Use new book as a practice builder
There’s no doubt that Dr. Greg Martin’s new book “Say Goodbye to Varicose and Spider Veins Now!” has a huge potential audience. Our literature says with certainty that there are 80 million people in the United States who suffer from venous disease, almost as if we know who all of them are.
The problem is that many of them suffer in silence because they have bought into the myth that sore and painful legs are just part of the price of getting older. Or they believe that treating unsightly veins is just a matter of appearance and vanity is hardly worth what they believe to be painful, debilitating and expensive to fix.
Unless the patient specifically complains, primary care or other physicians don’t generally get into a discussion of varicose and spider veins. Or worse, they dismiss any discussion as a part of aging or a matter of just vanity, leaving the patient to continue doing nothing and putting their health at growing risk.
It was out of this frustration that Dr. Martin, said he wrote “Say Goodbye to Varicose and Spider Veins Now!”
“My initial motivation in writing the book was a frustration with the inaccurate information and misconceptions out there about the new vein therapies,” Dr. Martin said. “Just the knowledge and education seemed to be missing, especially among my fellow medical colleagues in my local communities.”
He said there is an “awareness gap” of vein therapies that have come to the forefront n the last 12 years among physicians outside the specialty, the media and the general public.
“We encounter it locally, both with patients and with the local medical community. Subspecialties are a contributing factor to that because the physicians focus on how their own patient is presenting his needs. But I think vein disease and the whole field of phlebology is treated as almost the red-haired stepchild of medicine.
“Largely, primary care physicians don’t take leg disease very seriously at all until it maybe comes to vein thrombosis and then they start paying attention to leg veins. The irony of that is that chronic venous insufficiency, to include varicose veins and spider veins and other varieties of leg vein problems, has been the most common medical problem that walks through the door of a primary care physician – probably right up there with obesity. It’s more common than heart disease, more common than diabetes mellitus – at least 80 million Americans conservatively have varicose and spider veins and venous insufficiency.
“But it’s overlooked by and large by most physicians, not taken very seriously, and it is absolutely the most frustrating thing for me. I think when patients bring up their varicose and spider veins to their family physician, they’ll often hear some comment like it not being very important or just being a cosmetic issue and that kind of makes my ears turn red and burn when I hear from new patients what they have been told by their primary care doctors.”
He said the book can be eye opening for the family physician to learn how vein specialists are relieving leg pain, leg swelling, and alleviating and avoiding disability which actually prevents future blood clots. Leg veins can sound like a mundane topic to people at first glance, but the book is written to make it a little bit entertaining, breezy and attention-getting.
“I just wanted to provide a good educational resource so that the guy on the street, who has no medical background, could read it and understand it. We were trying to do that, but at the same time not to dumb it down so much that a medical practitioner – such as a nurse or physician’s assistant or even another physician – could enjoy reading it as well without it being too insultingly simple.
Another aspect to his motivation was to establish his credentials and credibility in his local community and market. “I wanted to be seen as a leading expert in treating leg vein disease in the areas where I practice.
“To that end, I actually distribute this book freely to my patients, and to local interested parties such as physicians and health care professionals in my local cities and surrounding counties and to the media. Giving the book is an educational service, but it also is a practice builder that helps generate referrals and helps support my practices locally.
He is also marketing the book to colleagues because he believes the book can be a good resource. I have had several friends and colleagues who have ordered bulk copies with good bulk rates for their patients and colleagues.
“And we’re offering vein practitioners part of the back cover to promote their own practice. This makes it a good educational and marketing tool for them to use with their patients as well.”
Because it is a soft cover book, small limited press runs of the cover can be made economically to promote someone else’s local vein practice. Dr. Martin also prepare a boilerplate cover letter on the local doctor’s letterhead, which a doctor can change as needed, to introduce the book, reveal the vast need it addresses and outline the services the doctor offers.
“I have mailed a copy of the book and a letter introducing it to my local colleague physicians who could be referring physicians, and I have received a number of referrals from new physicians, and a number of referrals from physicians I haven’t heard much from in the last few years. It is a great practice-builder.”
This book can also be a practice builder for other doctors who distribute it in their communities with their information printed on the cover. It will definitely generate walk-in traffic as well as referrals.
Patient Word of Mouth
“I give a copy to every one of my patients because of the power of word-of-mouth referrals,” Dr. Martin said. “Vein disease has a strong tendency to run in families. So when a lady comes in with varicose vein disease, there’s a good chance her sister or her mother or daughter has it too. So I give them a book full of up-top-date information that they pass around to family and friends. Once you have sold one patient, more will come in.
“When we were researching before we did the book, it became apparent that it had been a good 12 years or so since any book had been written for the general public to read about leg vein disease. In the last 12 years, as you know, the field has completely turned upside down and revolutionized.
Dr. Martin said he could see there was an awareness gap and someone needed to write a book to fill that void.
“So I got very interested and motivated to fill that gap. There’s a lot of good information on vein disease out there such as good websites by our professional organizations. And there are a lot of books out there written by professionals for professionals, many of which are primers for physicians.
“But there really was nothing for the public to read. No new consumer health book that really could explain the new state-of-the-art treatments that we now have available for varicose and spider vein treatments. So I decided I’d just write this book so there would be something available that was up-to-date for the public to read as well.”
Retail marketing is being done by backing into bookstores. First, it was marketed through the Internet on various websites, through bloggers, Facebook and other social networking outlets. Now it’s available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The publisher, Plentiful Publishing (plentifulpublishing.com), is now planning on doing more traditional book promotional efforts in months to come to get it into more local bookstores.
Other doctors who are aware of the tremendous need within the public have become vocal supporters of the book, including strong recommendations by two widely known experts.
“Venous disease affects more than 80 million people in the United States alone,” said Ronald Bush, MD, FACS, and medical director at Midwest Vein & Laser Center and medical director of Vein Affiliates.
“It is a debilitating, painful and often embarrassing malady that can even be life threatening.
“The good news is that in the past 10 years, enormous strides have been made in the treatment of chronic venous insuffiency,” said Dr. Bush, who said he was honored to be able to write a Foreword for the book.
“The bad news is that the vast majority of people who have varicose and spider veins don’t know about these new medical advances. Consequently, they needlessly continue to suffer. To compound the problem, many primary care physicians, dermatologists and other medical professionals are not fully informed about the new state-of-the art techniques either.”
But Dr. Bush said they are not to blame. “The new methodologies weren’t even in existence when most physicians practicing today were undergoing medical training.”
Jose Almeida, MD, FACS, medical director at Miami Vein Center and founder of the International Vein Congress, said in a Foreword that the book is an excellent primer for lay people and for physicians who want to know about the elegant options available today for treating varicose and spider veins.
“I hope it will also help insurance companies and third-party payers align their policies with the realities of modern venous medicine so their decisions are more supportive of patients and doctors.”
Dr. Martin is a general surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Phlebology. A fellow with the American College of Surgeons, he is a member of the American College of Phlebology; a registered vascular ultrasound technician, ADDMS; and a registered physician in vascular interpretation, ARDMS.
After earning his doctor of medicine degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in 1986, Dr. Martin fulfilled his surgery internship and residency requirements from 1986 to 1991 at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he served as chief surgery resident during his final year.
The past 10 years have witnessed extraordinary medical breakthroughs in the treatment of vein disease. Dr. Martin began studying these revolutionary new techniques in 2003 under Dr. Bush.
In early 2004, Dr. Martin opened a vein treatment center in Valdosta, Ga., and in 2005 he began devoting his full-time energies to treating vein patients. In 2006, he opened a second vein treatment center in Brunswick, Ga. Since 1986 he has performed more than 6,000 varicose vein procedures and tens of thousands of spider vein procedures.
The book comes highly recommended as an accurate, easy-to-read overview of state-of-the-art treatments for varicose and spider veins by a widely respected physician. It’s an entertaining read with helpful illustrations and illustrative cartoons.
For more information, see GregMartinMD.com.