Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Visit to One of Your Employed Physicians May be the First Exposure Patients will have with Your Hospital. What Kind of “Patient Experience” will They have?

Guest Post by Steve Wilkins
Now that over 50% of physicians are employed by hospitals, this is question that is on the minds of progressive hospital executive teams. With good reason. Patient-reported outcomes, including satisfaction and loyalty, are going to play an increasing role in determining how much hospitals and physicians are paid. This means that astute hospital marketers will be able to build a strong business case for investing in programs aimed at creating superlative ambulatory and inpatient experiences for patients.

But Our Physicians Already Have High Patient Satisfaction And Loyalty Scores 

Health care executives should take little comfort in the high patient satisfaction and loyalty ratings found uniformly with just about every physician. Generally speaking, “one can assume that the quality of care is, actually, worse than surveys of patient satisfaction (suggest)”according to Avedis Donabedian, MD, the father of today’s quality movement. Donabedian goes on to say that “patients are, in fact, overly patient; they put up with unnecessary discomforts and grant their doctors the benefit of every doubt, until deficiencies in care are too manifest to be overlooked. “

Just look at the quality of physician-patient communication, a key ingredient of the “patient experience” in the physician’s office.

  • In only 26% of the visits are patients allowed to complete their opening statement (agenda) without interruption (by the doctor); in 37% the physicians interrupted; and in 37% physician never asked about the patient’s visit agenda.
  • Studies suggest that patients do not express their health concerns, expectations or opinions in up to 75 percent of physician visits principally because their doctor never asked.
  • Primary care physicians typically spend less than 60 seconds informing patients how to take new medications…or why.
  • Primary care physicians and patient disagree about the diagnosis, treatment, and cause/severity of their condition over 50% of the time.
  • Over 50% of patients walk out of their doctor’s office not understanding what they were told, including why or how to take their medications.

For their part, patients today are hard pressed to rate the effectiveness of their relationship with their doctor. The evidence conclusively shows that poor physician-patient communications is the norm rather than the exception. As such, most patients do not appreciate all the ways in which their doctor could in fact do a better job communicating with them.

Why Is Any Of This Important? 

Simple. In the near future, your hospital and physicians will be paid according to things like how well they communicate with patients. More importantly, high quality physician-patient communications is highly correlated to improved outcomes, fewer hospital re-admits, fewer medical errors, improved patient compliance and increased patient satisfaction and loyalty.

So if you marketing team is looking for a simple and effective position strategy, consider improving the way your physicians and patients talk to each other. This strategy is so simple no one else in your market will be able to figure out what you are doing. But that’s OK…because your patients will sure see the know!

Steve Wilkins, MPH is the author of Mind the Gap.  His posts appear regularly on Better Health Network,  and the Wall Street Journal Online Edition.   Mr. Wilkins, and his company Smart Health Messaging, focus on developing evidence-based solutions for improving the quality of communications between physicians and patients…and in so doing, improve safety and outcomes, increase adherence and satisfaction and reduce

I do solemnly (and publicly) declare . . .

by Allison Sherwat, social media marketer

A recent New York Times article describes a well-tried technique that is being applied in a new venue: thousands of individuals are posting New Year’s resolution videos to social media sites, and in some cases engaging in online programs that will monetarily reward (or punish) the declarer for reaching (or not) her goals. Importantly, most social networking sites make it easy to tell your friends about your ambitions. According to the article, economists say people who make resolutions public are far more likely to fulfill them.

I wonder how health systems could leverage this public declaration of intent to achieve strategic goals. Not only would this provide incentive for the provider to achieve the goal, but it would serve as a tool of engagement with consumers who would want to track your progress. For those organizations struggling to get meaningful engagement from their consumers through social media efforts, this might be just the ticket.

What goal or target could your organization share with the market? The potential for consumers to reward your achievement is great.

Click here to read the New York Times’ article.

Allison Sherwat has a passion for innovative marketing, business and new media strategies that help organizations grow and better serve customers. 

Social Media: Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

by Kari Foster, social media marketer

When I tell people that I help healthcare organizations establish their Facebook and social media presence, the responses vary from “Cool!” to “I don’t have a Facebook account and don’t intend to get one.” You can likely imagine the age of those commenting, but not all of them fall within the likely stereotypes. In fact, we recently posted an article on this blog about the shrinking gap between older adults and millennials when it comes to online activity.

The commonality I find among naysayers, however, is that almost all are considering only the “Mr. Hyde” Facebook fan page. They’ve experienced the sites of the helplessly-narcissistic or recklessly-eager-to-share. Call me Ms. Glass Half Full, but what about the Dr. Jekyll’s out there?

Can we dismiss out of hand the successes of Mayo Clinic or Children’s Hospital Boston in the social media sphere? What about open source Web apps like Google Person Finder , developed by thousands of volunteers in search of a way to help after Katrina and then again after the Haiti earthquake? These apps combined missing persons’ data from sites all around the Web into a single, free place for that information to be gathered and shared.

Gathered and shared – isn’t that what we’re trying to do? When we create a place where patients, families and providers, alike, come together to find information, connect with services, share experiences and offer support to one another, we also create a community that identifies with and grows more loyal to our brand.

Today’s marketers must go where their customers congregate. Avoiding social technologies because we fear what someone ‘might’ say puts us further out of touch. Any tool works best when used correctly. After all, we didn’t stop using telephones because we grew tired of kids calling the house and asking if we had Prince Edward in a can, did we?

Embrace social technologies. Develop your strategy. Put in place solid policies and take the time to educate staff and physicians on appropriate use. Your customers will thank you.

Kari Foster helps healthcare organizations and providers create and manage social media marketing activities. Follow her on Twitter @kskipperfoster.

Make Marketing Performance Measurement a Priority in 2011

No doubt about it – strategic growth and improved financial performance are top priorities for health systems and hospitals in 2011, putting increased pressure on marketing leaders to deliver effective returns on marketing investment.

Where to start? Begin by establishing and gaining agreement on performance targets and metrics, and putting in place the mechanisms to track and report on progress against goals.

Marketing performance measurement and management (MPM) is the process of analysis and improvement of the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of marketing investments and activities. This is accomplished through alignment of marketing activities, strategies, and metrics with business objectives.

A marketing performance measurement framework can be a useful tool for developing those measures and metrics most relevant to an organization’s strategic growth goals.  Three categories of measures are often considered:

  • Enterprise growth: measurement of overall performance against business outcomes, growth goals and competitive sustainability; e.g., revenue growth, profitability, market position, brand leverage, etc.
  • Marketing strategy: measurement of return on marketing investment (ROMI) from core marketing strategies and processes; e.g., high-impact segmentation strategies, service line development, market expansion, portfolio diversification, retail innovations, clinical partnerships, etc.
  • Marketing activities: comparative measurement of effectiveness, efficiency and outcomes of specific marketing and sales tactics or programs; e.g., direct mail campaigns, web traffic, risk screening events, physician sales,

Some marketers use a marketing performance dashboard to monitor, manage and report results.  Marketing measurement systems can also be designed to report at health system, regional, facility and service line levels.

So what are the critical success factors for marketing performance management?

  • Making marketing performance measures, monitoring and reporting systems a priority
  • Targets and metrics aligned to strategic planning, business development and operations priorities
  • Decision support systems with timely access to performance data
  • Cross functional collaboration to set and agree on targets and metrics
  • Cross functional accountability for outcomes
  • Regular reporting intervals to review progress against goals
  • Timely adjustments to strategy and/or course corrections

A high-performance marketing operation requires outcomes accountability for marketing activities and expenditures.  A marketing management measurement and reporting system can be a powerful tool for building support and helping health leaders better understand the inter-dependency of strategy, operations and marketing in achieving growth and marketing goals.

What have been your successes and challenges in marketing performance measurement?

High Performing Hospitals Don’t Leave Patient Experience to Chance

Last week, I posted a story about a hospital where parking attendants from an outsourced management company were less than sympathetic to a visitor who had spent the night by the bedside of her best friend’s dying child. The incident underscored for me the importance of alignment and accountability across an organization – including independent contractors and vendors – to deliver on brand experience and customer service expectations.

Brand experience is not created by accident. Well, at least great brand experience is not. Establishing and communicating brand service standards clarifies for employees – and contractors – the specific actions and behaviors that are expected of them in delivering great customer service and generating customer loyalty. High performing organizations define and frequently communicate the standards of excellence required to create experiences that are meaningful and valued by patients and their families – and lead to achievement of the health system’s business objectives.

Kristi Peterson is a consultant (and long-time colleague) that has helped hundreds of organizations address organizational alignment to service standards. She left this comment on last week’s post – I wanted to share her advice for building accountability into your contracts with outsourced service providers. Writes Kristi:

“A poignant story that makes a very important point. It also hinges on a major concern of mine, thus an editorial comment first. We get so caught up in collecting patient satisfaction data (and feeding on percentile results) that the voice of the customer isn’t heard. The numbers do the talking. The relative impact of contracted service providers on the experience is overlooked. It is challenging to capture meaningful feedback on some of these services (such as the one featured). The last thing that’s needed is another survey to monitor the performance. Who experiences the customer’s frustration, disgust and dismay? Employees. It’s important to collect their ideas.

In terms of holding contract service providers accountable for contributing to the patient/customer experience – build into your contracts/reviews the expectations that they will:

  1. Regularly capture feedback from front-line employees (e.g., “What procedures/policies create confusion, inconvenience, dissatisfaction for customers?”) and internal departments/stakeholders (as appropriate);
  2. Reinforce employee communication/service skills through training/coaching;
  3. Adopt and hold their employees accountable for your service standards;
  4. Report at least quarterly one service improvement they have instituted; and that
  5. Executive/manager representatives of contract service firm will regularly visit to watch, listen to, touch and smell your customers. That’s the only way they can get a taste…correction, if they mystery-shopped their own services, they would get a better taste of what the service experience is really like, for customers and employees alike!

We should all spend time being underground bosses.”

Amen, Kristi.

Kristi Peterson consults on customer experience, patient satisfaction and leadership effectiveness. She was a pioneer in the movement to raise customer service standards in hospitals and establish the link between patient satisfaction and employee engagement.  You can contact Kristi at

PR One of Fastest Growing Professions; Especially for the Social Media Savvy

Good news for PR professionals. Employment is expected to increase 24 percent by 2018, making P.R. one of the fastest-growing professions. Those with knowledge of business, strategic communications, research, finance and, most important, how to use technology — especially social media — will have an edge.

Read more at the New York Times.

“Social” Medicine

Facebook is everywhere. It was the top-visited website of the year for the first time in 2010; Google came in second. Technology companies are integrating Facebook into their gadgets, pre-installing FB as a core function in such items as mobile phones, iPads, e-readers, TVs, cameras, and video game consoles. This dramatically expands the reach of the social networking site beyond the computer to all portable electronic devices making Facebook nearly ubiquitous.

So what does this mean for marketers? We know that Facebook has more than 600 million monthly active users, of whom more than 230 million access the site on mobile devices. We also know that consumer technology manufacturers are trying to build a social experience around their products. Meanwhile, 40% of online consumers use social media for health information!

However, hospitals and other health care delivery settings are not in the consumer product business. But they do provide services to help people get and stay well. So, the challenge is to take the natural human inclination to share information and experiences, and make it easier to build that around the health community. It can be as simple as posting job openings on Facebook, to inviting fans to watch together a broadcast on weight loss surgery.

So, while some health professionals are reluctant to join the conversation, Facebook will continue to proliferate as a means of communication, with health care consumers searching for emotional and informational support. What could be better than providing that support for your local online community?

Susan Lilly consumes vast amounts of health industry data so you don’t have to. She has worked in the healthcare field for 20 years – in both private and public sectors – and focuses on telling the story inspired by research findings to help health care clients grow and thrive.

Hospitals Must Hold Private Contractors Accountable for Delivering on Patient Experience

Just before the holidays, a colleague received word that her best friend’s two-year old daughter had been found unresponsive in her crib. She was revived and rushed to the hospital with life-saving measures underway. But the news was not good. The child had gone without oxygen for too long.

My friend, Chris, dropped everything to get to her best friend’s side. She sat in the hospital with the anguished parents for the next 24 hours, watching an endless parade of doctors and nurses running tests, conducting evaluations, trying to comfort the hopeful mother and father. Sadly, the little girl died.

I can’t begin to imagine the depth of grief that the parents and four-year old brother of this young girl are experiencing; just seeing the raw pain etched in Chris’ face brought me to tears as well.

The doctors and nurses in our hospitals are cast in these real life dramas every day. And, occasionally, despite their most heroic efforts, some patients don’t survive. But the intensity of their clinical efforts combined with caring and compassion, are essential to healing the wounded hearts of the families and friends left behind.

A child’s death is not the ‘patient experience’ we want to address in our brand and patient satisfaction discussions, but it was nonetheless the ‘experience’ that this family endured. They will remember the kindness of the staff.

When Chris reluctantly left her friends’ side to return home to her own family, she walked to the hospital parking garage (which is run by an outsourced contractor) to retrieve her car only to learn from the attendant that “this lot closed at 6 pm.”

“Can I just get my keys?” asked Chris. “I need to go home.”

Learning that the keys were sent elsewhere at 6 pm, she treks in the frigid evening air to another building on an unfamiliar campus to retrieve keys from another attendant that began to lecture her about the rules and regulations of the parking garage.

“Can you cut me a break?” she pleaded, “I’ve been with a dying child.” Then she got her keys, walked back to the garage, and drove home to hug her own kids.

The moral of the story? Everyone, from the highly specialized doctor to the parking attendant, creates experiences that live in our customers’ memories. When a parking attendant is inconvenienced rather than sensitive to the harried, worried, hurried, sad or pained needs that characterize families and visitors of the hospitalized, he or she tarnishes your brand. Outsourced operators that touch patients and visitors need to be held to the same expectations of customer care, concern and service.

Trying to Remember Your Child’s Medical History Specifics? There’s an App for That!

by Kari Foster – social marketer

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has launched East TN Kids, a new app that allows you to save vital health information about your child in one, easy to find place: your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. This free app allows parents to save data on everything from insurance and emergency contact numbers to immunizations and surgeries. It also provides hospital directions, doctor contact info, and general medical information for easy reference.

The app can be password protected, and once the information is loaded, it can be shared with other devices via Bluetooth connection. It stands to reason that as more physicians begin to carry iPads, sharing all this data can be done even more quickly.

With today’s on-the-go families, it’s more important than ever to have easy access to your child’s medical history data, especially in an emergency. The East Tennessee Children’s Hospital website,, includes a step-by-step tutorial to make set-up a snap. Even if you don’t live in the region, the East TN Kids app could be a useful tool, and perhaps you can let your child’s doctor know “There’s an app for that!”

Kari Foster helps healthcare organizations and providers create and manage social media marketing activities. Follow her on Twitter @kskipperfoster. 

Waving Goodbye to 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to turn our attention to the future and focus on emerging trends, issues and opportunities facing healthcare marketers in the year ahead. But before we do, please indulge our brief stroll down Memory Lane to reflect on these 10 key posts from 2010.

The Gap Between Older Adults and Millennials is Shrinking When it Comes to Key On-line Activities 

Ever hear a healthcare executive say “our patients are older and don’t use the Internet”? No doubt there are generational differences in on-line activities; however, the gap between how younger and older generations use the Internet is shrinking in a number key areas according to Pew Research Center’s Generations 2010.

Read more; download the report . . .

Five Things Healthcare Marketers Should Break Free From in 2011 
by Priya Ramesh of CRT/tanaka 

Last Monday, I had the opportunity to talk social media trends and what’s next with Chief Marketing Officers in the healthcare space at the Innovator’s Studio in Chicago. As part of the discussion, we were asked to break into two groups and identify a few traditional tactics that the CMO’s in the room would commit to get rid of in 2011. Let me just say the experience was very eye-opening. I strongly recommend this exercise with your team at the end of each fiscal year to sit as a group and identify where you can cut expenses and re-invest that money/resources into other more efficient ways of doing things. So here’s a list of five things that a group of highly experienced, smart healthcare marketing leaders decided to move away from in 2011 that might get YOU thinking:

Read more . . .

Putting Market Share in Perspective 
a point of view from Chris Bevolo

For many hospital marketers and their CEOs, market share is the ultimate measure of marketing success. In the “2010 State of the Art” survey highlighted in the last issue of Healthcare Strategy Alert, respondents listed the top area of marketing focus as “increase market share.” When asked to rate “measures of success” however, respondents listed market share third, behind awareness/preference and patient volume, a drop from its first place position in 2005. But this actually may not be a bad thing.

Read more . . . 

Customer Relationship Management – What are You Waiting For? (Parts One and Two)
by guest blogger Les Stern

Sophisticated customer relationship management systems for healthcare organizations have been around for almost 15 years. Yet only 15% or so of healthcare providers are using them.  Before we understand the benefits of CRM, let’s agree on what the three key components of a CRM program for healthcare organizations.

Read more (part one) . . .
Read more (part two) . . .

Thinking Retail . . . 

Once upon a time, I used to call my doctor’s office to make an appointment for the annual flu shot. It was always scheduled at a time more convenient for the office staff than for me (“We do shots between 10 am and 2 pm, but we’re closed from 12 to 1 for lunch.”) and even then, a 25 to 45 minute wait wasn’t unusual.

Read more . . . 

Three Factors Motivate Performance – Money Isn’t One of Them 
Marketers have long known that price is rarely the true motivator for consumers; when it comes to motivating employees, the same principle holds

Last Fall, I heard author Dan Pink speak on the science of motivation at TEDxNASA and was delighted to run across a You Tube posting of the talk. From his study of the scientific literature on motivation, Dan outlines the myths and perils of extrinsic motivators (such as money), and describes the three key elements of truly effective motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. A key finding from the MIT study described in this piece is that, while financial rewards tend to motivate people doing ‘mechanical’ tasks, it has the opposite effect on workers using ‘cognitive’ skills.

Read more . . .

What is Your Approach to Marketing Leadership? Parts 1 and 2

Part One:
Marketing departments emerged in health care organizations in the early 1980s when prospective payment methodologies made it evident that certain clinical programs were more profitable than others. Hospitals began to compete for patients for those services and procedures that produced better financial outcomes. Many of these early marketing programs were administered by existing public relations or community relations functions, and had a strong communications focus. Over the next two decades, marketing practices matured to include other aspects of the discipline such as research, sales and referral development, segmentation, product development and brand building.

Today, marketing management systems differ significantly across health care organizations. Some are expansive, core business functions with strong growth accountabilities aligned to strategic planning, business development, clinical operations and financial management initiatives. ROI expectations center on overall growth, profitability, brand equity and creation of sustainable competitive advantage.

Read more . . .

Part 2:
Marketing orientations differ across hospitals and health systems for a variety of reasons – culture, philosophy, strategy, even knowledge or understanding of the marketing discipline. One approach is not necessarily “right” where another is “wrong” – what is important to understand is that each path requires a specific configuration of core competencies, staff capabilities, processes and investments aligned to organizational vision, strategy and business objectives in order to produce results. Misalignment occurs when management wants to achieve significant improvements in strategic growth, for example, but has a production-oriented marketing operation. Which of the following best describes your organization’s approach to marketing management?

Read more . . .

Patient Experience Starts with the Hiring Process 

It’s 6:45 am on a Sunday morning and I’m sitting in an airport waiting on a Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. The flight is running a little late, and bleary-eyed passengers bemoan the extra half hour of sleep they could have had. Meanwhile the Southwest gate agents, who look much too rested and energized for such an early hour, begin the lighthearted banter for which they are known. Pretty soon, the delayed passengers are laughing at their goofy repartee of corny jests and bad-rhythm rap. Once on board, the pilot apologized for the delay and joked that he’d just had a low-carb, high energy drink to help get us there in record time

Read more . . .

President Signs Health Care Reform Act; Now What?

This week, President Obama signed into law the most significant social legislation since the 1960s. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) extends health insurance coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans ― at a cost of $940 billion over the next decade. The legislation ensures that by 2014, nearly all Americans will be required to be insured, and by 2016, the majority of the uninsured (30 million people) will be covered.To do this, the legislation expands Medicaid to cover families making as much as $88K a year. It also creates state-supervised exchanges to expand coverage access to individuals and small businesses. Other goals of the legislation are to improve affordability and accountability, crack down on waste, fraud and abuse, and ensure fiscal sustainability. What Didn’t Get Passed?
Read more . . .

Marketers Must Lead Health Systems in Embracing New Media
By John Marzano, VP External Affairs, Orlando Health 

Orlando Health took the better part of a year in developing a strategy to participate in the social/digital environment. In November 2009, with full support of organization leadership we launched our plan with both a Facebook ( and You Tube page ( To date, we have acquired more than 3,800 fans to our page and have over 4,000 views on You Tube for a special heart month video called ‘move it’ as well as other videos featuring tours of our facilities and physician expertise. Overall, we looked at some best practices (Mayo Clinic, University of Maryland Medical System) and took a measured approach while setting very realistic parameters, guidelines for use, and expectations as part of a new communications platform that addressed the mix of traditional and digital forms of communication to engage our target audiences. In addition, we seamlessly moved two FTEs into roles that support this strategy and help us stay current with the technology.

Read more . . .

Many, many thanks to our colleagues, readers, contributors and friends for your participation and support this past year.  Happy New Year to you – may 2011 bring you much joy and success.

Karen Corrigan

The Gap Between Older Adults and Millennials is Shrinking When it Comes to Key On-line Activities

Ever hear a healthcare executive say “our patients are older and don’t use the Internet”?  No doubt there are generational differences in on-line activities; however, the gap between how younger and older generations use the Internet is shrinking in a number key areas according to Pew Research Center’s Generations 2010.
A few key take-aways:
  • Millennials (those ages 18 – 33) are more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone, and still surpass their elders online when it comes to use of social networking sites, instant messaging and online classifieds.
  • Internet users in Gen X (ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to visit government websites and get financial information online.
  • While the youngest generations are more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.
  • The biggest online trend: certain key internet activities are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These include email, search engine use, seeking health information, getting news, buying products and on-line banking, among others.

Additionally, searching for health information, an activity that was once the primary domain of older adults, is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users 18 and older.

As for those older adults that “don’t use the internet”?

  • Nearly 80% of boomers are on-line
  • Over half – 58% – of adults 65 – 73 are logging on
  • And nearly 1 in 3 of people aged 74 and older are cyber-surfing

Click here to download a copy of the report.

Upcoming Conferences Offer Essential Topics for Healthcare Marketers

As difficult as it is to carve out time on already overbooked calendars, keeping abreast of rapidly changing market forces, industry trends and strategy innovations is critical for chief marketing officers charged with growing business and improving competitive performance of health systems and businesses.  Here are a few upcoming meetings where CMOs will be gathering to share, learn and network with colleagues:

The 3rd Annual Health 3.0 Conference: The Next Online Generation
January 25-27, 2011; Orlando, Florida

This conference will explore the newest outlets for social media and mobile applications that have the ability to revolutionize the way health plans handle information exchange for member engagement and ease of use for better health outcomes. Health 3.0 features strategic sessions focused on wellness management and product development, in which industry leaders, C-Level plan executives and senior directors, analyze the future of the next online generation. I’ll be facilitating a workshop on the Innovation Process: Steps and Tips to Build Innovation Into Your 3.0 Offering

Click here to view the agenda.

Physician Strategies Summit
February 27 – March 1, 2011; Phoenix, Arizona

The passage of health reform, with its focus on accountable care, care coordination, and value, commands hospital/physician alignment as never before. This conference will arm healthcare executives with the information, insights and peer contacts to develop innovative, successful approaches to bring hospitals and doctors together in new delivery models.  A knowledgeable faculty with practical, in-depth experience in the development, implementation, and operation of sound physician strategies will share case studies and lead thought-provoking general sessions.  I’m pleased to be presenting with Carol Via Flynn, corporate director of marketing and communications for Sentara Healthcare, and Susan Milford, senior vice president for strategic marketing and planning for Centegra Healthcare, on the topic ofMarketing the Employed Physician Enterprise.

Click here to download the conference brochure.

Healthcare Marketing and PR Social Media Summit
March 14 – 15, 2011; Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida

The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and Ragan Communications have partnered to bring healthcare marketers and PR professionals the hottest social media case studies.  Top social media experts and insiders from Mayo’s Center for Social Media will show you how to measure your social media efforts, build a social media plan, transform your communications strategy with mobile health applications, and more. Last year’s session sold out.  Click here to learn more.

Mark your calendars also for the following. I’ll post more information as it becomes available.

Sixteenth National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit
March 27 – 29, 2011; Orlando, Florida

SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) CONNECTIONS 2011
September 14 – 17, 2011; Phoenix, Arizona

Can iPad Improve Physician Sales and Referral Development Activities?

by Susan Lilly – consultant, researcher, and a bit of a contrarian
Those genius marketers at Apple have channeled the enthusiasm behind their consumer products into a business application — this time, in health care.  According to the Wall Street Journal, physicians love their iPads, while medical device and pharma companies are using them as sales tools.  These medical companies are buying iPads by the thousands and giving them to their sales and marketing teams. Why? Physicians prefer iPads’ portability, and sales reps can quickly and engagingly present their products.  No more shuffling through papers, or waiting to boot up the laptop.
Which makes me wonder:  are health system sales and referral development professionals embracing iPad as a new sales aid?  How could the iPad enhance your sales encounters with physicians?
Susan Lilly consumes vast amounts of health industry data so you don’t have to.  She has worked in the field for 20 years, in both the private and public sectors – and focuses on telling the story inspired by research findings to help health care clients grow and thrive.

AHA Fellowship Aims to Prepare Health System Executives to Lead Under Reform

The American Hospital Association is seeking applications from C-suite executives and senior vice presidents or vice presidents from the disciplines of strategy, physician relations/medical leadership, finance, or operations for the AHA Health Care System Reform Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month, highly interactive learning experience designed to give healthcare leaders the tools and skills necessary to design, lead, and manage emerging care delivery and payment models, such as medical homes, bundled payment arrangements, and accountable care organizations. to learn more and download an application form.

Patients Share Intimate Joys and Sorrows on Facebook

by Allison Sherwat – marketing consultant, social media advocate, and mom

The nay-sayers may argue that the proliferation of social media communication has distanced us from making true connections with others. However, this intimate story in today’s Washington Post demonstrates that nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, Facebook can enable patients, providers, family and friends to connect with each other even during the most vulnerable of times. If patients are relying on this medium to connect, wouldn’t it be wise for caregivers to show up as well?

Click here to read the story:  But grab the kleenex first.

26 Tips for Pumping Up Your Facebook Page

New Facebook pages for hospitals, physicians and other healthcare businesses are popping up like crazy.  Whether you’re just getting started or are actively growing your Facebook community, having a strategy and content plan are critical aspects of success. Social Media Examiner offers 26 great tips for marketers, social media managers, business owners and others charged with building a social presence using Facebook.

A key take-away is that content strategy is, well, key.  Everything from company news to facts and statistics to contests to events schedules and helpful hints can keep you busy posting; but making sure the information is relevant to your community, having a little fun, asking your audience for advice and other conversational methods will keep your fan base engaged.

Be sure to share this link with any of your staff and colleagues that are building, managing, posting and conversing on your Facebook page: 26 Tips for Enhancing Your Facebook Fan Page – and let me know if you see a jump in traffic and deeper engagement.

What other strategies have you found to be successful in building and engaging fans?

Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) Issues Call for Speakers for 2011 Conference

Have a great marketing, planning or communications success story to share??   The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) is looking for speakers for the organization’s annual conference to be held February 14-17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  If you have innovative strategies, cutting-edge ideas, new concepts or practical tips to help health systems improve competitive performance, submit a speaker’s proposal on-line.  Just follow this link:  SHSMD Connections 2011 Call for Speakers.

The deadline for submission is January 14, 2011.

Doing the Safety Hustle at Carondelet Health

Forget those boring safety brochures (who reads them, anyway). Carondelet Health rounded up the team to do the Safety Hustle.

Guest blogger Brian Walker of SRK Discusses the “Strategic Halo” of Integrated Service Line Strategies

“Strategic Halo” What is it? Why Should You Care? Part 1 of 3

By Brian Walker, Senior VP, SRK

You may have seen the “Strategic Halo” featured in a recent HealthLeaders post as an innovative strategy of breaking down existing product line silos and truly understanding the interdependence of your products and services, physician impact and patients ongoing pattern of care. “Halo” implications have a broad strategic value from marketing and planning to finance and physician staffing as well as customer satisfaction and loyalty. Now it seems to also be emerging as one possible strategy on the road to an ACO.

Historically, too many healthcare organizations have looked at their product lines as stand alone entities: “Our CV business is worth $X million and we see X# of patients each year with a primary clinical focus on Y” What the “Strategic Halo” (created by SRK) suggests is to look more broadly to better understand the upstream (where your existing patients are coming from within your organization) and downstream (where your patients go) journeys and the total feeder impact across product lines.

Looking beyond the simple transaction or vertical experience is something other industries have done successfully, however healthcare has been slower to adapt. “Halo” thinking can now arm your organization with similar data insight to make informed business decisions. By following your patients over time you best understand their behavior, financial value, experience and overall continuum of care.

From a CMO perspective, this approach has been extremely valuable in helping improve segmentation and targeting, focusing cross-sell and loyalty tactics, better measuring marketing activity and ultimately driving more revenue.

Interested in learning more?

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, SRK will host an educational webcast on: “Product Line Integration” focusing on the  marketing and ACO implications of the “Strategic Halo.”  I’ll be joined by Karen Corrigan on the session.  Registration is free; but space is limited.  You can click here to register.

In the coming weeks, I’ll post more on the topic.

  • Part 2 of the “Strategic Halo” will showcase actual hospital data and how this strategy is helping executives make more informed business decisions for their healthcare organization.
  • Part 3 of the “Strategic Halo” will discuss both the short-term and long-term implications of this strategy
Brian Walker is a senior vice president with SRK, a national healthcare marketing and strategy company based in Chicago, Illinois.  Brain can be reach at 312.335.2788  Follow him on Twitter @catalyst4growth.

HHS Introduces Healthy People 2020

Yesterday, HHS released Healthy People 2020, an ambitious10-year agenda for improving the nation’s health. Healthy People 2020 is the result of a multiyear process that reflects input from a diverse group of individuals and organizations. Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans.

The initiative’s overarching goals are to:

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.

Click here to download a copy of the Healthy People 2020 brochure.  You can also learn more and download additional resources