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Health Orgs Were In Talks To Collect SDOH Data From Facebook

Posted on April 9, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

These days, virtually everyone in healthcare has concluded that integrating social determinants of health data with existing patient health information can improve care outcomes. However, identifying and collecting useful, appropriately formatted SDOH information can be a very difficult task. After all, in most cases it’s not just lying around somewhere ripe for picking.

Recently, however, Facebook began making the rounds with a proposal that might address the problem. While the research initiative has been put on hold in light of recent controversy over Facebook’s privacy practices, my guess is that the healthcare players involved will be eager to resume talks if the social media giant manages to calm the waters.

According to CNBC, Facebook was talking to healthcare organizations like Stanford Medical School and American College of Cardiology, in addition to several other hospitals, about signing a data-sharing agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, the healthcare organizations would share anonymized patient data, which Facebook planned to match up with user data from its platform.

Facebook’s proposal will sound familiar to readers of this site. It suggested combining what a health system knows about its patients, such as their age, medication list and hospital admission history, with Facebook-available data such as the user’s marital status, primary language and level of community involvement.

The idea would then be to study, with an initial focus on cardiovascular health, whether this combined data could improve patient care, something its prospective partners seem to think possible. The CNBC story included a gushing statement from American College of Cardiology interim CEO Cathleen Gates suggesting that such data sharing could create revolutionary results. According to Gates, the ACC believes that mixing anonymized Facebook data with anonymized ACC data could help greatly in furthering scientific research on how social media can help in preventing and treating heart disease.

As the business site notes, the data would not include personally identifiable information. That being said, Facebook proposed to use hashing to match individuals existing in both data sets. If the project were to have gone forward, Facebook might’ve shared data on roughly 87 million users.

Looked at one way, this arrangement could raise serious privacy questions. After all, healthcare organizations should certainly exercise caution when exchanging even anonymized data with any outside organization, and with questions still lingering on how willing Facebook is to lock data down projects like this become even riskier.

Still, under the right circumstances, Facebook could prove to be an all but ideal source of comprehensive, digitized SDOH data. Well now, arguably, might not be the time to move ahead, hospitals should keep this kind of possibility in mind.

#HIMSS18 Mix Tape

Posted on February 14, 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 annual HIMSS conference is the “Super Bowl” of HealthIT events. No other conference brings together as many HealthIT professionals, vendors and industry media in one place. The 2018 edition of HIMSS (#HIMSS18) is being held in Las Vegas NV and over 48,000 attendees are expected. Healthcare Scene is holding a whole series of open meetups at HIMSS18 where anyone can come and participate in the discussion so we hope to see you there.

For the past 3 years I have done something fun ahead of the conference. I asked a handful of industry experts and social media friends to choose a song that best represents healthcare and HealthIT. I published the resulting playlist along with their reasons for their selection. I dubbed it (excuse the pun) the #HIMSS Mix Tape.

Why a mix tape? Three main reasons:

  1. I’m a big comic book nerd and have been since I was a kid. In the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movies (which I’m a fan of) the hero carries around an old Sony Walkman and plays a mix tape that his mother made for him. My mix tape is a hat tip to these movies.
  2. Playlists are so 2000s. Mix tape has an exotic sounding quality to. Honestly which headline is more intriguing: HIMSS18 Playlist or HIMSS18 Mix Tape? Plus how to do you choose a graphic of a playlist?
  3. I have made one or two mix tapes in my day and there is a lost feeling of accomplishment you get when you painstaking cut songs together for a beach party, road-trip or for that special someone. The HIMSS Mix Tape is my attempt to re-live those youthful memories.

For past HIMSS Mix Tapes, check out these links:

This year, I decided to expand the Mix Tape to two volumes. Volume 1 is filled with songs chosen by fellow HIMSS18 Social Media Ambassadors (this is my 3rd year as a HIMSS SMA). Volume 2 is full of tunes from people I have become friends with because of HIMSS.

So without further ado, the HIMSS18 Mix Tape…please enjoy responsibly.

[Note: I put together this Spotify Playlist that has all the songs.]

Volume 1 – DJ SMA

Pushin’ Forward Back – Temple of the Dog. Chosen by Brian Eastwood, @Brian_Eastwood

Pretty self explanatory, but 2017 seemed like another year where health IT started to make progress but then had to take a step back and reassess where it had gone and where it wanted to go.

Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra. Chosen by Brian Mack, @BFMack

It is an affirmation of all that has been accomplished in the last year, and a tribute to the committed professionals, advocates, and stakeholders across the Health IT industry. Their positive contributions ARE having a significant impact on the quality of healthcare access, delivery, experience, outcomes, and affordability.

Westworld Season 1 Opening Credits – HBO. Chosen by Chuck Webster MD, MSIE, MSIS, @wareFLO

What about the 3D printing technology depicted? The drawing of three-dimensional muscles and sinews. And the artificial intelligence? Creative, problem-solving, communicating artificially intelligent beings? Which (who?) begin to learn, and perhaps surpass, their human creators? I can’t think of a short stretch of music more capturing emerging health IT themes and anxieties, from 3D printing to machine learning, to bridging software vs hardware divides, to reflecting on what is human about technology and what technology means for humanity.

What About Us – P!nk. Chosen by Colin Hung, @Colin_Hung

I chose this song as an anthem for: patients who have not been listened to; for caregivers who are suffering without support; for people + families dealing with rare diseases; for clinicians and other healthcare staff who are burned out; and for anyone who cannot get access to the care they need.

We are problems that want to be solved / We are children that need to be loved / We were willin’, we came when you called / But, man, you fooled us, enough is enough, oh

Street Life – The Crusaders & Randy Crawford. Chosen by Danielle Siarri, @innonurse

In healthcare people that live on the streets need more most care and their voice is not heard and this song just reminds me of the unseen patient. In the ED I would take care of prostitutes, IV drug users, pimps to homeless and the mentally ill that live on the streets. This song reminds me of them and the clinical staff that takes care of them.

North American Scum – LCD Soundsystem. Chosen by David Harlow, @healthblawg

This song sums up the dismay many of us feel with the current political situation. “I don’t know … where to begin …/ But in the end we make the same mistakes all over again/ Come on North Americans/ We are North American scum.” On the Health IT front, while there is surely progress being made, in a sense we are still making the same mistakes all over again. We could be farther along than we are towards achieving the quadruple aim if we would shed some of our chains, chief among them being the low level of interoperability enjoyed in the field.

Beautiful Day – U2. Chosen by Geeta Nayyar, @gnayyar

Despite this frustration with the constant rhetoric of the past few years, I hold on to the view that there is so much to be excited about in HIT. I really want to elevate the positive action happening right now all around us. Let’s work to move the conversations forward by highlighting the positive momentum happening in HIT – the developments that are making a difference, that unite rather than separate and those that are taking courageous first steps into new territory. We know what must be done, so let’s do it. This will be a beautiful day.

Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics (Ibiza Deep Summer Remix 2015). Chosen by Janae Sharp, @coherencemed

I like it because this year has seen good and bad in HealthIT – we’ve seen consolidation and progress and a lot of noise and it remains to be seen what will happen in the future. Also it’s a throwback from the old days of when ai first started getting traction. The original version is from the early 80s (timing isn’t exact) and then it’s been re-done before. So this time- we have a techno remix. Time will tell if it turns out to be life changing- in the meantime we have dancing.

All You Need Is Love  – The Beatles. Chosen by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, @healthythinker

For two reasons: (1) “There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made,” like health; and, (2) Love is the killer app. Just sayin’.

I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Chosen by Linda Stotsky, @EMRAnswers

His song personifies our continued struggle for healthcare transformation, care coordination and usability. I am saying the same thing I’ve said for 15 years. But “I’ll stand my ground, no I won’t back down” until the healthcare paradigm changes – and improvements occur.

Dark Horse – Katy Perry. Chosen by Lygeia Ricciardi, @Lygeia

There are a lot of new entrants in the mix or on the horizon in healthcare and health IT these days: Amazon, Google, and Berkshire Hathaway, to name few. Industry lines are blurring every day—it’s a “perfect storm” to change things up in healthcare, and the dark horses joining the traditional race represent both the risks and opportunities of the unknown.

Mz. Hyde – Halestorm. Chosen by Matt Fisher, @matt_r_fisher

Healthcare and HealthIT certainly feel like there is a bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde going on. The goal of healthcare is to help people, but the dark side (at least to some degree) of regulation and missed expectations take away the focus from the positive. Which side will control? That remains an open question, though the positive is always striving to stay ahead.

Brave – Sarah Bareilles. Chosen by Max Stroud, @mmaxwellstroud

As the conversation across the nation grew around the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault, it resonated with those in our own community who have had similar experiences. Be brave.

With what you want to say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Ordinary Love – U2. Chosen by Nick van Terheyden, @drnic1

Probably like many people I feel like I’m in the Line of Fire [Junip]…”What you choose to believe in, Takes you as you fall, No one else around you, No one to understand you, No one to hear your calls”. In fact “This world at times will blind you, Still I know I’ll see you there” – Come a Little Closer [Cage the Elephant] but  “I found my nirvana in a friend of mine” with the edgy “H” [Lawrence Rothman]. But ultimately “the world I love, the tears I drop, To be part of the wave Can’t Stop” [Red Hot Chili Peppers] and I end up with Ordinary Love – U2

The sea throws rock together / But time leaves us polished stones / We can’t fall any further / If we can’t feel ordinary love

Despacito – Luis Fonsi. Chosen by Rasu Shrestha, MD MBA, @RasuShrestha

I wanted to choose a hit song from the past year; and just kept bumping into one Ed Sheeran hit after another. While I love his heart tugging melodies, I am going with another popular hit. Despacito means “Slowly”; and that essentially is how I feel we’re making, and will continue to make, progress in health IT. Getting health IT “right” needs to be a dance – rhythmic, upbeat, fun, purposeful and passionate. Yup, flip Despacito on and turn that bass up please!

Join Together – The Who. Chosen by Sean Erreger, @StuckonSW

I am attending HIMSS this year on mission to find out how tech can better facilitate interdisciplinary care. Looking forward to the knocking down silo theme of this song. “Do you really think I care, What you eat or what you wear…Won’t you join together with the band

Anticipation – Carly Simon. Chosen by Tamara StClaire, @drstclaire

Given the new administration in the US, we don’t really now all that’s going to happen. We have a good feel for what the current administration would like to have happen…but no one will actually know until after mid-term elections. And whatever will happen will impact all of healthcare.

Volume 2 – HealthIT Fresh Tracks

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Monks. Chosen by Regina Holliday, @ReginaHolliday

I chose this because you cannot go wrong when you quote Monty Python, I also feel that we smacking are heads on a regular basis in HealthIT.

Okay – The Piano Guys. Chosen by John Lynn, @techguy

There’s a lot of craziness in the world including in healthcare IT, but it’s gonna be ok.  With all the bad in the world, there’s also a ton of good things and good people that just don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Pumpin’ Blood – Nonono. Chosen by Melody Smith Jones, @TheSameMel

Because 2018 is a year of exciting beginnings for me. While fear is unavoidable in the face of true challenge, I feel in charge of my destiny. I also have this amazing Health IT community whistling along with me as our journeys merge and build from each other.

This is Me – Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman). Chosen by Jennifer Dennard @JennDennard

It’s my favorite movie right now. I’ve seen it twice and will likely see it a third time in the theater. The movie – and song – leave you feeling so empowered. Definitely resonates with the #healthITchicks community right now!

Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf. Chosen by Joe Babaian, @JoeBabaian

HealthIT is very much still out on the highway, looking for adventure! Many opportunities and sights to see as we find and amplify the best we find. Truly HealthIT is born to be wild and flying high – it’s up to us to keep collaborating and bring healthcare into the future!

No – Meghan Trainor. Chosen by Sarah Bennight, @sarahbennight

As patients start demanding better experiences in healthcare like telemedicine, online record access, integration and collaboration between care team members, they have started saying NO when they don’t get what they want as informed consumers. My name is-NO! My address is-NO, my number is-NO, you should already know! Girl. if that facility doesn’t give you what you need, blah blah blah, just be like nah to the ah to the no, no no!

As Crazy As It Is – ZHU ft A Track & Keznamdi. Chosen by Sidonia Rose Swarm, @SidoniaRose

In order to infuse some much-needed chill reggae vibes into a chaotic HIMSS week, I thought “As Crazy As It Is” is a fitting choice. Most people in Health IT feel the red tape, long sales cycles, and integration hurdles make them “crazy” yet they stick around and could never abandon the frustrating yet fulfilling industry.

Despacito – Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat Justin Bieber. Chosen by Jennifer Lannon, @HealthTechJen

I chose Despacito – because innovation and technology development and deployment happen very despacito (slowly!). I also chose it to bring a bit of fun flair into the HIMSS scene – and bring some Spanish-speaking & Latino/a culture, which in my experience is severely underrepresented among healthcare and technology leadership.

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons. Chosen by Dan Dunlop, @dandunlop

Welcome to the new age /  Welcome to the new age /  This is it… The Apocalypse

I like this song because it captures the tension I see in the Health IT space – and the divergent perspectives about Health IT. It is definitely a new age. But is it the Apocalypse? Is the future bleak or bright? Will IT enrich the work life of the physician or enslave them? Will IT free providers to spend more time with patients or disconnect them? This is the tension that this song evokes for me.

Heroes – David Bowie. Chosen by Mandi Bishop, @MandiBPro

It’s a reminder of our (health IT) youth, when we were invincible (and unicorns were everywhere). That was a heady feeling, and it gave us the inspiration and momentum to carry us through our rocky adolescence. Now that we’re older and wiser, we can find new – perhaps more effective and widely adopted – ways to be heroes…

Starman – David Bowie. Chosen by Andrew Richards @AndrewinTech

Things are changing and we are all going to have our minds blown by whats ahead. And…Elon Musk just sent a starman in a tesla into space!

digituRN – Ross Martin. Chosen by Ross D Martin, @RossMartin

Is it total self-promotion to offer an original song? [Editors note: Nope and I think the lyrics speak for themselves]

Enter Sandman – Metallica. Chosen by Nick Adkins, @nickisnpdx

Take my hand / We’re off to never never-land / Take my hand / We’re off to never never-land

Keep repeating that over and over and over……cuz that’s exactly what’s FINALLY happening in a BIG way this year with the industry getting WOKE! Go Apple, Amazon, JPM, Berkshire Hathaway, et al!

Too Close – Alex Clare. Chosen by Shereese Maynard, @ShereesePubHlth

Every year, I spend the year, trying to find synergy w/ vendors, whose product disappoints me on delivery. Prior to HIMSS, they usually beg, promote, and insists we get together. I’ve said it before; I’m still looking to be impressed.

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who. Chosen by Gregg Masters @2healthguru

Because like clockwork we always do in healthcare.

 

Got a song that you think represents healthcare or HealthIT? Add it to the comments and it will become Volume 3!

Takes from Twitter: Intriguing hospital tidbits

Posted on May 2, 2011 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Here’s some hospital updates from the ever-flowing well of Twitterchat.  I’m not endorsing the tweeters in question, but I was intrigued by these tidbits:

@EFS_Consultants Medical Wonder: Meet The CEO Who Rebuilt A Crumbling California Hospital http://ow.ly/1csdwz

@Stanford: HP pledges $25 million to help Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital carry out a major expansion and conduct new research: http://bit.ly/iWDh0K

@nicolebrown25  Lawmakers weigh report on New Orleans hospital: The state has committed $300 million in construction money http://bit.ly/ii0YCC

@anesthesiology2 10 Recent Stark, False Claims and Kickback Lawsuits Involving Hospitals http://bit.ly/kCyODY

@TheAuditGroup Four Hospital Action Items for 2011 http://t.co/qB1lRvs

@Voicemed: 12 Best Practices for Making Hospitals Great Places to Work http://t.co/qFoKPKu

@HospitalLayoffs #Hospital #Jobs Hospital Mass Layoffs Dropped Slightly in First Quarter http://ow.ly/1crPlh

 

Gotmore info to share?  Tweet me at @katherinerourke and I’ll take a look.

Tweet roundup: Data loss at Thomas Jefferson, med records found in dump

Posted on August 15, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Happy weekend!  Here’s a group of tweets from the past few days that might be worth a second look.  If you have tweets you’d like to see in our roundup please feel free to share them.

Cheers,

Anne Z.

____________________________________________________________
Tweets for the week of 8/8/10

> @idtexpert #Medical #IdentityTheft Alert: Huge loss of patient data at Thomas Jefferson #University #Hospital in #Philadelphia ; http://bit.ly/dsTWhd

> @drchrono patient med records found in a Boston dump! sounds like yet another good reason to get an EMR: http://bit.ly/bOEPCP #emr

> @hcapr Regional Med Ctr of San Jose Uses Pocket-Sized Handout to Improve Quality Scores: http://tinyurl.com/2cp7ph2 #HCA #hospital #cms #healthcare (Hey, I’m intrigued; how about  you?)

> @ShigeoKinoshita RT @ingagenetworks: 3 ways to increase engagement and revitalize your healthcare system http://bit.ly/98Fe7s #hcsm #health20

> @AndrewPWilson: CDC Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing Practice http://bit.ly/b4udxS #gov20 #health20

> @HealthYRc Lone bedbug sends Kings County Hospital ER into fumigation lockdown – #New #York #Daily #News#Hospitals#Health > http://bit.ly/bSFMlS

> @HealthYRc It’s easy to buy babies at govt hospitals – #Times #of #India#Hospitals#Health > http://bit.ly/ddRmdH (ED: Sounds outrageous but check out the story)

Come on, hospitals! Put the social media pieces together!

Posted on August 9, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Today, in the Baltimore Business Journal, we learn that Charm City hospitals are doing a great deal more social media outreach than they had in the past.  Take health system LifeBridge, the paper says:

The LifeBridge Twitter account and Blogspot blog is updated regularly and provides health care information to patients while its Facebook page is used as a job and career board. LifeBridge also has its own channels on YouTube and ICYou, an online health video source.

These all sound like good initiatives which use the various social media channels appropriately.  It’s clear that LifeBridge is trying to reach out and touch consumers; that it wants patients to be healthy;  that it’s making sure people have access to its job listings and that it’s making an effort to keep people up to date on its activities.

All of which means, well, just about zero if I’m a patient hoping to decide where to have an elective procedure.  Nada. Zip. Job listings?  Meh. Tweets?  Well, I’m willing to be called on it if I’m wrong, but I’m doubting they start thoughtful conversations with consumers.  Health information on video?  Well, I’ll add a few points for the video, as it’s a pretty compelling way to educate people, but just a few.

Bottom line?  Even if they are using the right content for the right pieces, these are a bunch of loosely-connected initiatives that can’t do much to make patients feel safe, comfortable and welcome on their own.  Doing that takes not only a change in content, but also in approach.

It’s time to build social media efforts around a central goal, that of making your key audiences feel connected to your facility. Not informed about what you’re up to (most people who read don’t care about your new parking tower), not educated (there’s a place for that and it’s usually called WebMD) but connected.

That would take a bunch of effort, time, study of what patients, clinicians and staffers want and some serious trial-and-error experimentation. But it would be worth every penny. Try it — I dare you!  You won’t be sorry.

Video: The future, pharma-style

Posted on August 6, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

OK, you’ve got me — this video is TOO slick.  It makes your average YouTube video look like it was drawn in crayon by a five-year-old.  Of course, it was created by Novartis, and the pharmas are the kings of slick media production.

I’m sharing this with you not because it says anything novel, though it does bring together some very compelling statistics on the impact of preventable health conditions.

No, I’m passing it along because  marketers and strategists out there might find its (comparatively) soft-sell approach to the value of pharma R&D to be rather interesting.  With social media demanding a new approach to reaching audiences — a voice that suggests and guides, rather than pitches — expect to see pharmas do a lot more indirect selling.

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Generating serious ROI from your content — it’s no pipedream!

Posted on July 18, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

As I’ve met with current and potential clients and partners, I’ve been lobbing what may be a heretical idea over the fence. The idea? That even though they’re not in the business of publishing newsletters and magazines or writing reports, the content they house can be turned into money, sometimes quickly.  And moreover, that they can measure how much value they’ve generated in real-dollar terms, at least some of the time.

When I say content can be turned to money, I have several models in mind. Some of them are already pretty familiar:

Marketing communications: Taking stories you already have internally — such as case studies on successful outcomes — and getting some publicity. That can certainly  help attract patients, though it’s hard to figure out just which patients were influenced by what  message.  Not hard to pull off, as we’re mostly talking text.

Price: $500 to $2,000 per case researched/written up if outsourced to serious marcomm pros

ROI: Potentially, some measurable increase in use of outpatient procedures which are needed, scary and common, as well as as well as new admissions, especially for specialties like OB/GYN where womend o a lot of shopping.  Wild guess in revenue? $500K per year for a 150-bed community hospital if a few good stories are developed and promoted.

* Recruitment:  Gathering stories from clinical staffers on how the find work-life balance and satisfaction when affiliated with your institution.  That can be a bit more complicated to do, as video, photos and scripts may be called for, but the right presentation can be killer — even viral!

Price: From $500 for a crude effort to $2,000 for a glossier series of profiles with backup campaign involved.

ROI: Again using the example of the 150-bed community, if you brought in even four nurses you’d probably save $200K in recruiting costs.

As for doctors, depending on the specialty the amount could vary widely, depending on what in-demand specialties  you managed to attract, but we both know it’s more cost-effective to find someone who really wants to work with your institution than folks who show up because you throw ’em a big bonus.  If all this strategy does is save you having to come up with another $100K to $150K recruitment bonus, mission more than accomplished.

Is that all you got? Nope!

Next, I’ll talk about less conventional ways to add revenue or save expenses through smart use of the content (and don’t be fooled, I mean waaaay more than editorial content).  We’re talking things as important as changing referral patterns and building community support for controversial new ventures through the use of “social content.”  More to come on this!

The next generation of healthcare social content

Posted on July 5, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

If you’re like me, you’re tired of hearing about the entire social media mess– Twitter, Twanger, Facebook, Nosebook, StumbleUpon, FallDown, ClimbUp, YouTube, Tubular Bells, Foursquare, FiveSquare, Friends on a Stick, Digg, Dig-Dugg,  PasstheHat, you name it. 

I’m not going to deny that many of these channels (the ones I didn’t make up to be silly, of course) have some uses. I’ve been known to follow a Twitter conversation via hash tags, enjoy a few threaded conversations on Facebook, connected with some very useful businsess contacts on Linked in and promoted many a blog item on StumbleUpon and Digg. These are good, useful  activities which can sometimes offer real communications value.

But what’s the point of using any of them if all your organization does is pump out the least valuable information it has to offer? Neigborhood events. Cutesy press releases.  Links to clinical research done by your faculty (which is, of course, valuable, but hardly unique to your stream if a true discovery is involved.)  As I noted previously in an item on useless Twitter feeds, social media doesn’t matter if the society you want isn’t listening.

So, enter the notion of “social content,”  information written by pros — sometimes professional journalists in your field — who mine your organization for information that really matters and help present it in ways that build your healthcare organization’s brand. 

Facebook pages, for example, can become places for serious dialogues about health issues, hosted by your organization but run by people who are focused on real substance.  Social content involves real research, study and preparation, like the research and editorial efforts you see turned out by Modern Healthcare or Press Ganey.

Rather than issuing happy-talk nonsense statements, healthcare leaders can develop social content that shares their key concerns and team messages using the social media infrastructure.  These messages don’t involve some sort of tricky, gadgety approach to using social media channels;  they’re just stronger, clearer and far less shallow than what you might have done in the past.

The bottom line?  Creating social content isn’t a Big New Thing — it’s just a method of squeezing far more value into a smaller space and coordinating it with what you say elsewhere.  It’s confident , it promotes your mission, and it’s too damned important to ignore.

If we can help you begin a social content audit — to find out what kind of great content you’ve already got — just let me know.

Why don’t doctors care what you say?

Posted on July 2, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Your job depends — at least in part — on communicating with doctors, right?  You need to make sure you  know what your physicians want, see that your business goals are matched with theirs and make sure you win  as much loyalty as possible. And you certainly need to make sure every deal you do with them is kosher, legally  and financially, something that requires just a bit of trust.

And how do most healthcare organizations establish this warm-and-fuzzy connection?  Well, we’re probably talking about a few meetings, a few e-mail messages, some paper mail and maybe a party or two. It’s irresistable!

OK,  sarcasm off.  The truth is, while healthcare organizations do a decent job of reaching out to consumers, I’d give most a C-, at best, at communicating with clinicians.  Executives may attempt to speak to doctors, but it’s from some sort of ivory tower which, as I see it, usually isn’t compatible with straight talk.

So, what to do?  Well, I’ll admit it:  as a media and community dev specialist, I’d argue that it’s time to bring some professional media smarts to the doctor-exec relationship.  A few on-point newsletters with zero fluff, a complete and intelligently designed Web site, thoughtful tweets or a slick magazine — any of these can work.

The bottom line is that whether you go the media route, or just get someone with a gift for plain speech to take a look at your communications strategy, it shouldn’t be an afterthought.  There’s just no excuse for trying to rule by fiat — or pomposity.

And another thought…

You can find videos like these all over the Web:

But how often do you see a video that addresses physicians’ daily needs?  Their business plans?  Their professional expectations?  Seems to me that the communications department doesn’t touch that stuff.

Most hospital tweets are useless and stupid

Posted on June 28, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Hear ye, hear ye,  hospital marketers, I bring you a call to action. It’s time to wake up from the passive slumber you’ve been in and start thinking about Twitter as a strategic tool — as a way to find out what key stakeholders want, to inspire employees, to gather intelligence which can bond patients to your hospital and generally build your business.  It’s not a place to shoehorn your existing content is into a 140-character package.  My God no.

Right now, many hospital tweeters seem to think that Twitter is just another channel for publishing the same dull content they’ve always produced, and it’s killing their public image. Please believe me, because I’d dead serious about this: It’s killing your public image in Twitter-land. Many of you are coming across as slap-happy, unresponsive and, forgive me, actually rather dumb. I know you’re not, folks; I’m just telling you how it looks on our end.

What’s going wrong?  Well, here’s a few specific examples:

*  Twitter isn’t an appropriate venue for community relations messages.  Urging women to get a mammogram, announcing your new diabetes workshop or talking about the groundbreaking on your new parking garage all serve a purpose, but they’re b-o-r-i-n-g  tweets and do  nothing to build a relationship with followers.

*  Twitter isn’t a public relations platform. Who cares, even in your own community, that your maternity ward had a “babies are cool!” event?  Nobody. Once in a while, you may have real news to share — such as, perhaps, if your facility wins a national quality award like the Baldridge — but most of the time, the PR you generate is more for the benefit of your own bosses.  Please, spare us.

*  Twitter isn’t a tool for broadcasting blow-by-blow details of that neat Da Vinci robot procedure you had.  Sorry, guys, but the “tweet live surgery” idea wasn’t great to begin with, and it’s *certainly* played out now.

On the other hand, there’s dozens of ways hospitals can use Twitter to increase their credibility. I realize some of these won’t work for everyone, but they may kick-start some conversations:

*  Ask your followers to submit their most pressing questions about a common disorder (say, diabetes), then have one of your physicians to tweet answers to as many questions as possible. Follow  up the Q&A with a reminder that physicians like these can be found through your doc-finder line.

* Tweet a link to a survey on what services patients would like to see at your hospital. (You’ll find that you get a few responses from people halfway across the world, too, as everyone likes to be asked what they want.)  In the survey tweet, let patients know that they’ll get a reward for responding, such as a low-cost gift certificate.

*Rather than sending out blasts bragging about your own glorious accomplishments, send out tweets offering real medical news that might impact their life.  Act like your institution actually, uh, knows stuff.   If you’re trying to promote maternity services, for example, create a tweet stream updating moms-to-be on the latest advances in the field, suggestions on how to prepare for their birth experience and what they can expect when they arrive at your facility to give birth.

*  Hire an official tweeter with actual hard-news background, perhaps a freelancer with a broad view of the medical world, and let them find and pass along high quality news which increases your reputation among both patients and professionals.

* Create a sub-list of doctors affiliated with your institution (and perhaps those you might want to come over) and have an ongoing conversation with them about their needs and interests.

So, what have you been trying on Twitter?  And how has it worked for you?