Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-6-07-03-pmIn preparation for attending the Connected Health Symposium in Boston later this week, I’ve been reading The Internet of Healthy Things by Joseph Kvedar, MD. To give you a sense of my reaction to the book, I plan to send all of my healthcare marketing friends and clients copies as holiday gifts. That’s how important I believe it is. Kvedar paints a picture of the way healthcare can be – and the way it should be.

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-6-23-43-pmFor me, what is most impressive about this book and the thinking it contains, is the realism that Kvedar brings to the discussion of innovation. He seems to clearly understand that innovation is only helpful if it takes into account the realities of human behavior. His notion of “Connected Health” is on the money and a concept that more of us should embrace.

Kvedar started with a very basic understanding of the opportunity for technology to impact health and healthcare delivery.

I did, however, recognize the need for technologies that could deliver health in a manner independent of time and place. And I know that healthcare should be available to people in the context of their everyday lives and that implementation of care in this manner would improve both quality and efficiency. (p. 5, The Internet of Healthy Things)

Note the similarity in the ways successful marketing and successful healthcare are delivered! Both are at their best when they are delivered within the context of the individual’s everyday life. In the end, it is always about the people we’re trying to reach, not about what’s easiest for us! If we want people to engage in healthy activities, we need to make it easy and convenient for them. It needs to fit within their daily routine.

The Internet of Healthy Things shines a bright light on the promise of digital health. It’s interesting to read about Kvedar’s vision while realizing that we live in a healthcare environment where most people still cannot make an appointment with their physician online. The fact that we have a lot of ground to make up does not in any diminish the promise of Connected Health.

The truth is, as Kvedar points out (to his credit), healthcare organizations and providers have behaved using a “seller’s market” approach. (p. 77) You know the mindset: “You need us more than we need you.” Therefore, we have structured the delivery of care and your entire experience to accommodate our needs – not yours. (My words, not Kvedar’s.)  I’m less generous than Kvedar and look at this as an old narcissistic bent in medicine and healthcare. “You do it on our terms.” This approach does not fly with the new generations of healthcare consumers. They know better. They’ve experienced good customers service and know what it looks like. These are the people who are clamoring for virtual appointments, online appointment setting, and the ability to communicate with providers via email or text.

If you work in digital health or healthcare marketing, this book is a must read. I know that’s cliché to say, but it is absolutely how I feel. You should read this book, as should the other leaders in your organization. If you know me, don’t be surprised if you get a copy in the mail this December!

In closing, here’s a 10-minute video where Joe Kvedar, MD, speaks with Healthcare IT News about the advancements in digital health technology (2015 HIMSS Connected Health Conference).

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I invite you to join me on October 27th, 2016, for a morning of learning and sharing. The New England Society for Healthcare Communications is holding a half day virtual conference where we will take a fresh look at the role of social media in healthcare communications. I will lead a panel discussion on emerging media. Take a look below for information about the sessions, speakers and panelists. If you are interested in even more information or would like to register for the event, please click here.



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The healthcare marketing, communications and strategy professionals attending the annual conference of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development of the American Hospital Association got off to a great start on Twitter. On day one of the conference, we had 193 unique individuals sending out Tweets with the #SHSMD16 hashtag. There were a total of 707 Tweets, accounting for a total of 1,802,740 potential impressions.

With the help of Symplur, I’ve shared a few graphics depicted the Twitter analytics from day one, along with information on the top influencers. Enjoy!




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anncomptonAt this point in my career, I’ve attended more conference than I can count. That said, I’m not easily impressed. That makes my reaction to day one of #SHSMD16 all the more surprising. I was stunned Ann Compton’s opening keynote address. She was spectacular. For those of you who may not know, for decades Ann Compton served as a White House correspondent for ABC News.

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of September 11th, 2001 – certainly a day most of us will never forget. It is definitely a day Ann Compton will never forget. You see, she was traveling with President Bush when the planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. She was there when President Bush was notified of the attack. And she spent the remainder of that day on Air Force One, one of the few journalists who was allowed to remain on the plane after it refueled at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. From Louisiana, they flew to Offutt air base in Nebraska, then finally returned to Washington.

Ann told this incredibly moving story as part of her keynote last night. I don’t think there was a person in the room who wasn’t emotionally impacted by what Ann shared. It was truly an honor to be there in the audience and hear her account of that day. That presentation alone justified the cost of admission to this conference. Everything else is gravy from this point forward. I’m grateful to the conference planners, volunteers and SHSMD paid staff, for making last night possible. It was poignant.

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img_7971Pizza is on my mind this week. Truthfully, it is on my mind every week. Just ask my wife. I love pizza. But this week my thoughts of pizza are more intense than usual, probably because I’m heading to Chicago on Sunday for the annual SHSMD Connections Conference. And Chicago is home to some amazing deep dish pizza. By hook or by crook, I will find a way to make it over to Giordano’s one evening to indulge in their famous stuffed pizza. After much trial and error, Giordano’s has become one of my favorite spots for Chicago pizza (by the way, there’s plenty of bad Chicago pizza). I tend to keep the toppings simple, opting for veggies, usually jalapeno peppers and onions.

But there’s more to my fixation on pizza than my impending trip to Chicago. You’re probably well aware that Monday was National Cheese Pizza Day. My wife and I celebrated over a brick oven pizza margherita. But there’s more. What really got me fixated on pizza was an article in NY Magazine last week citing a recent study that found that pizza is a top motivator for employees.

Within this study, the promise of pizza and a compliment from the boss were both found to be top motivators, proving to be significantly better motivators than the offer of a small cash bonus.

“After the first day, pizza proved to be the top motivator, increasing productivity by 6.7 percent over the control group, thereby just barely edging out the promise of a compliment (in the form of a text message from the boss that said “Well done!”). Those in the compliment condition increased their productivity by 6.6 percent as compared to the control group. But the worst motivator, much to the company’s surprise, was the cash bonus, which increased productivity by just 4.9 percent as compared to the control group.” (Source: NY Magazine, August 29, 2016)

For a long time I’ve felt that the value of money as a motivator is fleeting. When thinking about how best to motivate employees, I believe that the best route is to create an environment where they feel valued and appreciated. And you need to show that appreciation on a regular basis. This is absolutely the case for hospital employees.

Those healthcare organizations that have integrated employee appreciation into their culture have derived all kinds of benefits: greater employee satisfaction, lower turnover rates, lower absenteeism, and higher patient satisfaction. The culture of appreciation has to be authentic and can’t be manufactured overnight. And it isn’t all about pizza! It’s all about showing appreciation, catching people doing things right, recognizing good work, having leadership walk the halls, connecting employees to the mission and celebrating achievements. Pizza is simply an iconic way of showing appreciation. In the Carolinas, BBQ has a similar impact!

One last note. I believe that the principles of community building apply to any effort to build corporate culture. As employees and co-workers, we are drawn together by shared interests and a shared commitment to the organization’s mission. But culture takes time and the opportunity for storytelling and commiserating. It is not a coincidence that for thousands of years human beings have formed community and celebrated community over shared meals. At Jennings, we bring in lunch twice a month for our team, giving employees an opportunity to share a meal, tell stories and bond over common experiences. For a hard driving team, where people are constantly going in different directions, this brief respite and demonstration of appreciation is just what the doctor ordered. And it is my belief that the pizza lunches have the largest impact!

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Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 8.11.02 PMEach year on Twitter, people who live and work in the healthcare IT / healthcare social media space give special recognition to those individuals who they regard as top influencers. It’s called the #HIT100. For a one week period, people Tweet their nominations for the #HIT100 list (last year it was the #HIT99) using the #HIT100 hashtag. This year I’m nominating people like @colin_hung, @reginaholiday, @cancergeek, @subatomicdoc, and @JoeBabaian, among others. There are so many terrific people to be recognized.

Last year, due to some strange anomaly, I was #16 on the list. There were some incredible people on the final list, like my good friend Colin Hung (#3), and I was honored to have my name appear with theirs.

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If you’d like to participate in the #HIT100 nomination process, here’s some pertinent information:


  • Nominations start Friday July 1st 2016 at 6PM and end on Friday July 8th at 6PM
  • Only one person at a time may be nominated.  Multi-nominations in one tweet will not be counted though they might form part of the analytical information base
  • Only direct nominations will be counted.  Retweets will not be counted though they may be analyzed for further enjoyment
  • Favorites will not be counted though they may be analyzed for further entertainment
  • There will only be one cycle of nominations.  No delegates or super-delegates here
  • I reserve the judgement to disqualify a nomination that I find suspicious for any reason
  • You are encouraged to include one of the optional hashtags above so that we can process with analytics to get some statistics about each one of them
  • You can add a sentiment to the end of the nomination
  • You must have fun and please follow each other as you discover new members of our community


I nominate @dandunlop (or whomever) for #HIT100. An innovative thinker, content developer, blogger and speaker. #HCSM #HealthIT

I nominate @dandunlop (or whomever) for the #HIT100 for developing innovative content relative to digital #hcmktg & #hcsm. #HealthIT

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Just last week I wrote a blog post about hospitals using local art to help create healing environments. Another trend I support is the move by hospitals and healthcare organizations to introduce healthy food options into their cafeterias. Some have even eliminated fast food options (Wendy’s, McDonalds) from their facilities.

It is my belief that those of us who work in healthcare, whether we’re vendors, consultants or direct hospital employees, should model healthy behavior. And those of us in management positions should work to create healthy environments for our employees.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 3.00.26 PMAfter 15 years in our old location, my firm recently moved our North Carolina office to a new location. This gave us the opportunity we needed to create a more healthy and positive workspace for our employees. For years we’ve lived with a tiny kitchen area that was just big enough for a microwave, coffee maker, and a dorm-sized fridge. It was not conducive to healthy eating, food prep, or even refrigerating fresh foods. We also had no workout space or shower facilities.

When we started looking for our new space, my business partner (Paige) and I specified that we needed to walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk when it comes to facilitating healthy living. We take health seriously at Jennings and only seek out clients who work to make the world a healthier place. It’s who we are. So we need to live it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 2.58.53 PMI’m so proud of our new work environment! We have an outdoor terrace garden where we are growing fresh vegetables, flowers and one cactus (my pet project). One of our art directors, Suzanne Williams, has a serious green thumb and has taken on the garden as her personal project. It’s been amazing to watch its progress. We harvested our first tomato from the garden last week and Suzanne had it for lunch mixed in with a green salad. (See photo below)

Paige and I also added a workout room to our new facility. It’s just big enough for an elliptical machine and a treadmill. And, for those who workout during the day, we added a shower for easy cleanup! (We’re encouraging good health and hygiene!) Our fitness equipment was just delivered two weeks ago. I can’t wait for people to get in the habit of incorporating a workout into their workday.

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IMG_3149The feature we added that gets the most use is our new kitchen. It is amazing to have a full-sized fridge with an ice maker! We even have a dishwasher. Speaking for myself, I am eating healthier lunches because of this kitchen. I’ve been on a health kick lately, working out regularly (even on the road) and trying to eat better, so the kitchen has been a great complement to that effort. Hopefully it has the same impact on all of our employees. As a big water drinker, I love having cold, filtered water all day long. It is such a treat.

At Jennings, we want a healthy workforce. Whether we accomplish that by proving a cool workspace (yes, we have a pool table), by promoting healthy eating and exercise, or by adding a terrace garden for employees to enjoy, we are committed to modeling healthy behavior at work. We firmly believe that healthier employees will be happier employees who will provide better service to our clients – and bring better solutions to their marketing challenges.



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