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You’re a social media user. Maybe even an early adopter. Then you may have heard of Thunderclap. If not, check out this terrific video introducing this powerful crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. The platform allows you to lend your voice to a cause – along with the voices of many others. (Depicted in the screen shot above is New York Presbyterian’s Thunderclap page where supporters can join in and help share NYP’s message celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital.) Watch the video to learn how Thunderclap works.

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DocuSeries Provides An Inside Look Into Lawrence General Hospital

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This is really cool. My firm’s client, Lawrence General Hospital, will be featured in a documentary series that initially airs on July 6th at 10pm on Discovery Fit & Health. The award-winning program from Maverick TV, Bizarre ER, features fascinating and strange cases of medical survival that come through hospital emergency department doors. This season marks the first time the medical documentary series has been filmed at a U.S. hospital. According to Executive Producer Mark Downie, the fifth season of the popular series will be accessible to over one billion potential viewers worldwide.

Filmed on location in the U.S. at Lawrence General, in the United Kingdom and with follow up stories from around the world, each 30 minute episode of BIZARRE ER follows several patients facing an unusual injury, from the moment they walk through the doors of the emergency room. Viewers will join patients through the process of diagnosis, treatment, and ultimately discharge from the hospital. From body piercings gone awry to an eye glued shut, BIZARRE ER brings viewers into the lighter side of the emergency room.

“We are thrilled that Discovery Channel and Maverick TV selected our high-efficiency Emergency Center for the series. Viewers around the globe will soon be witness to the depth and breadth of the care provided at Lawrence General, as well as the compassion and capabilities of our amazing clinical team.” states Dianne J. Anderson, President & CEO, Lawrence General Hospital.

“Our Emergency Center is renowned for superior care delivered in a highly-efficient manner. Our strength is derived from our team of talented, dedicated physicians, nurses, consulting specialists, technicians and support staff; we are excited to be able to offer viewers a glimpse into the care delivered each and every day at Lawrence General Hospital.” adds George Kondylis, MD, FACEP, Chief of Emergency Medicine, Lawrence General Hospital.

“I was amazed at the professionalism, capabilities, efficiency and overall calmness of Lawrence General’s trauma staff, and it was an honor to work with them. We are excited that worldwide, viewer access to BIZARRE ER will top one billion individuals, our show’s widest spread yet; the series is already airing in Norway and Bulgaria and is rated in the top ten in both countries.” says Mark Downie, Executive Producer of BIZARRE ER, Head of Factual for Maverick TV.

BIZARRE ER is produced for Discovery Networks International (DNI) by Maverick TV. For DNI, Jon Sechrist is Executive Producer and for Maverick, Head of Factual Mark Downie is Executive Producer.

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Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 8.50.43 AMLast week someone Tweeted a link to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson’s TEDx Talk: “Why are patients not finding their doctors online?” I’ve know Dr. Swanson for a few years now and share her vision for a better way for patients and clinicians to interact. As she said in her talk: “Our job in health, and our job as patients, and our job as clinicians and care givers is to not react, but to anticipate where we’re going. To meet people where they really are.” Yes, we need to meet people where they really are! The idea is so simple, but this has not been the practice in healthcare in America. As you know, a good percentage of the people we need to reach are on the Internet, on social media, and seeking health information online. These are the spaces clinicians need to occupy. If you’re a marketer, Dr. Swanson’s words should resonate. Good marketing is about finding ways to have your marketing meet consumers within the context of their lives. It is about finding those intersections and then communicating in a manner that starts a conversation. This is the idea of marketing “with” rather than “at” your audience. And I love her emphasis on using social media to listen and to learn. We can all learn from her example.

Check out Dr. Swanson’s TEDx Talk in this 10 minute video. It will be time well spent.

One brief note: Dr. Swanson will be a keynote speaker at the Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 6-8, 2013. I’m pleased that I will once again have the opportunity to hear Dr. Swanson present her vision. I’m also honored to be one of the speakers at the event, produced by the Forum for Healthcare Strategists.

You can visit Dr. Swanson’s Seattle Mama Doc blog at http://seattlemamadoc.seattlechildrens.org/.

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Could consumers using kiosks to speak remotely with physicians be the future of healthcare – or at least one affordable component? The Healthspot Station is an enclosed kiosk equipped with a teleconference system, allowing patients to speak privately with a doctor on-screen. Using equipment available in the kiosk, the patient works with the physician to remotely gather health-related data such as weight, height, temperature, and blood pressure. Healthspot claims to be “the first true integration of telehealth and primary care.”

Here’s how Healthspot describes its system (Source: Healthspot.net):

Visit the HealthSpot Station for a variety of primary care conditions. HealthSpot literally gives you the tools you need to get better — integrated medical equipment and board certified doctors make your neighborhood HealthSpot Station the one-stop option for great care. And online follow-up care ensures that the end of your appointment is only the beginning of better health.

“When you use HealthSpot, you can:

  • Schedule an appointment online or simply drop by your nearest HealthSpot Station for a visit any time you need care
  • Track your medical history with secure electronic records through our website
  • Get a prescription at any convenient HealthSpot Station location and review medication instructions online
  • Sign up for online access to wellness information and follow-up care reminders.”

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According to FollowerWonk, there are currently 18,363 self-professed social media gurus,  21,928 Social Media Mavens, and 21,876 Social Media Ninjas. This is based on Twitter users with “social media” as part of their bio. In all, there are more than 181,000 people who identify themselves as some sort of social media expert. Remarkable. I discovered this in an article from AdAge on January 7, 2013.

The whole “social media guru” thing has always been one of my pet peeves. For years now I’ve started every social media presentation with a caveat about social media gurus. I explain that we are all traveling this steep learning curve together. The target is moving at a rapid pace and it is all most of us can do to keep up. I’m leery of anyone who thinks they got this figured out. That would be arrogant and reckless. I’d rather be a constant student of social media, marketing and strategy, than a guru or a ninja. Perhaps it is best to be an unGuru. I like the sound of that.

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I will be participating in a HealthLeaders Webinar on November 29th titled Future of Service Line Marketing: New Tactics, New Tools

11/29/2012, 1:00-2:30 p.m. (ET)

Here’s the description of the session:

When it comes to service lines, healthcare marketers are challenged not only to get their message to consumers in a highly competitive and crowded marketplace, but also to balance the needs of the organization and individual physicians with limited marketing dollars.

Join WellStar Health System, Cooper University Hospital, and Jennings as they explore how to use data to prioritize service line marketing dollars and gain physician buy-in.

Register for Future of Service Line Marketing: New Tactics, New Tools for solutions, interactive Q&A, and lessons learned, including how to:

  • Prioritize what type of tactics to spend your marketing dollars on
  • Improve service line marketing to physicians
  • Balance the organizational brand vs. service line brand

PROGRAM AGENDA:

We will have 45 minutes of presentation/case study followed by 45 minutes of interview/roundtable/discussion/Q&A.

  • Balancing hospital and service line brands
    • Aligning organizational and service line goals
    • Using data to prioritize marketing dollars
    • Differentiating your services from the competition
  • Integrating physicians into the marketing program
    • The importance of marketing service lines to physicians—both employed and affiliated
    • Building systems for service line administrators and marketing executives to work effectively together
    • New physician liaison models
    • Using data to build consensus
  • The future of service line marketing
    • Focus on population health, patient-centered medical homes, and wellness and prevention
    • Increasing emphasis on measuring ROI: Effective tools and tactics
    • Integrating social and new media
  • Live Q&A (Customize this webcast! Pre-submit your questions.)

SPEAKERS:

Jill Sayre Lawlor, vice president of marketing and community outreach, Cooper University Hospital
Jill Sayre Lawlor is vice president of marketing and community outreach for Cooper University Hospital located in Camden, N.J. She serves as the senior marketing executive providing leadership in developing and implementing marketing plans for service lines and programs throughout the health system.
With a multimillion-dollar budget, she has responsibility for allocating resources at this nonprofit, 600-bed academic medical center, which serves the eight southern counties of New Jersey. Prior to joining Cooper, Lawlor served as executive vice president of Winning Edge Communications in Princeton, N.J

Dan Dunlop, president, Jennings
Dan Dunlop is a principal of Jennings, a leading healthcare marketing and consumer engagement firm. He is a healthcare marketer, blogger, author, and sought-after speaker. Dunlop regularly serves on the faculty of national and regional healthcare conferences, including the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development, the National Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit, the AAMC Professional Development Conference, and the Physician Strategies Summit. He has been designated a top healthcare marketing contributor by OrganizedWisdom.com and a Top Health Blogger in Wellsphere’s Healthcare Industry & Policy Community. He serves on the national advisory board of HealthLeaders’ Healthcare Marketing Advisor and is a contributor to Ragan’s HealthCare Marketing & Communication News.

Kim Menefee, senior VP, WellStar Health System
Kim Menefee is senior vice president of public and government affairs for WellStar Health System, one of the Southeast’s largest nonprofit health systems and the fifth most integrated healthcare delivery system in the country. In her 20-year career at WellStar, she has served in a variety of leadership capacities, including leading brand development and marketing initiatives, lobbying and government relations efforts, community programming, and development of a customer service initiative and physician liaison team.

I hope you can join us. For more information or to register for the Webinar, click here.

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My life as a healthcare marketer has me wondering about the skill set that will be mandatory for tomorrow’s healthcare marketers (and I mean tomorrow as in the day after today – not in some scifi, futuristic sense):

Over the last several months I’ve dedicated a significant block of time to exploring social platforms like Pinterest, Google+ and apps like instagram. Pinterest and Instagram are very hot and I needed to figure them out. Technology has become such a huge part of my work life. I just spent a good part of the last two days editing physician videos on my MacBook Pro using iMovie. When I’m done I will upload the  videos to Google+, Facebook, YouTube and various Facebook pages. I spent an hour today updating events on 10 different Facebook and Google+ pages. Recently I wrote a blog post about a service that allows an individual to do side-by-side comparisons of electronic health records software. And several times a day I am monitoring several Twitter accounts and tweeting or retweeting content. Technology!

Can you be a successful marketing strategist if you don’t understand (i.e., “use”) the tools you have at your disposal (traditional and non-traditional)? I think it’s an important and relevant question. But is it also important to have the skills (and mindset) to use the tools? Here are a few of the questions I have for today’s healthcare marketers and communicators:

  • Do you see yourself as an engagement marketer, developing strategies for engaging your target audience(s)? Or, do you simply push content?
  • Do you prepare a weekly report analyzing your social media metrics and determining ROI?
  • Do you know how to use Facebook Insights (analytics)? And do you review your Facebook Insights weekly?
  • Do you know how to use a service like Hootsuite to schedule tweets and Facebook posts throughout the week? Do you use Hootsuite’s analytics to learn about how your followers engage the information you put out there?
  • Do you know how to set up a WordPress blog? Blogger? Typepad?
  • Do you know how to create a press release that is optimized for social media? Do you use online press release distribution services like PitchEngine and PRLog?
  • Do you know how and why to use Twitter hashtags?
  • Do you know how to build a marketing dashboard to measure ROI and response to a campaign?
  • Do you know how to edit video on your computer and post it to YouTube or Facebook?
  • Do you know how to create a vanity URL for a Facebook page?
  • Do you know how to pose a polling question on your organization’s Facebook page?

The questions could go on and on. My point is that you need to know how these things work in order to put together a contemporary marketing communications plan. And you need people on your team possessing the skills and know-how to perform these functions. More importantly, you need people looking forward and engaging with your target audiences to determine what’s next on the horizon. Pinterest wasn’t a big deal a year ago, now it is the number two driver of traffic to my blog, just behind Google. How are you using Pinterest to engage your target audience(s)? Instagram?

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My bet is that most of you are familiar with Match.com. It is an internet dating site where singles can meet their perfect match. Lately I’ve been intrigued by TV commercials promoting a new aspect of Match.com – The Stir. These are real life events and mixers sponsored by Match.com. Here’s how they describe The Stir on their blog:

Match.com is once again stirring up singles’ social lives with the launch of thousands of live events for members across the country! Forget having to wonder who’s single and who’s not at a bar or hot spot. When you go to a Stir event, everyone will be single, everyone will be looking to meet someone, and each event will be customized through our group matching algorithms in terms of age, gender and interests. Here’s a preview of the types of events to look forward to: Happy hours, Cooking classes, Wine & tequila tastings, Bowling nights and Dance lessons. (Source: http://blog.match.com)

What does The Stir have to do with healthcare marketing? I think it’s a great reminder that online experiences and social media do not replace the need for real life events and real contact with brand constituents. I don’t want us to get lulled into a mindset where the only interaction we have with our target audience is virtual – and we think that’s okay. Nothing is better than an in-person brand experience, if it goes well. There should be a nice marriage between your online marketing and your IRL (in real life) marketing. Events, screening and health fairs are nothing new to healthcare marketers. Today, these events give you an opportunity to activate and engage the members of your online communities, and deepen their connection to your brand. My firm’s clients have held social media seminars for parents struggling with managing and overseeing their child’s use of Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. We’ve also held gathering where clinicians speak to parents about using the Internet to gather health information. What are reliable sources? Where to go for trustworthy information? These are events that speak directly to the experience of today’s healthcare consumer. And they let consumers know that we recognize the complexities they face navigating these waters.

In this world of social networks and online communities, the real world still matters! Let’s use the social platforms to do more with real world engagement of our brand constituents. Maybe then we can create a Stir of our own.

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Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic received some fairly harsh criticism for accepting paid advertising on its blog. You can read one example of that criticism in an article from Mark Schaefer titled “Lessons from a horrible social media strategy.”  Here’s a quote from Mark’s article, but read the whole thing to understand the context:

“Here is a word I rarely use on my my blog: Stupid.  But I think it is an unavoidable description when an organization sells the soul of their brand for a few advertising dollars with a mindless strategy of advertising children’s clothes to women who have just lost their child.”

As Mark points out, one of the challenges with accepting advertising and having it appear on the same page as health content, is that at times it will make you appear to be stupid and you run the risk of offending readers when the ads clash with the theme of the editorial. Chris Seper of MedCity News responded to Mark’s article, providing an alternative point of view. His article, “Mayo Clinic is not ‘stupid’ for accepting advertising. It’s profitable” does a nice job of supporting Mayo’s decision to accept advertising. Chris provides a valuable counterpoint and provides a well reasoned perspective.

I want to know your opinion on this topic: What do you think about hospital blogs accepting advertising? I get approached weekly with offers to place advertising on my healthcare marketing blog. I’ve always declined, believing that the advertising would somehow compromise the content. (After all, perception is reality.) But lately I’ve wondered if I’m right about that. Would it be so bad if I had a few ads on my blog?

In the past I’ve always advised my hospital clients to avoid accepting advertising on their blogs. Of course advertisers love the idea of promoting their goods and services on blogs that target female consumers – particularly moms. Some blogs, including mommy blogs, get so cluttered with ads that it becomes difficult to differentiate the editorial content from the paid advertising. See the screen shot below from Heather Armstong’s Dooce blog. At one time Heather was one of my favorite bloggers, but her blog has become so commercial. Frankly, I feel the same way about Kevin Pho, M.D.’s blog – Kevin MD. Not only is the editorial content engulfed by ads, but after a few seconds of reading a post, the visitor is subjected to pop-ups with an invitation to subscribe to the blog’s newsletter. It feels like a commercial experience. In truth, it is a commercial experience.



I have to remind myself that we live in an age where Disney is striking deals with hospitals to peddle baby clothes in maternity units. Should we be surprised when hospital blogs begin accepting paid advertising? I doubt it’s a shock to consumers; they are used to seeing advertising and ignoring it. Many online patient communities take paid advertising. Whether you call them “partners” or “sponsors,” it’s still advertising. And WebMD is an advertising machine. Consumers can handle ads – but does the presence of the ads put your content in jeopardy? At what point does advertising revenue start to influence our editorial decision-making? Those are my concerns.

I’m not clear as to  whether hospital blogs are destined be the last bastion of advertising-free digital space. What I do know is that ad revenue could offset a ton of healthcare costs. And we’re all in favor of lowering healthcare costs. It is an interesting thought. Where do you stand on the issue? I welcome your opinions and insights.

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