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Showing posts from July, 2010

An Opportunity For Community Education & Engagement

From THE HILL'S Healthcare Blog, polls show that the majority of seniors are bewildered by the new healthcare reform law.
"The survey, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), an advocate for seniors, found that only 17 percent of respondents could answer even half of the 12 questions about key provisions in the law selected by the NCOA."Regardless of your personal opinions about health care reform, and though it's confusing and complicated, it's also now the law.  And it could be an opportunity for outreach-oriented hospitals to educate their community about reform's effect on consumers, an opportunity to be seen as the "go-to resource" for useful information and recommendations.

Why wait for someone else to explain the law's many twists and turns?  They're YOUR audience, YOUR community.  The better educated they become, the more they'll have YOU to thank.

Could you deploy your social media skills to begin the dialogue?  I'…

Dumb Clients? Clueless Agencies? Pick One...Or Both.

The mind reels and the eyes spin after a 1,000 mile cross-country drive.  Why?

Not for the traffic jams caused by Illinois' mind-numbingly stupid decision to waste "stimulus" dollars repaving an already perfectly-smooth I-55 from St. Louis to Joliet.  You expect idiocy from Illinois politicians.  And the paving contractor is probably some pol's brother-in-law.

No, my allergic reaction stems more from the astounding numbers of bad, really, truly, horribly, miserably, wretched billboards devoted to hospital marketing messages.  C'mon people.  What are you THINKING?

Dumb clients?  Clueless agencies?  One has to wonder.

Copy that rambles on...and on...and on.   Can't ANYBODY get to the POINT in 6 words or less?

Colors that wash out in the sun...and under sodium vapor lights...and at dawn...and dusk.  Isn't someone paying for these things DRIVING THE BOARD once in a while?

Acronyms and buzzwords. Do you REALLY think a billboard is the place to be telling the …

Become A Cost-Focused Organization

"There is really only one "critical success factor" for hospitals under reform, Kaufman said: Become a cost-focused organization. That means, among other things: improve efficiency, eliminate variability, collaborate with physicians to create value and develop a self-governing model for employing physicians." (Nathan Kaufman, speaking at the 18th Annual Health Forum/AHA Leadership Summit)

Are You Falling From Grace?

The bigger and richer they are, the further they have to fall, says this article from Yahoo! Finance.

Challenged by recession economics and fed up with the spoiled, arrogant rich, consumers are turning against brand icons like Tiger Woods, LeBron James, bankers in general, even Warren Buffett (for his dalliances with Moody's and Goldman Sachs.)
"Money can buy a lot of things, but it can't buy public opinion," ... "Free will is going to be free will. That's endemic of a much larger shift for the economic social movement."As pessimism and distrust of public figures reach all-time highs and hypersensitive consumers parse  every word and action, forward-thinking health care organizations prize deep, reciprocal, trusting connections with customers.

If fancy mission, vision and values statements mean anything, it's time to dust 'em off and start living 'em, every person, every shift, every day.  Say it, do it, live it.  While you're at it, sta…

C'Mon Steve Jobs, You Can Do Better Than This!

As much as I'm a fan of Apple Computer's products, their response to the iPhone 4 antenna problem is clumsy and misguided.  I don't want to hear Apple (or, frankly, anybody else) saying "our products are no worse than Brand X's..."

I'm paying you, Apple, for products that are noticeably BETTER than Brand X, not just as bad.

Nor do I want to hear that it's really the consumer's fault.  That's code for saying I'm an idiot.

I'm paying you, Apple, for products that work so well I end up looking smarter than I really am.  Only my daughters get to call me an idiot.

And, Steve, you ain't them so knock it off.  You need a better PR/crisis response team.  Call me.  I can help.  Really.  On my iPhone 3G, though.

See Something, Say Something!

From Roni Caryn Rabin writing in the NY Times Vital Signs column;
"One in three physicians say they do not believe they should always report an incompetent or significantly impaired colleague, a new study reports."I wonder, do physicians upset over their malpractice premiums ever examine their own attitudes toward reporting incompetent or impaired colleagues?  Do they connect their silence with the hidden costs of higher malpractice premiums for everybody?

It's suggested that medical schools re-emphasize the importance of reporting.   And here I thought physicians were supposed to acquire a certain amount of common sense BEFORE arriving at medical school, not after.

I know, I know, why rock the boat when good physicians get sued right along with the bozos?  And of course the main problem is really the cabal of rapacious insurers and venal trial lawyers, right?  Why do anything substantive when solutions are difficult and complaining makes for such great headlines?


Innovation Is...

"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have.  When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D.  It's not about money.  It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."
Steve Jobs (1955 - ), Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998

Keeping Your Website Relevant In the Era Of Social Media

You spend at least some money and effort convincing people to come to your corporate website, right?  Don't be too quick to send all that traffic away, even to support your social media strategy.

From Jeremiah Owyang's blog "Web Strategy," here's an excellent matrix outlining the benefits and challenges of various website/social media integration strategies.   And, no, putting a few so-called Chiclets in your site's upper-right corner is NEITHER integration nor strategy.

Above all, stay focused on porting those measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across the entire user experience. You have KPIs, don't you?

Here's two more matrices from the same author with additional information on integration's features, benefits and risks, and who offers what.

6,000 Consumer Health Apps And Counting

From the Los Angeles Times: there are now close to 6,000 consumer health apps for smart phones. Predictably, concerns about "trustworthiness" are beginning to surface.

The article doesn't say how many of those 6,000 apps were developed by physicians and/or hospitals.  I'd guess not many, more's the pity.  Worries about trustworthiness would diminish if health care's major players somehow got ahead of this curve.  And, who knows, they might discover new ways of connecting with customers and entirely new value streams waiting to be tapped.

Please let me know if you're aware of a physician or hospital-developed app.  I'm compiling a list...

Transform Your Events With Social Media

Events - seminars, screenings and the like -  are integral to most hospitals' branding and marketing efforts.  And among all marketing mix elements, events could benefit most from a more strategic approach, particularly tracking event success.   From Heidi Cohen and ClickZ, here's a great article that I call "The Rule Of 7s." 
7 reasons to add events to your marketing mix, including #3: "Build your brand cost-effectively, either directly as the creator of the event or as a sponsor, advertiser, exhibitor, or presenter."7 types of events, including #4:"Classes may be a fee-based line extension to provide skills to enable users to more effectively use your product or a means to encourage additional sales. Online video demonstrations also fall into this category. One great example is"
7 ways to use social media to promote your events, including #6:"Enable attendee interaction through Twitter, blog posts and comments, blogs, video, ph…

Cleveland Clinic's Innovation Strategy: 10 Years & Counting

From MedCity News:
"Cleveland Clinic Innovations — the corporate venturing arm of the nation’s top heart hospital — is entering its second decade with a first-of-its-kind venture ranking, a brand-new incubator building and a growing portfolio of spin-out companies. Perhaps most impressive, those companies — 33 in all — have attracted more than $340 million in follow-on funding from other investors. “That’s a darn good number” for a 10-year-old innovations group whose average spin-off is only five years old, said Harry Rein, chairman of the group’s Industrial Advisory Board and a veteran venture capitalist."

More Insurers May Not Result In Lower Health Costs

Will costs be better-controlled with more independent insurers competing in local markets?  Writing in Health Affairs Blog, health economist Uwe Reinhardt thinks not, concluding that it's difficult to see how fragmented buyers will compete effectively with ever-more concentrated sellers.
"Over the past decade, the supply side of the health care sector in many localities has become ever more concentrated, as hospitals formed systems and physicians joined together in larger groups. The current nouvelle vague – so-called Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – will only further encourage that concentration. I find it hard to believe that, in the face of this trend, fragmenting the buy side of health care even more would serve the goal of cost containment.

"Ideally, in my view, the market for health insurance would be oligopolistic, which means that only a few insurers — each with some market clout vis à vis providers — would compete for enrollees in a local market. What the…

Thinking Health Care Redesign?

The discipline of design thinking offers new viewpoints on eliminating redundancies, wasted effort and catastrophic mistakes.
"What design thinking can offer is a practiced eye for integration opportunities: connecting adjacent but unconnected pieces of the patient experience to create small, incremental improvements. The integration process begins with a question—"What's right for the patient?"—and proceeds to a deep examination of the patient journey, resulting in a holistically designed experience that benefits all.Examples:
Phillips Home Healthcare Trilogy100 ventilator.The unit "combines much of the function of a hospital-grade ventilator with a dual-mode interface, meaning clinicians get the control and information they want, and home users get an unscary device with an intuitive control panel. This means fewer costly trips back to the clinic and less paperwork for administrators, while the unit's portability allows chronic patients to integrate therapy…

Social Media's ROI

Is social media part of your marketing plan?  Remember, ROI doesn't mean Return On Ignorance.
 "...if social media are truly transformative for businesses, why do we hear so much about the splendor of participating in conversations and forming relationships—and only abstract debates about measuring performance and return on investment?"As always, it's helpful to begin with the end in mind, viewing social media as another means to that end.  What are you REALLY trying to accomplish?

(From Brian Solis writing in Bloomberg Business Week.)