IMG_7691My job is amazing – at times; yesterday was one of those times. Working with the cardiovascular and marketing teams from Signature Healthcare, we live tweeted every step of a transradial coronary intervention involving cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stent placement. We even had the dissection of the coronary artery and the placement of an additional stent to repair the damaged lining of the arterial wall. The cool thing was – I was in the middle of it all, together with one of my co-workers, Kate Rudy. This was the culmination of more than a month of preparation on the part of everyone involved.

We interviewed the interventional cardiologists, researched the benefits and potential complications of the radial pathway, watched the procedure on YouTube, and wrote a script that we felt accurately laid out the minute steps of the transradial coronary intervention – covering the potential scenarios. Then we had the interventional cardiology team critique and edit the script. That document became the foundation for the Twittercast. It was our road map; although the road kept changing and shifting before our very eyes. All the more reason to start with a map!

The procedure was scheduled for 9am. Of course, we were Tweeting all morning leading up to the event. Kate, gathering input and guidance from Dr. Geagea (chief of cardiology), would Tweet the step-by-step details of the coronary intervention. Dr. Geagea was with us in the control room and provided play-by-play. Having him there with us was key to the success of the Twittercast. Meanwhile, Dr. Tahir and his team were in the procedure room with our patient. My job was to move between the control room and the procedure room, capturing the process on video and still photos – and them Tweeting them out as quickly as possible so they would be real time and fit with the sequence of the Twittercast.

IMG_7679Of course, as expected, we had a patient in cardiac arrest  come in through the ED at 8am, just as the team was prepping our patient. There are procedure rooms on either side of the control room, so two interventions can take place at the same time, with no problem. The folks from the ED brought up the patient that was having an MI, and that patient became the immediate priority. Dr. Geagea jumped into action with no hesitation, and took the lead with this new patient. In less than an hour he performed a coronary intervention using the radial pathway (through the radial artery in the wrist) and cleared the blockage.  It was amazing to watch the team perform in an emergency situation, yet remain so calm and orchestrated. This was business as usually and they perform at an incredibly high level, every day.

Once Dr. Geagea finished up with the patient in cardiac arrest, he joined us in the control room as Dr. Tahir began the coronary stent placement procedure with our original patient – a 53-year-old woman who agreed to participate in the Twittercast and who signed a HIPAA release allowing us to share this information.

Here are two video clips from my interview with Dr. Tahir the evening prior to the procedure. You’ll hear him explain his strategy based on his review of the diagnostic angiography performed earlier – and you’ll see images from the angiography in the second video:

Here’s a brief video clip of Dr. Tahir accessing the radial artery at the beginning of the procedure.

To get a feel for the full extent of the event, I invite you to visit the Storify that we produced to curate the Twittercast. There you’ll have access to the running narrative as well as videos and photos from the procedure. Here’s the link to the Storify: https://storify.com/SignatureHlth/transradial-cardiac-catheterization-live-tweet

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 5.03.14 PMA decade ago, Jennings (my company) developed its first online patient support community – NCCancerStories.org – a virtual gathering place where patients and prospective patients could connect and share their experiences.

Since then, we’ve developed dozens of online communities in a variety of forms, including hospital sponsored blogs, social networks and freestanding communities. We’ve dedicated ourselves to developing communities where patients, family members and healthcare consumers can visit with one another and gather credible health information, share their stories, interact with others facing similar circumstances, access health resources, learn about hospital services and engage clinicians.

Today we are taking our interest in the development of online patient support communities to a new level with the announcement of our partnership with Hive Strategies and CareHubs. This is a relationship we’ve worked on behind the scenes for many months and it is exciting to see it come to fruition. Below is the body of the press release that we’re sharing with media outlets over the next few days. After reviewing the press release, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email: ddunlop (at) jenningsco dot com.


Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.33.50 PM


New Partnership Helps Health Systems
Create Effective Online Patient Communities

September 30, 2014 – A new partnership announced today between Hive Strategies (McMinnville, OR), CareHubs, Inc. (San Francisco, CA) and Jennings (Chapel Hill, NC), brings the healthcare industry easy access to affordable, HIPAA-compliant-ready online patient support communities.

CareHubs offers the leading private-label, online patient community platform available today.  Their customers include Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the Australian Private Hospitals Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Ventures, Health 2.0, Mayo Clinic, and many others.

“Online patient communities provide a win/win opportunity for hospitals,” said Dan Hinmon, Principal at Hive Strategies. “Done right, these communities result in better health, lower costs and greater patient loyalty. We want to help hospitals and health services do these communities right.”

Together, Hive Strategies, Jennings and CareHubs provide the full continuum of expertise required to plan, build and successfully manage online patient support communities.

“We want to help involve patients, their caregivers and families in ongoing conversations about health, wellness, prevention and lifestyle modifications,” says Dan Dunlop, CEO of Jennings. “Building consistent relationships between the patient and provider delivers real value to both the patients and the healthcare organization.”

“Healthcare providers are under intense pressure to ‘do more with less,’ but securing sensitive data, insuring high-availability and performance,  and adhering to regulatory compliance requirements such as HIPAA and CMIA are expensive and time-consuming prospects” adds Chris Williams, CISO of CareHubs.

“Our experience handling complex security and compliance standards, coupled with our understanding of the many technical requirements that come with them, means that our customers don’t have to spend time managing technology infrastructure.  This allows them to focus on what they do best:  engaging their patients and supporting their communities.”

Online patient support communities are an important tool for healthcare organizations now facing the challenge of population health management. “Vibrant, well-managed online patient communities can help patients achieve better health outcomes, reduce the cost of care, and build deeper relationships between prospective patients and the healthcare provider,” says Dunlop.

These are all welcome outcomes for healthcare organizations facing a change from the traditional fee-for-service payment model to a more value-based model that brings more risk for the provider. The ideal outcome in this new healthcare environment is healthier, more engaged patients who adhere to a treatment regimen and actively participate in the management of their health.

“The notion is simple yet revolutionary,” explains Dunlop. “I call it return on community. Make an investment in your community, and you will realize a return on that investment.”

For more information about this new partnership, or to learn more about online patient communities, please visit the partner websites at http://www.HiveStrategies.com, Jenningsco.com, or CareHubs.com.



Over the last several months I have come to know Hospice intimately. The role that these healthcare professional play at the end of life is beyond my comprehension, despite my recent experience as they cared for my father over the last three months of his life. These are remarkable people and they have my respect and gratitude; that includes the entire team of doctors, nurses, social workers and nursing assistants.

My firm recently completed a series of videos for Lower Cape Fear Hospice. This particular batch of videos introduces the remarkable physicians who have chosen to make hospice care the focus of their professional life. Creating these videos was an incredibly emotional experience for my crew and the physicians we interviewed. I’m extremely proud of the final product and I’m so pleased to be sharing these stories. Within our industry, we need to talk more openly about hospice care and end of life issues. Enjoy the videos.

Patient Stories on Video

For years I’ve ranted about the importance of having the voice of the patient inform everything we do as healthcare marketers. One terrific way to capture the voice of the patient is through video. I find creating patient videos to be a very grounding exercise. It always serves to remind me why we do what we do.

Here are a couple of new patient story videos developed by my team at Jennings. Each video has multiple storytellers because they feature both the patient and the team of physicians who cared for individual. These were developed as part of a marketing program for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, VT.

IMG_7537My friend, Chris Bevolo, has completed the companion piece to his first book, Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital. The new book is titled: Joe Public II: Embracing the New Paradigm – A Strategic Guide to Digital and Content Marketing for Hospitals and Health Systems.

Back in July, Chris sent me a draft version to review. (I was fortunate to serve as one of the reviewers of the first Joe Public book.) With this new book coming from one of the smartest healthcare marketers I know (characterized by clear thinking and true common sense), I had high expectations. Needless to say, Joe Public II did not disappoint.

Here’s my review in a nutshell, short and sweet:

It’s a fact that is difficult to acknowledge, but in healthcare the notion of an integrated marketing strategy that includes digital and traditional tools is still aspirational. In his new book, Embracing the New Paradigm, Bevolo reminds us of the need for a new marketing paradigm, and gives the reader a clear prescription for revolutionary transformation that begins with three priorities: web, mobile and search – all elements of an integrated approach that engages consumers at the right time and in the right place. Throughout the book, Bevolo provides easy-to-understand concepts (horizontal vs. vertical notions of digital marketing) that will ease the marketer’s transition to the new paradigm.

I strongly recommend getting your hands on a copy of Chris’ new book. Hopefully you’ll find it as helpful as I did.

For some time now I have been on the video bandwagon. Video is the ideal platform for effective, authentic storytelling. As I said in a recent article in eHealthcare Strategy & Trends (February 2013):

There exists a clear opportunity within the healthcare industry to more effectively engage consumers online using video. As Marie Gross of Signature Healthcare points out, the move to well-crafted physician videos is a necessary reaction to the changing appetite of consumers, who want to know more about their healthcare providers. “We believe that the physician videos we’re producing help us to capture and retain the consumers’ interest while responding to their need for a greater depth of information about their potential healthcare provider,” Gross says. Recognizing this opportunity, production companies such as WebOuts and On-Site Studios are developing solutions that make it easier for marketers to produce professional-quality videos at a reasonable cost. The convergence of these factors will undoubtedly lead to more experimentation with video as a physician marketing tool.

Here’s a video of Marie Gross, speaking to the power of physician video.

Here are a few physician videos that we just completed. They are part of a much larger series of physician videos that we’ve produced for Signature Healthcare and Signature Medical Group. I’m am extremely proud of the way in which we represent these physicians, capturing their personalities and their humanity. Believe me when I tell you that they don’t show up for the interview relaxed and ready to tell their stories. My team is extremely skilled and experienced at getting the most out of our encounter with each physician.



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