Viewpoint: Strategies for Success

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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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Digital advertising—in the form of mobile marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and more—is an inexpensive as well as effective way of marketing when compared to traditional methods. It’s important for healthcare organizations to keep pace with developments in digital marketing. Our Digital Strategy At UC Davis Health, a nationally recognized academic medical center in Northern California, we run two major, comprehensive media plans each year during our spring and fall open enrollment periods. These campaigns are designed to influence the preference of consumers to choose UC Davis Medical Group as their primary care provider, ...
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Act Fast or Fail Fast

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Imagine trying to manage strategic planning for a health system that has doubled in size in recent years, but lacks standardized business development processes to maximize growth opportunities. Then, imagine an extremely competitive consumer marketplace where two members of that same network are advertising for the same service in the same newspaper with no mention of the health system. That’s exactly the position the strategy team at Hartford Healthcare (HHC) found themselves in four years ago. They knew something needed to done—and done fast—to eliminate the duplication of planning efforts and inefficient use of resources. Rapid-Cycle Business ...
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Leaders in the midst of changing organizations and industries face numerous challenges to survive and thrive. And healthcare is certainly among the most turbulent environments—requiring significant leadership skills to manage the constant and complex forces of change. As hospitals and health systems seek ways to be nimble and adapt, the ability to lead organizations and teams through this journey will remain at a premium. Insights from the SHSMD Executive Dialogue On February 21–22, SHSMD hosted an exclusive opportunity for healthcare strategy and marketing leaders to engage in an executive dialogue about issues emerging in 2017 with impact well beyond. ...
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In healthcare marketing, service line campaigns are a great way to generate quick wins. Plus, with integrated lead management technologies, you can gather information on your campaigns’ performance and use it to show the downstream ROI of your efforts. But service line marketing isn’t all chocolate and roses – you still have regulations and channel-specific restrictions to deal with while you’re navigating the subtleties between cardiology, oncology, and women’s services. A one-tactic-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. Understanding best practices per channel and by service line requires time, experience, and a willingness to get in there and try something ...
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In 2013, Boston Medical Center (BMC) began a five-year strategy to recruit general internal medicine and family medicine providers for three reasons: 1) exceedingly long wait times throughout Boston for first-time appointments, 2) primary care patients feed specialty care, and 3) more covered lives were needed as new payment models entered the marketplace. An increase in providers would lead to more appointment availability—creating an opportunity to actively market these appointments to consumers. This required an innovative approach because of BMC’s unique patient population: 50 percent earn less than $22,000 per year; 80 percent are on Medicare or Medicaid; ...
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Using video as a component of any marketing campaign is smart, but how do you make a great video that will generate the response you are looking for from your target audience? Here are 6 key ingredients that will make sure you produce a great video to whet your viewer’s appetite. Story. Working in healthcare marketing, and in the healthcare industry there are great stories happening all the time. Someone can enter the hospital in a wheelchair and walk out on their own two feet. There is an amazing story behind something like that. However, it takes a certain set of skills to be able to identify these stories and turn them into videos that resonate ...
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The Digital Age we now live in has completely revolutionized, not only how people talk to each other, but how businesses interact with their consumers. A survey conducted in 2015 by Moz and Factl found that almost 2/3 of millennials block ads , which means companies need other ways to reach prospective consumers. Even companies not currently targeting millennials or subsequent generations need to be aware of this trend because, as millennials age, the nature of advertising will continue to change. On the other hand, a separate survey conducted by Twitter in 2015 found that 40% of respondents bought an item online as a result of having seen an influencer ...
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In 2015, The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) became one of the first health systems in the nation to focus on creating exceptional patient experiences using human-centered design. Much more than a traditional graphic or product design group, the human-centered design team at UVMMC promotes an expanded notion of design that positions it as a powerful strategic and creative problem-solving methodology within the complex healthcare environment. According to Jeremy Beaudry, experience design strategist, projects span the design of processes, services, environments, website interactions, communication materials, and tools that support patient ...
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