Viewpoint: Strategies for Success

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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During the daily barrage of natural disasters, radical changes in health care, and other issues, deciding how to personally respond is challenging for anyone. For hospital and health system leaders, raising their voices as part of the public discourse carries risks and rewards. Until recently, many CEOs and other leaders refrained from taking an aggressive public stand on controversial issues. However, putting a stake in the ground on social and political issues is something that Rod Hochman, M.D., chief executive officer of Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) , felt passionately about, which led him to engage the organization’s communications team to ...
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There are few things more frustrating for patients and visitors than trying to navigate a large, confusing hospital campus. Providing clear wayfinding is integral to the customer experience and can positively influence patient satisfaction scores, reduce the number of missed appointments, and ease stress during what is often a trying time. Making it easier to navigate a campus can also generate positive word-of-mouth and online reviews about a facility, and improve staff efficiency by reducing the number of times they’re interrupted to provide directions. At the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) , leaders were well aware that their century ...
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Content continues to reign supreme in all industries, including health care. Over the last several years, engaging digital content has only increased in importance, not only for brand building, but also for establishing trust among health care professionals and patients. At Mayo Medical Laboratories, this led us to think about how we could proactively address these trends and create a new, dynamic digital communication hub that would act as a creative and educational platform for our organization. Our Strategy This initiative required producing compelling content and a great user experience, so we began the development of Insights, which would ...
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This three-part series of monthly blogs will present examples from around the country of health care marketers helping to deploy effective and innovative population health strategies for their organizations. Understanding the Social Ecological Model Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) is located in the beautiful, rolling green hills of California’s Inland Empire. But just a few miles away, in the city of San Bernardino, the population faces many social challenges, including a 12 percent high school dropout rate, poverty, and violent crime rates that are higher than state and national averages. LLUH, in partnership with SAC Health System, placed ...
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According to Forrester Research’s customer experience index , even improving patient experience by one or two points can have an enormous impact on patient satisfaction and a health care organization’s bottom line. It’s the proverbial win-win. However, the same report indicates that not one company across any industry is earning marks of excellence for customer experience—not even Disney, the customer-first, customer experience poster child. Health care organizations have been, and continue to be, invested heavily in patient experience to improve outcomes and lower costs. The potential to realize these improvements depends on the quantity, quality, and ...
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Like many hospitals dedicated to community health, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth (BID-Plymouth) had been allocating considerable resources to traditional wellness initiatives like fighting childhood obesity. That all changed when the hospital’s chief executive officer was approached by the principal of a local high school with some disturbing news. A team of journalists at the school had developed a video news segment on opioid use that revealed a drug dealer used stolen prescription pads from the hospital’s emergency department to maintain his lucrative stock of opioids. What could have easily turned into a public relations nightmare instead ...
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Voice assistants are one of the latest trends reshaping the consumer technology landscape. According to a Pew Research study [1] , nearly half of Americans use voice assistants. Most users are accessing voice assistants on their smartphones, which is not surprising given the functionality has been embedded in these devices longer than newer platforms like smart speakers. The growing demand for voice assistance The voice assistant/smart speaker market continues to grow, rising from only 7 percent of U.S. households owning a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home in the first quarter of 2017 to an estimated 75 percent of households having ...
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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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