Earlier this week I received notification that the deadline for entries in the 2016 Cancer Awareness Advertising Awards is rapidly approaching. The early deadline is October 31, 2016 and the late deadline is November 18, 2016. For more information about the awards, go to www.caaawards.com.


The Donut Debacle

This is a cautionary tale about the risk of bringing donuts to people who work in a healthcare facility.


In Portland, Maine there is a donut company that is famous for making potato donuts. It is called The Holy Donut and is one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in town. You see, my interest in food extends beyond pizza!

Two weeks ago I was in Portland visiting a client and I thought it would be a special treat for me to bring them a half dozen donuts from The Holy Donut. That morning I walked seven blocks from my hotel to the donut shop and picked out a half dozen (plus one for me) to take to my client. I selected two Triple Berry, two Pomegranate and two Apple Cider (my favorite). These were all donuts with a fresh theme! And they were made with Maine potatoes. What’s not to like?

donut-caseThe donuts come in a special carrying case. I proudly and excitedly left the donut shop carrying my small case of donuts. They are unusually heavy donuts. My guess is that’s due to the mashed potatoes in the batter. I walked back to my hotel, making a stop at Starbucks to get a latte. The staff at Starbucks tried to separate me from my stash of donuts, but they were not successful.

Once back at my hotel I packed up and headed to my client’s office which is located in a medical office building. I arrived early and waited in the lobby. After a few minutes, my client appeared and ushered me back to the conference room. I could see the recognition and excitement in her eyes when she spied the Holy Donut logo on the carrying case! This was turning into a great day.

open-donut-caseAs we rounded the corner and headed toward the conference room, the bottom of the donut case gave out, and donuts began rolling down the hallway. I kid you not. It all happened in slow motion. Donuts were slowly rolling in all directions. My heart was broken. One passerby stopped to console me: “Remember the five second rule.” I let her know that I didn’t think that applied to donuts rolling on the floor of a medical office building. But I appreciated her support. In the end, the donuts went in the trash and we all avoided the inevitable weight gain associated with consuming those delectable treats. It was for the best, or so I tell myself.

Let this be a lesson to all of us: there is no place for donuts in a medical/healthcare environment – when taking donuts into a healthcare environment, support the bottom of the box!


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.



Public Health 3.0

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about Public Health 3.0. If I’m hearing a lot about it, I figure others must be as well. What is it and why is it important? In this blog post I plan to address those questions and provide links to resources that can given you a greater depth of information on the subject.

My understanding of Public Health 3.0, in very simple terms, is that it is a reaction to the recognition that addressing the social determinants of health will require the involvement of an increased number of stakeholders, pooling of resources and multi-sector collaboration, leading to greater innovation in the ways we address these challenges to population health improvement.

The key components of Public Health 3.0 are enhanced public health leadership in the community, broad engagement with partners across multiple sectors, an accreditation process that includes Public Health 3.0 elements, more timely and locally relevant data, new metrics of community health and more flexible public health funding. The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health is leading the Public Health 3.0 initiative, which will build off ongoing Healthy People 2020 efforts that encourage collaboration across sectors and communities.” (Source: The Nation’s Health, “Social determinants take center stage in call for Public Health 3.0”)

On the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website (Health.gov), the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health on Public Health 3.0 has established a blog (Public Health 3.0 in Action) to provide regular updates showcasing examples of Public Health 3.0. The blog take Public Health 3.0 out of the theoretical realm, giving current real world examples of this approach in practice.

Why do we need Public Health 3.0? Why is it important?

Despite public health’s increasing focus on how environments impact health, our ZIP codes remain a more accurate determinant of health than our genetic codes. As a society, we have a collective responsibility to create conditions that allow all members of our communities to make healthy choices. And yet public health initiatives often exist in silos, resulting in missed opportunities to leverage the critical knowledge of communities to improve health at the local level.” (Source: HealthyPeople.gov)

The historic lack of collaboration between public health organizations, healthcare systems, community organization and private enterprise has always puzzled me. Public Health 3.0 seeks to change that prevailing paradigm by calling for cross-sector collaboration and innovative solutions. It’s an exciting initiative that is provoking conversations and action!

For more information on Pubic Health 3.0, here are some resources I recommend:

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-12-00-37-pmJamie Katuna is a medical student who is using the spoken word to share her perspective on the current state of medicine. I believe I first came into contact with her videos when they were featured on the KevinMD blog. Storytelling comes in a variety of forms, and I’m captivated by Jamie’s use of the spoken word art form to address challenges within medicine. This is powerful communication from a future physician. After watching and listening to Jamie’s videos, let me know what you think.

epatient-dave2Tuesday was a remarkable day. For me, it started out in the mountains of New Hampshire at the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting. I was invited to introduce the day’s keynote speaker, ePatient Dave (Dave deBronkart). This is a man who I have followed for many years on social media, and someone I hold in high regard. He, and others in the ePatient movement, has influenced the way I think about healthcare and healthcare marketing. Dave’s presentation was outstanding. He certainly did not disappoint.

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-11-13-pmThen, later that day, on Tuesday evening, the weekly healthcare leadership Twitter chat featured a discussion on “Ten Years of ePatient Emergence.” The chat’s guest host was none other than ePatient Dave! Click here to read the blog post that went along with Tuesday night’s chat. By the way, the analytics for the Twitter chat were through the roof!  Check out the numbers to the left and below (courtesy of Symplur): more than 2,500 Tweets with nearly 23 million potential impressions. (Click on the image below to enlarge.)


During the #HCLDR chat, participants were asked to name the epatients that they follow on Twitter. I thought it would be helpful if I shared some of those Twitter handles with you. Following these epatients on Twitter is a great way to learn more about the epatient movement and the perspective of the patient. (Some listed below are not ePatients, but are patient activists, advocates or evangelists.) The list below is in no way complete and the Twitter handles appear in no specific order.


The Society for Participatory Medicine

What is an ePatient? – Stanford Medicine X

In-Depth: Rise of the ePatient Movement

Dave deBronkart: Meet e-Patient Dave – TEDxMaastricht



@aaronecarroll (also MD)


































Resources: If you are interested in learning more about the epatient movement and patient empowerment, here are links to a few resources, including some blog posts I’ve written previously.

book-imageMy mother worked so hard to turn me into a reader. She would be proud to know that I am writing about the value I place on reading. From a business perspective, I think reading is essential; from a personal perspective, reading helps to chill me out. For whatever reason, books make me happy! (That wasn’t the case when I was a kid.)

The bad news is that lately I have fallen behind in my reading. The stack of business and marketing books that I want to read is growing by the day. Hopefully this fall will be a good time for catching up on reading. I’ve heard of seasonal reading patterns although I’ve never tracked mine. It is likely that I do more pleasure reading (fiction) in the summer months and business reading in the fall and winter. Perhaps that’s just an excuse for failing to keep up over the last few months. In any event, the books are here, waiting to be read.

Feeling overwhelmed, I thought I’d share my reading list with you, along with links to each of the books on Amazon. Misery loves company.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading and finding to be of value! Please feel free to share by leaving a comment.

The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol, MD

The Internet of Healthy Things, Joseph C. Kvedar, MD

Hacking Healthcare: A Guide to Standards, Workflows, and Meaningful Use, Fred Trotter

Trauma Room Two, Philip Allen Green

The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age, Robert Wachter

Results: The Future of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, RJ Lewis, Scott Weintraub, Brad Sitler, Joanne McHugh, and Roger Zan

Healthcare Disrupted: Next Generation Business Models and Strategies, Jeff Elton and Anne O’Riordan

The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less, Elizabeth H. Bradley

Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System, Ezekiel J. Emanuel

Healthcare Disrupted: Next Generation Business Models and Strategies, Jeff Elton

General Business Books:

Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance

Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success, Geoff Smart, Randy Street and Alan Foster

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