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Showing posts from May, 2010

6 (Specious) Arguments Against Social Media In Health Care

From Junto - A Gathering Of Marketing Professionals, here are the most common arguments against social media in health care:
"Social media opens the door for a HIPAA violation."
"No control over what people will say about us."
"There's no return on investment."
"People don't go online when picking healthcare providers."
"Our doctors don't care about social media."
"Everyone will be on Facebook instead of working."

"These roadblocks are, with few exceptions, categorically false.The article calls health care "notorious for being 5-7 years behind the curve for marketing and communications innovation."  I think that's being kind.  15-20 years is more like it.

Why so far behind the curve?
Few hospital CEOs demand ROI accountability from the marketing team.  Fewer still mean it when they say it, enough to get out of the way and let it happen.For many CFOs, marketing is little more than a "slush fun…

Tweeting About Blogging About Facebooking About Digging

Today's (May 27) Gaping Void cartoon (down a ways in the right-hand column) makes an interesting point about blogging and social media, specifically that it's easier these days to write ABOUT social media than to use the tools of social media to "write about something more personal or esoteric."

Instead of idea-driven lives and blogs with content about real topics and original thoughts, we're writing about writing and Tweeting about Tweeting, Digging Digg and Friending Facebooking.  It's all 'how to...' and 'why should you...' and "how to score millions of followers...'   

We're blogging about blogging and tweeting about tweeting.  Self-referentialism running amok.  Shall we ask the last person with an original idea to turn out the blogosphere's lights?

From The NY Times: The Rise Of the Hospitalist

The New York Times chronicles the rise of the hospitalist and makes clear that there's more to it than simply hiring a bunch of new doctors;
"Even experts who were initially skeptical agree that the hospitalists’ skill set is timely. They are young and thus not entrenched in the current order (emphasis mine.) They enjoy working in teams, when older doctors tend to be hierarchical. And, like Dr. Airan-Javia, who has a 16-month-old baby, they appreciate the regular hours and a paycheck of, say, $190,000 — higher by $30,000 than community-based peers.

Dr. Airan-Javia says she made an inspired career choice. Forty percent of her time is spent on the floor, treating diseases and helping patients and families though complex life events, like deciding when it is time to suspend medical care and let life end. Sixty percent of the time she is designing systems to improve workflow and advising the hospital’s chief medical officer. At meetings with her fellow hospitalists, phrases seldom…

Glaxo Tries Open-Source R&D.

Strategy is more fraught with uncertainty and error than most of us calling ourselves strategists ever admit.  Better strategies often begin with involving MORE people, not less, and generating MORE ideas, not fewer.   Imagine an "idea funnel" - wide at the top with more ideas of all kinds and narrow at the bottom with a few compelling game-changers as the building blocks for true strategic separation. 

As Dr. Linus Pauling once said,  “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away”  And there's that Japanese proverb reminding us that "None of us is as smart as all of us."

From The Wall Street Journal, GlaxoSmithKline PLC is testing Linux-inspired, open-source principles for developing new drugs.
"The pharmaceutical giant last week opened to the public the designs behind 13,500 chemical compounds that it said may be capable of inhibiting the parasite that causes malaria.

"Glaxo and others hope that sharing information an…

Nine Hospitals Leading the Way In Mobile Health

A special edition from Brian Dolan and MobiHealthNews features 9 "Mobile Health Hospitals."  These organizations have "...worked with startups and others in the mobile health industry to hone services, devices and applications not yet in the market."

Organizations and their mobile health initiatives include:
Stanford Hospital & Clinics (CA) - combining Haiku - Epic Systems' mobile phone-based EHR system - with Apple's iPhone to create an "iPhone EMR."Mt. Sinai (NY) - texting liver transplant patients to encourage adherence to treatment regimens and improve outcomes.Meridian Health (NJ)- are consumers comfortable buying connected health devices at a big box electronics store?  Research is underway with Best Buy to find out.Sarasota Memorial (FL) - developing a mobile communication platform for nurses using Voalte's iPhone-based capabilities.Partners Healthcare (MA) - rolling out a nationwide blood pressure tracking service with proven clini…

Discussing 'Accountable Care Organizations' On Your iPhone?

Ask yourself why the economy tanked health spending but not iPhone sales.  The takeaway: today a friend tweeted the following: "...the American health system is as large as the entire Italian economy...and just as disorganized."   Maybe while we're all morphing into "accountable care organizations,' we should first think 'ecosystem.'  Maybe you have one in your pocket.  I know I do.

The trendwatchers among us know that recent economic unpleasantries caused  frugal shoppers to cut back on many things - homes, cars, appliances, cigarettes and toilet paper.  Even health care, once thought to be relatively recession-proof,  suffered as care was canceled or deferred.

Yet as anybody tracking Apple Computer's unbroken string of blowout quarters could have told you, spending in certain categories - smart phones and laptop computers, e.g. - held up relatively well. 

So let's compare and contrast.  Whether you call it a good or a service, health care is wi…

Are the "Apocaholics" Wrong?

Will society avoid collapse and continue prospering? Yes, thanks to the innovators among us says zoologist and Economist editor Matt Ridley in his new book "The Rational Optimist."
"...with new hubs of innovation emerging elsewhere, and with ideas spreading faster than ever on the Internet, (expect) bottom-up innovators to prevail. (Ridley's) prediction for the rest of the century: “Prosperity spreads, technology progresses, poverty declines, disease retreats, fecundity falls, happiness increases, violence atrophies, freedom grows, knowledge flourishes, the environment improves and wilderness expands.”We could still screw things up.  We could, for example, stifle innovation and trade while inflating the importance of restrictive bureaucracies.
"Our progress is unsustainable...only if we stifle innovation and trade, the way China and other empires did in the past. Is that possible? Well, European countries are already banning technologies based on the precautio…

Med Device Innovation In Freefall?

"An index of the most innovative medical device and pharmaceutical companies shows that device makers fall short when it comes to developing next-generation technologies." (From MassDevice Staff via MedCity News)


"“Think open innovation,” (wrote Strategos director George Chen.) “There is still a lot value in coming up with the next ‘wonder drug,’ but companies should rethink how they put together the pieces. The ‘IP’ market is growing rapidly and market intermediaries are making the discovery and acquisition of IP ever faster and less costly.

"A forward-thinking medical device chief technology officer explicitly included ‘external IP scout and external knowledge-web manager’ in his job description.

Broadening the research to health providers would be interesting.  The imperative to move beyond traditional service lines and marketing approaches is increasingly clear (at least to me.)  Now the challenge becomes identifying and tapping new intellectu…

From 'Strangers' To 'True Fans' In 6 Easy Steps

A great graphic from Seth Godin's blog:
Where are you spending your time and effort?  Talking to 10,000 Strangers or the 100 True Fans (i.e. repeat, loyal customers, those who drive your business?)

And while I'm at it: what are you doing to determine why the funnel's sides aren't more vertical?  Some 'listeners' don't become 'customers' and some 'customers' don't become 'fans.'  Why not?  Where are the marketing process defects?  Poor audience segmentation?  Wrong message?  Bad product?  Inattentive customer service?  Disengaged employees?  A smart marketer knows or gets busy finding out.

Are We All Managed Care Freudians Now?

Nearly two decades ago, when I saw that Aetna billboard on I-294 near Chicago reading "Health care for the rest of your life" I feared physicians and hospitals were on the verge of losing control over their destiny and their industry.

Why the fear?  Notice Aetna's wording:  it's "HEALTH CARE for the rest of your life" not "INSURANCE for the rest of your life." Not "MANAGED CARE..."  And it's it's darn sure not "MEDICAL LOSS RATIOS AND RECISSIONS..."

Undoubtedly many saw it as just another billboard, another ad campaign.  Big deal.  Indelicate, possibly inaccurate wording, but ultimately harmless, right?  After all how much can agency creative types know about health care? 

Except it came true.  Physicians and hospitals DID lose control and show few signs of getting it back.

Though I've never considered myself a Freudian, I am starting to reconsider his belief that many things appearing accidental really aren't…

Physicians, Moms, Babies, Social Media...

How much more interesting can life get?  From today's Wall Street Journal:  The Hospital Association of Southern California proposes to create a joint medical foundation for its members, continuing the trend toward increasing hospital-physician alignment.  Payors, predictably, express concern over the new entity's potential bargaining power.  Many details yet to be worked out.  More dogs, a bigger wheelbarrow.  Stay tuned...

And as if we needed yet another lesson in the combustible mix that is moms, babies and social media, nowProcter & Gamble Co. is struggling to extinguish a Facebook-fueled rash (pun intended) of criticism of its new Pampers diapers.  Allegations of "chemical burns" are spreading across the Internet while P&G struggles to defend a crucial brand accounting for about 11% of the company's revenue, according to the WSJ.   The really tricky issue is how P&G defends the product while "avoiding the uncomfortable position of having to …

Google vs. Comcast - Not A Net Neutral Call

Perhaps I should subtitle this post "How To Lose Control Of Your Industry, A Little Bit At A Time."  You see, a battle is raging over the Internet's future, specifically around a concept called "Net Neutrality."   Net neutrality is the assurance that access to the Web and its content will not be blocked, slowed down, or sped up depending on where that access is based or who owns the access point(s).

On one side we have content companies (like Google) preferring a triage-free Internet.

On the "It's my network, I built it and I'll do what I damn well please" side are bandwidth companies (like Comcast and their cable provider bretheren) building and managing the infrastructure over which all that content flows.  They prefer the ability to restrict (or at least charge more for) certain types of bandwidth-hogging traffic. 

Believing it has the regulatory mandate to referee, the FCC seems to prefer Google's position.  Inexplicably, The Wall Stre…

What steps will hospitals take to separate themselves from market rivals?

Was a question recently asked in a Linkedin group discussion

My answer, "A few modest steps along the road to strategic separation:"

1. Stop looking at other hospitals for inspiration or ideas. Most hospitals are content being no worse than anybody else. So the ideas needed for true strategic separation reside not in the hospital down the street but, maybe, in your local Apple Store and/or in watching what the young people in your market and organization are doing. Broaden your exposure to new ideas and you'll learn what other hospitals aren't doing or, better yet, what they CAN'T do. Do THAT.

2. Broaden the conversation. Hospitals are not democracies and great strategies are usually not the work of multiple committees. Still, there is a rich store of knowledge and thousands of great ideas locked up in the heads of your physicians and employees. Engage them. Ask them for their help...and mean it.

3. Move beyond the obvious service lines - cardiac, neuro, ort…