Free Hospital EMR and EHR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Hospital EMR and EHR for FREE!

Lumeon secures $28M To Accelerate US Expansion

Posted on December 7, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Lumeon, makers of a care pathway management (CPM) platform that helps patients receive the appropriate follow-up care, recently announced $28M in new funding. The investment was led by Life Sciences Partners (LSP) one of Europe’s largest healthcare investment firms.

The company was part of the third cohort of startups that came through the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator in the fall of 2017. At the time Lumeon already had 1,800 healthcare sites live on their platform in the United Kingdom, where they maintain their European headquarters. The company’s US headquarters is in Boston.

Lumeon’s platform automates many parts of the patient journey, saving time, eliminating gaps and reducing frustration for both staff as well as patients.

The $28M raised will help accelerate Lumeon’s expansion in the US healthcare market. In an exclusive email interview with Healthcare Scene, Robbie Hughes, Founder and CEO for Lumeon, explained how the funds would be used.

“Our priority is hiring the best people to allow us to keep delivering for our customers. We’ll focus initially on building out our deployment and customer support teams to accelerate new customer implementations. The funding will allow us to grow our business rapidly and take advantage of this critical moment in the healthcare market.”

The company anticipates hiring 25 new staff to support their US market expansion.

When asked why Lumeon is well positioned to succeed in a crowed market, Hughes pointed to the company’s strong user base in Europe and clear ROI.

“We have proven our solution at scale in a market with significant cost constraints, and these initiatives have resulted in a series of key insights that help us stand out from competitors. Our customers see the immediate reduction in costs brought by automating manual tasks. They also see a revenue increase from attracting new patients.”

Lumeon was recently named a Gartner Cool Vendor for 2018.

More information about the funding announcement can be found on the company’s website.

Cybersecurity, Telehealth and Big Tech Entrants are Top of Mind

Posted on November 22, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Unease over cybersecurity, optimism for the future of telehealth, and worries about the entry of big tech companies (like Apple, Amazon and Google) are the top three concerns for 2019 according to a recent survey of healthcare leaders released by the Center for Connected Medicine.

The Center for Connected Medicine (CCM), which is jointly operated by GE Healthcare, Nokia and UPMC, partnered with The Health Management Academy for the Top of Mind 2019 survey. Conducted in three parts, the research started with a survey of health system information officers in May 2018 to determine the top areas of health IT for 2019.

According to the CCM, key findings include:

  • Hackers and other cyber-criminals are stepping up their attacks on the health care industry, leading 87 percent of respondents to say they expect to increase spending on cybersecurity in 2019; no health system was expecting to decrease spending.
  • Health information technology (IT) leaders overwhelmingly expect government and commercial reimbursement to provide the majority of funding for telehealth services by 2022; internal funding and patient payments are expected to provide the majority of funding for telehealth in 2019.
  • 70 percent of responding executives said they were “somewhat concerned” about big tech companies, such as Apple, Amazon and Google, disrupting the health care market; 10 percent were “very concerned.”

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity was the top concern from the 2018 survey so it is not surprising to see it on top of the list for 2019 – especially as the number of cyberattacks continues to increase each year. What is surprising is the level of confidence that executives have in their ability to recover from an attack.

According to the report:

  • Only 20% of respondents reported being “very confident” in their organization’s IT recovery and business continuity plans
  • 70% of respondents said they were “somewhat confident” in those plans

I’m not sure I would want to be at a healthcare organization that was only “somewhat confident” it could recover from a cyber attack.

For me, the survey highlights how much work we still have to do around cybersecurity in healthcare. It’s not just a matter of hardening HealthIT systems, that is only part of the solution. Healthcare organizations also need to implement robust security processes and ensure staff are properly educated.  The latter is particularly important as Phishing and spear-phishing were cited by 80% of Top-of-Mind survey respondents as the most common types of cyberattacks.

My colleague John Lynn recently wrote an article that dives deeper into cybersecurity.

Telehealth

One of the most interesting findings in the survey was the optimism healthcare executives have for telehealth.

“Telehealth represents a low percentage of total care delivery at all responding health systems, yet executives unanimously anticipate growth in the next three years as reimbursement increases and consumer demand picks up. All responding health systems report 10% or less of their organization’s total care delivery is currently provided through telehealth. However, all health systems expect an increase over the next three years, with 45% expecting a significant increase of 10% or more.”

According to the survey the biggest barrier to telehealth adoption is not the technology, but rather the lack of reimbursement.

Part of the optimism executives feel toward telehealth may have to do with the final 2019 Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program issued early in November 2019 by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As of 1 January 2010, CMS will reimburse a number of telehealth and communication-technology based services:

  • Brief communication technology-based service, e.g. using phone or other telecommunications device to decide whether an office visit is needed
  • Remote evaluation of recorded video and/or images submitted by an established patient
  • Remote patient monitoring (CPT codes 99453, 99454, 99457)
  • Interprofessional Internet consultations (CPT codes 99451, 99452, 99446, 99447, 99448, 99449)

It is widely expected that CMS will continue to expand the reimbursement for communication technology enabled services in future years.

Entry of Big Tech Companies

Companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have each made significant healthcare-related announcements this past year and continue to push into the healthcare space. Their entry has executives concerned, according to the Top-of-Mind survey results.

“The biggest threat is if these companies get between us and the end consumer,” said one CEO in a written survey comment. “If there is a platform regulated and controlled by someone other than us – that makes us nervous. There are many places where some of these new platforms and conveniences can and will likely succeed – we haven’t been good in this space.”

What this CEO is referring to is the consumer-focus that these Big Tech companies have and how relentless they are at providing superior consumer experiences based on data as well as deep analytics. That is something traditional healthcare organizations have only just woken up to realize – that patients want the consumer-friendly conveniences they have become accustomed to from other industries like retail and banking.

Top-of-Mind Conference

In a few weeks CCM will be hosting healthcare leaders from around the country at their annual Top-of-Mind conference. I’m really excited to attend the event and learn first-hand how leaders plan to address their concerns in 2019. Stay tuned.

Interoperability Is On An Accelerated Trajectory Says Redox CEO

Posted on November 16, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

The lack of interoperability in healthcare continues to be a vexing challenge for Health IT companies, IT departments and patients. Redox is a company taking a unique approach to solving this problem. They have built a platform of reusable data connections between healthcare providers and the innovative cloud-based companies that have products those providers want to use.

Redox recently held their second annual Interoperability Summit at the new CatalystHTI facility in Denver Colorado. Over three hundred people attended the event. The diverse audience included: startups, hospitals, large HealthIT vendors, payors and government health agencies. The sessions at the Summit reflected the diversity of the audience and ranged from topics like “Hacking the Health System Sales Cycle” to “FHIR: Be the Right Amount of Excited”.

During the Summit, I sat down with Redox CEO, Luke Bonney, to talk about the state of interoperability, the willingness of the industry to share data and what advice he has for the dozens of startups that approach Redox each month.

Below is a transcript of our conversation.

What is the state of healthcare interoperability today?

I think we are in a good state right now, but more importantly I think we are on an accelerated trajectory to something better.

An accelerated trajectory?

Yes, but in order to explain why I’m saying that, we have to take a step back.

In my opinion healthcare interoperability is inextricably tied to the adoption and migration to the cloud. We will never have true data liquidity, which is the state that everyone wants – physicians, clinicians, administrators, patients, providers, payers, etc – until healthcare fully embraces cloud architectures and cloud thinking.

Healthcare is still predominantly an “on-premise” world. It’s not wrong. It’s just how the industry has grown up. We installed servers behind our own firewalls. As we added systems we bought more servers and of course we added them to the other servers behind the firewall. Eventually we built connections between these systems so that they could talk to each other. But because everything was behind the firewall and because we were really just sharing data within the same organization, we didn’t give much thought to sharing that data in a standard way. As long as we were behind the firewall we could safely exchange data.

When you approach things from a cloud perspective, the thinking is completely different. When you build cloud applications you HAVE TO think about data portability and security. You HAVE TO work out ways to connect systems together across the Internet without a single big firewall acting as your shield.

So as people move more and more to this way of thinking we will see more movement towards frictionless data exchange.

So is healthcare moving more to the cloud?

Working at EPIC and now at Redox, I’ve had a front-row seat to this change in attitude towards the cloud by healthcare providers. Prior to 2015 healthcare IT leaders were still asking “What is the cloud?” and “Why should I bother with it?”. But today leaders are starting to ask “How can I better leverage the cloud for my organization?” It’s great to see so many proactively looking for ways to adopt cloud-based applications.

I also think that the consumer tech giants are helping propel healthcare forward. Companies like Amazon and Google have always been cloud-based. As they push into healthcare they are going to have a huge advantage versus on-premise legacy companies. As they gain traction so too will the cloud.

I can see how embracing the cloud will help healthcare achieve secure connectivity and certainly scalability, but even if we move completely to the cloud won’t we still need to exchange data in a standard way in order to achieve true interoperability?

Having a data standard would certainly be helpful.

Is that going to be HL7 v2? v3? FHIR? Smart-on-FHIR? Or something that Commonwell Alliance puts out?

(Laughing). We do seem to have a lot of standards don’t we.

Actually this is what is driving Redox. There really isn’t a ton of incentive to tear out the investments already made in HL7 v2 or v3. It works for the use cases where it has been deployed. The same applies to FHIR and Commonwell. All these approaches work wonderfully for specific use cases, but I really doubt any one of these approaches is going to be the single solution for all of our interoperability challenges.

Think about it. If I’m a CIO at a hospital and I have a working HL7 v2 integration working between two systems, why would I waste precious resources to move to a different integration standard if there is really nothing to be gained from it? It’d be a waste of time and resources.

The one good thing about all these standards and interoperability initiatives is that we are building an audience that is asking the right questions and pushing healthcare in the right direction. APIs are the right thing to do. FHIR is the right thing to do…and so on. All are relevant and needed.

So if not a universal data standard, what do we need?

The way I see things we might not need a single data standard if someone can build a common platform through which data can be shared. That’s what we’re doing here at Redox. We’re taking a pragmatic approach. Whatever data standard you are using internal is fine with us. We’ll work with you to find a way to share your data through our platform. And once you share it with us once, you don’t have to rebuild that connection over and over again each time a different company wants to connect. We handle that.

Is that the problem Redox set out to solve?

Actually when we started Redox we really just wanted to make it easier for cloud-based healthcare companies to scale and grow. What we realized is that one of the biggest impediments to growth was integrating legacy on-prem systems with cloud-based applications. Even if these companies could convince hospital IT teams to put their integration on the priority list, it would take a long time to actually get it done.

So we built the Redox engine to make this easier. Our goal wasn’t to solve interoperability per say, we just wanted to bring innovative web developers closer to healthcare providers so that they can solve problems together.

But because we were cloud from Day 1, we wanted to build everything in a reusable way, so that once we built a connection to one hospital, we wouldn’t have to build it again when the next company wanted to connect with that same hospital. This network effect wasn’t something we originally set out to build, but now it’s central to our success. It’s why we can talk about being a platform that enables data sharing vs being a tool that helps systems share data.

Solving interoperability is only partly a technology challenge. There is also the challenge of getting the healthcare ecosystem to actually share their data. Because Redox works with so many players in the ecosystem, have you noticed any change in attitude around sharing data?

Let me start by saying that I think everyone WANTS the data. There’s incredible value in health data. Medical records are a gold mine for researchers, public health authorities, pharma companies, payors, etc. Everyone would love nothing more than to build a comprehensive health record for their own purposes. The challenge of course is that it’s not easy to do that today. As you said, this is partly because of technology and partly because no one really wants to share their data altruistically.

I think there is one party that truly wants data to be shared and that’s patients. Patients are way more interested in sharing data than anyone else in the ecosystem. As a patient, data should follow me wherever I go. I never want to wonder if my doctor has all my medical information. I want people to have the data because I want the best outcome possible and my data can help make that happen.

I think companies and organizations in the healthcare ecosystem are slowly waking up to the fact that sharing data helps support their customers – whether those customers are providers, payors, members, patients, clinicians or government agencies. Sharing data makes things better. And as financial pressures in healthcare mount, everyone is looking for ways to do more, better, faster and with more accuracy. Sharing data is necessary for that to happen.

Redox works with a lot with startups and small/medium sized HealthIT companies. What advice would you give to those that are considering working with Redox? What should they have considered?

There are two key questions that I think every HealthIT company should ask themselves. Frist, what is the value your product or service provides? Second, Who is the buyer? Success in healthcare is less about whether your technology and more about aligning three things:

  1. An actual problem that needs to be solved
  2. A solution to that problem
  3. A buyer who can make a buying decision in a healthcare organization

I see a lot of companies that don’t really consider this last question. You can create an amazing product that solves a problem in healthcare but if the target audience for your product cannot make the buying decision then you have a difficult road ahead of you.

Beyond these questions, I would advise companies to really consider how their products integrate into the clinical or administrative workflow. Many startups begin with an application that isn’t integrated with existing hospital systems, like the EHR. But after they gain a little bit of traction they realize they need to become more integrated. But building in real-time data exchange into an application isn’t easy. You need to really think through how your product will handle this.

Lastly I would caution healthcare entrepreneurs about building their applications on the assumption that FHIR will be universally adopted. It isn’t and it will likely take years before it gains real-world traction. There is a lot of excitement around FHIR, but it isn’t the best solution for all situations.

Final Thoughts?

One thing I am encouraged by is the number of people and companies from outside of healthcare that are coming into this space. I think they bring an energy and perspective that will help us all get better. Granted, many of them have stars in their eyes and don’t realize how tough healthcare can be…but, the fact that they aren’t burdened with any legacy thinking is exciting. Healthcare needs more outside thinking.

Real Interoperability and Other Micro-moments From #PCCSummit18

Posted on November 7, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

I love attending user group conferences. They are THE BEST way to get a true sense of what is on the minds of healthcare professionals. I find that people at user meetings are very open and candid. I don’t know why this happens, but I’m grateful it does.

This week, I had the privilege of attending PointClickCare’s annual #PCCSummit18 in Nashville, TN. PointClickCare is the leading EHR provider to the Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) space. Their customers are Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Senior Living organizations and Home Care providers.

I learned so much about the challenges facing LTPAC providers and I had so much fun connecting with PointClickCare staff as well as their customers. These are some of the memorable/notable moments from the event.

Real Interoperability happening between Hospitals and LTPAC

Interoperability wasn’t just talked about at #PCCSummit18, you could actually see it in action. PointClickCare’s partnership with Redox and their upcoming release of the Harmony interoperability module. More on this in a future article.

Investing in LTPAC Innovation Paying Off

For years PointClickCare has poured millions of dollars into R&D – researching, building, testing and in some cases acquiring new products for the LTPAC market. That investment in innovation continues to pay dividends as end-users and partners applauded each of the new modules/features unveiled at #PCCSummit18.

We’re still talking about faxes?!

The most eye-opening data point shared at #PCCSummit18 came via a real-time audience survey in one of the breakout sessions on LTPAC process optimization. The presenters asked the audience to text back their answer to the following question:

In the past 12 months, which (patient) transitions improvement projects, or remote patient reporting projects have you been a part of?

  1. Improved paper/fax processes
  2. Direct Messaging
  3. 3rd party tools
  4. None

You can see the surprising result. The majority of the audience had either not worked on any such transition improvement project or had been part of one that improved a paper/fax process. Yikes! We have a lot of work to do in #HealthIT.

Using storytelling to make data memorable

My favorite breakout session was by Doug Landis, a professionally trained actor who went onto become the chief storyteller at Box and who is now a venture capitalist. Landis’s presentation was full of useful tips and tactics on how to present data in a memorable way through the power of stories.

No single path to success

On the theme of storytelling, 4 Nashville songwriters presented their stories as the keynote session on Day 3. Each of musicians came to Nashville wanting to become the next breakout star. What happened instead is that each became a songwriter who created a piece that helped a rising star hit it big on the music charts – Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellom and Miranda Lambert to name just a few. Their stories are proof positive that there are many roads to success and sometimes your own success can be found by helping other succeed.

Everyone leaving happy

Every attendee that I spoke with had nothing but praise for PointClickCare. They felt well taken care of, they thought the venue was fantastic, they thought the social events were incredible and they loved the food. It’s fun to be part of a conference where everyone leaves happy.

 

New Reporting and Interop Features Hit The Right Note for PointClickCare

Posted on November 6, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

The new reporting and data sharing capabilities of PointClickCare‘s LTPAC EHR platform were a big hit with the 2,000 users gathered on Day 1 of the company’s annual #PCCSummit18 being held in Nashville TN.

In the opening session, Co-Founder and COO of PointClickCare, Dave Wessinger, bravely walked through the company’s new report engine in a live demo. He started by showing off the new searching capability that will allow users to quickly find the report they need by simply typing a keyword into the search bar. Any report with a matching word in its description appears in the results. This one feature replaces dozens of weekly calls to systems administrators who have to help end-users find the right report to run because the current system has limited ability to organize and find reports. There was an audible “Yes” and collective fist pump from many in the audience.

Wessinger then went on to demonstrate the new data visualization tools and data export capabilities in the report engine.

“The export capabilities alone are a game changer for me,” said Timothy Carey, Director of Data and Performance Analytics at BaneCare. “Right now it’s not that easy to export data from a report into Excel where it can be further analyzed or combined with other data sources. The new export capabilities will cut out many hours from our work week.”

Skilled Nursing Facilities (or SNFs) like BaneCare have to produce detailed reports on the patients (residents) that are transferred to them from their acute care partners. These reports are required by the case managers at the acute care organizations – who need them to ensure their patients are getting the post-acute care their physicians prescribed.

“Having the right data and providing it quickly to our acute care partners is what differentiates us from competing facilities,” continued Carey. “The goal is to be the preferred LTPAC partner to acute care organizations and being able to provide timely data is a key criteria of being a good partner. Having good data also helps our own organization determine where to invest additional resources.”

BJ Boyle, VP of Product Management at PointClickCare followed Wessinger on the main stage where he proceeded to give a live demonstration of the company’s new data sharing module called Harmony. Harmony was first announced at HIMSS18 and was something Boyle and I spoke about in this interview.

One of the main components of Harmony is a customizable dashboard that allows case managers at acute care organizations to see how their referred patients are faring at the SNF. Through Harmony, the case mangers and SNF staff can see the same patient data in real-time. This allows for unprecedented collaboration between the organizations.

“Right now we spend a lot of time making phone calls, sending emails and in meetings with our acute care partner,” said Cyndi Howell, Lead RNAC and PCC Clinical Liaison at Willow Valley Communities. “This is needed to keep each organization informed of what’s happening with patients that we are both responsible for. We do it because we are both committed to providing the best care possible. We love working collaboratively with our partners at Lancaster General Hospital (part of Penn Medicine). It’s just what we have to do to take care of people in our community.”

When Willow Valley Communities implements Harmony, they will no longer have to manually pull data from their PointClickCare system in order to facilitate the discussions with Lancaster. Instead, staff from both organizations will simply log onto Harmony and view the same data together in real-time.

“We are very excited and happy about Harmony,” explained Howell. “It’s going to make all our lives so much easier and patients will end up benefitting from better and more coordinated care.”

The real-time dashboard isn’t the only feature of Harmony. The module also featured a robust data integration engine, powered by Redox, that will allow PointClickCare to quickly connect it’s cloud-base system to EHRs at acute care organizations.

“PointClickCare wanted to get off the integration treadmill,” said Boyle. “It simply wasn’t scalable to connect to each hospital system one by one. We are happy to partner with our friends at Redox and leverage the power of their engine and the network of providers/vendors they work with.”

Through the Redox engine, patients transitioning from an acute care organization to a SNF or other LTPAC facility will have all their data seamlessly sent as part of the discharge process. No more faxes or paper-based binders of medical information.

“Part of our vision is for everyone in healthcare to have a complete view of the patients they are taking care of,” stated Luke Bonney, CEO and Co-Founder of Redox who presented with Boyle in a breakout session later on Day 1 of #PCCSummit18. “That can only happen when every member of the healthcare ecosystem can share data in an easy way and in a format that is meaningful to everyone involved.”

Luke Bonney, CEO at Redox (left) and BJ Boyle, VP Product Management at PointClickCare

“I am totally bought into the vision,” said Carey. “All of us here at BaneCare want patients to have the best possible experience while in our facilities. That means we need all the relevant information right at the point of transition from the acute care organization – medications, care plans, etc. Harmony will automate this entire step.”

I must admit I did not expect to meet so many people here at #PCCSummit18 who were excited about interoperability. I was also truly surprised that there are so many organizations actively working together on practical interoperability use cases that are true win-win-wins (for acute care organizations, LTPAC facilities and patients).

But then again, when you are in Nashville (aka Music City) you’d expect a little harmony.

Proactive Management of End-User Experience – Flipping the Paradigm

Posted on October 23, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Managing the performance of HealthIT systems improves the end-user experience which leads to less burnout, better patient experiences and a healthier bottom line. Instead of monitoring individual systems, Goliath Technologies is flipping the paradigm.

Each day, hidden gremlins in HealthIT systems are eating into productivity and sapping team morale. These gremlins are relentless and just when you think you’ve caught one, two new ones rise to take its place. The net result is negative end-user experiences.

What is a negative end-user experience? It is any situation where an end-user of an IT system experience something unexpected that impacts their work in a negative way. This could mean:

  • Slow response times (click and wait)
  • Sluggish application performance (typing faster than words appear on the screen)
  • Inability to access the system at all
  • Frozen screens
  • Unexplained workstation reboots
  • Loss of network connection

…the list goes on and on.

In healthcare, when a negative end-user experience happens, patient care is impacted. Sometimes the impact is small – like having to wait a few extra seconds for the lab result to appear on the screen. Sometime the impact is significant – like having to reschedule or delay a procedure because clinicians cannot access the patient’s record to see contraindications.

Negative end-user experiences also increase the stress on the end-users themselves – adding to an already stressful environment.

“We are almost at the point in healthcare where reacting to negative end-user experiences is no longer acceptable,” says Thomas Charlton, CEO of Goliath Technologies. “When a system is slow, or not available, patient lives are impacted. Clinicians expect systems to be available when they need it and they want those systems to work as expected. It’s no longer about having an uptime of 99.999%, we have to monitor and manage the actual end-user experience itself.”

“Most of the time, people troubleshoot with free tools provided by the vendor,” says Donna Grare, EVP and Chief Technology Officer at Goliath Technologies. “When a user reports a problem like ‘I can’t connect to application A’, IT starts a troubleshooting tree from scratch because there are many things that could be the cause of the problem.  It could be limited to this user – an issue with their computer or their local network, for example.  It could be a broader issue based on changes made to profiles that impact many users – generally IT only finds this out when one call becomes 10, 50, or 500.  With that many calls coming in, it’s clearly not a simple, one person issue, but IT is stuck looking for the common thread between them.  This is very frustrating for both IT and the users.  One comment we hear often is IT saying ‘I’m very good at my job, and I can fix problems.  It would just be great if I could be proactive and get ahead of the problem instead of only hearing about it after it happens.’”

This is a very standard approach to system management. IT departments monitor the performance of discrete systems: server response times, network packet speeds, application error logs, etc to determine if something is wrong. Although better than nothing, this approach has several drawbacks.

“This traditional approach leads to a lot of finger pointing,” explains Charlton. “If I’m the manager responsible for the servers, I will point to my server logs and say that the issue isn’t with the hardware since all the servers are ‘green’. The application managers say the same thing and on and on. Everyone is reporting green yet end-users are still experiencing issues. That’s the second problem with the traditional approach, ‘green’ is often a state defined by the vendors of the systems. Just because something is green doesn’t mean that end-user experience isn’t deteriorating. Lastly, the traditional approach ignores how healthcare applications are inter-connected. Slow performance in one application can have a cascading effect on applications that rely on it for data.”

So what does proactive management of end-user experience look like? According to Charlton, proactive management means flipping the old approach to IT systems management on its head. Instead of looking at the individual elements of HealthIT systems, Charlton and the team at Goliath Technologies approach things the other way around. They start by monitoring the actual end-user experience and help IT teams work backwards from there.

“When healthcare organizations deploy our technology, they gain visibility to key end-user experience metrics right away,” continues Charlton. “We gather the performance from all internal systems into one place. There is embedded intelligence in our platform that is based on years and years of experience troubleshooting system issues. This intelligence monitors the gathered information and alters the IT team when system performance begins to deteriorate, often before the call from the end-users start coming in.”

This early warning is key to minimizing the impact on end-users.

For a real-life account of how the Goliath platform was used to address slowness with an EHR (spoiler alert: the problem wasn’t with the EHR application), check out this article.

I have to admit that before I sat down with Charlton and Grare, I had no idea that platforms like Goliath’s existed. Their platform is the result of years of work with other industries: banking, legal and managed services. Smartly, Goliath realized that they would have to pre-build connections to popular healthcare applications before organizations would adopt their platform. They currently have connections to: Allscripts, MEDITECH, Cerner and EPIC.

Given that the Goliath platform isn’t exactly new, I had to ask Charlton why more organizations haven’t already adopted the approach of pro-actively monitoring end-user experience. “I think there are three reasons why proactive monitoring hasn’t been as widely adopted as we would like to see,” says Charlton. “First, many have spent a ton of money on their core systems, but have not allocated enough to the tools they need to support those systems. So they end up just using what came with it. Those tools are good, but they look at systems in isolation. Second, I think many believe they have ‘proactive monitoring’ but are just doing the bare minimum – like pinging a system to see if it is up and running. That is very different than true proactive performance tracking. Third, I think IT people are just not aware there is a pro-active tool available like what Goliath offers.”

“We hear it all the time,” continues Charlton. “In fact we recently had a customer tell us: ‘I had no idea that this type of technology was available. I was trying to troubleshoot issues with the tools that came with the core system. Now that I look at Goliath’s system I realize I was trying to do brain surgery with a butter knife’. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”

What’s the bottom line for HealthIT leaders? End-user experience (system performance) is a key contributor to workplace stress and clinician burnout. As competition in healthcare becomes more intense, patients as well as clinicians, will opt for healthcare organizations where negative end-user experiences are minimized. They will leave for green pastures where they don’t have to wait for a record to come up or explain to a patient how their surgery was delayed due to a systems issue.

If you would like to find out more information about pro-active end-user management, check out this upcoming live-webinar by Goliath Technologies on Tuesday October 30th at 12:30pm ET

Goliath Technologies is a proud sponsor of Healthcare Scene. 

 

Key Takeaways and Memorable Moments from #SHSMD18

Posted on October 12, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

It’s been two days since SHSMD18 ended and my head is still spinning with ideas from the event. The keynote speakers were incredible, the sessions informative and the exhibit hall was fabulous. I can honestly say that this was the first year I felt at home at the annual SHSMD conference.

As the conference wound down, I asked several of my fellow attendees for their key takeaway and/or their most memorable moment. Below is a collection of some of the responses. Enjoy.

Rose Glenn – SHSMD President Elect and Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer at Hackensack Meridian Health

Key Takeaway: Re-emphasizing that healthcare is all about human-to-human connection. We get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that we sometimes lose sight of that. It’s up to us to be an advocate and a champion for what is right for the consumer. It’s all about making sure your organization connects with people as people. If we don’t, then the consumer giants who do this extremely well, will take over.

Ben Dillon – SHSMD President and Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Owner at Geonetric

Key Takeaway: I think the quality of the sessions and keynotes has been excellent. For every session that made it onto the agenda there were at least 10 submissions that were not selected. That is an indication of the quality of the material. I also think the networking has been outstanding. I have seen so many connections being made at the various mixers, in the exhibit hall and just in the lobby of the convention center. In fact, I heard a story from an attendee today that they met someone in the elevator of a SHSMD conference 14 years ago and they have now been married for 11 years.

Memorable Moment: I would have to pick the opening. That moment is something I have dreamed about doing for a long time. It was just incredible to stand in front of 1,500 people and kick things off. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd is something I will never forget.

Priya Bathija – Vice President of the Value Initiative at American Hospital Association

Key Takeaway: Everyone I’ve talked with and all the sessions I’ve attended demonstrated how passionate we are about making things better for the communities we serve. It’s refreshing to see the level of energy everyone has for Value in healthcare and how we are all coming at it from different angles yet all moving the needle.

Kelly David – Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Key Takeaway: Health care is a challenging business. I think it’s easy to get stuck in cruise control, essentially dealing with one problem after another. #SHSMD18 was filled with information on ways to shift your perspective. The keynotes from Johnny Cupcakes and Erik Wahl, for example, highlighted that you can meet your challenges by being different, trying new things and stepping outside of our typical boxes.

Memorable moment: – hands down watching Erik Wahl create beautiful paintings before our eyes, while telling a story through video and music. It was amazing and powerful.

Amy Jose – Integrated Marketing Strategist at Spectrum Healthcare Partners

Key Takeaway: The importance of meeting our consumers where they are in order to remain relevant. If the services we offer aren’t there for them and easy to access in their time of need, they will go elsewhere. And creating a unique experience for them that differentiates us against our competitors will encourage them to share the story.

Memorable moment: Erik Wahl’s presentation. I loved his perspective on the use of creativity and courage and feel that it can be applied to several parts of life not just professional. And dancing and hanging at the museum with so many colleagues and friends is something I’ll also remember. I think there’s a value to peeling away from work to spend time with each other like that.

Scott A. Samples – Director, Marketing Communications at Martin Health System

Key Takeaway: This year the thing that seemed to resonate over and over again in every session I attended was: we need to start treating healthcare consumers as consumers, not as hostages. We need to meet them where they want us to meet them, make the experience as easy as possible for them throughout the entire process, and offer the tools and resources they need so that they want to use us as they have more choices come available. In short, we need to make healthcare convenient for them, not for us. Obviously healthcare isn’t retail. And there can be a disconnect from the promise made from marketers and strategists, and the care provided on the frontlines. But we have to work harder than ever to help align the promise with the practice. Because if we don’t, consumers will find someone that will.

Memorable Moment: For me, the best memory of the event is perhaps a little unusual. On Monday night I spoke with a team from Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. A hurricane was bearing down on their community and they were working with their teams back home to prepare as much as they can. They were cutting their conferences short, to return home and be there for their health system and their community during a challenging time. It spoke to me of the dedication and unswerving commitment that people in our profession have to their constituents. And it was a reminder of the critical role we play in ensuring healthcare is delivered with compassion and hope. I’m still thinking about that team and what others across in the path of Hurricane Michael are doing to keep their communities whole.

Brian Griffin – Senior Editorial Specialist at SHSMD and American Hospital Association

Key Takeaway: The importance of the customer relationship in healthcare and how we are finally moving from talking about it to actually doing something about it. Organizations are realizing that we need to take action to deliver on the promise to patients. Many have presented their successes this week.

John Lynn – Editor and Co-Founder at Healthcare Scene

Key Takeaway: Creativity is not something that you are born with. Creativity is a learned skill that you can improve through practice. I really loved this message from Johnny Cupcakes, the opening keynote speaker. Simple yet profound.

Memorable Moment: Erik Wahl talking about the value of being fearless and confronting your fears. That was a powerful moment that illustrated how some of the most memorable and lasting experiences we can have in life come when we choose to confront our fears and do something that scares us.

Me

Key Takeaway: Inspiration, ideas and creativity can come from anywhere. The SHSMD18 keynotes demonstrated that you don’t have to be a healthcare insider in order to impart knowledge. Johnny Cupcakes (outsider) taught us to push beyond our comfort zones and try something different. Erik Wahl (outsider) taught us that being fearless can lead to beauty. Liz Jazwiec (insider) taught us how powerful a positive outlook can be in healthcare.

Memorable Moment: Gifting #pinksocks to Johnny Cupcakes, Erik Wahl, William Rosenberg, Jason Skinner, Mariah Obiedzinski, Lorraine McGrath and Mollie Staniewicz at SHSMD18.

Can’t wait for SHSMD19 in Nashville!

Reflecting on SHSMD18 – An Interview with President Ben Dillon

Posted on October 10, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Ben Dillon, President of SHSMD, spoke to Healthcare Scene about this year’s conference (it was the largest ever), key trends that have emerged in healthcare marketing in 2018 (be frictionless) and what the future holds (marketers have to be nimble).

At the end of the last full day of the 2018 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development Conference #SHSMD18, I had the chance to sit down with SHSMD President Ben Dillon. Dillon is also the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Owner of Geonetric, an agency that provides technology, hosting, consulting and creative services exclusively to healthcare clients.

Below is a summary of our wide-ranging conversation.

It is rare to see an association or professional society elect a president who is from a vendor/sponsor company. Why is SHSMD so vendor friendly?

First of all, I have been very fortunate. I have been on the Board of Directors of SHSMD for 8 years now. SHSMD has always embraced the full spectrum of people involved in the marketing industry. The organization understands that internal marketing teams work closely with external agencies to build programs together. Often the relationship is so strong that vendors are seen as an extension of the internal team. To exclude vendors from SHSMD leadership would be incongruent with how the industry works.

Also, I think SHSMD is stronger because we have both perspectives on the Board. We get the insider’s perspective from the people who work in healthcare organizations. We get the outsider’s perspective from people who work across the industry. The blend is powerful.

Lastly, I think that people have become more fluid in their job roles. We’ve had so many people from across the association and on the Board who have moved from a role in a health system to an individual consultant, then onto an agency and come back full circle to a role at a different health system. If we had a rule that prohibited people who were not employed by a healthcare systems from contributing to SHSMD then we would lose the knowledge, talent and energy of these people for a few years. That doesn’t really help anybody.

I think this is why SHSMD has been so welcoming to vendors and external agencies becoming part of the leadership of the association.

What are some of the initiatives or tools that SHSMD has produced that you are most proud of during your time on the board?

The Bridging Worlds study was one of the most comprehensive looks at our industry that had ever been done. That study helped us answer a key question that our members had been asking – in 10 years, what will healthcare marketing look like and what skills or expertise will I need to still be successful and relevant when we get there?

SHSMD Advanced is a self-assessment tool that came out of our work on Bridging Worlds. Members can go online and answer questions to get an evaluation of their skillset. Based on that evaluation, members can then sharpen their skills in areas that will help them achieve future success.

Both of these assets are helping our members in their career journey.

What trends have emerged in 2018 that has surprised you?

The concept of being “frictionless” has been something that I have heard a lot recently – as in: how do we make things easier and more frictionless for patients. This encapsulates the mind-shift that is happening in the industry where we don’t think of patients just as patients anymore, they are consumers as well and they have consumer expectations.

Marketers are being asked to consider questions like: How do we keep patients healthy? How do we make it easier for patients get access to the care they need? This is partly because of new competitors entering healthcare and partly a recognition that if they don’t do something about the experience patients have in their facilities – they might not come back at all.

Another trend that has emerged is building out the marketing technology stack. In the past you heard marketers talk about implementing a CRM tool, or a physician matching tool or a content management system in isolation. Now I’m hearing more and more people talk about the entire ecosystem of tools and how they work together. It’s now about the entire stack and not just one-off applications.

Lastly, I’ve heard a lot about the “fun stuff” in marketing. Things like voice search, AI chatbots, etc. These new technologies are really changing how patients interact with health systems. It will be interesting to see how these technologies evolve in the next couple of years.

As SHSMD18 draws to a close, what are your takeaways from the event?

From the association perspective I think SHSMD18 has gone very smoothly. There we no major hiccups and attendees are saying they have had an excellent experience. SHSMD18 was a bit of a risk for the association. We booked a much larger space than we have traditionally used. We chose a city that isn’t on the regular healthcare conference circuit (Seattle). But it looks like that risk paid off.

For me personally, I think the quality of the sessions and keynotes has been excellent. For every session that made it onto the agenda there were at least 10 submissions that were not selected. That is an indication of the quality of the material.

I also think the networking has been outstanding. I have seen so many connections being made at the various mixers, in the exhibit hall and just in the lobby of the convention center. In fact, I heard a story from an attendee today that they met someone in the elevator of a SHSMD conference 14 years ago and they have now been married for 11 years.

What has been your most memorable moment of SHSMD18?

If I had to pick just one moment from SHSMD18 I would have to pick the opening. That was when I was able to walk on stage and welcome everyone to the conference. That moment is something I have dreamed about doing for a long time. It was just incredible to stand in front of 1,500 people and kick things off. The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd is something I will never forget.

Where does SHSMD go from here?

Things have been going very well for SHSMD, but we can’t stand still. While we have resources, while we have bandwidth and while we have the capability – we need to ask ourselves what are the things that are coming down the pipe in our industry that we need to be aware of and plan for. What we realize is that SHSMD as an organization needs to be ready to change and adapt quickly as our industry changes. We need to be nimble and flexible.

Above all, we need to keep listening to our members and continue to build the tools, services and offer the opportunities to them that they want/need.

What advice would you give to SHSMD members as we enter the last 3 months of the year?

First, for anyone that attended SHSMD18 I would strongly encourage them to watch a recording of a session they missed. We had so many concurrent sessions this year that there were bound to be at least two in each timeslot that they wanted to go to. Take the opportunity in the next few months to watch those sessions you missed. In fact, why not arrange a little lunch-and-learn and watch one with your entire team. I am planning on taking one lunch hour each week to go through a session from SHSMD18.

Second, for those that didn’t attend the conference, I would recommend going through the latest edition of Bridging Worlds to understand the concepts and challenges that our industry is facing. I would then suggest they take the SHSMD Advance self-assessment (free to any member) and get a plan for areas they need to work on. There are hundreds of resources available from SHSMD to help them develop the necessary skills to succeed in the future.

Third, I would like to see our members take the time to look outside their organizations to assess what is happening from a competitive standpoint and think about what they will have to do to adapt to that. Since it’s budget time, they should then make sure they allocate the necessary funds to do the things that they will need to do to stay competitive.

Websites, Youth and Humanity. Oh My! SHSMD18 Hallway Conversations

Posted on October 9, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

The hallway conversations on Day 2 of SHSMD18 revealed many hospitals want to revamp their websites, SHSMD is trending younger and humanity is being injected into healthcare in a surprising place.

One of the most fascinating parts of a conference is not what is presented in sessions (although those are great too), but rather the discussions that happen in the hallways between sessions. To me, there is no better way to learn what is trending and what challenges people are most concerned about.

The hallway conversations I had on Day 2 of the 2018 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development Conference #SHSMD18, were fascinating. Hospital consolidation was a concern for many attendees who worked at agencies – especially since they now had to compete to become the agency-of-record for the newly combined entity. I also overheard many #SHSMD18 attendees complain about their inability to fill open job postings as candidates opt for higher paying and higher profile roles at tech companies vs hospitals.

From all the conversations I had, three themes stood out:

  1. A lot of hospitals are looking to revamp their websites right now
  2. There is a youth movement within SHSMD
  3. Agencies are pushing/being asked to help humanize physician profiles online

Websites

I had a lengthy conversation with Bryan Fentress, Digital Solutions Director at Geonetric – a marketing, web design, content and SEO agency based in Cedar Rapids, IA – about the number of hospitals that seem to be in the midst of revamping their websites.

“Normally websites have a 36-48 month shelf life,” said Fentress. “But lately more and more hospitals are wanting to update their websites earlier. I think this is partly because competition is heating up and partly because the pace of change in web design has accelerated.”

Fentress also pointed to a change in the way hospitals approach website updates: “7 or 8 years ago, hospitals were asking ‘can you help me redesign my website?’ and ‘are you familiar with healthcare?’ – and that was it. Now websites are much more complex. They need to be integrated with social media, have patient engagement tools embedded in them, include searchable physician profiles, etc. This demonstrates how hospitals are more sophisticated on their needs for a new site, as they should be.”

I agree with Fentress and find it encouraging that many hospitals are looking to invest in making their websites more useful to patients and not just “prettier”.

Youth

One of my personal highlights of SHSMD is getting the chance to sit down with Dan Dunlop, Co-Owner and Principal at Jennings. Today, Dunlop and I spoke about the youth movement that seems to be happening at SHSMD.

“It’s really encouraging to see the number of young people here at SHSMD18”, said Dunlop. “It’s really noticeable how many fresh faces there are in attendance this year. We need this. SHSMD was never supposed to be an echo chamber and the only way to prevent that is by attracting new people into the fold. I was so happy when Jhaymee Wilson Tynan was announced as one of the new SHSMD board members. She’s a young, brilliant marketer who is going to bring a lot of new ideas to the table.”

Dunlop has been involved with SHSMD for a long time (he didn’t want me to publish exactly how long) and I trust him when he says that the crowd is getting younger. Having attended a number of SHSMD conferences myself, I agreed with Dunlop that this year there was a noticeable difference in the age range of attendees.

Time for SHSMD to ditch sodas in favor of kombucha.

Humanity

At the end of Day 2 I had the most fascinating conversation with Eric Mello, Marketing and Communications Manager at St. Mary’s Medical Center which is part of SCL Health. I was captivated by Mello’s story of the project they had been working on to humanize the online profiles of their physicians.

“Patients and potential patients want to know more about physicians than just where they went to school and what papers they may have published,” said Mello. “Today, patients are looking to connect with their physicians on a much deeper level. They want to get to know them as people. They want to know if they believe in the same things, play the same sports, enjoy the same activities. We had to respond to this by adding additional information to our physician profiles.”

At first, physicians were reticent to provide this “personal” information on their public profiles, but a few forward-thinking physicians agreed. The resulting positive feedback from patients was enough to convince other physicians to do the same. Today, most of the physicians have personalized profiles on the website.

Here is a link to an example profile: https://www.sclhealth.org/find-a-doctor/r/robbins-sarah-a/ When you read it you will see several things that are not typical of physician profiles. First, there is a quote from Dr Robbins that talks about how she approaches the well-being of her patients.

“I believe the health of the physician-patient relationship affects the health of the patient. Active listening, trust-building and partnership with my patient helps nurture our relationship. My job as a physician is to try to understand my patient as a whole so that I can offer individualized education, guidance and evidence-based advice that allows my patient to make important decisions about their health.”

Second, there is more than her medical credentials and past positions in her background profile: “Dr. Robbins always loved learning about science in school and wanted to have a career where she could directly help people.”

Third, Dr. Robbin’s activities outside of work are listed “When she is not at work, Dr. Robbins enjoys skiing, hiking, and exploring Denver with her husband, friends and two dogs.”

According to Mello, all these elements help to humanize Dr Robbins and transforms her from being a two-dimensional profiles on a website into more fully three-dimensional human being. I applaud Mello and the team at SCL Health for using something so small – physician profiles – to inject a little more humanity into healthcare.

I can’t wait for more hallway conversations on Day 3 of SHSMD18.

SHSMD Report Shows Healthcare Marketing Budgets Growing Despite Hospital Consolidation

Posted on October 8, 2018 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

According to the latest SHSMD By the Numbers report, 25% of respondents who have gone through a hospital merger said their Marketing and Communications budget increased vs 15% who said it decreased.

Today is the first full day of the 2018 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development Conference #SHSMD18 here in Seattle. In preparation, I thought it would be interesting to dive into the 6th edition of the By the Numbers Report recently published by SHSMD and the AHA Data Insights team.

This report is based on survey results collected from almost 2,700 respondents by SHSMD from August 2017 to January 2018. It provides a detailed snapshot of marketing & communications (marcom) at hospitals in the US. Overall, the report paints a rosy picture for marketing. The size of marketing teams is increasing, use of digital marketing tools/techniques is growing and the scope of responsibilities for Marketing departments is expanding.

Here are some of the interesting findings in the report.

Growth in Marketing & Communications Despite Hospital Consolidation

Consolidation is rampant. According to By the Numbers, the number of independent hospitals has dropped from 50% of respondents in 2013 to 30% in 2017. Selection bias was not a factor.

50% of respondents that had gone through a merger said that the marcom function had been centralized (multiple marcom departments merged into a single one). You would expect that this level of consolidation activity would have a negative affect on marcom budgets, but that wasn’t the case. Of those that had been through a merger:

  • 25% said their marcom budget increased
  • 20% said their marcom team grew in size

This is in contrast to:

  • 15% said their marcom budget decreased
  • 5% said their marcom team decreased in size

Hospital Marketing Budgets Growing, but Remain <1% of Overall Hospital Budgets

By the Numbers shows that the average hospital budget in 2017 was $875M – an increase of 39% over the 2013 average of $533M. In that same time period, marcom budgets have grown 65% (adjusted for inflation) to an average of $5.4M.

While it is impressive that marcom budgets have increased at a faster pace than overall hospital budgets, at $5.4M it still represents less than 1% of the overall budget. For most other commercial entities, spending less than 1% on marketing would lead to slower growth and eventually to stagnation.

In 2017, Deloitte published a report that showed the average marketing budget as a percentage of overall budget for a variety of industries:

The Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals category included medical device makers, healthcare software companies and pharmaceutical companies – all of which have much larger marketing budgets compared to hospitals.

I asked Anne Feeney, Research and Data Analytics Specialist for SHSMD and one of the key people behind By the Numbers, why hospitals spend <1% on marcom.

“Some hospitals are the only player in a particular market,” said Feeney. “In those cases there is less need to spend marketing dollars attracting new patients. Also, healthcare has not yet experienced the same competitive pressures that dominate other industries, like consumer packaged goods. In healthcare it’s been as competitive as it has always been, but as an industry we have not risen to the levels of competition we see in other parts of the consumer world.”

Traditional Media Still Dominates Hospital Ad Spend

According to By the Numbers, hospitals are still spending the majority of their advertising budgets on traditional media – TV, newspapers and outdoors.

  Median Average
TV $90,000 $270,859
Newspaper $84,500 $143,810
Outdoor $70,000 $153,278
Electronic ads $56,000 $185,095
Pay-per-click $51,050 $316,112
Radio $50,000 $114,261
Content marketing $33,500 $72,675
Magazines $30,000 $55,227
Direct Mail $30,000 $98,237
Brochures/print collateral $30,000 $73,809
Search engine marketing $22,000 $101,495
Mobile ads $20,000 $108,846
Email $18,500 $21,468
Social media $15,000 $54,584
Location-based ads $15,000 $21,289

 

What I found most interesting is the difference between the Pay-per-click median ($51,050) and average ($316,112). This large delta suggests that the data is highly skewed – meaning that there are some hospitals that are spending a lot more than their peers on Pay-per-click. I believe these high-spending hospitals have discovered something that B2C companies have known for a long time – pay-per-click advertising works. With this knowledge they are exploiting an advantage that their competitors have failed to recognize.

Other Highlights

  • Marketing Departments are watching review and ratings sites. 50% of respondents said they actively monitor existing ratings and review sites on behalf of their hospital
  • Hospitals spend very little on marketing professional development. By the Numbers found that the median spent by marcom in this area was a paltry $6,500 per hospital
  • Social media is still used mostly for broadcasting messages vs patient engagement.

“Among our respondents, the social media stalwarts—Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter—were the most commonly used platforms,” said Lisa Isom, Assistant Director of Digital Content and Social Media, Montefiore Health System. “However, few survey respondents report use of these platforms for engagement and development of the types of conversations that build and/or enhance brand awareness. YouTube was most commonly used as a broadcasting medium for one-way communications. Facebook, on the other hand, was far more likely to be used for two-way communications, which saw respondents taking advantage of its capacity both to share information and engage in interactions. Twitter, the third most commonly used, was used primarily to broadcast news.”

For Feeney, the key takeaway from By the Numbers was the movement towards ROI metrics in marketing: “Marketing used to be seen as a fixed cost. Hospitals are doing so much more now to measure the ROI of marketing & communications. It’s good to see this focus on marketing efficiency, even though as a % of revenue remains small compared to the overall healthcare budget. ROI means marketing is more strategic and can grow if can show ROI.”

For me the report’s key message is it’s time for healthcare marketers to seize the moment and become more strategically relevant in their organizations. The SHSMD data clearly shows that healthcare Marketing departments are being asked to take on more and more responsibilities – from managing the hospital’s reputation to operationalizing patient engagement. This expansion in scope is a perfect time to shine.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of these shining examples on Day 2 and Day 3 of #SHSMD18