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Medical Spa MD {1} Gregory Bledsoe MD & The Medical Fusion Conference

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In this first episode of the Medical Spa MD Podcast we showcase an interview with Greg Bledsoe, MD MPH, founder of the Medical Fusion Conference.

In this episode, we kick the first podcast off with a general discussion of how Medical Spa MD functions as a hub for physicians who are looking to gain greater control of their medical practice, business, and lifestyle. 

We move on into some discussion about creating some forums exclusively for physicians and discuss the pros and cons of having protected content.

Next up is our interview with Dr. Greg Bledsoe, founder of the Medical Fusion Conference. Greg discusses where the Medical Fusion Conference started and talks candidly about his desire to provide physicians with the very best information and resources for adding additional career opportunities to their existing practice.

This interview was pretty long so we only included the first part that deals with the Medical Fusion Conference. We'll look to add the rest of the interview where Greg's discussing more of his expedition medicine adventures to another show.

Some of what we talked about in this episode.


About Dr. Gregory Bledsoe MD MPH

Dr. Bledsoe is a Board Certified Emergency Medicine physician and the founder and CEO of ExpedMed. After completing medical school and residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Dr. Bledsoe spent five years on faculty in the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine completing a two-year fellowship in International Emergency Medicine and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In 2005, he received the “Teacher of the Year” award from the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Bledsoe has extensive experience in international travel having visited over 40 countries. His international medical experience includes serving as a field physician in Honduras, teaching disaster preparedness in Tanzania, leading a nutritional survey among the Beja tribe in northeast Sudan, working as a medical consultant in Beijing, China, and acting as the medical officer for ships in both Antarctica and the Arctic.

In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Bledsoe has been an instructor and medical consultant for the United States Secret Service. He was the personal physician to former President Bill Clinton during Clinton’s tour of Africa in September 2002, and served in Uganda and Senegal on the advance team of President George W. Bush when the President visited the African continent in July of 2003.

Dr. Bledsoe’s research has been published in many prestigious medical journals including the Journal of Trauma, Prehospital & Disaster Medicine, Southern Medical Journal, Journal of Emergency Medicine, Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, Pediatric Emergency Care, and The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. His current projects include being the chief editor of a textbook entitled Expedition and Wilderness Medicine that will be published by Cambridge University Press in the spring of 2008.  He is a frequent public speaker and has been interviewed by numerous regional and national media outlets including The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Naperville Sun, Fort Worth Weekly, Austin-American Statesman, Cincinnati Magazine, El Mundo, ESPN the Magazine, USA Today, FOX 5 New York City, and 60 Minutes.

When not working overseas, Dr. Bledsoe lives and works on Saint Simons Island, Georgia.  In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Bledsoe is a private pilot, a scuba diver, a student in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and a member of The Explorers Club.


Transcript: Medical Spa MD {1} Gregory Bledsoe MD & The Medical Fusion Conference

Andy: [0:19] Hello everybody, and welcome to the show where we help cosmetic physicians reclaim control of their medical practice and lifestyle, even if you're clueless about running a business and you're already working 60-hour weeks. Medical Spa MD, brought to you by, a worldwide community of physicians practicing cosmetic medicine. Hello, Jeff Barson.

Jeff Barson: [0:41] Hello, Andy. How are you doing?

Andy: [0:42] I'm very, very well. I'm over in Brighton in the UK. Where are you, Jeff?

Jeff: [0:46] I am in Park City, Utah, and have been here for about the last ten years.

Andy: [0:50] Fantastic.

Jeff: [0:51] There's no skiing in Brighton.

Andy: [0:53] Only when it's very, very cold.

Jeff: [0:55] There's really no skiing in England. There is some little hills in Wales that you go over and go down occasionally. Am I right?

Andy: [1:02] And some slightly bigger hills in Scotland. But there's no really big hills in the UK, I'm afraid. We're quite flat.

Jeff: [1:07] Got you.

Andy: [1:08] So listen, new podcast. I think we should explain to the listeners what this podcast is all about.

Jeff: [1:13] This podcast is an extension, really, of We've been around since 2001, and it is a worldwide community - a physician community - of physicians that are practicing cosmetic medicine. These are plastic surgeons, dermatologists, non-surgical cosmetic surgeons, people that are running medical spas and laser clinics in association with their practice.

[1:37] We provide them the information that they need to make better business decisions and operational decisions running their clinics, as well as work less hard and get the same kind of results or improve their results. Patient traffic, compensation plans, those types of things. Actually, the down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty of what it takes to run a medical practice that's got cosmetic medicine involved.

Andy: [2:02] The format, Jeff, is it usually going to be an interview in each show?

Jeff: [2:07] We're going to have a number of different formats. There often is going to be an interview where we're going to talk to a specific physician, and hopefully we're going to be getting a lot of good information about what they think about specific technologies and treatments. We have scheduled a number of specialists, so they will be talking about procedures that they have either worked with or developed and why they think certain treatments are better than others, and how they actually perform the treatment.

[2:35] There's going to be a lot of information that is relevant not only to physicians on the business side, but physicians actually on the medical side - treatment modalities around technologies and skin tightening, thermage, Botox, Restylane; where you buy things; how you absorb new patients into your practice; how you follow up with patients; things around marketing, as well as the business. We have all of these communities that discuss this on the site already, and we're now going to extend that into the podcast, direct to your earbuds.

Andy: [3:08] Fantastic. A bit later on, we have got an interview with Dr. Greg Bledsoe, haven't we?

Jeff: [3:13] We do. Greg is somebody that I met probably only about a month ago. He is a very, very interesting physician. He specializes in expeditionary medicine. He trains physicians. He runs a clinic on expedition and wilderness medicine. He's a relatively young physician. I don't know exactly how old he is, but I would guess somewhere around 40. He has traveled extensively, and he puts on this conference. He's got a new conference that he launched relatively recently. They have had at least one show, but they have another show coming up in Las Vegas.

Greg: [3:49] just reached out to me via email, to Medical Spa MD, because he was looking to get the word out. I ended up having a conversation with Greg that took the better part of... I've probably spoken to Greg maybe five hours now. I really understood immediately what it was that he was trying to do.

[4:08] He has a conference that he's putting on called Medical Fusion. It is designed to give physicians the capabilities to expand their careers outside of clinical practice. The speakers at the conference are people who are authors. They are filmmakers. They are all physicians who have chosen a career path that is not necessarily traditional.

[4:33] The benefit that I saw immediately for the readers, and now listeners, of Medical Spa MD, was that for a tremendous number of our physicians, that this is exactly why they got into cosmetic medicine. It was to get better control of their lifestyle, their life, their practice, to work fewer hours and to stop running, peddling the bike quite as fast and to take greater control of their lives which is sometimes difficult to do in clinical practice, and to provide alternate sources of income that give them this kind of freedom.

[5:05] And I understood this immediately. This is something that I talk to physicians about all of the time. And so, we've kind of jumped on board and are now big proponents of Medical Fusion.

[5:14] We're going to talk probably a little bit about that in the next couple of podcasts because we do have a special offer for Medical Spa MD members who are going to attend. And it's a pretty killer offer.

[5:23] But, yes, so we are going to have an interview with him and follow up shortly. You're going to be able to hear directly from Greg and hear about the Medical Fusion Conference and some of the speakers there, as well as about how he got to where he is in his career.

Andy: [5:37] Well, that's coming up in a short while. Is it worth at this point, do you think, Jeff, just mentioning about that special offer, what the details are?

Jeff: [5:44] Yeah, so as I said, I understood what Greg was doing and I understood immediately that this would be of great benefit to the physicians who are practicing cosmetic medicine.

[5:55] So, I told Greg, look, I'm going to jump on board. We're going to make you a select partner, which is uncommon and the first time that we've ever done this for a conference. And we're going to promote you to our members. And in fact, I am going to personally pay for a full month of Frontdesk SEO's full service work for any physician that attends the conference.

[6:18] Now, that's in addition to Greg has some CME specials for physicians that attend and stuff, but I will pay for a full month of's full service package for a Medical Spa MD member who will go to that conference.

[6:33] And, I know that we already have a number of people who have already taken me up on that. I think we have, I just launched this at the time of this recording, I think yesterday, and I think we had six people sign up yesterday.

Andy: [6:44] Excellent.

Jeff: [6:44] That is something that typically is, you know, you're going to $1259 for it, I think is their standard pricing. It's a little bit discounted right now and, of course, I am getting a discount. And, I am drawing the line at $100,000 of full service cost.

[7:00] So, I think that's 83 Medical Spa MD members that I will pay for for a month. Of course, if you continue, you're going to have to pay for it after that. But, I really want to get people to the Medical Fusion Conference.

[7:13] There's no doubt, you know, Greg and I have a great understanding. I really understand and appreciate what it is that he's trying to do. There's no kickback that I'm getting from that. That's just something that I want to do.

[7:22] I'm actually going to attend on my own dime. So, I'm going to get down there. I think it's 400 miles or something. Vegas is not my favorite place, but I'm going to be there, too, so you can talk to me if that's of any value to you at all.

[7:35] But, the Medical Fusion Conference is something that every physician should think about attending because, well, you're not going to become a filmmaker. That's not the idea what is to teach you how to become a filmmaker or write a New York Times best seller or become a TV celebrity. Those doctors will be there.

[7:54] But, the skill set that these physicians have is exactly the same kinds of skill sets that makes any physician successful, any business person successful. It's things like understanding marketing, and how to target people, how to talk to people, how to be socially marketing, how to adapt to kind of the new types of Internet technologies and the Twitters and the Facebooks, as well as managing your lifestyle and controlling it so that you don't end up working 80 hours a week inside of your clinic and wonder after 15 years where your life went.

[8:32] So, every physician kind of needs that. And we're hopeful that we can get a bunch of people down there and get Medical Fusion off to a fantastic start. It's already off to a great start; we're just trying to bump up the volume just a little bit there.

Andy: [8:44] Excellent. OK, so just before we move on to that interview, we've got a few questions that need answering, haven't we?

Jeff: [8:50] We do, we have a lot of questions, that's for sure.

Andy: [8:53] In fact, I think there's two we're going to cover today. We've received a number of requests for a physician's only area on the site, a place that would be not quite as public. So, what are our thoughts on this, Jeff?

Jeff: [9:05] Well, you know, this is something. Medical Spa MD has always been a public facing site and it has brought us both a tremendous, you know, we've grown a tremendous amount because of that. I think we're up to 5000 physician members around the world now and we have members from the Philippines and Canada and, of course, the U.S. and Sweden, Holland, Germany - I mean, I can't think of, you know, there are probably a couple countries that we, India, Middle East - I think we came through from like Uzbekistan or something last week. But, this has always been a little bit of a conundrum, because there are benefits and drawbacks to both.

[9:50] I have kept the site completely open, but we are leaning towards potentially making a physicians-only area because we do get the occasional layperson who comes across the site and they'll start asking physicians things, and some other things. We're pretty good about trying to moderate a lot of those types of things, but some physicians... the idea is that you want access to this information. And it is this kind of access where a physician who's going online and looking for retrograde filler-injection techniques that stumbles across our site in the first place.

[10:24] The challenge is controlling the amount of information that we're able to provide, as well as the community aspects of what we're able to provide, with the kind of clarity, information and keeping the site clean of spam and a number of other things.

[10:41] A lot of times physicians will email each other and they will make connections through the site which are beneficial. But, in effect, that communication then takes that information out of the general pool. I am leaning towards, or it's been a discussion point for a fair amount of time, about creating a physicians-only site or a member site where we actually vet the physicians as they come in. The challenge has always really been that when that happens, the number of physicians who are potentially participating in the community is bound to drop. That's the way that these kinds of things work.

[11:21] We're looking to provide a solution going forward that solves both of those problems. It will probably be a little bit of a work in progress, and we'll see where we go, but I am leaning towards that right now.

Andy: [11:32] The other question was the cosmetic laser reviews. They're also public-facing. If you reserve an area just for physicians, will it restrict access to the IPL and laser reviews and forums as well?

Jeff: [11:45] We do have a very active community of physicians who are looking to buy medical technologies - cosmetic IPLs, lasers, those types of things - that basically publish their findings or their opinions in our cosmetic review sections. You'll find things like which is better - the Sciton machine or the Palomar machine or the Alma machine or the Qtera machine.

[12:14] That's also a little bit of a challenge. As an example, we have a thread on the Sciton ProFractional and how does it compare with Palomar's fractal and Palomar's fractional IR, and it has 166 comments on it right now. These are mostly physicians who are weighing in on this.

[12:36] The challenge in taking that completely behind a firewall and making that information only available is that the way that these physicians are finding this is they're doing a search on Google or Yahoo and they're typing in, "How can I find a review of this type of technology?"

[12:57] In effect, I'm unaware of any other sites that has a community that discusses this kind of stuff. As far as I'm aware, we're the only site that provides that kind of information in that kind of a community forum. My guess would be some of this would need to be public-facing because the benefit is for physicians, even if you are behind the firewall or in a physician-only area, is to bring other physicians that have expertise and knowledge into the conversation that you can now learn from, right?

Andy: [13:31] Yeah.

Jeff: [13:31] That's really where the benefit and the rubber meets the road is, you want to know what other physicians' opinions are that have this kind of technology, that are doing these treatments, and would they do it again. If you're going to spend $150,000 on a brand-new IPL or a laser, you're going to want to know that kind of information, and the people that might have the information that you're looking for might not be on the site yet.

[13:59] I have a qualified answer to that, and it is that we will try and protect the physician-facing information as much as possible, but we are probably going to continue to have some public-facing. It might... if you're just attending the site, you might not ever know that there's a physicians-only area for that kind of stuff. So, a little bit up in the air but we'll probably leave most of those things kind of public facing for the foreseeable future.

Andy: [14:26] OK. Fair enough. Well, I think it's about time we went into that interview with Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, don't you reckon there, Jeff?

Jeff: [14:31] I do. I do indeed and before we get into that, I apologize if the audio quality is not quite up to our current standards but that interview was, I conducted that interview just a while ago and I'm a little bit technology challenged in some areas, especially around audio. And so, we'll see what happens.

Andy: [14:50] " Well, hopefully our audience will forgive us as I'm sure that the content is A1.

Jeff: [14:55] It is indeed! Greg is a great physician and not only that, a very, very interesting guy.

Andy: [14:59] OK! Let's have a listen.


Jeff: [15:05] So, Greg, you got an interesting bio and, you know, we had a conversation last week on the phone and I, from my point of view, kind of hit it off and decided that what you were doing was both of interest to my readers and also incredibly important. So, we've kind of made you a select partner and the reason really behind that was is that you had some kind of really interesting thoughts that I thought were extremely valuable on how physicians kind of think of themselves in the marketplace right now, and what they are doing about it or not doing about it that can be improved. Can you kind of just expand on that just a second?

Greg: [15:47] Bledsoe: Sure. Well, just to give you a little bit of background, I'm an emergency physician and I practice clinical medicine, I'm a full time clinician. My dad is a general surgeon, my brother is a general surgeon, so I come from a family of clinical physicians and I run in those circles. And over the last, I don't know, five to ten years, the conversations with family members and other friends, I just have seen this growing frustration in full time clinical physicians with regards of clinical medicine and what they're doing with their careers.

[16:19] Now, if some people, you know, go one way and they say "You know, we should... physicians who are frustrated should just leave clinical medicine." But, that doesn't really solve the problem because we need good clinical doctors out there and I'm a big fan of having good physicians who are clinicians practicing.

[16:34] The other way of looking at it is, you know, maybe we could tweak the careers of clinical physicians to empower them more, to give them more options and to allow them to sort of tailor their careers the way they want them to be, instead of being powerless and sort of accepting their fate. And that's, for a series of these conversations and talking to various people and doing some research, what I found was that there's a very large group actually of clinical physicians that have been able to do things like that.

[17:05] Some of them have gone into cosmetic medicine and really enjoy that, some of them have done medical journalism on the side, some have done financial management on the side, some of them telemedicine, some of them concierge medicine. But, the underlying theme is that they sort of reached out and pulled the power back for themselves and empowered their careers and empowered their choices and have looked at all the options and then selected what works best for them and their personalities.

[17:34] And they really love their careers. And some of these people are still full time clinical doctors, but they have a whole side-career that is very rewarding for them and takes some of the financial heat off of them and gives them more options. So, after having these conversations we thought "Wouldn't it be a great idea to get some of these physician leaders together in one room and teach what they know about what clinical physicians can do with the training they've received and with their experiences and to teach them what their options are."

[18:04] And so out of that came the Medical Fusion Conference and that's basically what it is. It's a group of very interesting people, a very diverse crowd, but they're all physicians who have branched out into other areas and they're coming together to teach other clinical physicians what their options are and where they can go to make their careers more exciting and more satisfying.

Jeff: [18:29] Now, this isn't the first year that you've had this, this is kind of an ongoing thing and I know you've got some experience, well, you're one of these physicians yourself, right? I mean, you are a full time clinician, but you're also running these conferences.

Greg: [18:44] Right, right!

Jeff: [18:44] And that, in our conversation I know, that was a decision that you made earlier on in your career in order to kind of do exactly what you said, which was kind of a broaden your horizon and give you additional sources both of income and, you know, areas that you can kind of expand into that you're protected from really because you have medical training and you have a certain skill set that is not open to the average Joe. What kind of decisions were that, that you kind of personally made earlier in your career that kind of set you on that path?

Greg: [19:23] Well, my career is kind of an odd one. [laughs] I finished my residency training in 2002. From there, I went and did a fellowship in international emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins and stayed on faculty for another two and a half years. So, I was at Hopkins doing full-time academic work for almost five years.

[19:44] Around the five-year mark, I was hired by the University of Pittsburgh and went overseas and did a year and a half work in the Middle East doing international health, which I absolutely love.

[19:56] From that point, when I came back to the States, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was trained as an emergency physician, and we had started this Expedition Medicine National Conference that we have in Washington, DC now every fall. But, when I looked at my career and I looked at my interests, I didn't quite fit into the academic model anymore because I was very entrepreneurial.

[20:20] I love academic medicine. I have a lot of friends in academic medicine, and I'm a big, big fan of academics. But, if you're going to do academics full-time, you also are under control of the academic institution that you work for. I felt like, "Well, I'm not sure if that's the direction I want to go right now." Then, doing full-time community medicine - clinical medicine - was also something that I wanted to do, but at the same time I wanted to continue pursuing my entrepreneurial interests.

[20:51] What I decided to do was I would do community medicine and that I would explore this idea of building these conferences, meeting other people who've had similar interests in going and seeing how far this can go. But, basically, the turning point was when I realized that I could either do the traditional path of either academic medicine or community medicine, or I could try to branch out and do something on my own.

[21:21] When I chose that third option, it was scary, because there's not a track for that, so to speak. There's no residency program for being an entrepreneurial physician. But, at the same time, that jumping-off point, which was so scary at the time, has led to such great rewards as far as the freedom I have, the opportunities I've had to meet some very interesting people and to learn and to grow. It was the fulfillment of a lot of interests that I've had and a lot of hopes that I've had that I could sort of tweak my career to make it something more fun than the other possibilities alone would be.

Jeff: [21:59] My guess is that you feel like that's been a success so far.

Greg: [22:04] Yeah. There's always another hill to climb. There's always another challenge. There's always something that you're setting your sights on and looking for. And with the recession, of course, there's been ups and downs.

[22:18] But, at the same time, it's been so much fun. I've learned so much and I feel like every day, I'm learning more than I learned the day before... just opportunities I have to associate with such talented and interesting people, and that in itself has been an incredible reward. But, absolutely, there's a lot of opportunity out there for people who are willing to take a little bit of risk and to explore their options, and I've definitely been the beneficiary of that.

Jeff: [22:42] That's interesting because there are a number of people speaking at the conference that are going to be filmmakers and public speakers in one way. There's a diverse career paths that have been chosen.

Greg: [22:58] Right.

Jeff: [22:59] The thing that resonated with me immediately was that most of the physicians on Medical Spa MD or our members are physicians who have chosen cosmetic medicine because of this exact same need. It's not that they're going to go to the conference and necessarily be entrepreneurs in the way that somebody who's going to quit clinical medicine and go be a filmmaker is.

[23:24] But, the decision process is very much the same, and that desire to take control both of the lifestyle as well as income sources and be able to have a family life and see your kids grow up is incredibly important. Because clinical medicine in the United States, and I've talked to you about this before, is... a physician in the United States is basically highly-paid hourly labor.

Greg: [23:50] Right. Absolutely.

Jeff: [23:50] Unless you actually are able to build some other kind of a practice, you're going to get stuck in this set of going to a place of work and being paid only for the work that you're doing.

Greg: [24:03] That's right.

Jeff: [24:04] That doesn't scale, and it means you're working 60 hours a week, and although there are no physicians that are literally starving, it is becoming more and more of a challenging lifestyle.

Greg: [24:16] Right.

Jeff: [24:16] The physicians that are practicing cosmetic medicine have realized that, and a lot of them have chosen to go into cosmetic medicine not because they hate internal medicine or general medicine or skin cancer or plastic surgery, but because cosmetic medicine is something that they can easily see bolts on to their existing practice.

Greg: [24:38] Right.

Jeff: [24:39] Or they can transition into that. There's a comfort level with that, and yet it puts you in a situation where you're using technology and practicing something that is retail medicine. It's not third-party reimbursement. It doesn't have those problems. I'm wondering if my description of that, doesn't that fit exactly with all of the people and the thinking behind Medical Fusion?

Greg: [25:10] Absolutely. If you look at the people who are on our faculty - the speakers that we're having come in November - they're very, very interesting people. Very bright, very talented people. On some level, though, they've all reached a point in their careers where for one reason or another they weren't satisfied with where their career was going.

[25:29] We have Steven Knope, who is one of the national leaders in concierge medicine - wrote the New York Times bestseller "Concierge Medicine" - and he's going to be speaking. His thinking was that internal medicine as a specialty is, if not dead, it's certainly crippled.

[25:46] He's an internal medicine doctor in Tucson, Arizona, and he began experimenting with the concierge medicine model and has found that it gives superior care to his patients and also a superior lifestyle for him. He's a big fan of it, and his big thing was pulling himself off the grid, disconnecting from the third-party payers. It freed his lifestyle and enabled him to give superb medical care to his patients.

[26:08] We have John La Puma, who had his own TV show on Lifestyle TV, "What's Cooking with ChefMD." He's written a couple of New York Times bestselling books. He'll be speaking. We have Jerry Taft, who is an emergency physician who's gone into real estate investing and numerous other serial entrepreneurial ventures.

[26:26] But, the point is that what all these people have figured out is that you want to design your career exactly like you said. To where it's scalable, to where you're not getting paid... even if it's a good rate, you're not getting paid just for the time you're in the office, but you actually have things that are going on that are building your wealth even while you're sleeping, so to speak.

[26:49] When people ask me, "What's your vision?" or whatever, I tell them, "I want to build a series of these machines. These machines, instead of producing widgets or producing candy or producing some other thing, I want these machines to produce a little bit of income automatically. So that you have a series... If you do this, and if Medical Fusion will teach you how to do this, you build a little machine here.

[27:19] It might not be anything that's really big. It might only help you create maybe $5000 of income. But, it's $5000 that you can make without being in the office putting in hours to build that. Then you build another machine and it might get you $10,000. And another machine, it might get you a little bit more.

[27:38] But, the purpose is that your mindset changes from "I have to be physically and geographically tied to an area to earn income" to "I'm going to take the money that I have and the time that I have, and I'm going to build little scalable machines that I can build up, and so even while I'm sleeping, I have income coming in." It frees your lifestyle and unhooks you from this grind that we as physicians all feel.

Jeff: [27:59] Sure. That is the difference. That kind of thinking is exactly what will allow you to get out of working inside of your business and allow you to work on your businesses, right?

Greg: [28:13] Right.

Jeff: [28:14] That's exactly where that comes from. And it's not just ChefMD. Who are the speakers who are going to be at Medical Fusion?

Greg: [28:25] We have a number of speakers who are going to be, I think, very attractive to the participants. Steven Knope, I mentioned. He's a very famous guy because of the book he's written. And John La Puma, who is, like I said, the ChefMD guy.

[28:42] We have Natalie Hodge. Natalie is the founder of Personal Medicine and her story is fascinating. She's a pediatrician and has basically developed a concierge medicine model for pediatrics. It can be applied to other areas, but it's very technology-dependent and it has wireless prescriptions and all sorts of things. She teaches people, almost like a franchise model. You sign up, she teaches you how to do this and she is building this company on the side of her pediatrics practice.

[29:17] Now, let's see, who else have we got? We have got scores, let's see. Dr. Elliot Justin who is going to be teaching on telemedicine. Doctor Justin is the founder of SwiftMD and it's basically bringing quick and efficient health care to the masses through telemedicine. People sign up for subscription or they make phone calls and get charged to small fee and they get put in charge with the board certified emergency position and they can screen these people and get the health care questions answered.

[29:49] I am going to be talking on expedition medicine and some of my adventures overseas and talk to people and answer their questions about how to practice medicine in an international environment and turn that into a career, that's something they are interested in.

Jeff: [30:01] That's super interesting. What are you going to be talking about? When you say practicing medicine as international, what does that mean?

Greg: [30:11] Well, it's a couple of things. First of all, there are various groups of people who go overseas and practice medicine. One group, are people who do short term volunteer stance and that's one part that I am going to be talking about. It's the things you will see overseas, how do you be a good clinician when you are working overseas and that is basically the whole point of our conference.

[30:36] Our expedition conference is teaching people tropical medicine and malaria and high altitude medicine and all that, introducing them to some of the concepts that they might not be familiar with and practicing in the United States in a typical practice.

[30:48] But, there is a whole another kind of sub culture out there of clinical positions who are practicing more or less full time in international environments, and the people who get actually paid to do really high level international work, working with the government or working with non-governmental organizations or somebody's volunteer organizations or going over and partnering with the government or a group in an international environment.

[31:12] Those are a select key percentage of people who have actually done that and made that career transition or added that as a science consulting career to their clinical practicing states. We are going to be mentioning some of those avenues and help people get involved in that. And for a lot of people, that is just what they need to sort of invigorate their practice and to really give them that passion for medicine again because they are able to go to some underprivileged areas overseas or go to some exotic locations, it might not be as underprivileged but, at the same time give them an injection of excitement.

[31:46] And that's going to be the purpose of my talk in Medical Fusion and it sort of spring boards off a lot of what we talk about in our text book, expedition wilderness medicine that we use as syllabus for our courses. But anyway, yeah, there is a lot to choose from, from the Medical Fusion Conference.

Jeff: [32:01] When you travel overseas, is this, we have got some extended family and I have got a number of extended positions in my extended family. And so there was a number of physicians that went over to Haiti, is this the kind of stuff that you are talking about like, disaster kind of medicine that might be...

Greg: [32:16] Right.

Jeff: [32:17] ... Somebody who is in a critical practice that wants the kind of pickup and have the opportunity to go and do some outside of their immediate kind of zone of influence?

Greg: [32:28] Absolutely, well, when you talk about international health or international medicine, it's really such a broad subject and people look at it through different lenses, but it encompasses the people who are doing disaster work; the people who are in quasi-military organizations where they need to know things when people are coming back from these exotic locations and they might have some parasite or some tropical disease; and the people who are full time clinical people in the United States, who want to volunteer their time or go with a group to, on safari in Africa and they need to learn about malaria and malaria prophylactic treatment and that sort of thing.

[33:08] So, our expedition medicine course that we have in Washington DC every year has a whole 20 hour lecture series on these very subjects. We have a whole hour on high altitude medicine, whole hour on malaria prevention, whole hour on basically how to stay out of trouble overseas and what the tact in the medical care, so yeah.

Jeff: [33:27] How long has that conference been going on?

Greg: [33:32] This is our 4th year, it's our 5th event, we have had one of them in San Diego in early 2009, so this is our 5th event in 4th year and, yeah, it has been very successful. We have got close to hundred people signed up for our course that will be in couple of weeks, September 17th to 19th in Washington DC and they go and they get taught by the world leaders.

[33:57] What we do with this course is - I mean, you could pick up a book, and you could read about all these different subjects, but what we try to do is introduce the participants to people who are exceptional in a lot of ways. To be on our faculty, you have to have three criteria, and we're very stringent on this criteria.

[34:14] Number one, you have to have impeccable academic credentials you have to know your subject, be an expert and seen as a national or international leader in your subject material. Number two, because we're talking about working in remote places and in kind of out of the hospital situations, you have to have had practical experience in that. So, it doesn't matter if you've published a lot of papers on malaria, for instance, but you've never been overseas, and that doesn't cut it.

[34:41] We want you to be someone who's actually in the field, doing the research, working with the people, drawing the blood, looking at the slides. I mean you have to have practical experience in that in an overseas environment. Then number three, you have to be an excellent communicator, and that was added on because I suffered through so many hours of horrific lectures during my medical career.

[35:02] I just feel very strongly that it doesn't do anyone any good to have a brilliant person at the podium who can't communicate, and can't teach. So, all of our speakers are internationally and nationally known in their subject material, and they have practical real world experience. They're not teaching you what you could do; they're teaching you what they have done in various situations. Then they're excellent communicators.

[35:24] Most of our faculty have won national speaking awards. They're very renowned as teachers, and they're hilarious, great people who are able to communicate these concepts in a very entertaining style. If you look at our faculty list for that conference, we had the best of the best in their fields.

[35:44] We even flied over David Warrell, Professor Warrell, who's arguably the world's leading tropical medicine expert, from Oxford, England. He comes over, and he doesn't do very many conferences in the United States anymore, but he comes to our course and teaches six hours during the course of the week, and our participants absolutely love it. So, it's a great conference.

[36:09] What I do with Medical Fusion, my talk in Medical Fusion, is a one-hour overview basically of what we cover in 20 hours in Expedition Medicine National Conference. So, it's just sort if a taste of what you would get in-depth if you went to our course in D.C.

Jeff: [36:25] These conferences are obviously like, well, there - if you've been around cosmetic medicine for any length of time, you know how big the conferences actually are that are kind of put on. The big ones, and I've been to them all multiple times for sure, the ones in New York, and Miami, and L.A., and Last Vegas, and they have big name sponsors. Your conferences are more of what I would kind of - I don't know if there is such a term that's being coined is, 'concierge conference,' - but it seems that way.

[36:56] I mean it's a lot more intimate and kind of smaller groups than walking around a larger expo floor, the vendors. Is that accurate?

Greg: [37:09] Absolutely. We don't cap our courses, but at the same time, we try to keep them very intimate in the sense of having a very good faculty to participant ratio. All of our faculty is very accessible. This is not a course, these aren't conferences where you're going to be in the back of a room with a thousand people in a big auditorium, and the speaker's up on some mega jumbo T.V. set, and you never have any contact with them.

[37:36] All of our faculty stay afterwards, answer all questions personally. Matter of fact, at Medical Fusion, we have built into the schedule something what I call an, 'accelerator,' which is a meet faculty session where our faculty are going to meet at tables, and they're going to be sitting there for you to approach them, and ask them any question you want, and you can go from table to table.

We did that format last year just for a little bit. It was very successful, and it basically allows you to break down those barriers, so it's not the faculty teaching down to you; it's peers, peer-to-peer sharing of information: [37:54] some very bright, very talented people who are going to be communicating to you as a peer, and explaining to you the nuts, and bolts of how they've done what they've done. We'll keep that format.

[38:19] If we start getting 500 people at these conferences, then we would just expand our faculty, and split it up to where we would always have that small ratio because we want to keep that intimacy that you described.

Jeff: [38:31] Well, there's a lot to be said exactly for that, because generally the larger conference, my experience has been that - you're exactly right: You're kind of off; they might answer a few kind of questions, but there's no real contact.

[38:48] I'll tell you what the other thing is, is that most conferences are very vertical, meaning that if you go to -

[38:54] And the ones that I am most familiar with for sure in cosmetic medicine - but they are all about how to perform this kind of a treatment or here look at my slides around, look at augmentation or this is my before and after for chemical peels, or whatever they kind of might be.

[39:13] But, Medical Fusion, and I think, not medical confusion, but Medical Fusion, is very kind of horizontal. I mean there are a tremendous number of physicians and wide ranging subject matters. I mean it is amazing.

[39:31] But, the focus is all on entrepreneurship and making decisions. And that is applicable to pretty much any physician's kind of practice, not matter what that is. And it is those kinds of things that you might learn from a filmmaker or whatever that I think are probably the most applicable.

[39:49] If you are going into an existing cosmetic medical practice to say look these are the kinds of things that we can adopt, and it might be have to do with things about how decisions are made or marketing or other kinds of this that you can then adopt in real estate investing. They are probably very few, well there are probably no other conferences where you are going to go learn from somebody who is a physician and is a filmmaker and somebody who is a real estate investor.

Greg: [40:15] Well, yeah, that's not. And that's an excellent point. We don't think that the person who comes out of it is going to immediately read and start their own filmmaking school and publishing, start writing books or start doing everything that we mentioned. It's a sort of a buffet where you can choose what interests you but like you said underlying principles can be applied.

[40:40] So, for instance we have a guy name Dr. Steven Peskin who is a MD, who is the Vice President and Chief Medical Officer from MediMedia. He is going to be talking about running a start-up company. And if you decide to start a business, what are the principles that you should know to be successful in that business, no matter what the business is.

Arlen Myers who is a professor of Otolaryngology at University Colorado and a founder of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs is going to be coming and talking about medical entrepreneurship, the mindset that you need to have to build your practice or [inaudible 0: [40:58] 41:13] into a non-clinical entrepreneurial venture.

[41:16] And then we are going to have Dr. Setu Mazumdar who is an emergency physician out of Atlanta who has founded his own financial management firm Lotus Wealth Solutions. And he is going to be talking about financial principles to help you adapt to the changing economy, things to look for in your financial health to make sure you are on the right track to build wealth.

[41:42] And we are going to have a whole series of talks on those subjects. So, you are right. Even if you don't go out and start writing books or start doing the specific things that these physicians are doing, the underlying principles and the teachings you will get in Medical Fusion could be applied to anything - any practice that you have and any venture you'll have in the future.

[42:02] And the great thing about it is it's more about a mindset in applying these broad principles than it is about any specific thing that we are teaching. And that's what gets me so excited is that the people who are doing this are people who have a lot of experience, but it can be brought down and distilled down to a handful principles that you can apply to any area.

Jeff: [42:19] And that's - you bring up an interesting point on that into because as I have talked in some of these conferences, and it is often the case that what a physician thinks that they want to know is how something should be done and what they should buy. And that is kind of like a first blush, around this - OK, how should I actually do this. How should I perform this treatment or how should I compensate my staff, or what are the kind of bricks and mortar of what I should be doing. And then what technology I should buy, where am I going to get the best deal, those types of things.

[42:57] But to be honest, the most successful physicians and - I have like from the outside looked in and seen a lot of different practices - the most successful physicians are really those that are kind of thinking differently.

[43:12] It is not that they don't know where they are going to buy their technology and they don't do their research and that kind of stuff. But, the mindset is what really sets the ones that are making seven or even eight figures apart from those that are making a six in their practice. And they have a lifestyle that now is much more rewarding to them, and much more fulfilling, and they don't hate going in turning off the alarm in the morning.

Greg: [43:43] That's right.

Jeff: [43:44] And the other thing is it does sound - and I'm a big proponent; everybody is going to know I'm a big proponent of Medical Fusion...

Greg: [43:53] Good.

Jeff: [43:54] ... And it sounds like this is the fate of [inaudible 0:43:55] on my part and that's not the case. I mean I want to be completely upfront.

Greg: [44:01] and I have had, well... this might be our third telephone conversation; may potentially our fourth, but literally I got on the phone with Greg and we had an hour and a half hour long conversation and I said, "Greg, this is awesome. I mean this is exactly what all of my members need. I'm going to buying this full force we have..." Greg, we have no difference.

Greg: [44:26] No, no. You're absolutely right. And you know what's really interesting is. I think I've told you this in one of our prior conversations; every single personnel... I cooked up this idea from Medical Fusion after talking to like I said couple of family members and some colleagues, but the people who get this concept almost without exception or the ones who did instantly have that mindset that has really propelled their careers in the dynamic way.

[44:50] I mean the people that look into me like I'm not making any sense or the same guys just like I was stuck in the practice may be frustrated they haven't kind got the vision yet, but when I would call up... If you look at our Medical Fusion faculty, the vast majority of these people are paying with the own way to come to be a part of this. And that says a lot, I think, as far as their vision for Medical Fusion, their excitement about this event. And almost without exception or actually without exception regarding the faculty members, the people who are coming and teaching this event, when I would start to explain the concept of Medical Fusion, they got it instantly.

[45:33] Steven Knope, John La Puma, Elliot Justin, all these people who are really dynamic leaders and innovators, these are the sort of people who really grasp the concept very early and got excited about it, and said, "I want to be part of this and I want to participate what I need to do."

So, our experience and our phone conversation was another person who felt like got it and was exciting to me because introducing instantly get the concept of Medical Fusion and was more excited about it just like our faculty members and other people I have [inaudible 0: [45:50] 46:09] have been really successful in their career. So, it's exciting and rewarding for me to see that it's not as crazy as maybe originally I thought in the beginning and there are other people who are excited about this.

Jeff: [46:19] That's what certainly the case we had. If you've seen the special offer that - I don't know that if you've seen that or not I might haven't published that before this phone call, but I mean to put up $100,000 in services from Frontdesk for our members that go to this conference. I mean, I feel very, very strongly and that's I think the first 83. Now, I don't know who get 83 medical faculty members, but I'll pay whatever that is the real deal. I'm actually given a deal for this. That's for sure, but it's not going to be free. I don't know how much is going to cost me, but we're going to try and get some of our members.

[47:05] The Medical Spa exposed the conferences that are kind of put on those are the things that you don't want to go, but there is no training in entrepreneurship at those things. They are either... you're walking the floor.

[47:18] We've seen the sales pitches and trying to discern what's the difference - if you're not on the Medical Spa MD forums, you probably don't know - and you're going to these kind of conferences that are often interesting and you can derive value from, but again it's a marketing sales pitch. There is no kind of it. This is how you need to think about how you're going to do it. It's how I'm going to do my PR. It's kind of nuts and bolts and it's very kind of topical.

[47:52] There is no kind of depth around how you're going to actually change your lifestyle doing this. It's all around how I'm to get another five patients a week. And for this part this show actually gets me bothered, and I'm to come down to it. Unless there is something that active guide type of thing, I'm going to be down there too.

[48:20] There are two to three days in Vegas, I don't live that far away 700 miles. I don't know, it's probably not 700 miles. But, I can see that there's going to be a lot of benefit, and certainly I want to get a bunch of Medical Spa MD members there too.

Greg: [48:35] You hit on something really important that I wanted just to say on the side. Here we are in a time when health care and the management of health care and the health care industry is something that everyone's talking about. And yet, if you go through and you do a search on physician entrepreneurship, there is not another conference out there other than Medical Fusion that's going to be teaching you all the principles that we're going to be teaching you at Medical Fusion.

[49:02] I think that's a tragedy. Here we have a system that takes college students or various young people maybe in a second career or just out of grad school, puts them in medical school, graduates them with $150,000 or $200,000 in debt, does not have any teaching on reimbursement, does not have any teaching on financial management, does not have any teaching on entrepreneurial skills, how to sell your practice, what the various specialties are making. You know, what anything. And just spits these graduates out says, "OK, go heal people."

[49:35] Then they find out two or three years down the line that they are drowning in debt, they're working 80 to 100-plus hours a week, and they're very frustrated. And then people look around and say, "Why are we losing our doctors?" That's why. It's not that these people hate taking care of patients, it's that they hate dealing with the economic side of medicine and they're beaten up by it.

[49:55] What Medical Fusion is doing is trying to inject into this chaos some really good principles, some great teaching, and empowering physicians again to sort of get control of their lives, get control of their finances, and get control of their clinical practices. If we can do that, we're going to have better doctors, more satisfied doctors, doctors who practice longer in their careers and aren't getting burned out and leaving medicine, and giving better care to patients. I think it's a win-win all around, and that's why I'm so passionate about the subject.

[50:25] Medical Fusion is something that is in its infancy right now, but the concept of it, I think, could really revolutionize a lot of people's practice and maybe health care, because it's empowering physicians to do their jobs and what their core calling is better, and that's take care of people. I'm very excited about it, and I hope a lot of people do come.

Jeff: [50:46] Well, that's our goal, because I do not want to be sitting down there by myself, that is for sure.

Greg: [laughs] [50:52] Well, it'll be you and me at least, Jeff.


Jeff: [50:55] No, that's not the case. We already know that there's a bunch of signups. If you're a Medical Spa MD member, I would love to see you down there. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and I'm going to pay for you to go, in essence, by giving you a free month of full-service SEO, social media marketing from Frontdesk. You'll get that bonus too, and you'll also get 30 CME credits from ExpaMed, is that right?

Greg: [51:25] Yeah. It's actually - it's 20, but what we do is this. This is not a CME event, and we purposely designed it that way because we want people to come and we don't want to be constrained by what we teach. We want it to be completely free of any ties, so we made it non-CME. But, we realize that physicians need to get their CME, and it justifies, sometimes, their travel and their time off or whatever. So, what we've done is everyone who comes to our course, you won't get CME for the live lectures with Medical Fusion, but we give you an access pass to our Expedition Medicine course that's online.

[52:03] We've partnered with CME Download. It's a popular website where you can get CME teaching online. What we do is we give you an access code to where everyone that comes to Medical Fusion will get 20 hours of training through our Expedition and Wilderness Medicine course online. So really, for the price of Medical Fusion, you're getting 40 hours of lectures. You're getting 20 hours of Medical Fusion, which is non-CME, and then you're getting 20 hours of CME training through Expedition and Wilderness Medicine, which is a taped version of our live course that's in DC every year.

[52:33] It's really... for physicians who say, I don't have time, I maybe don't have the money, I don't have whatever to go, we've really covered all your excuses. You get CME training, you get 40 hours of lecture, you get excellent live teaching from experts in their field, and it's very accessible. You'll leave with practical information. And in addition to that you'll get some bonuses thrown in by Medical Spa MD to cover your expenses while you're there.

[53:03] So, we've covered all your excuses. All you need to do is come and have fun with us and learn about what we're doing in the medical profession.

Jeff: [53:10] Well, to be honest, if you're going to actually do this, you actually have to learn how to do it.

Greg: [53:16] , I want to thank you so much for this call. I have actually learned a lot. If anything, it's actually making me more excited. I mean if we do not get 100 Medical Spa MD members down there, I'm going to be pissed.

Greg: [laughs] [53:31] I'm with you.

Jeff: [53:32] I don't know what I'm Now, I have to say that's a little bit of a double edged sword. Because I don't know how much, if we get 100 down there, I don't know exactly what that's going to cost me. It could be significant.

Greg: [53:42] Well listen, I can guarantee a couple of things. We're going to have it at a fantastic resort. This will be a great...

Jeff: [53:48] Oh yes, where is it and what's the format?

Greg: [53:51] Well, yes, I mean that's something I just want to mention as well is that we're having this at the Wynn Las Vegas. And if you've ever been to the strip in Las Vegas, the Wynn, to me, it's by far my favorite hotel there. It is just incredible.

[54:06] And we're having there at the Wynn. Now, usually nights at the Wynn cost four to five hundred dollars minimum for a basic room there. We've got the room rate down to $189. So, you can go for the price of staying at a three star, you're going to be staying at one of the top hotels in the world, at the Wynn Resort.

[54:23] And it's going to be the first weekend in November, November fifth through the seventh. The way we do the format is we start Friday morning at eight in the morning, we go through to lunch, take a break for lunch. Then we come back, have a couple of hours for lecture. And then we have an hour and a half of what we call an accelerator, which is meet the faculty. You get to go and personally rub shoulders with the faculty members and learn from them.

[54:45] And then we do the same thing on Saturday and then Sunday we do a half day and we leave at noon on Sunday.So, at most, you're taking one day off of your time, your workweek, on Friday. And you're staying at an incredible resort at an incredible price and learning from world leaders. So, we're going to have an absolutely fantastic time. It's going to be a lot of fun.

[55:04] I guarantee you that you'll never stay in a better hotel than the Wynn. And you won't get teaching like this anywhere else at any other event. And at the minimum, you're going to leave with some very practical principles that you can apply to your practice or to any other endeavor you try from this point on.

[55:21] And you'll have a lot of fun doing it. Our faculty are very approachable, they're very entertaining. And you'll enjoy it. And you'll enjoy the other participants, too, because they come from all over the country and they're also very interesting. So, come join us. It's going to be a really good time.

Jeff: [55:34] Excellent. Well, I want to thank you, Greg. Let's wrap up now. I'm going to see if our first podcast, what the reception is; meaning the reception by the audience. And you know, I'm pretty sure that I pushed the record button. So at least, you know, we're hoping that this will make it on the air. It will. So OK.

[55:57] Well, thank you, Greg. And we'll see you down at the Wynn.

Greg: [56:00] All right. Thanks, Jeff. Looking forward to it.


Andy: [56:07] What an absolutely fantastic interview. Greg is a really, really interesting guy. And I'm sure people are going to learn so much just from listening to him. What a fantastic idea.

Jeff: [56:18] Yes, and that's why we hit it off so much. I mean I've been listening on helping physicians, for the last, well, probably decade at least now, trying to solve many of the problems that Greg is also addressing. So, it seemed like a match made in heaven a little bit. We could get a number of members down there and not only help Greg out as he's kind of building this endeavor and getting these physicians up to speed, but provide a tremendous amount of value in a lot of different areas to the physicians who are already Medical Spa MD members.

Andy: [56:57] Well, I think at that point we better wrap it, Jeff. So, that's it for this show. Thank you so much for listening. Hope you enjoyed it.

[57:04] Now, we do want feedback. So, if you've got questions or comments, then definitely send them along to the email for the show, which is Or of course, you can leave a comment in the physicians' forum on the site.

[57:21] Now, if you're a subscriber already that's fantastic. But, if you haven't subscribed and you want the show to be automatically downloaded whenever there's new episode, of course you can find Medical Spa MD on iTunes. Just search for Medical Spa MD. Or of course you can visit the site and click on podcasts and you can subscribe there. And also please leave comments in iTunes as well.

[57:45] And as always, please consider everything we say to be complete conjecture and random speculation. This is not medical or legal advice. Laws and regulations vary everywhere, so do consult a medical or legal professional before taking any action.

[57:59] Well this is goodbye from Andy White...

Jeff: [58:00] And goodbye from Jeff Barson.

Andy: [58:02] Wishing you all the best until we see you next time on Medical Spa MD. [music]


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Reader Comments (1)

Wow. Just exactly the situation that I think every ER (or any other doc) is in. The hammer of third party payment and the anvil of the HMOs. (Really digging the stuff about both expedition medicine and entrepreneurial info.) : )

10.7 | Unregistered CommenterER MD

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