Nithin Natwa: 00:00
Yeah. If you rest anything in sports medicine, there's a good chance that it's going to get better. But the goal of seeing your physician is to shorten the timeframe that you're waiting for it to get better.
From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's The Prosperous Doc Podcast, real stories, real inspiration, real growth, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their overall wellness in every aspect of life. Now here's your host, Shane Tenny. Welcome
Shane Tenny: 00:30
Welcome back to this episode of the prosperous doc podcast. I am Shane Tenny and glad to have you with us today. We've got, I think, a really great conversation with a guest that you're going to find really engaging. When you choose to go into medicine, it sometimes takes folks a couple of years to figure out what area of specialty they want to pursue. Certainly for those, like our guest today, who grew up in a family surrounded by physicians on both sides for his extended family, Dr. Nithin Natwa, my guest today, understood that he needed to find the area that really fit his personality, temperament and the type of relationship that he wanted to have with patients.
So, Dr. Natwa is here today from Detroit, Michigan, where he is double board certified and works in family sports medicine. We're going to talk about that in the first part of the show. And then in the second part of the show, we're going to talk about the way that he is scratching the itch for a side gig, and some of the passion that he has there. Nithin, Thanks so much for being with us today.
Nithin Natwa: 01:29
Thank you so much for having me on, Shane. I really appreciate it. It sounds like we're going to have some pretty good topics to go over.
Shane Tenny: 01:33
Well, I think so. I think just from our warm-up a few minutes ago, if you and I can't make it interesting, then nobody can. So give us a little bit of background though. You grew up in a family with a bunch of physicians on both sides. I think grandparents with some different philosophies there, how'd you end up in medicine and then what drew you to the double board certification in family and sports medicine?
Nithin Natwa: 01:52
Yeah, so it was kind of a funny story. I was talking earlier that both my parents are not physicians actually, but my grandparents on my mother's side thought that being a physician was a male job. So they ended up making their sons physicians. And then my dad's parents actually thought that being a physician was a female job, so they ended up making all of his sisters doctors. Both my parents really saw that and I think they thought that it was a pretty strong field. So they were really intent on both me and my sister going into medicine. And both of us ended up becoming physicians. So that was kind of the route. There was always the option to do something else, but it was clear that my parents would prefer that, and I didn't see any issue with it.
So I went into medicine, and you were talking about how did I choose sports medicine. So, yeah, so whenever we're talking about what made me go into sports medicine, it's typically people think of it as an orthopedic surgery field, but there's two types of sports medicine. There is the primary care sports medicine. And then there's the operative sports medicine, and the primary care sports medicine are the people that try and prevent or shorten the severity of injury, and then if they aren't able to accomplish that, then they'll send it over to the surgeon to help fix it. And the primary care also typically is responsible for the primary care issues of the athletes. So if the athlete has asthma, COPD, diabetes, and that will be the realm of the primary care physician to monitor that. It's a branch of family medicine, but I really liked it because physician burnout is a really big deal in today's world, and a large part of that, I think, stems from physician's caring possibly more about a condition than the patient might care about it.
And that results in a lot of wasted effort almost thought of on the side of the physician, and that tends to burn them out. And the thing I really liked about sports medicine is that the patient population was extremely motivated, and there was very little of an issue trying to get the patient to do what the physician wanted, assuming that the physician spent appropriate time explaining the rationale and the mannerisms behind it. You can't just tell someone to do something and expect them to do it. You've got to provide some reasoning, but with sports medicine, I really felt like if you put in the time to explain your rationale, that there's a much higher chance that the patient listens to your advice. And I really liked that about the the field, and I thought I made it a much more healthy working environment.
Shane Tenny: 04:15
That's awesome. In your fellowship for sports medicine, which I know you did in Michigan, you actually were the sideline doc for Michigan State in the Big 10.
Nithin Natwa: 04:24
Shane Tenny: 04:26
Tell me a little bit about that experience. I know you're a huge football fan, so that must have been pretty cool.
Nithin Natwa: 04:30
Yeah. That was actually an insane experience because I went to Michigan State for undergrad. And if you've gone to any kind of big football school for college, or just gone to the games, you know it's really hard to get any kind of good tickets. And typically the students are in the nosebleed ticket section, which is where I was all throughout college. So it was really wild going from the back row at the upper deck all the way just down at the sidelines, and just being on these lists for team positions, just taking care of these athletes that you really looked up to, and these coaches that you know were just straight up celebrities. So it really humanized a lot of the aspects to me, which is very cool, and it also showed me what I wanted to do later in life for my full-time career as well too.
I really liked the glitz and glam of being a team physician. And I thought college was a pretty happy medium blend of covering professional sports and covering high school sports, because professional sports, they have a little bit of a different aim. Their aim is to be the best they can be at that moment. And they're not as concerned with their long-term health, and it's hard as a physician to be okay with that, but they are adults and they're able to make their own decisions. And as long as they understand the risks, that's their own choice, but it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to do that. And that wasn't really my spiel. And then high school, the level of knowledge isn't quite where the college athlete is in terms of the sports medical knowledge and stuff like that. So it's a little bit more of a slog just getting through the explanations and all that.
So I really thought college was a great, happy medium of those two. I ended up not doing too much coverage now, because as soon as I got out and into practice, we got hit by this pandemic, so that's what got a lot of the sports, but we'll see what happens when it starts kicking up again. I think I'll try and do some collegiate coverage and high school coverage as well too, because it is nice to connect to that level and I'll provide education as well too. And it makes you a better physician to have to get out of your comfort zone and work on explaining things in ways that you're not really accustomed to.
Shane Tenny: 06:28
Do you have a favorite story from your time on the sidelines?
Nithin Natwa: 06:31
Yeah, I guess I do. There's a lot of them, most of them are sad though. So it's not so much the favorite story, it's more memorable story lines.
Shane Tenny: 06:39
Yeah. Maybe one of the more impactful moments that you remember being a part of.
Nithin Natwa: 06:43
Yeah. I guess there was one, it's for the NCAA tournament, actually. It was for the women's basketball team, and this wasn't in actually Michigan State, because I did a bunch of audition rotations through other programs, just trying to figure out where I wanted to go, but I was able to be at the first round NCAA tournament for one of the years. It was actually the team that I was covering lost the eventual national champion. So it was an interesting game. One of the female athletes, she wasn't able to get out there initially. She had a lot of back spasms that were really preventing her from getting out there. We were able to diagnose the issue, we were able to provide some trigger point injections under ultrasound guidance, which was really not a big deal at that point in time.
And we were able to get her feeling okay, getting her out there for her last college game. And just what it means to these kids, and to these adults as well too when they're in that last game that they've spent their entire life occupying a significant portion of their work ethic and everything like that, basically these athletes, their lives revolve around the sport. For them to not be able to play in their last game is truly a life changing experience. So I was happy that we were able to change that for the better, and she was very emotional, and it just hit home that I've been in situations where lives have been at stake and where people were either going to live or die, and those were being too, but it brought an appreciation to the fact that not everything important in life is about life or death, there a lot of things out there that might seem mundane to the average person, but that are honestly life altering to a specific person.
Shane Tenny: 08:22
In some ways, those are the moments that remind you, this is why I went into medicine.
Nithin Natwa: 08:26
Shane Tenny: 08:27
To be able to change this person's life, and their memories and their experience of things. And as you're telling that story, I'm thinking of all the heartache there's been over the last nine months with athletes that haven't gotten to play or haven't gotten to experience that final season or whatever due to the COVID pandemic.
Anyways, you work with patients now, speaking of COVID actually, I think one of the great innovations that has finally happened as a result of COVID and some of the legislation is the ability for more practitioners to provide virtual treatment and telemedicine and all that, just the explosion there. I know that's been a big part of your practice and part of your regular schedule. How has that worked and I guess being in sports medicine where you want to feel the knee, or you want to see the elbow or things like that, what kind of accommodations do you have to make, or what have you learned to really be successful in that space and help patients?
Nithin Natwa: 09:20
Yeah, that's a great topic, because I think one of the few good things that we can take out of the pandemic is that it really pushed forward the virtual visit and the virtual care aspect of medicine. It was always around before, but it was very hard to get it covered through insurance, and it was very hard to get people to commit to doing it. And the pandemic really launched it to the forefront and made it a lot more mainstream, which I think is a really good thing, because I think that's the future of a lot of care. And like you were saying, it's hard for specialists to figure out how to use it, because typically for primary care, a lot of the stuff can be done virtually, even the initial visits, we can do symptom checks, we can get a really good story from the HPI or the history of the illness.
But once you're sending someone to a specialist, there's usually a level of physical exam that comes into play. Whether it's a cardiologist and they need to really figure out, do a really in-depth heart exam or cardiac exam, or for me in terms of non-op orthopedics, the musculoskeletal exam is extremely important. The way that I optimize that and make sure the patient is still getting good experience is that I don't see new patients through virtual visits, I conduct all of those in person. That way I'm able to do the in-depth physical exam. We have onsite x-ray, so I'm able to read it there. And then for the followup visits, if they're staying the same or getting better, then I typically don't have them follow up in clinic. If for some reason they're worsening, that's an unexpected outcome and that would make me want to reevaluate that physical exam. So then I would have to see them in clinic, but typically when they're recovering, doing better, I'm already getting a bunch of evaluations from physical therapy in terms of the range of motion and specific measurements. That's the way that I try and make sure that they're getting good care.
One of the real big obstacles I've noticed is getting patients to feel like they're getting the same quality care through the camera as they are by coming into the office, which from my side, I am definitely giving them the exact same care. And honestly, I feel like it's even easier to spend more time with the patient through a virtual visit, because I know I can just click out of the box and click right into the next box, as opposed to being in the clinic. I know that there's going to be some downtime with rooming the patient, with filling out paperwork. I know that they're coming from a drive that they probably spent maybe anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get over here. And I just think it's just a much less stressful use of their time. And it's easier to get evaluations, easier to get appointment times. That's the way that I phrase it to them, that you're not sacrificing care, you're just increasing the amount of time that you yourself have in your life.
Shane Tenny: 11:50
Yeah. I think that's a big realization, is that for a lot of businesses, yours in medicine and many others, the move to virtual work or telework or whatever the case is, is in some ways, not as much on the part of the servicing firm or in your case medicine, it's COVID obligated the consumer to adapt and not feel being put off or not feeling slighted. Look, this is just the way we have to do it. Now it's forced everybody to embrace something new for presumably their overall benefit.
You see a lot of injuries in your field, sports medicine, what are some of the, either most common injuries you see or the ones that people have the biggest myths or misunderstanding about what's going on or what they really ought to be doing to take care of it? Things like that.
Nithin Natwa: 12:37
That's actually a great question. I'm actually working on a project [inaudible 00:12:41] school where they're trying to figure out the most common injuries and prevention with that. So I've actually been doing some research on it, and above and beyond the most common ones are ankle sprains, knee injuries that include knee sprains, concussions, hamstring strains, and hip injuries to certain degree as well too. And that's not a definite order of them, because depending on your sport, those things get rearranged and shuffled as well. But the common myths you were talking about, it's pretty common. It's pretty uniform throughout all of those injuries and it's pretty applicable to any kind of injury.
The first myth that I see that gets way overused is that if you just rest it, it's going to get better, especially with these tendonitis and these muscle strains that I see, these osteoarthritis flares, all these kinds of stuff. Yeah, if you rest anything in sports medicine, there's a good chance that it's going to get better. But the goal of seeing your physician is to shorten the timeframe that you're waiting for it to get better. And an early incorporation of physical therapy has been the most beneficial thing that I've seen for people, as soon as it's tolerated, even if they're feeling a little bit more sore and achy with the physical therapy, that's expected because they're working out some de conditioned muscles and strain muscles, as long as they aren't having sharp, stabbing, worsening pain, I'm really okay with starting therapy as early as it's tolerated.
And then the second myth, which kind of contradicts what I just was about to say, is if you work too hard and you try and say, all right, if I have to do 30 minutes of PT a day, if I do two hours a day, I'm definitely going to get better faster. And that's the recipe for an injury right there. And then the last one that fits into all of that is that there's not really any medication that's going to cure you. There's only medications that cure the symptoms for a short period of time. But like I said, it's more the resistance training, an appropriate physical therapist, and an appropriate integration of that, that's going to get you feeling better.
Shane Tenny: 14:35
Gotcha. So I'm just going to paraphrase this and we're going to call it the Goldilocks approach to sports medicine, right? It's not too little, it's not too much, something right in the middle with the guidance of your local sports medicine physician just helps you get better at the right time.
Nithin Natwa: 14:49
Yeah. That's a great way of putting it, and make sure they have a good relationship with their interdisciplinary relationship with the physical therapist, the athletic trainers, the other people that are professionals in the area. Sometimes physicians can get a little bit King of the castle-ish, and it's really important to just work appropriately with other specialties.
Shane Tenny: 15:08
Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, you were talking about ankle sprains, knee sprains, hip, that sort of thing. There's actually a legitimate spot for e-sports injuries, I think somewhere in there. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around it, unless it's thumb cramps or something and from my own kids, but are e-sports legit or is it just the thing you do to play hooky from work?
Nithin Natwa: 15:27
So e-sports is actually huge, it's actually, I think, one of the biggest untapped industries out there right now. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. People are legitimately playing on teams for it. The NBA actually had an e-sports draft, where they drafted a total group of e-sports NBA 2K players. It's a real thing. And I think as we move to a more tech heavy world, it's going to become a lot bigger, just like we've seen in those movies that we grew up watching, there was a lot of video game teams that were in those movies, and I think those are becoming a reality now. Those teams are making a ton of money and whenever people are making money doing stuff, you can be sure that there's going to be a lot of people training to do that. The age range is very tight. It's much smaller than other professional sports, because it's a lot to do with the hand eye coordination. And it's that early teen to late teen phase, where they're at their peak. So I think that's going to cause some issues because it's almost an exclusive pediatric population. And with that comes a lot of legal ramifications. So we'll see how they handle those barriers going forward.
Shane Tenny: 16:35
And are those injuries, is it hand-eye carpal tunnel type things? Is it neck from sitting in your gaming chair? What are the real issues?
Nithin Natwa: 16:44
Yeah. Overuse injuries are the most prominent ones. And like you said before, a lot of thumb injuries, a lot of tennis elbow, the neck injuries from poor posture. So appropriate posture and appropriate management of activity is key to preventing those. And then also keeping in mind, mood disorders are not caused by e-sports, but there's a correlation between them. And they don't know what that correlation is, but they do know that a high incidence of e-sports is also correlated with certain types of mood disorders. And that could easily be due just to the lack of social interaction, lack of appropriate lighting, because a lot of this stuff is done in the dark. Just a lot of things that could be contributing to it, and they don't really know too much about it, because e-sports itself is a new field. So the studies on it are very strong and they don't have a very high power yet, but it's just important to know that if you do, if you are playing e-sports or if you have children that are playing e-sports, that you keep an eye on not just their physical injuries, but also on their mental state and just make sure that you're being observant.
Shane Tenny: 17:44
You mentioned at the beginning, when I was asking you about just how you came into medicine, and in particular into sports medicine, you were talking about just, or the switch that flipped for you when you realized, whoa, in this field, the patients are interested in getting better and willing to be a participant in the treatment here, I think on your website, talk a little bit about your theory around just informed decision-making and that sort of thing. Talk a little bit about your philosophy there and how it helps your patient interactions.
Nithin Natwa: 18:13
Yes, definitely. I think that I touched on it a little bit, but the biggest part about today's world is that the internet, you can literally look up whatever you want and you can get a thousand times more information than you could when I was growing up. You just weren't able to access all these diagnosis. I could tell the patient a diagnosis, they could look it up while I was out of the room and they could bring up five talking points about it by the time I walked in the room. That's a great thing, because that means that they are able to know a little bit more about their condition. The downside of that is that it makes people slightly more distrustful about what their physician is telling them, because they feel like they can get a pretty decent baseline knowledge or pretty free scan of the literature. And what my goal is, is to discuss with them what they know and talk about what they're saying is correct, talking about the accuracies in what they're talking about, and then also discuss the possible weaknesses with the information they might be sourcing and make sure they know what are good sources to look at.
So I always tell my patients, Hey, you should definitely look up more stuff on this condition. Here's the name, here's some information that I'm giving you and sources that you're able to look at that are generally good information are mainstream hospitals, like Mayo Clinic or the Hospital for Special Surgery or educational websites from the a few good universities that are well-versed in medicine, I was like, those .edu websites, those are solid as well too. So it's just making the patient feel like I'm invested in their understanding of what's going on with themselves will increase their trust in me.
And then it also lets us talk through decisions, because I can offer them a bunch of treatment options that'll work for person A, call them Bob, but person A isn't the typical patient. They have a lot of social stuff that's going on in their life, whether that's a lot of childcare or they have a long to be for work, things that might change one of these treatment options. And then we can have that discussion and we can figure out which treatment option for them is likely to be the best for them, whether they don't want to get knee replacement surgery right now, because they literally, their daughter is about to have a kid and they're about to help their daughter take care of that kid. So even though knee replacement surgery is the number one option for them and knee need is trashed, I would then set out to give them a knee injection and to help reduce their pain a little bit and get them through the next four months. That's the whole mutual decision making, is it's not just me saying what the best treatment option is. It's me explaining, hopefully them understanding and asking questions. And then us coming to a decision on the best treatment for them.
Shane Tenny: 20:37
Let me ask you a question I've heard from other conversations I've been in on this topic, which I just referred to as the Web MD topic, they've done their own research and they're coming in, I've heard other folks opine or share that it feels in many ways a little bit generational, your older clients, your baby boomers, maybe even your late gen X-ers tend to just defer to the physician and that sort of thing, but your gen Z-ers, your millennials, just the way we're raised, cultural things, whatever generational thing. Like, no, I want to do my own research. I grew up in the days of the internet. I teethed on this, so I know how to look stuff up and then I want to collaborate with you. Do you see that trend as, just anecdotally, as you think about the patients and how you interact with them?
Nithin Natwa: 21:18
Definitely. I've done this whole spiel or I've gone through all these different options and I've explained the background and I've been met by just, you're the doctor, you tell me what to do. And I'm like, all right. So I've developed my practice in terms of, I know I have to be a little bit more assertive with the older patients, because that's what they expect. And then with the younger patients, I do differ a little bit, I allow them to have their own opinions, but there's also the flip side of people that are coming in and I just have to make it clear that, you're coming in for my expert opinion, and we can talk through what the possible options are, but it's not going to be that you're coming in with your documents and you're going to know more than me about this condition. So it's like a balancing act there where it's a little bit of a give and take.
Shane Tenny: 22:04
Yeah, this isn't a negotiation. Yeah, that's great. Well, this certainly helps me understand what is so appealing about the sports medicine field for you. You've got some entrepreneurial itches, and some interest in side gigs, as I kind of foreshadowed in the intro. So I want to ask you about those when we get right back from this break.
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So, Dr. Nithin Natwa, we're having a great conversation. First half of the show and talked about your love for sports medicine and some of the trends that you're seeing there. I know in addition to the 12, 14 years of training that you had to get to the position you're in, double board certified, you, I think, have recently come to the decision that you just can't get enough education. So you've decided to sign up for business school and get an MBA. Are you just a glutton for punishment or is there a method to this madness?
Nithin Natwa: 24:57
Yeah, well, I thought about getting a BMW, and thought an MBA, it made more sense, just because studying on weeknights obviously makes much more sense.
Shane Tenny: 25:05
That's right. Yeah, it enhances the overall social life during COVID.
Nithin Natwa: 25:09
No, my parents always taught me that education was paramount and they were always like, you can make a lot of money, you can do a lot of things, but there's one thing that people can't take away from you, and that's the education that you get. They both have their MBAs and they always thought that it would be a good thing for me to do. And I was out of practice for about a year in my full-time gig as an attending, and my wife is doing her interventional cardiology fellowship, and was finishing up her last couple years of cardiology. So she was much busier than me. And I figured that, this is probably the best way for me to stay busy while I'm waiting for her to get less busy and stops her from disliking me for having too much free time, because that's definitely going to happen.
Shane Tenny: 25:52
Yeah. Also helps keep you from spending money. That's the other thing, when you just consume all your time now there's nothing to do. So the MBA though isn't just under this umbrella of, look, more education is always better. I think you've got a little bit of a drive to it. We were talking about just your interest in being able to develop in yourself credentials that are appealing to other businesses, other boards, things like that. Talk a little bit about just your vision there. Because I see it falling under the umbrella that is used universally in medicine now about side gigs. Yours is just a little different from those docs who want to create an implant or a device or design something. I think you've got a different vision for generating income.
Nithin Natwa: 26:33
Yeah, definitely. I think one of the main things as physicians is that if we want to make more money, we can see more patients, and that's a very linear relationship. I think the main goal for me and possibly for other people too, is we enjoy being physicians. We spend a lot of our life to get to where we are, and it's a fun, enjoyable job, and it's very meaningful. But a lot of times we start being held at the whim of the overseer, of the hospital system in terms of our output and seeing more patients to get more productivity. And it would be very nice to just have a side passive income that we were able to not have to worry about having to meet quotas and able to just see the amount of patients that we want to see and provide good care.
I personally thought the way to do that was to go to business school and get a better understanding of business, finance and things like that, as well as expose myself to people who are more entrepreneurial and who are starting up their own businesses, that would really benefit from having a position on their advisory board, which health-tech is huge nowadays. Health-tech is one of the most booming fields out there. And the problem is, is that a lot of physicians are walled away in their healthcare silos, and it's hard for them to interact with these more entrepreneurial minded people, unless they really just have really good connections. So that's why I decided to go out to UCLA for that, because UCLA is known for being a pretty big health-tech school and it's worked out pretty well.
Not many physicians go to business school, so that in itself makes a physician a very attractive candidate to the school, and I'm actually the only physician in my entire class. So that makes it a really good opportunity for me personally, for any of these students that are trying to launch their own business, if it's at all healthcare related they're looking to me. Especially some of them, luckily, are doing some sports medical stuff, and they're definitely happy that I'm in class with them. So that's my goal with the MBA, on top of just the benefit of it being educational is to hopefully get involved with a couple of different ventures that will help increase some passive revenue for me going forward.
Shane Tenny: 28:46
Yeah. I think it's a really, candidly Nithin, we with talk with a lot of docs around the country that are interested in passive income and I've got an idea or I have a friend who wants me to invest in this whatever device. And I think your angle is a really interesting one, in many ways, it's a very low risk way where I'm not investing any capital other than in my own brain and education. You're building a network of connections and then you can provide your expertise laced with a business vision and be compensated for the value you bring to help other people risk their capital and create a product, a device, or a service. So it's really an interesting angle on it.
Nithin Natwa: 29:25
I think the best part about it is if you're a practicing physician or any healthcare field, you already have your income coming in from somewhere else. So you can take the risk of going for equity as opposed to asking for cash compensation. Because like I was talking about before, the goal here is to get some kind of payoff that makes it so you can scale back on your daily life and unless you're doing a ton of this kind of work, then the cash compensation, I don't know, for me, I would rather go for the equity gamble and go on that route.
Shane Tenny: 29:51
Right. That's where you use your clinical work to create the safe, stable money. And you use this to play the long game and put it all on black, because if that project doesn't pan out, there's not a lot lost.
Nithin Natwa: 30:03
It's also like, so a lot of people might be thinking to themselves, well, this seems like a moonshot goal. And it is. It's not the likely outcome. You don't play the lottery thinking that you're going to win it. You should have some backup plans. And for me, the MBA was, okay, so that doesn't work out, I have the MBA, I'm actually doing a lot of knowledge base in terms of operations, marketing, finance. I work for a hospital system and I would hope that it'll be easier to transition into a part-time administrative role and climb up the ladder that way as well too. And that's another way of trying to deescalate off of clinical work if that's what you're trying to do too.
Shane Tenny: 30:38
Yep, yep. And a big part of this, I think your vision here of course, is building the connections, which business school helps you do that, helps you meet people and make connections. But I know a big trend in medicine over the last couple of years, just in terms of connecting through social media, through contacts, things like that is really just, I guess, the evolving field of branding. You've started to embrace this. I mentioned earlier in the show, you've got a website, I know you're on Instagram, you've got the Fantasy Docs channel. So talk a little bit about just what you've tried to embrace there, wanting to build your own name and brand and reputation out there in the community.
Nithin Natwa: 31:18
Yeah, I think it's becoming a really big thing for positions to really step out into social media and really start building their brand. And I've seen a bunch of people that are very successful at it. And I've seen a lot of people that aren't really getting the traction that they want on there. What I did is I started an Instagram account based on fantasy football. I go over injury analysis, and I project returns, but I also try and provide education about the specific injury, prevention, how to diagnose it, and what to do in case you think that you have it. And I noticed that, that gained huge amount of traction, I've ended up getting up to, I think, around 13-14,000 followers now. And it went pretty exponentially throughout the fantasy football season over the past two seasons. And the thing that it is, is that's fun for me because it's my work and it's nice to get recognition from a lot of people that, hey, this is something that I like to tune into. And it's nice for me because people pay attention to what I'm saying.
So it's a very valuable thing for your own self health and mental health and all of that. But as I keep building that base, that gives me a base that I can hopefully utilize and monetize at some point, whether it's by pushing my own brand or hopefully developing a product or even using it as to provide opinions on other products that people might decide to compensate for as well. So just ways possibly develop other revenue streams. But the thing that I did first is that I gave them a product that they wanted to tune in for. And I see a lot of people going on social media for their companies and they're really just pushing their own product. And I think that, that's the wrong way to go about it, especially when you're trying to do direct product to consumer, because there's no backing behind the product that they're pushing. People don't have any idea who they are that's pushing the product. They don't know anything about the product, so it's really hard for those businesses' Instagram's or Twitter's to gain a lot of traction. So I decided to go about it the reverse way and hopefully build a lot of trust, and then after I get to a big enough follower base, then try and transition to something else, possibly.
Shane Tenny: 33:21
It's super important because I know that a lot of folks who feel like, I don't know that there's any value in me having this, I work for a hospital system, I work for this office, I work for this practice, I see my patients, but I remember going to a conference a number of years ago and one of the presenters was on the social media branding theme. He said, "Look, how do all of us buy or hire professionals nowadays? When you get somebody's name, the first thing you do is Google search them." And people are doing that for you, again, whether you're an employed physician or dentist, or whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you own your practice, people are Google searching you. If you don't put any content out there, they're going to find the content that other people put out there. A lot of docs, it's the Healthgrades rating or something like that. So it is important to create a message yourself, be able to put out something to help define a little bit of who you are, what you're about and what's important.
Nithin Natwa: 34:16
And yeah, for some people it's just figuring out what people will find interesting about their field. So there's a ton of dermatologists on Instagram and obviously everyone wants better skin. So it's pretty easy for them to post about interesting facts, but even just even GI, if you can focus on nutrition, there's a lot of people that don't have the level of education of advanced degree holders. And a lot of times we think that the information that we're giving is just not even worthwhile, because it's something that we don't even consider something that's interesting, or like, everyone probably knows this. But I've noticed a lot of people don't know things that you consider foundation information, and they find it useful, and if they're finding it useful and it's easy for you to put out because you don't even think it's that complex of information, I don't see what the loss is there, because you're just going to increase your brand and your exposure.
Shane Tenny: 35:03
Yeah, totally. Nithin, I think we were both right, because I think this has been a pretty fun conversation. And I'm just thinking that there might be somebody here who is kind of intrigued a little bit by your story who wants to track you down. They heard me mention the website. Can you give a shout out, what is your website, what is Insta handle if people want to get in touch with you?
Nithin Natwa: 35:21
Yeah. So you can find me on Twitter @NatwaMD, that's N-A-T-W-A MD, and then on Instagram it's FantasyDocs. So that's F-A-N-T-A-S-Y-D-O-C-S.
Shane Tenny: 35:32
Awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today, appreciate your conversation and your company. Thank you for joining us for The Prosperous Doc podcast. If you've got suggestions for guests or topics you'd like us to cover, feel free to email me directly, it's Shane, S-H-A-N-E @WhiteCoatWell.com. By all means, subscribe, we release new episodes every other Monday. You can find us on Google Play and iTunes and on social media channels too. So thanks for being with us. We'll see you back here next time.
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