I do talk to patients all the time about that. They say, “Hey, Dr. Harris, do I need this?” Rarely with what we do do you really have to have anything done. For us, it’s all about improving your life and making it more enjoyable and better.

Christy: Definitely. That’s great information. How would you describe a typical day at your practice?

Harris: Typical day in my practice. When you do a lot of surgery, you have days that you’re in the clinic and days that you do surgery. So two days, all day, we operate on patients, and then two days, all day, pretty much we see patients. Then on the fifth day, we rest a little bit.

We have some satellite clinics that we cover. There’s a lot to do caring for lots of patients, because not everybody gets surgery, so we have to talk to those patients. There’s just a lot of feedback. We have three nurses who do loads of phone calls, and so there’s just a lot to care for, and a lot of patients for two doctors and one nurse practitioner.

It’s the same thing every week for 22 years. That’s what I’ve been doing every week. I tell patients all the time, unless I was on vacation, the chances are that my partner and I did between 15 and 20 surgeries that week. After 20 something years, that’s a lot of surgeries.

Christy: That is a ton of surgeries.

Harris: It is, yes.

Christy: Let’s talk a little bit about your marketing. If you could remember back to pre-2017, how was it that you were attracting patients to your practice?

Harris: I remember back to 1999. I met with a company, I wish I can remember the name of it. It was something along the PatientPop lines, so it’ll have the same kind of twist to it. I don’t even know when we had internet. We really didn’t have computers much going on back then.

I was really thinking about, “Hey, how do we connect with the patients? What do they want to hear? How do we create content?” At that time it was written content. How do we do that, that’s going to give the patients what they’re asking for, allow us to communicate with them after they’ve left our practice?

It’s not something new for me to get involved with PatientPop. I’ve always been highly involved with everything about our marketing. We’ve never really done what I would consider traditional marketing. I mean, most of our stuff is more grassroots. Most of our patients were patient referrals. Since I’ve been with PatientPop, now my online reputation is pretty expansive. It’s rare that I see a patient who hasn’t checked me out online, and reviews really matter.

The evolution is really, “Hey how do we communicate with our patients?” to “How do we allow our patients to communicate with other patients?” That’s what’s really happened through PatientPop is we have a lot more exposure. Then with that exposure, it drives them to ratings sites, and it allows the patients really to communicate with each other without ever meeting each other, telling their stories. We encourage patients to tell their stories on those sites, then we get them on our site.

PatientPop has taught me a lot that I didn’t know, and I still don’t really understand. But I trust the process now, and I’m not a big truster of those kind of things.

For me, PatientPop is a good value; it’s not overwhelmingly expensive. I’ve had some bad experiences with web developers. They don’t really do much beyond that.

What I have learned is that your website doesn’t have to look the greatest of all time, but it has to get some people looking at it. Then it has to have some content, but it can’t have too much content. All of that stuff I’ve learned and bought into with PatientPop. I recommend it all the time. I have people at the national meetings say, “I love your site. It takes me all over the place. You’re just all over there, you’re always at the top of Google. How do you do it?” I tell them, “It’s all me and I do everything.

(mutual laughter)

Harris: No no, I’ve recommended PatientPop many, many times over.

Christy: That’s excellent. It seems like you’re ahead of the curve. You weren’t doing mailers or billboards or anything like that when it came to your marketing. You knew that online was the place to be.

What was it that actually took you from who you were using previously to PatientPop?

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Harris: Well, responsiveness for one thing. I’m on there (Google) searching myself, I’m searching my partner, I’m looking for stuff all the time. Maybe most people don’t do that, but my hobby is my work. It’s not really work to me, it’s what I always wanted to do. To me, it’s just great fun, and then I like to share that with people.

I’ll tell some of my buddies around the country, “Man, you need to work on your reviews.” Bottom line is, if you don’t ask people to write good reviews for you that are doing great, then the only reviews you’re going to have are the ones who are angry. We’re doctors, we take care of people. It’s not like fixing cars or something. It’s a different bird.

The evolution for me was, I’m getting really no response from this website. Look, a lot of people make some really beautiful websites that nobody looks at. That to me is the one lesson that I’ve learned. I don’t care how beautiful your website is. If nobody’s looking at it, it’s worthless. If you got to go show it to somebody, then it’s not any good to you.

That’s probably the way a substantial number of my colleagues have it: a really neat site that nobody knows about.

Also see: 7 big reasons people leave your practice website

Christy: Sure, a patient probably knows that, obviously, you want your site to look good, but you want your site to be found. You want it to be found by search engines, and you want it to be found by patients. That’s the really important thing.

Was there any one factor when you found PatientPop that really sold you on us as a company?

Harris: Yes, it was a complexity of things. It was the things that I wanted to understand that I knew I probably couldn’t. I’m telling you, I understand a lot about it, but I don’t get it. It’s not my job, I’m a doctor. I know what I want, but I don’t know how to get there, and the one thing that sold me was the roadmap. “Here, Dr. Harris, I’m going to take you from here to there, and here’s how I’m going to do it.

I didn’t understand all the lingo, but I had heard and read the lingo, and I wasn’t totally oblivious to it. What I liked was there was very little fluff in PatientPop. Most doctors don’t like lots of stuff, fluff, and junk. We don’t want to be tooled around much. With you guys, you told me exactly what you’re going to do, exactly what it’s going to cost, and that’s what’s happened, which for me it’s been fantastic.

You’re responsive. I email all the time. I’m sure the guys I work with are sick of me, because I hammer them all the time with all these little touches. So they have this list of 50 things I’ve asked them to do. They’re like, “OK, we’re going to get it done.” I know that when I send something, it’s going to end up in the right place, probably at the right time, which I’m not an expert at that. You guys are, and that’s what makes me happy because it’s getting there, you’re following it, somebody’s doing something. It’s not being ignored.

Christy: It sounds like you’ve built this incredible level of trust with us. How long would you say it took you to develop that trust?

Harris: Not very long, couple of months max. I’m telling you, every doctor’s super skeptical of stuff, because we’ve all been knocked around a little bit with things, especially this kind of stuff. Usually, we don’t have time to mess with it, so we’re hoping that, cross your fingers and hope everything works.

I’m not like that. I’m into it, I’m checking all the time. The most frustrating thing in the past was checking and then nothing was done. Then you check on the same thing again, and then nothing was done. Well, about three of those and I’ve decided, “OK, this is not good for me.” Then you get a big fat bill at the end of the month. Then I get this crazy report about SEO and all these other things I don’t understand. I just don’t understand it at all, and nobody can explain it to me.

I love the thing I get every month with PatientPop, or maybe it’s every week, on my online reputation. It shows how many people, it’s got a return on investment thing. There’s all kinds of things that I understand. It’s not perfect, but it’s stuff that I can look at and I can tell if it’s good or bad. Good is good, and I’m happy with that. I’m never going to understand all the things you guys understand — just like you’re not going to understand all things I understand — but at least you’re trying to give me something that I can grasp.

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Christy: Sure. Metrics that actually matter to you, and that you actually understand when we give them to you.

You mentioned a little bit about a roadmap, which, if I’m understanding you correctly, is what we call our implementation process. This is where we bring you on board, get your website up, get all your profiles built, and then get you off and running on our solution.

How would you say the handoff was from your sales person, to your implementation manager, and finally to your customer success representative?

Harris: It was seamless. The sales guy and you meet one time and you get your sale. Then you’re off to the races, and then you help get your site going. I was involved with that, but not as much as I’ve had to be on the other ones I had in the past, which was good for me. I’m very demanding. Again, I’m sure they roll their eyes at me when they get an email from me, but, nonetheless, it was easy to answer a question. I always knew I had a contact.

I told everybody this upfront, “I want a touchpoint. I don’t want you to tell me, ‘Oh, you need to email that to our social team, or you need to do this or that.’ I need a touchpoint, I want the touchpoint to worry about forwarding that to different places,” and that’s what’s happened.

Everybody’s been very nice and just very responsive. I’m telling you that’s the biggest thing: response. I get a response. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than 24 hours to get a response on anything. Probably a bunch of dumb stuff that I’ve sent, but I get a response, and it’s respectful and nice.

Sometimes, it’s corrective: “Hey, you can’t do that.” I had a call today with one of your customer success managers. We had a quick call, I had an idea and I just said, “Look, I want to tell you what I want, and then I want you to tell me what I need.” It was great. Took us 10 minutes. He said, “I know what you need.” It was easy. It’s great. That’s exactly what I want. I think most doctors want that, they don’t like to worry about things.

Christy: Great. Let’s go back to the launch of your website. How did people react to your website when they saw it? How did your patients react, your current patients, and then what did the new patients say when they came through the door?

Harris: I ask patients all the time, almost invariably when I see a patient, “Hey, how did you find me?” “Okay, well so and so sent me.” “What else?” “Well, I checked you out, I checked your website out.” Third thing is they’ll say, “Then I went to your reviews.” Patients nowadays — even older patients — say, “I found you online, and you had great reviews, and I loved your website.” That’s a recurring thing.

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Honest to goodness, I loved my other website. I thought it was a little prettier to me. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that that is completely unimportant. I tell my colleagues all the time, “Forget it. It doesn’t matter how pretty it is if nobody’s looking at it.

Now, everybody’s looking at it. I don’t really understand exactly why, but whatever you’re doing is working. I also know what I’m paying every month. All that stuff really matters.

There’s a lot of things that you can really stick people with in your business. When I don’t know what I’m getting or even what you’re giving me, and you’re charging me for it, and I don’t know if it’s working. All that stuff’s super frustrating, not just to doctors, but since we don’t have as much time, probably, we get more frustrated when we see things that we don’t think necessarily are in our best interest.

For me, it’s patient feedback. “I love your website.” Those are the words I hear all the time from patients. I don’t think I’ve ever had a negative response to the site.

Christy: I noticed you take advantage of the PatientPop blog service. Can you tell me about your experience working with the content team?

Harris: There’s not a lot of work to do. I read them (the blogs). I usually have a few minor changes, but it’s impressive to me how knowledgeable they are about things that they probably … I guess they’re more research-oriented. They’re probably not super knowledgeable, but they’re really good at putting that stuff on paper.

I haven’t had to change much, and I have this unusual specialty where some of the stuff’s sensitive content. It’s been a real positive, a real boon. My patients love reading that stuff. They tell me that. “I read your blog on so-and-so update.” It’s very, very good.

Christy: I noticed you take advantage of the PatientPop blog service. Can you tell me about your experience working with the content team?

Harris: There’s not a lot of work to do. I read them (the blogs). I usually have a few minor changes, but it’s impressive to me how knowledgeable they are about things that they probably … I guess they’re more research-oriented. They’re probably not super knowledgeable, but they’re really good at putting that stuff on paper.

I haven’t had to change much, and I have this unusual specialty where some of the stuff’s sensitive content. It’s been a real positive, a real boon. My patients love reading that stuff. They tell me that. “I read your blog on so-and-so update.” It’s very, very good.

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Christy: What do you think about the patient surveys that are sent to patients after they come in?

Harris: It’s great. I even tell my patients, “You’re probably going to get a quick reminder” … I had two [patients] today, one of them was crying, because she had these terrible problems and nobody really helped her, and she’s so excited that I’m listening. That kind of stuff. I said, “Well, be ready to put that stuff on paper, because you’re about to get a reminder to review me.” A lot of patients love that.

It could be bad if you don’t treat people right, that could be a negative for you, so it holds me accountable a little bit. You can’t really have a bad day because people aren’t going to hold back. Nowadays, it’s all about saying it and throwing it out there and telling them what you’re feeling. We want to stay accountable to our patients. It’s helped me, to be honest, to know that somebody can get on there. We’re inviting them to do it, so even better. It’s a real positive thing.

Christy: Have you seen those surveys have an effect on your online reputation?

Harris: Yes, I have. A lot of my patients will go on there and write whatever. I probably didn’t have a Google review before PatientPop. I don’t think I did, and I would say most people, if they did, they had like two bad ones. It’s really helped a lot.

Google’s something that doctors don’t think much about, because it’s different. It’s not the same kind of businesses most people have. Definitely, it’s been a positive for us.

Christy: Great. I want to talk about results. About how long after you started working with PatientPop did you see results at your practice?

Harris: Within the first 60 days I started seeing lots and it just continued. It’s definitely a building block thing, because once you get a little bigger reputation, it continues to get bigger in a more immense, rapid way. That’s really what’s happened with us.

The teams are always responsive and happy to help me. That stuff matters, and it’s easy. I wish I could put it in one word. I would say PatientPop is easy to work with, results-oriented, affordable, and a great value. Those are the things that anyone would want that in any purchase or partnership that they have.

Christy: One last question. Say I am a doctor and I’m hesitant to work with PatientPop. What would you say to convince me that this is something that’s going to benefit my practice?

Harris: I would say try it, because you probably don’t even know what you have now. That was my problem, I didn’t know what I had. I couldn’t get an answer from the people who were running my site about the things that you … the sales sheet you use where you show you can get these, and you check the boxes, and these are all these things you’re supposed to be getting. Well, I went and asked my other provider, “Tell me about those.” I just didn’t get a good answer. I got lots of runarounds.

I would say try it, because you’re going to get the right answers, and you’re not going to have to worry about it. That’s the biggest thing. Nobody’s going to drop you.

I will encourage people to stay in touch with their team, because it’s going to matter. If people think you’re into it, then they’re going to be into it, too. It’s a very positive experience in almost every aspect.

Christy: That’s great. This has been really excellent feedback, Dr. Harris, so I want to thank you again for your time. We really appreciate it. Also, for continuing to be such a great customer for PatientPop.

Harris: Sure. Thank you.

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