As we adjust to this new healthcare ecosystem, I am more convinced than ever that one of the keys to population health improvement is collaboration between healthcare organizations, community organizations and local public health organizations. Population health is not a challenge that is solved in the physician’s office. Nor are the social determinants of health easily addressed in a clinical setting. I’ve written about this in past blog posts. Much of my firm’s work with the Practical Playbook involves encouraging collaborations for improved population health.

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Today I am excited to announce that a project I’ve dreamed about for the last 16 months has now come to fruition! 16 months ago Leah Hollenberger (VP, Development, Marketing & Community Relations, Copley Hospital, Morrisville, VT) and I came together with a shared vision for a hospital sponsored blog that brings in representatives of various community organizations as contributing bloggers. Just last week we launched the Live Well Lamoille blog. (Kate Rudy, a digital engagement specialist at Jennings, has been instrumental in leading this project.) Contributors to the blog include:

Our bloggers include:

Caleb Magoon, Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports
David Vinick, Copley Hospital
Jessica Bickford, Healthy Lamoille Valley
Leah Hollenberger, Copley Hospital
Lisa Mugford, The North Central Vermont Recovery Center
Lynda Marshall, Lamoille County Mental Health Services
Mary Collins, Lamoille Home Health & Hospice and The Manor
Michele Whitmore, Johnson State College
Nancy Wagner, Copley Hospital
Rorie Dunphey, Family Practice Associates – Cambridge
Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center
Steve Ames, Building Bright Futures
Todd Thomas, Town of Morristown
Tricia Follert, Town of Morristown
Valerie Valcour, Morrisville Department of Health

This is such an impressive list because representatives of these community organizations are coming together to share relevant health content with area residents. And it is all happening under the Copley Hospital umbrella. This is emblematic of the future of healthcare in communities across our country. It is about organizations coming together, united in their desire to improve population health. At its most basic level, preventing chronic disease is the best first step in this effort. And you do that through outreach to the communities we serve and by taking a hard look at upstream challenges in those communities that negatively impact health (poor housing conditions, lack of access to fresh/nutritious foods, etc).

I invite you to visit Copley Hospital’s fledgling blog. We are just getting started and I am so excited about the potential of this initiative.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.55.23 AMIn my business, we are communicating with vendors, clients, partners and media outlets all day long, every day. There is a ton of back and forth. On average I receive 800 email messages a day. I’m often cc’d on email exchanges that go on and on with each party talking past the other. In those instances, communication is not taking place. My suggestion is always the same: Pick up the phone! (Something people are often reticent to do.)

This is coming from someone who loves to text and has never been a fan of telephone communication. I’m an in-person kind of guy. I like to see the person I’m interacting with. Yet, I know that there is a troubling trend right now where professionals are relying on email and text communication too heavily, and are reluctant to pick up the phone. Often a simple and quick phone conversation can negate the need for multiple email messages flying back and forth over a period of several hours. A phone call can shorten the communication cycle! If you worked at Jennings, you would have heard me say, on more than one occasion: “Have you tried calling them?” If someone isn’t responding to email communication, or you’re having trouble resolving a situation via email, try the telephone. Different communications tools work in different situations and with different audiences. Part of being a good marketer and communicator is recognizing that and adapting to the situation.

I recognize that there is an opportunity for miscommunication coming from a phone conversation. That’s why it is always good to send a followup email confirming the agreements made within the phone conversation. That’s the benefit of the old school conference report. Of course, the success of that strategy is dependent upon the other party reading the conference report and responding with feedback. To help with that process, I am a fan of embedding the content of the conference report into the text of a followup email message, rather than sending it as an attachment. Even that doesn’t guarantee that your conference report will be read, but it does give you something to go back to when things eventually go wrong. And you should not be held accountable for a colleague or client not reading his or her email.

I love email and text. Truly. Text was invented with me in mind. But there are times when a good, old fashioned telephone conversation is more expeditious. So when you’re not getting what you need from email communication, ask yourself if there’s another way. Taking a new tact might save you a ton of time and aggravation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 11.47.25 AMJust last week, one of my firm’s clients, The Practical Playbook, launched a LinkedIn Group dedicated to the sharing of resources and facilitation of conversations around population health improvement. The group is titled: “Working Together for Population Health.” For those of you who now work at hospitals and health systems across the country, population health management is in our future, and is a reality today for many of us. Here’s the group description from LinkedIn:

“Public health and primary care are natural, foundational partners for addressing the challenges in today’s health system. Together, along with other partners, we can improve population health. The Practical Playbook will share guidance and lead discussions to advance population health partnerships.”

I invite you to head over to the LinkedIn Group and introduce yourself. We look forward to your input. By joining the discussion group, you will:

  • Find practical, actionable advice to help you identify potential partners and implement projects
  • Ask questions and share resources with a diverse group of colleagues
  • Read the latest thought leadership from collaboration experts
  • Connect with colleagues and gain insight into other sectors


Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.34.30 AMRecently, a friend asked me if I would compile and share a list of healthcare marketing conferences and professional development opportunities. As I was building the list, it struck me that I ought to share it on my blog. So here it is. I’m sure I’ve missed some obvious opportunities, so please feel free to recommend conferences that I should add to the list. Thanks in advance for that!

Here’s a partial list of conferences worth considering. I’ve tried to include links to each event:

Okay, so what did I forget? I know there are lots of smaller regional conferences including those is Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois…

The last eight days have been wild and crazy. Over that time span I spoke at three conferences, in three different states, on three completely different topics:

  • April 8, 2016 – Keynote address, “Community Building versus Narcissism in Healthcare Marketing,” Western New England Healthcare Marketing Symposium, Northampton, MA
  • April 12, 2016 – Presenter, “Using Video Content for SEO, Patient Engagement, and Employee Retention,” Association for Home & Hospice Care Annual Convention, Durham, NC
  • April 15, 2016 – Presenter, “The Case for Digital Physician Relations,” AAMC National Professional Development Conference, Phoenix, Arizona

IMG_3830Honestly, there was a time in my career when that many speaking engagements crammed all together would have freaked me out. Thankfully, today I cherish the opportunity to interact with new audiences and share with them my thinking on these topics. I go into each speaking engagement anticipating that I will learn as much as the audience does. And that is absolutely the case.

When I get negative about all the travel, wear and tear on my body, and time away from home, I have to remember how fortunate I am to have this career. It truly is a gift.

To close this post, I wanted to share a comment that a conference attendee (Suzanne) sent me via email this week after attending the Western New England Healthcare Marketing conference, where I was the keynote speaker. This kind of thoughtful feedback is a rare thing. It meant the world to me to receive it – and to think that she took the time to send it my way.

“Dan, your generous and spirited style carried the day.”

For me, it doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you Suzanne for your generosity and kindness!

With the conclusion of Day Three at the Association of American Medical Colleges National Professional Development Conference, I thought I’d share a summary of Twitter metrics to date, courtesy of Symplur. This has been a terrific conference. I believe this is my fourth or fifth time presenting and it is always an honor.

Twitter Metrics: For the first three days of the conference, we had 149 individuals/organizations Tweet using the official #GIA16 hashtag. These individuals generated 1,258 Tweets for a total  of 2,515,734 potential impressions. See screen shots from the Symplur metrics report below that show the influencers for the conference based on total Tweets, mentions and impressions:

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Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 9.56.48 PMDay Two (Thursday) of the AAMC National Professional Development Conference saw a significant increase in Twitter activity. We had 106 individuals Tweeting using the conference hashtag (#GIA16). They generated 638 Tweets, leading to 1,081,150 potential impressions – as measured by Symplur. Below I’ve provided screen shots of the analytics from Symplur.

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