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#72 A Great Physician’s Marketing Brilliance!
Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert Denny Hatch -- Direct Mail Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Philadelphia , PA
Tuesday, October 01, 2019

#72 – Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Posted by Denny Hatch

A Great Physician’s Marketing Brilliance!
Gary Dorshimer, M.D.

On December 7, 1992 Peggy and I took over Target Marketing Magazine in Philly. We had company insurance and early on I had a skin problem on my scalp. I forget the medical group. The waiting room was a circus but after a long wait, I was quickly eyeballed by a doctor who determined it to be ringworm and shunted me over to a p.a. (physician’s assistant). She prescribed skin cream.
     The skin problem got worse.
     We found a top dermatologist and I sat for a scraping from my scalp. The next day her office called to say the problem was not ringworm.
    I had shingles.

The Wonderful Gary Dorshimer
I forget who suggested Gary Dorshimer, but he came highly recommended. Associated with Pennsylvania Hospital, Gary also had two other gigs weekends and evenings: attending physician to the Philadelphia Eagles football team and the Flyers hockey team.
     I particularly liked the idea of having access to the team doctor of a major sports franchise. His client is entrusting him with the health and safety of patients with multi-million-dollar contracts in a billion-dollar industry.
     A physician who mistakes shingles for ringworm need not apply.
The Original Practice
     Gary and his associates ran the practice near my Center City home out of two-story building on tiny Delancey Street steps away from Pennsylvania Hospital. It was a warren of little offices and examining rooms. The large central waiting area was invariably jammed with patients of all ages. There was plenty to read while waiting and the waits were usually long.
     Gary’s practice was a bit of a nightmare. Phones went unanswered and prescriptions ran out. I got used to walking over in person to make an appointment or get a prescription refilled.
     Of course there were waits to see him, but Gary always got around to us, spent adequate time with us, kept us healthy, made flawless diagnoses and made referrals to top specialists. 
     Above all, Gary radiates cool competence. We absolutely trust him with our lives.

A Surprise in Our Mailbox
     A personalized letter arrived from Gary Dorshimer. He was leaving the group to start a Concierge Practice. I was filled with dread.
     Concierge practice? What zat? Is it for rich people? If I opt out, will we be kicked out of the practice? After all, we were now pensioners on Medicare.
     The order device was an invitation to a wine and cheese gathering to be held in America’s very first hospital—founded by Benjamin Franklin—the elegant 1755 Pennsylvania Hospital building designed by legendary architect William Strickland.
     We would get the details of this “concierge” practice first hand.

At the gathering we had a glass of wine and gawked at the architecture, artworks and savored being in a place of history.
    Then Dr. Dorshimer came to the podium.

The Conundrum of Private Health Care
Gary’s deeply personal story was an eye opener. At Penn Medicine, precise record keeping is demanded.
     The practice had grown so huge he was working all the time—at his computer late into the evening and very early in the mornings before going to work. Plus, of course, the additional sports medicine practice nights and weekends.
     We chatted briefly with Mrs. Dorshimer who said Gary had no life. She saw him at the dinner table, whereupon he went to his computer to deal with record keeping. She was thrilled with the concierge change.

A Sea Change
Gary felt this was no way to practice medicine. The solution was a “concierge practice” that promised personal care, far greater availability and quick response times to medical needs.
     We would continue with our regular health insurance as before, plus an annual membership fee.
     If we opted not to be part of the new service, we could continue on as before but basically minus Gary. The physicians and staff in his existing practice are world-class.
     But we wanted Gary.
     A single answer during the Q&A session instantly sold us.
     “But what happen if I need to talk to you,” a gentleman asked, “and you are on the sidelines of an Eagles game?”
     “You have my cellphone number,” he replied.
     We signed on and could not be happier.

 A Scary Incident
     I had a serious medical problem in 2018 requiring an Emergency Room visit, several days in the ICU and more days in the hospital. The care included bringing in the head of a department, and a veritable army of highly trained, caring specialists who tended to me round-the-clock.” Gary frequently stopped by throughout the ordeal, conferring with the doctors and nurses, reassuring, upbeat.
     I saved the bills and retail costs ran well into six figures.

A Great Physician and Master Communicator
Gary keeps in touch, always reminding us he is there for us and he cares. Here’s a sampling of his emails:

[Date]  at 11:23 PM

To My Patients:
Several patients said they did not receive the e-mail from 3 weeks ago outlining the change in date and itinerary for the Travel With Your Doc trip to Berlin, now scheduled for late October.  
I wanted to make sure all had a chance to see the changes and respond, if you want to join me, by July 15th.
Please see the attached itinerary for the trip.  There will be flexibility for some free time and even flexibility with tours that we didn’t have on the trip to Cuba. 
I hope you can join me in another trip filled with history, art and music, and relaxation.
If you are interested in the next Travel with Your Doc trip, please contact
C---- H--- at my office (555-555-5555)
In Good Health,
= = = = = = = = = = = = = =
[Date] at 9:52 AM

To My Patients,

As a member benefit, having 24/7 access for questions and concerns via my cell phone and e-mail allows for us to have regular communication to attend to your questions and concerns between visits.  And a priority for me is to provide prompt responses to my patients regarding your questions and concerns.   

For best communication, I ask that, during weekday patient hours 8:00 AM-4:30 PM, you call the office directly, as receiving text and email messages while with other patients makes it difficult for me to give prompt responses.  By calling the office directly, my staff will be able to assist you more efficiently with all urgent and non-urgent calls at that time.  After hours and on weekends, I ask that you continue to reach me by calling my office 555-555-5555 and I will be paged by my answering service; or by calling my cell 555-555-5555 or by sending an email.  Please note that text message is the least efficient method of communication for me; email is the most efficient method for me to respond.  If your email is time sensitive, it would be fine to text me that you have sent an email to bring it to my attention sooner.

Thank you for helping me remain efficient in attending to your needs between your visits.

In Health,

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
[Date) at 2:13 PM
Dear Patients:
As many of you know, I am heading out tonight on vacation and will be back in the country in the evening of Tuesday September 3rd and back in the office Wednesday September 4th.  Dr. R---- K---- will be covering for me, so if you need anything, call the office number, (555-555-5555). During business hours the staff will help you, while after hours Dr. K---- will be paged.  Voice mail isn’t always reliable when traveling, so if you need to contact me, e-mail and texts will generally be checked daily.  
Enjoy your last week of August, when I hope a lot of you are also vacationing, and see you after Labor Day Holiday.
The Elegant Renewal Effort
 Many professionals with a subscription business might send a perfunctory reminder with an invoice—in print or, more likely digitally.
     Gary takes nothing for granted. His renewal letter arrives in the mailbox on handsome stationary with the Penn Medicine/Penn Personalized Care Letterhead. He re-sells. Reminds.
     Here is the text of Gary's personalized direct mail letter:

Dear Mr. Hatch,

As we move into the next year, l look forward to serving as your physician once again and am committed to providing you with excellent care and service.

Reflecting on this past year, my primary focus remained on your individual wellness needs and goals. We've created, in what we call our Live Well Series, several educational opportunities tailored to your health needs and interests.

In the next year, I will continue to develop our Live Well Series with programs on the 17th floor. We will provide you with additional resources for living your healthiest lifestyle and meeting your individualized goals. I welcome topics that would be of interest to you that we could discuss at after-hours programs.

As you approach the time for renewing membership in Penn Personalized Care, the benefits will continue to include:

• 24/7 phone, email or myPennMedicine access

• Same-day/next-day appointments.

• A personalized approach tailored to your individual health needs and overall wellness.

• The annual physical is the comer stone to educate and concentrate on ways to optimize your health.

• Live Well Series - patient conferences on current topics to educate and promote healthy living and wellness.

• Daily, including weekend, hospital care under my medical service at Pennsylvania Hospital, or daily on surgical services.

• Coverage when I am away by my colleagues, R------- K-----, MD, and R---- A----, MD, at Delancey Internal Medicine who I trust to offer excellent care in my absence.

• A private waiting room with light refreshments, WiFi and phone charging stations.

• Complimentary parking at both Penn Medicine Washington Square and Pennsylvania Hospital when coming for a visit on the 17th floor. Complimentary valet is only available at Pennsylvania Hospital.

• Dedicated staff to help with referrals, appointments, and all aspects of your medical care.

• Travel With Your Doc - a unique opportunity to travel with me and our PPC group to experience the health benefits of travel.

Enclosed you will find a Penn Personalized Care re-enrollment form. The annual fee will remain $2,500 per member for 2019-2020. Please complete the form and return to my office. If you have any questions or concerns about re-enrollment, please call my office at 215.555.5555

I would like to thank you for being a part of Penn Personalized Care. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve as your doctor and work with you to help you lead a healthier and happier life.


/s/ Gary W. Dorshimer, MD
Gary W Dorshimer, MD, FACP, FCPP
Section Chief, General Medicine, Pennsylvania Hospital
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

Takeaways to Consider
• Gary Dorshimer not only practices Personal Care but also personal marketing. In the examining room, in your hospital room and in his communications, his caring shines though. 

• Dr. Dorshimer is in touch with patients by email. However, when it comes to critical communication—such as the renewal—he uses postal mail. Postal mail is physical and must be dealt with by hand. It cannot be deleted with an inadvertent click.

• When I was running the newsletter WHO’S MAILING WHAT! and Target Marketing Magazine, I would get calls from readers every week asking, how often to contact customers.

•  Several software companies were offering programs to alert you that it was time to contact your customers.

• The answer: Don’t contact them just to contact them. Do it when you have something to say—a new product, service, a special offer.

• The Washington Square Pharmacy routinely calls to remind us a prescription is running out. Savvy service stations and car dealers will call their customers to remind them it’s time for an oil change, tire rotations and an inspection.

• As a member of Penn Personalized Care, every time I go into the office, I am made to feel special by the staff. 

• And, of course, Gary with his low key—and laser-like—concentration on me.

“Under promise and over deliver.” —Marilyn Black

Note to Readers: Peggy and I leave Saturday for vacation. Next blog post is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29th.  Thank you.


Word count:2030

At age 15, Denny Hatch—as a lowly apprentice—wrote his first news release for a Connecticut summer theater. To his astonishment it ran verbatim in The Middletown Press. He was instantly hooked on writing. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army (1958-60), Denny had nine jobs in his first 12 years in business. He was fired from five of them and went on to save two businesses and start three others. One of his businesses—WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service founded in 1984—revolutionized the science of how to measure the success of competitors’ direct mail. In the past 55 years he has been a book club director, magazine publisher, advertising copywriter/designer, editor, journalist and marketing consultant. He is the author of four published novels and seven books on business and marketing.


Denny Hatch
The St. James
200 West Washington Square, #3007
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-644-9526 (Rings on my desk)

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