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Making Meaningful Use of Hospital Social Engagement Strategies

Posted on November 22, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

My latest healthcare field trip took me to the Health 2.0 Atlanta Meetup group, a blossoming community of startup professionals, investors and folks like me who want to stay abreast of innovation happening on the fringes of our industry. Previous events have been dedicated to startup showcasing, but this most recent meetup turned the tables by gathering a panel of marketing executives from three of Atlanta’s most well-known health systems – WellStar, Piedmont and Emory.

I think if this panel had gotten together last year, or even two years ago, all the talk would have been around how to market their EMRs to current and prospective patients. (WellStar and Piedmont are on Epic, while Emory is on Cerner.) EMRs were mentioned once or twice. The big theme that seemed to run throughout the series of moderated questions was … wait for it … patient engagement. More specifically, all three panelists stressed the importance of using social media as a patient acquisition and retention tool. As Sandra Mackey, Executive Director of Marketing at Emory, so succinctly stated, social media is no longer a “need to have,” but rather a “must have.”

Matt Gove, CMO and SVP of External Affairs at Piedmont, noted that he has been able to demonstrate solid ROI from the health system’s social media efforts, connecting the dots between Piedmont messaging in Facebook feeds to booked appointments and revenue-generating procedures. Both Piedmont and WellStar have turned to third parties like Brightwhistle, Tailfin and ReachLocal to help them pinpoint the best places for social messaging. Gove’s efforts have been so successful that he has focused more staff on social media management, and now integrates social media into more campaigns than ever before.

All three panelists seemed to agree that marketing spend going forward won’t be on big media like radio and T.V. ads, but rather on messaging that reaches a patient’s inbox or Facebook feed. Mackey noted that people are growing up on social media now, and they wouldn’t dream of going anywhere but to their social networks for healthcare recommendations. Her comment directly correlated to Gove’s simple wish for physicians to do their jobs well. A positive experience lends itself to stories that can be shared among patients’ social networks, potentially garnering that hospital exponential exposure and brand recognition.

I wonder how hospitals will adapt their social engagement strategies over the next year. What will be top of mind for hospital marketing executives in 2014 and beyond? Give me your take by leaving a comment below.

The Week of Women in Healthcare

Posted on August 22, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

#XXinHealthWeek
Twitter fans – particularly #HITchicks – may have come across the hashtag above this week as part of the larger XX in Health Week, an initiative of Rock Health to connect and empower female visionaries to drive change in healthcare. I’m all for driving change, and know from personal experience that women, whether in the home or workplace, tend to be masters of multitasking, putting out small fires as needed, and soothing bruised egos and fragile psyches. We seem well suited to the task of driving change, but not surprisingly, are not well positioned to do so.

According to a slide deck put together for the XX in Health Week, women make up just 14% of healthcare companies’ BODs, and 0% of Fortune 500 healthcare company CEOs.  The statistics are a bit more hopeful when looking strictly at hospitals, according to the recent “Women in the Hospital C-Suite” report from Billian’s HealthDATA:

bhdchart

I’m not sure when we’ll get to female leadership numbers that are acceptable, or who will make that call. It will be nice when, as mentioned in the slide deck, we recognize leaders not by their gender but by their ability to lead.

Health 2.0
Atlanta has its own Health 2.0 movement – a meetup group focused on startups in healthcare IT that is finally getting some momentum. Numbers for female leadership are good. One of three companies that pitched at the most recent event was led by a woman. Brandi March of NovitaCare – a mobile solution that helps patients and the family members who serve as their caregivers manage and coordinate care in one central location – started the company after taking on the role of caregiver for her ailing mother. She described the task of obtaining and organizing her mother’s records, sharing news with other family members, trying to stay organized and trying to make sure six or seven different providers were all on the same page as a “nightmare.” And so NovitaCare was born.

novitacareready

All in all it’s been a good week for women in healthcare. It will be interesting to see if the statistics mentioned above have changed by this time next year. I feel like there are plenty of unsung female visionaries driving healthcare change RIGHT NOW. Please share the story of someone you know via the comments below.

Health 2.0 Boston

Posted on May 15, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’m in Boston enjoying meeting with a lot of really smart people at Health 2.0. As usual, the biggest value of the conference is the people you meet and the hallway conversations you have with those people. I’ll certainly be doing posts over the next couple weeks related to those conversations.

The other highlight of Health 2.0 was hearing Jonathan Bush speak. He was in true Jonathan Bush form and he’s great because you can guarantee that he’ll never give the same speech twice. As one person said in the hallway, the connection between him thinking it and him saying it is very short. It’s so short that it has no filter. My biggest complaint with Jonathan Bush’s talk was that they only gave him 20 minutes on stage. Not nearly enough.

For those who couldn’t make it, here’s the main points that Jonathan Bush provided:
1. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
2. “You need your partner’s ‘id’ as well as their signature.”
3. “Culture trumps capability.”

This is all really good advice for healthcare startup companies. One other thought from Jonathan Bush:

Here are some other good takeaways from Health 2.0 Boston that were tweeted out:


Very good advice and appropriate at Health 2.0 Boston since the focus of it is about partnerships.


There’s a compelling story if you look at how much uncompensated care physicians provide.

Is it Real or Is it Memorex….mHealth Summit Style #mhs11

Posted on December 6, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This is my first time attending the mHealth Summit. In past years, I’ve seen the flood of tweets that have come out of past mHealth Summit events and so I knew this year I had to be here. This year’s event doesn’t have a keynote like they had last year in Bill Gates, but it’s been a good event. If I remember right, I’ve heard they have 300 exhibitors and 2600 attendees. I heard in the halls someone saying that they thought the attendance at the event was a little disappointing, but of course that was just from someone in the hall. It’s still a growing event and I think one of the best signs for the event is HIMSS (and now mHIMSS) involvement in the event as well. Wait until the HIMSS machine gets rolling and I think the event will be even better.

One conversation I’ve heard a number of times at mHealth Summit is whether the companies we’re seeing here are real or whether they won’t be around for long. Basically, are these shells of ideas that don’t really have great sustainable business models.

I’m a little torn by the discussion. Mostly because there’s little doubt that many of the companies that are here are going to fail. Particularly because there are at least 40 companies in the nicely done mHealth Startup pavillion. Depending on the numbers you prefer, something like 9 out of 10 startups fail. This isn’t conjecture, it’s basically fact. So, many of these companies will fail, but quite frankly that’s a pretty healthy part of the environment. We want creative individuals that are doing things that may or may not work out. There are thousands of HUGE companies around today that first started out as outrageous ideas.

I heard one person comment that mHealth Summit has a lot more people working together and seeing how they can build their ideas. They contrasted this with the also popular Health 2.0 event in San Francisco where they said many people were too interested in comparing how much money each company had raised. That seems like a pretty apt description of the difference between Washington DC and Silicon Valley to me so it shouldn’t be all that surprising.

All in all, those who say that mHealth is dead or won’t be around for long are off base in my book. The move to mobile is going to happen and mobile technology will play a huge role in healthcare going forward. I could certainly agree with some people that mobile health might one day just become ubiquitous with Healthcare IT. In fact, we see signs of that already, but that doesn’t change the fact that mobile will be huge in healthcare.

One division I do see happening in the mobile health space is the division into two areas: mobile health for industry professionals (ie. doctors, nurses, etc) and mobile health for consumers. At least in the US, I think we’ll see more distinction between those two areas over time.

Group Funds A Health IT “Ecosystem”

Posted on June 13, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Here’s an interesting effort aimed at enriching the health IT idea pool.  A diverse group of players, ranging from universities and investors to officials with HHS, have come together to create an initiative intended to support health and wellness entrepreneurs.

The venture, StartUp Health, will be run by former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Steve Krein. The initiative will be part of Startup America Partnership, a private sector initiative working to foster U.S. entrepreneurship throughout the U.S.

I must admit I’m not particularly impressed to hear that StartUp Health’s first official efforts will be a series of three roundtables. While discussing challenges and opportunities in developing a roadmap for health and wellness startups, I tend to be more impressed by direct action (such as cutting checks).

On the other hand, maybe I’m being narrow-minded. I am intrigued by the second planned roundtable, dubbed DC to VC, which will be hosted by HHS CTO Todd Park. DC to VC will link senior officials and entrepreneurs. If I can swing attending that one, you can be I’ll be there.

And you can’t beat the roster of technical, creative and financial minds involved, including IT visionary Esther Dyson, Digitas Health Co-founder Linda Holliday, Health 2.0 co-founders Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya and health technology startup accelerators Rock Health and Blueprint Health.

While the kind of stuff this group will foster might not connect directly with the topic of this blog — e.g. mainstream EMRs and their users — from what I’ve seen health and wellness 2.0 startups are having a big influence on consumer use of health data.

Eventually, as such demand crests, EMR designers will need to consider everything from PHRs to sharing aggregated data to providing patient analytics tools. So it’s wise to keep your eye on such ventures, even if they’re more into touchy-feely consumer technology at present. The time will come when these kind of sites and tools will be just as important to medicine as clinical decision support tools. Mark my words on this one.

Physician Social Media Use And EMR Adoption: Held Back By Similar Forces

Posted on March 23, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

In a recent blog post, Dr. Jeffrey Benabio argues that generally speaking, there are two simple reasons why many physicians haven’t spent more time digging into social networking:

*  Fear of liability

*  Lack of compensation for time invested

I’d argue that these two forces are holding back much of physician EMR adoption as well.  Sure, many practices dislike having to spend on an EMR solution, and may find technology overwhelming, but I’d argue that the two concerns  above are far more powerful.

Honestly, I think complaints about EMR costs have been exaggerated.  EMRs aren’t necessarily a big expense for a healthy practice, especially given that hosted solutions are getting more affordable by the day.  I’m not saying the cost is trivial, but it can be managed.

And I don’t think physicians, especially young ones, are stone-cold terrified by the idea of bringing more technology into the practice. They may not be thrilled by changing their workflow, but they’re intelligent adults who have doubtless used computers to perform many other types of work in their time.  Buying an EMR is a stretch, but not the biggest hurdle they face.

No, I think that fear of liability — in this case, mistakes made due to EMR misuse — and of sinking countless hours into learning the new platform are the biggest inhibitors to physician EMR implementation.  Both of these fall into the “fear of the unknown” category which derails so many new technologies.

If I’m right about this, the best way to boost medical practices’ EMR adoption rates may be to help address these fears. CMS, the courts and leading attorneys need to nail down what liability doctors face when working in this new environment, and vendors need to find better ways to assure doctors they’ll be productive quickly.

Let’s get right down to it and help doctors cope with their real concerns. Otherwise, we’ll wait in frustration as consultants and policymakers swing and miss.