Viewpoint: Strategies for Success

The Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) has announced Larry Margolis, managing partner at SPM Marketing & Communications in La Grange, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2018 SHSMD Leadership Excellence Award. The award is the highest honor a member can receive from SHSMD. Margolis was selected for this award based on outstanding achievements in the following areas: Innovation in the practice of the strategy disciplines. Enhancement of the profession. Exceptional personal qualities and leadership abilities. Career achievements and progression. Stewardship. In the words of his nominators: “Larry ...
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A week later and I’m still coming down from the high of being at SHSMD Connections 2018 and revisiting all of the wonderful and informative sessions and speakers. Usually, when asked about takeaways from a conference, my answer is around a certain session and how the concepts can be taken back and applied to my own organization, or how networking sparks new ideas based on what our colleagues have been doing. It’s always comforting to hear about others who have some of the same challenges that we do. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of that taking place over the few days of the conference, but the overarching high-level concepts are what resonated with ...
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SHSMD Connections 2018 wrapped up this week in Seattle. It was a four day event (five days if you count the preconference events) that provided the latest information and trends with key takeaways for members to apply in their own organizations and careers. But rather than us telling you all about it, hear it straight from our member and attendees! Reflections on the SHSMD Annual Conference 4 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) Connections Conference Summarizing SHSMD – One Story at a Time Key Takeaways and Memorable Moments from #SHSMD18 Reflecting on SHSMD18 – An Interview with ...
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The health care marketing world is rife with well-engrained processes, vendors and “traditions.”  For years, branding and awareness campaigns were all that was “needed” – we would put up billboards, secure a few solid television spots and plaster ourselves over local radio and print.  However, with the advancement of digital strategies and technologies , marketing funds started to shift from traditional tactics to inbound tactics – search, social and display.  It’s a golden age in health care marketing , with more robust attribution, deeper audience segmentation and top-of-the-line technology.  Yet, as the use of digital marketing continues to grow, ...
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Written with Kathleen Lewton Employee engagement is a critical challenge for today’s health care organizations, with the recognition that employees have significant impact on the organizations’ performance in the areas of: Quality Safety Patient and family experience and satisfaction Productivity, efficiency All of which roll up into a high performing organization. Many “hot” new employee engagement tactics emerge and fade, but few have more long-term impact than an approach that may seem old-fashioned: face-to-face information sharing and dialogue between employees and their supervisor. Data from research on internal communications ...
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It is a question most physicians in private practice face: How are we going to acquire more patients? The best answer is by generating more referrals from physicians in your market. That’s where a solid referral marketing game plan comes into play. Building relationships with potential referring physicians will form the basis of your marketing efforts. If physicians and other health care providers in your area do not know of you, your partners or your ambulatory surgery center (ASC), how will they know you can be a resource for them and their patients? Consider these critical pieces of your referral marketing game plan. Prioritize Your Contact ...
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As health care continues its rapid transformation, a growing number of hospitals are expanding their efforts to improve the health of the communities they serve. How can marketing and public relations practitioners help their organizations make a measurable difference in population health? At Onslow Memorial Hospital (OMH) in North Carolina, Amy Cain-Sousa, senior vice president of public relations/marketing, has found that creating an online community dedicated to wellness can be an effective first step. Initiative Promotes Healthy Weight Loss. Located in a region with a high rate of obesity, the 162-bed hospital has made a commitment to improving ...
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Located in a competitive hospital market, the marketing team at Dayton Children’s Hospital knows that providing an exceptional patient experience and gaining market share starts with having a highly engaged staff. When marketing leadership concluded several years ago that a brand study was needed to reposition the hospital, the study showed that only 78 percent of employees would be extremely likely to recommend Dayton Children’s; and only 84 percent said it was the best pediatric hospital in the area. “We were in a significant competitive situation in which we absolutely needed our employees to recommend us and rate us as the top pediatric hospital ...
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Three out of four hospitals or health systems consider themselves to be in an extremely or very competitive environment. Another 20 percent consider their environment to be somewhat competitive and only 4 percent say that their environment is not at all or not too competitive. (Source: By the Numbers 6th edition. )   Almost half of all hospitals consider merger and acquisition activity in their area to be extremely or very extensive and only 3 percent say that it is not at all extensive. (Source: By the Numbers 6th edition .) In 2017, one in three hospital executives thought it at least somewhat likely that their hospital or health system would ...
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It’s easy to see the summer months as a time to regroup, catch your breath and get set for big push to year-end. But there's no need to slow your pace as the year winds down. The “quieter” summer months are a good time to formulate a plan to keep and/or build momentum with traditional and digital marketing for the remainder of the year and into 2019. Below are easy and low-risk, high-reward ways you can set a plan in motion that will allow you to shine this year and beyond. Pick one impactful thing that you can do before year end and have at it. Options to consider: Reimagine your marketing department as a consultancy. Just like an outside ...
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This is the second in a three-part series of blogs presenting examples from around the country of how health care marketers and communicators are playing an integral role in deploying effective and innovative population health strategies for their organizations. An Ounce of Prevention The World Health Organization challenges us all to take the concepts of health up a notch by focusing not merely on the absence of disease but rather on a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.” We’re all aware that keeping people well and out of the hospital will be an imperative for health care organizations in the future. Of course, we will ...
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By Kriss Barlow and Kathy Dean In today’s health care landscape, it’s never been more important for leaders to closely communicate with physicians and keep them abreast of key hospital and health system priorities. And yet a 2016 Advisory Board Company toolkit called out the fact that over half of physicians report they’re not kept informed of their organization’s strategic plans. 1 Fresh off a recent lively discussion on the topic with the medical staff at University of Iowa (UI) Health Care, here are ten steps you can take to bring focus and best practices to your physician communications. Make sure information is relevant. Don’t ...
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In recent years, marketing has transitioned from one of the least to one of the most technology-driven fields in health care. Why? In part, because savvy marketing leaders recognize that engaging with patients has moved into the digital world. And the statistics back this up: Sixty-four percent of patients use digital devices to manage their health (MobiHealthNews). Sixty-two percent of smartphone owners use their devices to look up information about a medical condition and/or treatment (MDConnect). Ninety percent of patients are willing to share their wearable health device data with their doctor or nurse (Accenture). Forty-eight percent ...
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I sat down with Penny Cowden, executive director of the Columbia Memorial Hospital Foundation, to pick her brain on the synergy possible between marketing and development teams at not-for-profit hospitals. Penny began her career at Weyerhaeuser Company in marketing, communications and business development. She transitioned to health care philanthropy in 1993 and has since held executive positions at major health systems and institutions in Washington, Colorado, Virginia and Arizona. She serves on the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations and Executive’s board of governors and is known as an expert in donor communications. Felicia Struve ...
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The Huggins Hospital Strategic Planning Success Story In 2017, Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, N.H., had a fairly new leadership team and an outdated strategic plan. Given the ever-changing health care environment, the plan needed to be updated to reflect the new landscape. The team realized it would be valuable to bring in an outside partner, so they asked Stratasan to guide them through the process. Huggins had a few goals in mind for the planning process: Diverse input and organization-wide buy-in Creation of a new mission, vision, and values Completion of the entire planning process in six months Stratasan worked closely ...
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In response to consumer demands for simple, affordable service, Jefferson Health—a health system in the Philadelphia region that includes 14 hospitals—is building a value-based care business model through a robust telehealth program entitled JeffConnect that spans the care continuum. (See figure 1). The JeffConnect Solution Using smartphones, tablets, or computers equipped with a webcam, JeffConnect allows physicians to collaborate on care and consumers to see providers without having to go to an office, clinic, or hospital. Via secure online video, patients meet “face-to-face” with providers for a broad range of issues, including minor illnesses ...
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Being a “40 something” marketer, I have spent most of my career without social media in my marketing and advertising thought process and mix. That being said, when people ask me what I think of the Facebook and social media world and using Facebook users’ information, my reply is we, Halifax Health, do it to help people live longer healthier lives. However, is that why people come to us or follow us in their social media feed? I think not. In order to have strong engagement in social media, particularly Facebook, I have a saying I use in the office, “babies, dogs and stories.” Let’s take a look at what that means and the recipe for social media engagement ...
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Representing nearly half of all inpatient orthopedic service line volumes nationally, hip and knee replacement procedures are the cornerstone of hospital-based programs. As healthcare strategy and marketing professionals consider the contribution margin of over $15,000 per case for the commercial patient population, it’s easy to understand why the forecasted shift of over half of these procedures to the outpatient setting over the next decade will leave hospital leaders feeling financially vulnerable, according to Sg2. Payer pressures, consumer price sensitivity, enhanced technologies, and more streamlined care delivery models will contribute to a shift ...
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Marketing communications (Marcom) dollars are like ants; they need to lift 100 times their own weight to be doing their job well. In health care organizations where Marcom budgets are small, there’s often little allocated for measuring the impact of those dollars. If we fail to show the value of our efforts to senior leadership, this can be a slippery slope for those slight Marcom budgets. It’s likely that we’ll see our budgets stagnate, if not shrink. Fortunately, there are free, or low-cost, data sources and tools that you can use to show your executive team an impactful Marcom investment. While it may take a few years of shoe-stringing it, hopefully ...
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Dare to Innovate!

With large, data-driven, consumer-oriented companies such as Google and Amazon planning to enter the health care space, hospitals and health systems must be ready to change and innovate in order to continue to be successful. However, most health care organizations are designed around the convenience of providers rather than patients or consumers. “Amazon, Walgreens, CVS, and others are far superior at understanding customer needs and delivering value than most hospitals and health systems,” said Deborah S. Fullerton, vice president and chief marketing officer at AMITA Health . “This is true also for start-ups that bring a more market-focused approach. ...
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