Digihealth PulScreen Shot 2014-04-08 at 8.26.53 AMse Virtual 2014 (DHPV) is an online digital health conference that will take place during the month of May. There will be virtual roundtables taking place from May 1-21, and the main conference will be May 19, 20 & 21. The conference is being produced by Enspektos – a digital health innovation firm headed up by Fard Johnmar. Among other things, Fard has developed and implemented programs for numerous major global and domestic pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits, medical associations and government organizations, and is one of the authors of the recently published ePatient 2015.

There are two things I love about this virtual conference that Fard has put together. First, he has lined up an amazing array of speakers including Dan Munro, Jane Sarasohn-Kanh, Esther Dyson, Enoch Choi, Marie Ennis-O’Connor, Alex Fair, David Goldsmith and Matthew Zachary, just to name a few. There are many more! These are the people I follow on social media – my peer group. Second, you can attend this conference from your home or office, without the expense of air travel and hotels. To me, it is amazing to have access to all these thinkers without having to physically attend a national conference. This is such an impressive line-up.

I am honored to be serving on the faculty for this event. In my presentation I’ll discuss why it is important for health organizations to support patients and other health consumers using digital technology platforms, including online patient support communities and social networks. To learn more about this conference, go to http://enspektos.com/landing2/dhpv-2014/. Below is a screen shot that shows some of the amazing professionals who will be presenting at digihealth pulse Virtual 2014.

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Here’s an interesting infographic I ran across yesterday that details the differences in the ways men and women use social media. In general, men are more likely to use social media for business or dating, while women are more likely to use social media for relationships, sharing, entertainment, and self-help. Enjoy the infographic!


Social Media and Mobile Phone Analysis: FinancesOnline.com Reviews Why Men Look For Business & Love While Women Seek Games & Knowledge
Reviews by David Adelman | Follow our Tumblr

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 3.19.48 PMSeveral weeks ago I received an invitation to an event hosted by the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Author Amanda Bennett was going to headline a Women in Media Leadership Series talk. Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and an executive editor at Bloomberg News. Enclosed with the invitation was a copy of her most recent book. (In my opinion, there is no better gift than a book.) It looked interesting, so I tucked it in my briefcase as I headed off to the AAMC GIA Professional Development Conference where I was scheduled to speak.

On the flight from Dallas to Salt Lake City I read Amanda Bennett’s memoir, The Cost of Hope. It is the incredibly well-written story of Amanda’s relationship with her late husband, from their first introduction and tumultuous love affair to his eventual death from a rare form of kidney cancer. This is one of the best book I’ve read in ages. It held my attention throughout.

Amanda does an amazing job telling the story of their lives together (they are both fascinating people) while weaving in details of their extensive interactions with the healthcare system. In the end, Amanda examines the cost of her hope – the hope of finding a cure for her husband’s cancer. She looks at real dollars and cents. How many CT scans did Foley have over the course of his illness, and how much did they cost? Why were some of the scans far more expensive than others? So what is the true cost of hope and how does it impact the cost of healthcare in the United States? Through her book, Amanda Bennett opens the door to this important and difficult conversation.

Here’s a link to The New York Times review of “The Cost of Hope.”

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a keynote presentation by ZDOGGMD, aka, Dr. Zubin Damania. ZDOGGMD is a persona that Dr. Damania adopted to present his engaging style of health education. Today, Dr. Damania is CEO and Founder of Las Vegas based Turntable Health – a new health clinic/concept located in and part of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. Tony Hsieh is the founder of Zappos and he actively recruited Damania to Las Vegas.

ZDOGGMD’s presentation at the AAMC GIA Conference yesterday was one of the most entertaining and impactful keynotes I have witnessed in my 20 years attending healthcare conferences. His performance and his message were brilliant. Although ZDOGGMD may be known for his crazy videos (crazy effective), what impressed me was hearing about the work he and his team are doing at Turntable Health. His focus is on serving humanity and improving health. In Las Vegas he’s doing it with “a membership-based primary care and wellness ecosystem focused on everything that keeps people healthy.” Patients pay a flat monthly fee of $80 ($60 for kids) and they’re in. If you’re not familiar with the work they’re doing, I recommend you visit their website and learn more. Here’s a video from Dr. Damania that tells the Turntable Story.

Finally, here are a couple of YouTube videos from the ZDOGGMD archive. Enjoy!

This is me when I was 5 years old. The image is a square from a family quilt my mother made. Each square depicted a scene involving at lest one of her 5 children.

This is me when I was 5 years old. The image is a square from a family quilt my mother made. Each square depicted a scene involving at least one of her 5 children. I’m running with my dog, Dandelion.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Dark Knight. I’ve been captivated by the legend of Batman since I was a small child. Although the Dark Knight is a psychologically complex character, he did impart a few important lessons that I have carried with me into my professional life.

  1. The Utility Belt – Batman was a lover of science and technology. The Batcave was essentially a science lab where new crime fighting technologies were always under development. At just the right time, Batman would pull a prototype of some new device out of his utility belt, and use it to take down another arch villain. Unlike other crime fighters of the era, Batman was unwilling to simply rely on old technology. He pushed forward, always looking for new tools that would help him do his job more efficiently. This is a lesson the best healthcare marketers and communicators have come to embrace.
  2. The Bat Signal & the Bat Phone – The Caped Crusader understood that his clients (the Gotham City Police Department and Commissioner Gordon) needed ready access to him. When a crisis struck Gotham City, time was always of the essence. So Batman developed a number of ways that he could be contacted in the event of an emergency. It wasn’t enough to have the Bat Phone (a direct line to the Batcave, Wayne Manor and Batmobile); Batman also developed the Bat Signal, an alternative form of communication that would allow him to respond immediately to client calls for help. Batman, like many of you, understood the importance of good communication and accessibility. (He would have loved the immediacy of texting.) With social media and digital technology, we now live in a 7-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day world. So we need to be connected and available at a moment’s notice. That’s why this healthcare marketer doesn’t go anywhere without his trusty iPhone! It is important to remember that good communication is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The best solution or combination of solutions is whatever works to the target audience – client, co-worker or consumer. Whether it is email, text, phone or Bat signal, it is up to us to choose the tools that get the job done.
  3. Robin, Alfred and Bat Girl – Batman understood that in crime fighting you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. That is certainly the case in healthcare marketing. You can talk about technology and new media all you want, but in the end, it comes down to the people in your organization – their expertise and their commitment. So I ask, do you have a Boy Wonder on your team? Do you have an Alfred operating behind the scenes, digging up consumer insights or managing online communities?
  4. From Vigilante Crime Fighter to Millionaire PlayboyThe Struggle for Work-Life Balance – Although Batman never really came to terms with this, he did strive for work-life balance, primarily at the urging of his personal valet, Alfred. Batman juggled a busy social life as a millionaire industrialist, playboy (eligible bachelor) and one of Gotham City’s leading philanthropists. Sure, his work was the priority, and he admitted having an unhealthy obsession with taking down the bad guys. He was self-aware and, in his defense, was not yet encumbered by the responsibilities that come with being a family-man. The lesson here is that he was not one dimensional in his life. Remember, “all work and no play make Bruce Wayne a dull boy.” The same is true for healthcare marketers. Being one dimensional makes you a less effective marketer. Get out there and experience life. Step away from your laptop and go for a hike or attend a concert. You’ll return to your work revitalized.Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 8.46.15 AM
  5. The Joker, The Riddler, Catwoman, The Penguin – In Gotham City, villains came in all shapes and sizes. And they kept coming. No sooner would Batman and Robin vanquish one evil-doer, than another would begin wreaking havoc. Batman learned early on that it would be no small task to rid Gotham City of the criminal element, and he would need to be patient and persevere in the face of incredible and often unforeseen challenges. Doesn’t this sound like the healthcare environment of 2014? You face challenges inside and outside of your organization. In the spirit of the Dark Knight, keep pushing forward. Don’t let obstacles keep you from pursuing what you know is right.
  6. The Wayne Foundation – Philanthropy and Giving Back to the Community – As I mentioned earlier, Bruce Wayne was philanthropist who ran the Wayne Foundation, a charity for helping victims of crimes. This philanthropic activity, along with his obsession with tracking down the criminal element, was inspired by the murder of both of his parents. The Wayne Foundation supported Gotham’s many soup kitchens and funded research that would ultimately be used to address the city’s many social problems. Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, was committed to improving his community through his philanthropy and through his direct action. As professionals working in healthcare, the link between the communities we serve and our organizations is apparent. We often work for the largest employer in the region and an important driver of the local economy. Community relations and giving back to the community are important themes in our business. They allow us to build up equity for our hospital brands in the event we need to cash in that equity on a rainy day. The goodwill from community involvement also makes it easier to pursue new initiatives with the support of local constituents. As I’ve written many times, the theme of community should be an integral part of everything we do as healthcare marketers.
  7. The Bat Signal – Batman understood the Power of Brand. Think of the Bat logo and Batman’s well-established visual brand identity. Think of the iconic black and gold colors. The logo itself has evolved over the years to stay relevant to the times; but the essence of the brand has remained consistent. There was visual brand consistency as you moved from the Batmobile to Batplane to Batsuit. There are two important lessons here: 1. Brand consistency across all platforms is a great asset to the organization, and 2. We should not be afraid to let our visual brand identity evolve over time. Great brands evolve as their communities evolve: think of Apple Computer and McDonald’s (see images below). In our business, we must be constantly vigilant, working to keep our communications and our brands relevant to our constituents. The appetites of consumers change over time and so must our marketing!

See you soon: same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.

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The infographic was designed by Cathryn Laver from Calm the Ham.

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Brooke Hynes and I will be speaking at the AAMC GIA Professional Development Conference this Thursday in Salt Lake City. This is an interesting conference because it attracts many of the marketing, public affairs and communications professionals from med schools and teaching hospitals. I first spoke at the event in 2006 and have enjoyed returning over the years. This year’s conference is being held from Wednesday, March 26 through Saturday, March 29.

Our presentation is titled “Tuning In: Why Online Video is a Must for the Modern Academic Medical Center.” It is scheduled for Thursday, March 27 at 2 p.m. We’ll discuss the value of using online video to engage audiences. In additional to looking at some of the innovative uses of video within healthcare, we’ll review three case studies in which hospitals are using video to successfully engage key audiences.

Our message is that healthcare communication needs to offer value to the target audience – and it has been short on value in the past. Today’s connected consumer get to determine what she watches, when she watches it, and on what type of device. She is in control. And there are lots of options. It is up to us to develop communication that is relevant, engaging and that meets some fundamental need of the individual being targeted. That need could be emotional, informational or entertainment. It is our perspective that video is uniquely suited to addressing those needs and can package health information in a more appetizing form.

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Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 5.22.54 PMI love this TV spot from Age UK. Aging seems to be a theme on my blog of late. I blame the inspiration for this post on my co-worker, Rob Frasketi, who recently sent me a link to this amazing commercial. In our business, it is rare that we produce art. But this is art. And its message is powerful. It encourages everyone to embrace aging and seize the day. The narrative features a poem by acclaimed poet Roger McGough and is voiced by actor Sir Christopher Lee, a gentleman who knows something about aging at 92 years of age. McGough’s poem was written specifically for this campaign. (As background, Age UK’s mission is to inspire, enable and support older people to help people make the most of later life.) Now, tune out all distractions and enjoy the spot:

My favorite lines from this video:

“Time flies they say. But it’s us that fly. Time sits on its hands as we rush by. In the blink of an eye, the brush of a tear, you are old. But valued still. Welcome to the fold.”

For more inspiration, head for www.ageuk.org.uk/lovelaterlife


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