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

When I was a young instructor at the college level, I dreaded reading those end of term evaluations from students. It wasn’t that I didn’t get good reviews, but there was always that one student who had negative things to say. I would spend the next several weeks obsessing about that one piece of feedback, rather than focus on all of the positive comments from the rest of the students. The truth is I learned from those negative comments and they made me a better instructor.

As healthcare marketers, we now live in a world where our organizations and physicians are constantly getting reviewed. And we’ve created platforms (Facebook, Twitter) that make it easy for our constituents to give us feedback. We’re also under greater pressure to deliver measurable results. That means your performance is potentially being evaluated based on campaign metrics and ROI measures.

Feedback, whether it comes from consumers, family members, patients or our direct supervisors, is often painful to hear. But it is invaluable. If we’re going to get better as healthcare organizations (and marketers), we need to welcome the feedback and come to view it as a positive – even when the message is negative.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.54.29 PMI was recently the keynote speaker at a healthcare marketing symposium sponsored by my firm and Market Street Research. One of the benefits of having Market Street as a partner was the attention they paid to surveying attendees. They conducted onsite speaker evaluations and a follow-up online survey to better understand attendees’ satisfaction with the symposium and identify areas to improve, should we hold a similar event in the future. Here’s what we heard:

  • Attendees were highly satisfied with the symposium and are likely to attend in the future (if this event is held again)
  • Most found the location (Northampton, MA) convenient and appealing.
  • The quality of the sessions and ease of networking were perceived as the major strengths of the symposium.
  • Sessions were well-received and garnered praise for their relevance, useful takeaways, and the knowledge of the speakers.
  • The quality of the food was the only real weakness identified.

Sounds pretty good, right? For my session, I received a 4.9 rating out of a possible 5. Not so fast! Celebrating would be premature. Hidden in the comments was some extremely useful information. Attendees really liked my presentation, but they wanted dedicated time for Q&A. They also wanted the presentation to include more opportunities for audience interaction and engagement. This is exactly the feedback I needed to hear. And it is ironic that I should need to receive this feedback (like a slap across the back of my head), because I’m always the first person to complain about organizations spewing content at consumers. And what was I doing? Spewing content at this audience. So what am I going to do with it? I’m going to use it as motivation.

I’m currently working on presentations that I will deliver in July and October. Taking this feedback into account, I plan to take a whole new tact with these presentations. I am going to enter each of these presentations armed with 8 to 10 scenarios. Each PowerPoint slide, and there will only be 10 of them, will briefly outline a scenario that a healthcare marketing team might face. Once I introduce that scenario (less than a minute), I will open it up to the group to tell me how they think that situation should be handled or addressed. We’ll have a conversation. And I’ll jump in with my thoughts. We’ll do that for each scenario. The presentation will build from the most simple scenarios to the most complex or high risk.

I’m excited about this approach. The obvious risk is that no one plays along. If we get the participation I hope for, my role will be that of a moderator rather than presenter. I’ll report back on how it goes. Whatever the outcome, I am grateful for the feedback that has led me to this change. It will definitely lead to another learning experience. What more can I ask for?

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.



Patient empowerment has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, and it’s happening at a time when patients have more information at hand than ever before. Emerging as a new paradigm, patient empowerment promises to help improve medical outcomes while also lowering treatment costs.

However, in order for this concept to become a reality, people need to become more active and engaged in their health, which will, in turn, enable them to make better use of the knowledge, tools, techniques, and support available to them. From my perspective, for population health management to work, patients must take accountability for their own health. And we have to help them get there.

A bigger challenge involves organization embracing the notion of patient empowerment and embracing the patient as part of the care team. Today, I hear too many stories of patients and families still struggle to access their medical records. In that regard, we are still very far from where we need to be.

Here’s an infographic from LabFinder that introduces the idea of patient empowerment. The graphic outlines steps for taking patient empowerment from concept to practice – something many organizations currently struggle with. Enjoy the infographic.

For years I have written about the movement to create healing environments within hospitals. It seems strange to say it, but most hospitals fall short in this regard. Most hospitals are loud, have poor lighting, and the decor does nothing to create a soothing, healing setting. They feel institutional. Fortunately, this has been changing over the last several years.

Here’s one extraordinary example. The Susan Sebastian Foundation has just finished placing art in more than 1,000 patient rooms in each of the Vermont’s 14 hospitals. Each piece of art was created by a Vermont Artist. The final hospital to benefit from this effort was Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) in Bennington, which received approximately $50,000 in art for its 54 patient rooms. SVMC and the Susan Sebastian Foundation co-sponsored a juried art exhibit of more than 100 pieces from local artists. 54 pieces were selected for the hospital and purchased through the generosity of the Susan Sebastian Foundation.

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 3.32.18 PMThe foundation was created in honor of a patient of Vermont hospitals, Susan Sebastian, who was born in Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in 1956. Susan endured a long illness with extensive hospitalizations, and spent a great deal of time looking at the bare walls of hospital rooms. It was her wish that every hospital room in Vermont be hung with gentle, inspiring art by Vermont artists. Since Susan’s death in 2009, her mother Elise Braun has worked to fulfill her daughter’s wish. Braun has used the book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being by Dr. Esther Sternberg to help guide the Foundation’s purchases (paintings and photography), which are meant to take the patient out of the room and into the outdoors to a favorite vista or recreational hobby.

A post from Jennings' Facebook page featuring local art at Copley Hospital in Vermont.

A post from Jennings’ Facebook page featuring local art at Copley Hospital in Vermont.

For me, it is always a pleasure to visit hospitals that have made an effort to introduce art into their facilities. Several of my client hospitals, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (NH), Copley Hospital (VT), Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (VT), have used art to infuse warmth, texture and a sense of the natural world into the medical space. The story of Elise Braun’s work, honoring of her daughter’s wish to bring art into patient rooms, is inspiring. Just think of the thousands of lives that will be positively impacted.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.12.32 AMI’m weak and let little things bother me. I admit it. This one little mistake drives me crazy and I see it way too often. For me, the email below was the straw that broke this camel’s back! Can we please get people to spell HIPAA correctly? Is this too much to ask? Perhaps it would help if people knew what HIPAA stands for: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Thanks for listening. That concludes my rant. See examples below.

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This is a really common mistake. Check out these examples (or just Google HIPPA).

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