Cyndi Miller was born and raised on the East Coast, predominantly in North Carolina. She attended several Universities before graduating from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. She was a Kindergarten teacher for 8 1/2 years until she decided to pursue other interests.
While operating a small business and raising a young family, Cyndi earned an MBA, completing a part-time program in 1989. For several years, as a business consultant, she trained sales staffs, executed finance and accounting programs designed to enhance profitability, and set up better internal and external marketing campaigns for automobile corporations. Her love for her children, a strong passion for entrepreneurial opportunities and her sales abilities drew her back to owning, operating and selling small retail operations.
In 1995, having been all over the spectrum in assessing and assisting various businesses, she founded Miller Public Relations. Today, she is considered one of the country’s leading experts in Medical Marketing serving her clients coast to coast. Mrs. Miller has served as a Board Member for several regional hospitals and charitable organizations.
Read Cyndi’s Latest Blog Post: 4 Reasons To Embrace The New Digital Marketing Tools
Q & A with Cyndi Miller
We recently sat down with AMP President Cyndi Miller to ask her a few questions regarding Animated Medical Procedures, the fully-customied, iPad-based, animated medical procedures tool for comprehensive patient education.
Why did you create AMP?
For years, the medical industry has missed a vital tool in patient education. Once portable tablets such as iPad came onto the market, it simply made sense to incorporate them into the patient interview process–whether that interview is focused on an elective procedure like LASIK or cosmetic surgery, or something as serious as prostate cancer or cardiac surgery.
When physicians are discussing procedures that affect their lives, patients really want to understand. Sometimes the medical staff does a great job of explaining a procedure and treatment. Often times, however, they are not “spot-on”, so when the patients are flowed to the physician, another explanation is required, followed by a “question and answer” session. This is time consuming, and we all know time is money.
In creating AMP, we significantly enhance the physician’s time management while simultaneously providing the patient full-disclosure and education. AMP helps to remove error in patient understanding and eliminates the chance of a poor “sales” presentation. Patients can see for themselves everything that is involved in their care and become visibly relieved. Once comforted, their decision to proceed is easier. This radically increases the probability that patients will select your practice to perform their procedure.
How did the idea to create AMP emerge?
I saw an iPad presentation for a recently approved cataract laser given at the office of one of our clients. It was an excellent High Definition presentation outlining the processes and possibilities of the laser. It was the impetus for the physician to make the purchase.
I realized that we could create animated modules of any and every medical procedure to educate patients and thereby aid their physicians and their support staff.
How is AMP different than the other animation products available?
AMP is unique in that it is fully customizable, depicting exactly what the procedure is and how the physician performs the procedure. Generic presentations are simply not as effective as customized modules.
Each surgeon has a unique gift, a unique style, and a unique mastery of procedures that are part of his or her specialty. By customizing the animation according to each surgeon’s specific direction, the job of educating the patient is for all practical purposes done. We have shortened and, perhaps, removed the sometimes lengthy “question and answer” session. The patient is less apprehensive because the procedure was explained fully, in detail, and in layperson’s terms.
We have conducted thousands of pre- and post-operative patient interviews and we have a rich understanding of what a patient wants to know. I have observed first-hand what causes positive as well as negative reaction in patients. Each AMP module incorporates the combined knowledge of the physician’s protocols and our marketing investigations.
What is the process for creating a module?
As a physician using AMP, your first input is to decide which procedures you’d like to include in your portfolio. We then propose “storyboards”, or animated outlines, which you review and edit if necessary. We then start the animation process while we complete a draft “script”. Once you approve the script and storyboards our team of medical animators, illustrators and videographers complete the HD animation. We then submit the package to you for final approval and install the application on the tablet, ready to be presented to a patient.
Each AMP module covers realistic expectations of outcomes, as you define them, as well as associated risks. The module can also contain answers to frequently asked questions and your specific pre- and post-operative instructions. This alleviates patient anxiety exponentially.
In what other ways does AMP bring value to patients?
Patients often postpone elective surgery, usually, due to either cost or fear. AMP education helps tremendously with patient anxiety. Using AMP, the patient is given a link to the procedure, as well as pre- and post-operative instructions, so they can be reviewed at home. Patients can share their specific procedure’s AMP module with friends and family, allowing their loved ones to become educated and connected as well. This allows caregivers to know exactly what to do after the surgery, and it is accessible to them at any time. In this way, AMP facilitates excellent post-operative care.
Having received a rich educational experience, patients gain assurance that the rest of their experience will go well.
How does AMP ultimately increase my practice’s profits?
We consistently hear from our clients who are using the AMP modules that their AMP programs generate higher conversion rates and allow for better time management within the practice. Seeing more patients increases the “bottom line”.
When a patient presents, you know what information has been provided. You simply ask, “Did you see the AMP presentation on your spine surgery? Did you understand it? Do you have any questions for me?” You may have to field one or two questions now, instead of ten or twelve. The room-time with that patient is shortened dramatically because of the AMP information the patient has received. The patient feels fully engaged and satisfied because of the amount of information.
AMP increases patient satisfaction, and if your patients are extended exemplary care they absolutely will become ambassadors for your practice, sharing their positive experiences with friends, family and co-workers.
How does AMP help a physician with risk management?
Having worked with hundreds of doctors over the course of my career, I have learned that very few of them have been involved in any kind of lawsuits if two things are in place:
- Patient care. If a patient is correctly flowed through the practice and receives a high-level of patient care, satisfaction tends to be high.
- Patient education. The more time, information, and education given to a patient, the more satisfied they are and the less likely they are to become problematic to a practice post-treatment.
AMP can be integrated into a physician’s informed consent process. The language should, of course, state that the patient has spoken to the medical team and has seen a fully animated module. The AMP module, which contains a very detailed explanation of protocols, including possible risks, can be presented as legal evidence about pre-surgery patient education, reducing a claim of negligence of disclosure.
By increasing patient satisfaction and mitigating legal action, AMP helps to raise profits as attorney expenses and malpractice insurance rates are lowered.
How long will it take to see my investment in AMP return?
In some cases, one patient can return your AMP investment. This depends, of course, upon the procedure and its costs. AMP is competitively priced with a low annual licensing fee. Each of our modules can be updated and edited as needed to account for emerging treatment options. When you consider the earnings potential of many medical procedures, one or two additional patients can pay for the initial investment.
What else does AMP offer besides animated procedures?
Because of its customizable nature, AMP can animate anything a physician desires. We can conduct an interview with the physician, record a live procedure, credential the doctor, and present his or her biographical information. Embedded patient testimonials are very useful as well as a tour of the facility and available technologies. Some clients also like to include procedure costs, financing options, and even cost/benefit analyses when appropriate. There is no limitation to what we can place into your AMP modules (as long as it HIPAA compliant).
Is there a case study of a practice that is using AMP effectively?
One of the largest and most prestigious ophthalmology practices in the world is Mann Eye Institute and Laser Center in Houston, TX. They have seven locations and four accredited surgery suites. All of their patient liaisons are using AMP modules. Because of the amazing reputation of this practice, their patient conversion rates from new patient call to new patient procedures are routinely from 75 to 82 percent. Once we integrated their customized AMP modules, we saw those numbers rise to 85 to 90 percent for conversion of prospects to patients for refractive and cataract surgeries. This conversion rate dramatically increased their patient population, the potential for referred new patients and their overall bottom line.
In addition, it has increased buy-in for other procedures that Mann Eye Institute offers. For example, a patient who comes in for a LASIK procedure often ends up getting a cosmetic injectable like BOTOX or designer sunglasses simply because he or she has seen a module related to that procedure or treatment.
AMP is also used by Mann Eye Institute to market generationally. Example: a thirty-year-old patient has a parent who might have a cataract or macular degeneration. Patient liaisons continually place modules with any patient that can be shared with family members who often become new patients.
Who are the partners involved in this? What does each of them bring to the group?
The Medical Director is surgeon Paul Mann, M.D., a Board Certified ophthalmologist in Houston, TX. He is a renowned eye surgeon and provides the doctor’s perspective on creating the animations. His experience was vital as the first AMP modules were created for the specialty of ophthalmology.
Dana Ondrias, O.D., brings to the table the patient’s perspective. She knows the expectations and the questions a patient typically has and ensures those needs are met in our AMP modules.
As Founder and CEO of Miller Public Relations, I identify the marketing opportunities. Significant dollars are out there—low-hanging, unharvested fruit—that the medical practice has neither identified nor marketed. We bring the AMP module into practices so that no matter what kind of day your employee is having, you can provide the ideal patient experience.
What can I expect in terms of customer care as a physician using AMP?
My team and I are available to you around the clock. We can fully train your staff in the implementation of AMP into your practice. It is important that everyone buy into its use. In addition, we are willing to make any updates and edits or create any new customized modules. We will gladly assist you with any technical support should the need arise. We have a team of world-class writers, graphic designer artists, webmasters, illustrators, animators and videographers here to serve your needs as a client.
What inspires you to be so concerned about patient care?
Every patient who walks through the door of a practice—whether it is critical care or elective care—has the potential to be an ambassador for the practice. They have the opportunity to have a life-saving or life-changing experience. The level of respect they are shown determines whether they will be a practice ambassador or a practice detractor. By providing excellent care and creating a favorable, memorable impression, a positive message is sent to the public, including referring physicians.
AMP facilitates this business model, offering the potential for great medical care coupled with better physician time management, maximizing revenues. There is no question that AMP is necessary for all the elements that comprise a successful physician’s practice.