Viewpoint: Strategies for Success

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As the health care field increasingly focuses on population health, hospital and health system marketers need to learn how to use their promotional skills in new ways to help their organizations achieve the objectives of this model of care. “For many marketing professionals this requires a different way of thinking,” said Amy Stevens, vice president of marketing and communications at Tidelands Health. “Typically our efforts have concentrated on either increasing brand awareness or driving profitable business into our key service lines. Using our talents and the tools of marketing to support population health requires something of a behavior change.” ...
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The much-maligned focus group has undergone a facelift. Newer iterations of the focus group include the online focus group and the asynchronous, bulletin board-style focus group. (More about asynchronous focus groups later in this post.) Both methodologies use online platforms to access participant insights. Online focus groups typically use a web conferencing tool like GoToWebinar or WebEx, allowing hospitals or health systems to recruit focus group participants from far and wide to participate from the convenience of their home or office. This is a particularly attractive option for rural health systems with large service areas. It is also a more cost-effective ...
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Years from now we may look back on March 29, 2018 as the day that changed health care in America. Apple launched its iOS 11.3 update for iPhone, which includes the beta release of the new Health Records feature. It resides within Apple’s pre-existing Health app. Health Records allows consumers to see medical records from multiple providers on their iPhone, providing secure, portable, and convenient access. How convenient? Accessing your medical records will be as easy as opening an e-mail and newly created health records are automatically pushed to your iPhone. As Apple noted when it announced Health Records in January: Now, consumers will ...
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When it comes to driving revenue growth for hospitals and health systems, marketing leaders face some unique challenges: How to identify and target consumers who are most likely to use the organization’s services; how to determine what tactics will work best, and what budget allocations will provide the greatest return on investment (ROI); and how to effectively measure and communicate marketing performance. In today’s health care landscape, it’s critical for marketing departments to be able to demonstrate they are not merely “a cost of doing business” but rather an asset that can contribute to the organizational bottom line. But how? John Berg, ...
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Making The Ask

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Professional development tip: If you want something, ask for it It’s a simple concept, but I often reflect on the importance of asking for what you want in life, including what you hope to get from your career. This is something I’ve seen people ignore far too frequently, and I’ve witnessed those same individuals grow frustrated when others—colleagues, bosses and others—fail to read their minds. I was reminded of this while on a recent business trip where my flight was cancelled and I faced the daunting prospect of spending five hours in a relatively small and boring airport. As frequent business travelers know, that’s never a fun prospect ...
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As patients become more responsible health care consumers, they are increasingly willing to seek alternatives to their current providers. For hospital and health system strategists, the first step to preventing patient switching is to understand what is causing them to shop around for health care. “Traditionally, our answer to retaining patients has been to become very adept at looking inward—creating patient satisfaction initiatives based on surveys that measure patient experience during and after a care episode with us,” says Kevin Stanberg, director of strategy and patient experience at Memorial Medical Center in Wisconsin. “What we’re not so good ...
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Become a Storyteller!

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A well told story can be a powerful marketing tool, especially in healthcare. One patient’s experience can impact a prospective patient’s thinking, actions, and behaviors—enabling them to explore potential healthcare decisions through a highly personal lens. Dynamic Care Make Personal In 2015, the marketing team at El Camino Hospital in California began collaborating with advertising agency Laughlin Constable to take stock of market share trends, competitive threats, and more. Stakeholder interviews and a structured visioning session produced a strategic communications blueprint for the hospital. An organizing concept—Dynamic Care Made Personal—became ...
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The news of the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase new joint venture shook markets and minds throughout the health care sector. We contacted several of SHSMD’s thought leaders and collaborators for their ideas on the implications and how they responded or intend to respond. Several commented that the health care sector has been anticipating some kind of disruption from one or more of the biggest technology companies (especially Amazon, Apple, and/or Google) for some time. Alan Shoebridge, executive director of marketing and communication at Providence St. Joseph Health, and SHSMD board member, noted, “The three CEOs [of the companies] have all ...
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Futurescan 2018-2023: Healthcare Trends and Implications brings together an impressive lineup of guest authors who provide wide-ranging insights on the important issues facing hospital and health system leaders over the next five years. In particular, this year’s Futurescan provides important evidence of progress regarding healthcare’s long road toward value. Reform Mike Leavitt, former governor of Utah and former secretary of the US Department of Health & Human Services, draws on his vast experience to put the long-term future of healthcare payment reform in perspective. He urges providers to move beyond the current political and ...
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Ask the executive team at any of the 5,200 hospitals spread across the United States and they’ll likely tell you that local demographics, competition, and payer mix make them “different from the rest.” Although differences abound, all are seeing troubling reimbursement trends, all must find ways to respond to an increasingly demanding consumer, and all are looking to develop a revenue growth strategy for long-term sustainability. Such were the challenges facing St. Luke’s Hospital in Missouri. For more than 150 years, the hospital has been serving the greater St. Louis area. But the marketplace was changing in dramatic ways: Across the nation, ...
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Data analytics in healthcare is becoming more of an everyday occurrence. The idea of data being a natural resource for health systems can allow for better decisions to be made in both clinical and operations based situations. Data analytics helps to focus on real life examples of success stories being forefront in system decision making. On the clinical side, data analytics helps clinical staff treat high risk patients in and out of the health system. With regards to operations, the business benefits observed showcase how data analytics help to benefit financial tracking. Overview Mount Nittany Health, based in State College, PA is the parent ...
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What skills do strategists need to be successful in today’s rapidly changing healthcare landscape? What behavioral attributes are critical to career advancement? To answer these questions and more, SHSMD invited a strategist turned CEO to share his insights. “It’s no secret that effective leaders are often good communicators—able to motivate, encourage, and inspire others,” says David Brooks, president of St. Joseph Ann Arbor and Livingston Hospitals . “But that’s not all. Great leaders are also adept at listening, learning, analyzing, adapting, pivoting, problem-solving, teaching, and training.” With over 30 years of experience in healthcare ...
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As business strategists, whether in healthcare or another field, we’re always seeking more high-quality input from our team. To do that, we need to find ways to increase collaboration and reduce cognitive biases. Cognitive biases are subconscious mental shortcuts we use in problem-solving that limit our thinking in ways we don’t realize. These mental shortcuts result in less creative thinking and can make conversations less productive. And once we have actually come up with ideas for addressing our challenge, we then have to sort out the best ideas and to refine the ones that have promise but aren’t quite there yet. The same cognitive biases can get in ...
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In today’s environment of limited hospital resources, it’s critical to make meaningful and cost-effective connections with those we serve. Although budgets may be tight, one thing many hospitals have in abundance is employees. Leveraging Employees and their Community Relationships In 2016, as part of the planning and budgeting process, the community relations team at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago began to consider how to enhance community engagement and build deeper relationships by partnering with employees who were involved in local schools, faith groups, cultural associations or neighborhood organizations. “We realized we had an untapped resource, ...
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In 2014, the iconic Betty Ford Center merged with addiction treatment pioneer Hazelden to create the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, forming the nation's largest nonprofit addiction rehab and recovery resources provider. If ever there were a "meant to be together" story, the merger of Hazelden and the Betty Ford Center fit the narrative: Our respective missions, visions and values were already closely aligned and our leaders had long enjoyed a friendly and collaborative working relationship. Still, merging the assets and attributes of two beloved yet distinct legacy brands held challenges. Both the Betty Ford Center and Hazelden brought loyal, long-term constituencies ...
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You Are What You Post!

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When consumers visit your Facebook page or website, is what they see and read representative of the experience they have in your hospital or clinic? Marketers and communicators understand the importance of creating engaging online content and using the tools of social media to promote service lines and enhance brand awareness. But the day-to-day challenge of achieving those objectives can be daunting. The pressure to post frequently can sometimes overwhelm the need to ensure that the content is high quality, on brand, and focused on the key performance indicators that your leadership team is using to evaluate success. Here are tips for making digital ...
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Smart devices are everywhere these days. As soon as we were able to put computers in our bags and our pockets, they quickly began to permeate every aspect of our lives. While many find this annoying, there have been proven benefits to implementing the use of smart devices into certain areas of our lives, including helping patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer reach informed decisions about their treatment. The Issue We live in an age of information, where almost anything we want to know can be readily found on the screen of a nearby smart phone or tablet. At the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, Associate Medical Director of Content Management ...
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By now, most hospitals have patient portals—though their capabilities vary. By 2015, in fact, 69 percent of hospitals were giving their patients access to view, download, and transmit their health data; and 63 percent were providing secure patient-provider messaging, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. It also seems that everyone—hospitals and patients alike—finds portals challenging. Regardless, hospitals still need these electronic tools to meet Meaningful Use requirements. HealthEast , a four-hospital system serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, was determined to make good use of its patient ...
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If you build a healthcare facility, will they really come? The secret lies in understanding who “they” are and knowing how to engage them. Striking Out About 10 years ago, a hospital located in the deep South embarked on a new construction plan to advance its inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services. The goal was to gain market share. Three physician leaders championed a highly innovative clinical plan with full operational support from the system’s board and administration. The pro forma looked strong and finance was onboard, but after 12 months of unsustainably low volumes, facility leaders began to abandon operational plans and set a new ...
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Moving up to the C-Suite is an admirable goal, but it’s a long-term goal that requires strategic thinking and lots of planning. What kinds of characteristics are needed for those working in the C-Suite? Who gets promoted to those positions and why? Competency and Leadership Obviously, you don’t want anyone working at the C-Suite level who isn’t competent in their field, but to find out if you’ve got what it takes, you might need some help. According to Dr. Andrew Garman, CEO of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL), when it comes to leadership we tend not to be good judges of our own skillsets. To have a good understanding of our ...
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