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July 18, 2018

Responding to Negative Online Reviews About Wait Times

By: Mike Belvedere

When patients post online reviews of visits with healthcare providers, it is common to see negative remarks about non-medical aspects of the appointment. Complaints range from directions and parking to waiting room comfort, staff attitudes, excessive paperwork and billing snafus. Long wait times – between arrival and actually seeing the doctor – is an especially…

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When patients post online reviews of visits with healthcare providers, it is common to see negative remarks about non-medical aspects of the appointment. Complaints range from directions and parking to waiting room comfort, staff attitudes, excessive paperwork and billing snafus. Long wait times – between arrival and actually seeing the doctor – is an especially sore topic. In Binary Fountain’s Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement survey, 48 percent of people aged 25 and above selected “wait time” as the most frustrating thing about visiting the doctor.

Doctor's Office Waiting RoomThe most recent survey from Vitals® finds that 84 percent of respondents regard wait time as “somewhat important” or “very important.” The survey reports that close to a third of people have actually walked out on an appointment because of long wait times, and 20 percent have changed doctors over the issue of wait time.

The Vitals survey also reports a correlation between waiting time and the doctor’s average star rating: Five star-rated physicians have an average wait time of 13 minutes, 17 seconds, while one star-rated doctors averaged 34 minutes, 10 seconds.  There’s no avoiding the conclusion that wait times matter. And, while providers may put a lot of effort and expense into efficient, timely scheduling, there are times when systems and staff fall short.

Responding to Long Wait Time Complaints

The best approach to a waiting-time complaint is to be prompt about responding. Practices that use in-office patient experience surveys can flag a negative review, which offers a way to quickly catch and address a wait time complaint. Spartanburg Regional Medical Center implemented automated alerts to flag patient reviews that scored a 2.5 or below so they could quickly initiate service recovery. They also analyzed patient experience data across their 96 practice locations and discovered that an overwhelming percent of feedback was about getting timely care. They used the data to determine what locations were top scoring in this category and plan to apply their best practices across their physician practices.

If an infrequent reason for a delay does happen – a cardiologist must attend to a heart attack patient, for example, or an OB is called out to deliver a baby – it is very important to immediately let patients know about the situation and offer to reset the visit.

Remembering that the subtext of many negative reviews is “What are you going to do about this,” the best response to online wait time complaints is one that arrives quickly. Offer sympathy, and a sincere apology. Some practices send a gift card or a fruit basket with their apology. Be sure to acknowledge the patient’s dissatisfaction, and demonstrate that the practice does care. Make sure your response conveys the message that your practice regards every comment and review as an opportunity to do better.

Do you have a story of a successful response to a wait time complaint? Let us know.

About the Author

Mike Belvedere

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July 10, 2018

Does responding promptly to all reviews – negative and positive – help overall reputation?

By: Kayla Zamary

It is a widely accepted principle in today’s healthcare marketing environment: reputation management requires monitoring reviews and comments about your practice. A simple notion, really: you have to know what patients say about their experience in order to make improvements to your service delivery and to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Marketers may feel…

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It is a widely accepted principle in today’s healthcare marketing environment: reputation management requires monitoring reviews and comments about your practice. A simple notion, really: you have to know what patients say about their experience in order to make improvements to your service delivery and to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Marketers may feel that healthcare operates on a different playing field than online and big box commerce or hospitality sites.  Your visitors are much less inclined to consider differences.  As a recent McKinsey study observes, consumers expect the same qualities in healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings.

Responding to ReviewsIn this environment, responding to reviews is vital to reputation management. The purpose of responding is not to defend your institution, but to demonstrate your commitment to improving patient experience. Nick La Rosa of KureSmart made the point in our recent MGMA webinar on reputation management: In every online interaction, the patient, and the visitor who reads the patient’s review, should receive this message from the provider: “We take everything you say seriously, and we are driven to improve.” Whether positive or negative, the response to every review should translate to “Thank you, your comments are making us better.”

The prominence of third-party review sites can make it feel that providers have no control over their online reputation. In a this reputation-sensitive environment, reputation managers give responding to negative reviews a higher priority. It is only natural: an unfavorable review that goes without response sends the message that you do not care.

But a recent study, described in the Harvard Business Review, reports this: “when managers respond to positive reviews, it has the same benefits as when they respond to negative reviews.”

The reason starts with the commitment described above, to take every review seriously. The patient who posts an unfavorable review is to some extent asking “What are you going to do about this?”

Your consistently responsive stance helps build trust. If a customer or patient has a small complaint, but sees that both large and small concerns are addressed promptly and respectfully, they may choose not to complain.

The HBR study focused on reviews posted at Trip Advisor, so its quantitative conclusions may not translate directly to healthcare. But, there is certainly something to be gained by treating patients as guests, and by responding in terms that a guest would appreciate. As we have reported here and here, Florida Orthopedic Institute has seen measurable improvement in reviews and in patient loyalty by bringing a hospitality-based approach to reputation management.

Do you respond as quickly and thoroughly to favorable reviews as to unfavorable ones? Let us know if you are seeing positive effects in your reputation management program.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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June 29, 2018

When Providers Take Ownership Of Their Online Reputation

By: John McFeely

Physician buy-in can be one of the more complicated aspects of a successful reputation management program. Some of our customers say that physicians they work with can be reluctant at first to embrace online reviews and ratings, whether positive or negative. Many physicians have been at odds with reviews. A recent study published in the…

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Physician buy-in can be one of the more complicated aspects of a successful reputation management program. Some of our customers say that physicians they work with can be reluctant at first to embrace online reviews and ratings, whether positive or negative.

Many physicians have been at odds with reviews. A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine revealed that 78 percent of providers said that online physician reviews cause them stress. Physicians may be concerned that their ratings could be influenced by factors unrelated to the actual patient interaction. Some doctors hold the attitude that they will not change the way they practice medicine because of an unfavorable review. One physician even sued a patient over allegations posted in a negative review.

As part of a recent Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit presentation on Engagement-Driven Reputation Management, Elizabeth Davis, Reputation Manager for HCA, pointed out that provider concerns about online reviews can result in requests to take down negative reviews.

Speaking with Sarah Heath of Patient Engagement HIT, Davis said, “What matters is that patient comments are out there, so no matter how outdated the comment is or how irrelevant it appears, patients are still making decisions based on it.”

What do we recommend? Make the case with providers for online reputation management. As Davis stated, they need to know that their reputation is already online and consumers are increasingly using online ratings and reviews to select a provider. Back it up with telling healthcare consumer stats and show reviews about the providers. The next message that needs to be communicated: Physicians can take ownership of their online reputation. Educate them on the online reputation management program and what they can do to help with their own reputation. Whether it is cultivating a patient-centered environment at a practice, generating more reviews, or participating in service recovery when needed, providers can make a difference in their own online reputation.

Davis also observes that executive sponsorship can go a long way toward inspiring staff and provider buy-in. Reputation management and patient engagement work best when patient feedback is used as a training tool with staffers and physicians and as a way to celebrate successes based on positive reviews.

When reputation managers understand that physicians are often competitive, results-oriented and data-driven by personality and training, it is easier to inspire them to take a positive approach toward reviews, and an active role in managing their online reputation.

At a recent Binary Fountain webinar hosted by MGMA, KureSmart Pain Management VP of Operations Britni Cullen described a highly capable physician who had great outcomes but received low star ratings in patient communication and bedside manner.

After the KureSmart reputation management team reviewed the direct patient feedback with him, this very competitive individual ended up becoming Kure Smart’s highest ranked physician because he adjusted his behavior based on patient feedback.

When providers embrace reputation management and patient engagement, patients and potential patients take notice, and this shows in the number of reviews, in new patient volume, and ultimately in corporate revenue.

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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June 13, 2018

Manage Online Reputation to Impact Revenue and Patient Experience Four Takeaways from Our Webinar

By: Kayla Zamary

Our recent MGMA-sponsored webinar on Online Reputation Management covered trends in online consumer behavior and how they are affecting physician practices. KureSmart Pain Management shared how it manages online reviews and patient experience survey data to increase revenue and patient loyalty. Here are four takeaways from the webinar: ONE: Reviews matter, more now than ever…

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Our recent MGMA-sponsored webinar on Online Reputation Management covered trends in online consumer behavior and how they are affecting physician practices. KureSmart Pain Management shared how it manages online reviews and patient experience survey data to increase revenue and patient loyalty. Here are four takeaways from the webinar:

ONE: Reviews matter, more now than ever

Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s SVP of Marketing, discussed patient experience-driven healthcare, offering some stats on reviews.

A recent Binary Fountain study shows that 75 percent of Americans say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician. In BrightLocal’s 2017 annual survey, 85% of people said they trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, and that percentage is trending higher from year to year. And, a survey by Software Advice found that 47% of people would consider choosing an out-of-network provider with more favorable reviews, over an in-network doctor.

Reviews impact revenue. An HCA study of 50 practices showed a 17% increase in average monthly patient volume when a practice had 90-100% positive reviews. Practices with below 80% positive reviews recorded only a 2% increase in average monthly volume.

TWO: Responding to reviews is no longer optional

Many negative reviews are really asking “What are you going to do about this?” People reading reviews, whether positive or negative, want the confidence of knowing someone is listening, and is committed to improving patient experience. Aaron’s advice on reviews:

  • Treat online reviews like they were given face to face
  • Responding shows patients and prospects that you care about their experience
  • Not responding is like not answering a customer service call
  • Practices are noticing an increase in online reviews when they respond

Nick LaRosa, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, KureSmart Pain Management, said that how you respond to a negative online review could overshadow the original complaint. In every online interaction, the patient, and the visitor who reads the review, should hear this message: “We take everything you say seriously, and we are driven to improve.” Whether positive or negative, the response should translate to “Thank you, your comments are making us better.”

THREE: Buy-in is crucial

Britni Cullen, Vice President of Business Operations, KureSmart Pain Management, outlined how resistance turned to buy-in at KureSmart. At first, staffers felt they did not have time to encourage surveys and respond to reviews. Initial goals were set to be achievable, and managers helped staffers find enthusiasm for expanding their efforts. Today, it is standard practice to publicly celebrate positive reviews at quarterly staff lunch meetings.

She related ways that patient feedback can change corporate practice. KureSmart noticed complaints about billing that revealed dissatisfaction with patient deductibles. The company started to help patients understand, before the procedure, where their deductible stands and what would be their obligation. With complaints noticed and problem addressed, complaints reduced in number.

Britni also described a physician who had great outcomes but received low star ratings on patient communication and bedside manner. After the team reviewed direct patient feedback with him, this very competitive individual adjusted his behavior and became KureSmart’s highest rated doctor.

FOUR: A commitment to exceptional patient experience yields bottom-line results

Nick LaRosa said that turning toward being driven by patient engagement has reshaped the entire company. Here is how success looks at KureSmart:

  • Patient experience increased 68%
  • Patient loyalty increased 52%
  • Physicians’ rating increased 59%
  • Positive online reviews increased 52%
  • 29% growth rate nearly doubled the number of new patients

There is much more useful information, insight and actionable advice in the webinar and the Q & A that followed. Sign in here to listen on demand.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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May 22, 2018

How to Improve Your Digital Front Door Strategy

By: John McFeely

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and medical practices offer to healthcare consumers. According to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development, 77% of consumers search online before booking an appointment, making your facility’s presence on the web more important than…

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There’s a lot of discussion these days about the Digital Front Door, and how it informs the experience hospitals and medical practices offer to healthcare consumers. According to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development, 77% of consumers search online before booking an appointment, making your facility’s presence on the web more important than ever.

We will cover what a comprehensive digital strategy looks like for healthcare facilities and what steps your organization needs to take.

Build a Great Website: Your Digital Front Door

Consumers want the same online experience with healthcare companies that they value in non-healthcare settings.

When they arrive at your digital front door, or your website, visitors expect convenience, ease of use and accessibility on par with the best. That doesn’t mean merely being better than your healthcare competition.

Consumer expectations for online experience and engagement are now set and constantly raised by mega-retailers like Amazon, as well as banks and other service related industries. As marketers or practice managers, we want to focus on what makes healthcare different from leading online and big box commerce sites. Your visitors care much less about those differences – if they can’t quickly see a path to the answers they seek, you have missed an opportunity to connect and engage.

How to Build a Great Healthcare Website

What makes the largest online retailers so successful? It’s their dedication to putting their users first. From simple to use navigation to contacting your facility with one tap on their smartphone, users care more about functionality than they do about a pretty design.

Easy Site Navigation

The primary satisfier for a consumer is the site’s navigation.  If they get frustrated, they will not use your services.

Just as hospitals are adopting wayfinding solutions to help people navigate their maze of hallways, hospital web sites need to adapt to healthcare consumers seeking information.

Your digital front door must welcome the visitor. Whether finding the right provider for their care, booking an online appointment, being able to review test results, or paying a bill, it’s imperative to help them find what they need quickly.

Start by organizing your pages into categories with standard terms that make sense to your user. The easier it is for them to quickly understand the actions they can take, the faster they will be able to take action.

For example, if you have an “About Us” section, don’t name it “Meet our Team.” Simplicity is always preferred.

Make it Easy for Users To Contact You and Make Appointments

The most common actions practices want users to take on their website are to learn about the practice, contact the practice/physician or book an appointment. With that in mind, you should focus your design efforts on making those interactions as easy as possible.

For example, make your phone number click to call. Nothing causes more friction for a user than having to copy your phone number and then paste it in their dial menu. The same is true for directions.  It’s the little things that greatly improve a patient’s experience with your digital front door.

If you do not offer online scheduling for appointments, invest in the technology you need to make it happen. Your patients and bottom line will thank you.

Build Trust Through Content

Explain why your practice facility should be the first choice for the patient. Healthcare consumers want to know they are going to a trusted provider with a trustworthy history.

If your facility has won awards or if you have patient testimonials, proudly display them. Patients choose medical facilities they feel like they can trust for exceptional care.  Similarly, post your star ratings from surveys.

Don’t Just Focus on the Homepage

The digital front door for your facility is more than just the hospital home page and search window. Dayton Children’s Hospital, for example, identifies some 80 ‘microments’ in the consumer healthcare journey, progressing from discovery to exploration to evaluation to engagement and experience.

This analysis brings Nurse Chat, ED and Urgent Care check-ins and patient portal into their front door strategy, along with social media, star ratings and local listings.

How to Build Great Provider Pages

Provider pages are great opportunities to showcase your doctors and build trust.

Some things to include in your provider pages:

  • Provider ratings
  • A quick bio (consider a video bio)
  • Offices
  • Specialties or areas of interest
  • Accepted insurances
  • Ability to schedule an appointment
  • Schema markup

If you aren’t leveraging Schema on your provider profile pages, they may not appear in search results. Schema is a certain kind of tag that helps search engines like Google organize data and accurately display it for users.

Schema tagging your provider pages will ensure search engines have the right information to prioritize your pages in their search results, increasing the chances people will find your provider pages.

You can find out more about Schema markup here.

Expand Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Now that you’ve improved your website, it’s time to expand your digital marketing efforts into other areas like search engine optimization and managing online reviews.

For much more on the digital front door, check out the SHSMD hosted webinar called Defining the New Digital Front Door. You’ll get insight on top-of-the-funnel consumer entry paths like organic and paid search, local listings, and third-party reviews, plus advice on avoiding common pitfalls. Also covered are the very important metrics you need to help measure the progress of your program.

Introduced by Binary Fountain’s own Aaron Clifford, three panelists offer great ideas and real-world experience in improving patient engagement:

Chris Boyer, host of the Touchpoint Podcast and
Director, Digital Strategy and Analytics
Fairview Health Services

Blake Long
Director, Marketing Technology and Strategy
UnityPoint Health

Grace Jones
Consumer Brand Manager
Dayton Children’s Hospital

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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May 07, 2018

National Nurses Week 2018 – Saying Thank You

By: Kayla Zamary

Every year National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends May 12, Florence Nightingale‘s birthday. It’s an opportunity to celebrate those whose job – really, it’s a calling – means providing compassionate, exceptional care and a better patient experience. If you or a family member have been a patient at a hospital, you know that nurses…

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Every year National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends May 12, Florence Nightingale‘s birthday. It’s an opportunity to celebrate those whose job – really, it’s a calling – means providing compassionate, exceptional care and a better patient experience. If you or a family member have been a patient at a hospital, you know that nurses are at the bedside often, checking in on your condition and comfort – you even get to know them by name.  They’re delivering care in many settings: at physician practices, nursing homes, and on the field of battle, for example. In all cases, the common denominator is they go over and beyond because they care. On top of that, nursing is rated as the most honest and ethical profession.

National Nurses Week

We believe it’s important to recognize the work they do and there are organizations that do this. The DAISY FOUNDATION established the DAISY Awards program as a way of saying “thank you” to nurses everywhere. It now honors nurses in over 3,000 healthcare facilities across the US and in 17 countries. The American Nurses Association provides a toolkit of assets that providers can use to say thank you to nurses.

You can also recognize a nurse who’s provided amazing care: post a positive online review about her or him. If you’re a Binary Fountain client, you can analyze patient comments to identify positive feedback about them and share it at the next nurse staff meeting. It will be a morale booster and appreciated. If you have a family member or spouse who’s a nurse, flowers (and making their favorite dinner) are also a good idea. So get in the spirit and thank a nurse!

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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April 26, 2018

Patient Experience Week – 2018

By: Kayla Zamary

April 23 through 27 is Patient Experience week, described by the Beryl Institute as “a focused time for organizations to celebrate accomplishments, reenergize efforts and honor the people who impact patient experience every day.” Many providers are recognizing staff and physicians who personify putting patients first. With the patient voice growing in importance, we’d like…

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April 23 through 27 is Patient Experience week, described by the Beryl Institute as “a focused time for organizations to celebrate accomplishments, reenergize efforts and honor the people who impact patient experience every day.” Many providers are recognizing staff and physicians who personify putting patients first.

With the patient voice growing in importance, we’d like to call out some healthcare providers who put the ‘every day’ into their own efforts and use patient feedback as a catalyst to create a better patient experience.

At Florida Orthopaedic Institute, patient experience is informed by a hospitality-inspired program instituted by Director of Marketing & Customer Service Donna Bossuyt and Marketing & Customer Service Manager Kim Mott. They’re helping FOI move from a physician-centric culture to a patient-centric one. You can learn more about it here and here.

KureSmart Pain Management has worked to improve engagement and listen more closely to patient voices by sharing patient feedback with physicians, and inspiring their medical staff to take an active role in engagement. As a result KureSmart’s overall patient experience score increased by 68 percent and patient loyalty increased by 52 percent. Learn more about their program here.

Providence St. Joseph Health are helping patients make a more informed decision when selecting their next physician by publishing star ratings and patient comments from CAHPS surveys to their provider profile pages. You can learn more about it here.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare places a high priority on patient engagement. They take it so seriously that patient engagement and service recovery are a part of the day one onboarding experience for every newly hired physician. “We hammer home to the physicians how important it is that our patients have good experiences,” says Mary Reid, RN, Senior Physician Development Consultant. Learn more about Spartanburg’s patient-focused onboarding session here.

Have you done something special to celebrate patients and honor staff members who stand out for putting patient engagement first? Tell us all about it!

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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April 16, 2018

SXSW Recap 2018

By: Kayla Zamary

Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, attends many conferences, and South by Southwest is one his favorites. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the panels and keynotes Aaron found informative and inspiring. Overview: AI and Trust in the era of purloined data, and real fake news One of last year’s hottest…

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Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, attends many conferences, and South by Southwest is one his favorites. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the panels and keynotes Aaron found informative and inspiring.

Overview: AI and Trust in the era of purloined data, and real fake news

SXSW

One of last year’s hottest topics, Artificial Intelligence was just as prominent in 2018, because consumers are becoming accustomed to – if not exactly embracing – applications that have come into wider use. Do they like them? Maybe.  Do they trust them? Maybe not. Trust was also a recurring topic in many panel sessions. In this year of data use and abuse, and real stories of fake news, discussion focused on a study that places trust high on the list of challenges among respondents.

More Data, More Problems: Transparency in 2018
Panelists:
Toby McKenna, business and revenue growth, Bazaarvoice
Price Glomski, Executive Vice President at digital agency PMG
Atul Singh, Dell Global Ad-Tech
Jennifer Sugarman, Sony Electronics consumer marketing team leader

This panel was not focused strictly on health care, but it covered familiar territory. Campaign performance data, targeting segments are now based on complex combinations of data points; this can lead the users of the data astray. Atul Singh described ’good data’ very simply, as “data that does what it says it will do.” The panelists agreed that brands, data providers and agencies must cooperate to make sure the right data is being used, in the right way to reach the desired consumers. Listen here

Making Healthcare Price Transparency Actionable
Panelists:
Chris Moriates, Assistant Dean for Healthcare Value at Dell Medical School, TX Austin
Vineet Arora, Assistant Dean for Scholarship & Discovery at University of Chicago
Dr. Neel Shah, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and founder of Costs of Care
David Vivero, co-founder and CEO at Amino, a healthcare transparency company

The intro to this panel notes that “93% of Americans are ‘personally worried’ about healthcare affordability.” The panelists described the work of Costs of Care and Amino on bringing clarity in healthcare pricing out of the realm of Google searches and into the doctor’s office.  I was moved to tweet from the audience, “Pricing is a mess in healthcare. Comments and ratings from patients regarding their bill and costs of healthcare are rarely positive.” It’s reassuring to know that there are companies working to solve this problem. Listen here

Austin

Lessons in Innovation from Silicon Valley Elite
This session featured Ann Hiatt, who has been an Executive Business Partner to Marissa Mayer (former CEO of Yahoo), Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon.com) and currently Eric Schmidt (former Executive Chairman at Google).  The topic was how to cultivate an atmosphere in your organization that enables it to hire with vision, breed creativity and inspire ambition.

Create Magic: 6 Experiential Storytelling Secrets
Panelists:
Cynthia Jones, GM for Innovation Experiences at the Henry Ford Museum
Christian Lachel of of BRC Imagination Arts
Claire Tolan, of Jameson Distillery, Ireland

This panel explored creativity and engagement in customer experience. Discussion included ways to use six secrets of experiential storytelling to engage, entertain and inspire audiences, and to learn how to create an experience that forges an emotional connection, deepens engagement and inspires life-long loyalty. Listen here

Balancing Brand Building vs Performance
Panelists:
Mary Corcoran, President, Twist Mktg/W2O Group
Ty Shay, SVP and CMO for Symantec’s Consumer Business Unit
Mark Stouse, CEO, founder Proof Analytics
Marissa Tarleton, CMO of RetailMeNot, Inc

Building a likable brand lubricates the wheels of performance marketing, but accountability is more vital than ever. This panel gathered CMOs and CCOs of major brands to discuss how they balance building brand equity with maximizing performance metrics, and to explore how analytics can help define the right mix. Listen here

Trust: The Currency of the Sharing Economy
Panelists:
Juliette Kayyem, CEO of Zemcar, and a homeland security expert
Nick Shapiro, Global Head of Trust and Risk Management at Airbnb, and former Deputy Chief of Staff at the CIA
Arun Sundararajan, professor at NYU  Stern School of Business, teaching tech entrepreneurship, the digital economy, and more

The description for this panel notes that recent studies show society experiences an unprecedented crisis of trust. At the same time, millions of people book lodging through Airbnb, and don’t hesitate to hop into an Uber or Lyft car. The discussion explored the reasons for mistrust, and the enthusiasm that some sharing economy companies inspire in their customers. This is relevant in healthcare customer engagement, because our industry encounters similar peaks and valleys of confidence and mistrust. Listen here

Quantum computing: on the horizon but approaching fast

Still in the far distance for most people in healthcare is the advent of quantum computing. With both panel and keynote events on the subject, SXSW made it clear that this hard-to-grasp next wave of computing is approaching at warp speed. The presentations helped to address the question: “What problems will be solved with this quantum leap in computing power that cannot be solved today with the world’s most powerful supercomputers?” Listen here and here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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April 05, 2018

The Internet Wants to be in Your Clothes: A Conversation with the Hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast – Part 2

By: Kayla Zamary

In this post, we continue the conversation with Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Joined by Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, they…

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In this post, we continue the conversation with Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Joined by Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, they dig into the challenges and trends affecting healthcare marketers. If you haven’t yet, you can read part one to catch up on the the beginning of the conversation.

KB: When I hear “doing more with less” I think usually that means that certain things get cut out. Is there anything you’ve seen going by the wayside, or getting less spending, because what you’re talking about here is what can we do to spend ten percent less, or be more efficient in terms of our keyword buys. Is there more focus on digital and less on the offline stuff? What have you seen?

Chris: Well billboards are going away, for sure – just kidding! I have this perverse thought that I will die by a billboard falling on me – an ironic death! People are still doing traditional things, and I don’t think we’re ever going to remove that from the lexicon of marketing in hospitals, but certainly there’s more focus on how we measure the success of that. At least we’re starting to have that conversation. I was looking today at industry benchmarks which had metrics for all the digital pieces, but when it came to billboards, and radio spots and tv spots, it was mysteriously blank. So I’m not sure what that means – blank is probably accurate for what they can measure from it right now, but what’s weird is that it never fell off the list. Honestly if we would stop doing it that would be awesome. I believe multi-channel is the way to go. What do you think Reed?

Reed: I don’t think we’ll see the traditional marketing avenues go away, and I don’t think they should. But I think we’ve got to be realistic about their role is within the plan. This may be a little simplistic, but the idea of putting a physician on a billboard… that’s probably not overly advantageous but as long as everybody is intellectually honest about why we’re doing it, I’m fine with that, as long as we’re being honest about it. But the problem comes when we’re doing things, around the wrong expectation. We end up expecting more out of a medium than we really can glean or measure. So if you have a new brand, or you’re doing a branding campaign and you want to have billboards in the market, or it’s a hyper-competitive market or something like that, and you feel like brand awareness, top of mind is important and you can make the case for that I think that’s fine. But I think we need to understand why we’re doing things.

Chris: I think a lot of times people are talking digital as the way forward. This really means to prioritize digital as tactics. The other channels need to be there. It’s just more like instead of becoming digital only, we become digital first, because that’s actually going to get you a lot closer to where the conversion occurs. It’s going to get you a lot closer to understanding how people are consuming your various touch points.  But I like the way you said it Reed, it’s fine as long as we’re being honest about what traditional can actually do. Actually someone asked me about a billboard today, and that’s how I’m going to come back to him. So, I like that Reed, thanks!

Reed: So what else? Mobile first – that just means a responsive web site, right?

Chris: We need an app!

Reed: Right, we need an app!

responsive designChris: Really, it’s more than just an app. Mobile is misunderstood, but it’s important. People do think mobile first is, like what Reed said, that responsive web site or an app. It’s simply realizing that the Internet is spreading off of the computer, into multiple devices. The one in your pocket is one, the one on your night stand, the tablet that you’re using, but it also is now getting into your watch, your little Alexa device. The Internet of Things, that’s what mobile is. It’s getting into your clothes!

Reed: That’s the headline!

KB: We’re seeing how things are being questioned, in terms of how everything is being invested in terms of marketing efforts, billboards are always in question, just being honest about it. What are you seeing? If there are a few more dollars being put into a certain initiative or channel, what do you see that money going to right now?

Reed: What should it go to, or what is it going to?

KB: You guys can riff on that both ways . . .

Reed: Hospitals are never going to be the first ones to market around something new and cutting edge, because what’s the upside? They’re going to let some of the organizations even some of the other verticals run out in front and see what works and doesn’t work. We’re still seeing things that may be considered a little old hat, where there’s a little less noise, that work pretty well. Internet radio for example – Pandora, iHeart Radio, things like that where people are able to advertise. I would say hospitals are just now starting to look at Instagram and maybe things like SnapChat, asking “How should we be using this,” where they were just a place to park some photographs. Where I think they’ll start going, and Chris I’ll let you chime in on this, is probably the voice first components that we’ve seen Mayo and others do.

Chris: Absolutely, I think you’re right, Reed. It’s really about the Internet of Things, voice first, Alexa, Google, those kind of things. It’s designed to make it more easy to access, so we’re seeing a lot of organizations that are adopting that technology into their work streams. It could be for marketing. For example one hospital has enabled not only being able to find out where your nearest urgent care center is by asking their Alexa device, but then because they

smart watch

have Uber connected to it, they can order an Uber to take them to that urgent care center just by asking their device. That’s kind of a cool technology that marries the experience together. That’s not only happening with voice first; I see a lot of organizations are using Fitbits and Apple watches, and connecting that data into the patient record. That’s happening  more frequently. What you’re doing is basically taking Internet connected devices, to make the experience more seamless and easy. I think that’s where we’re seeing a lot of cool investments and experimentation in, and we’re seeing a lot of outside companies come in.  Reed I’m surprised we haven’t talked about artificial intelligence or anything like that.

Reed: Yes, AI, chatbots, even the VR and AR stuff is starting to kind of bleed in there.  But predominately, that’s probably the next wave, when you’re looking at things like voice first is hospitals’ investment in both AI and chatbots.

Chris: Another thing I see having worked with hospitals for the last couple of years, they are starting to dedicate moneys to infrastructure to measure more effectively. Whatever that is, CRM, marketing automation, whatever it may be on the back end, there’s a strong desire. They may not know where to spend that now, because the solutions are a little sub-par right now for hospitals and health systems, but they’re still really looking at how they can do that better, and they’re starting to invest time, people and resources and also technology to make that back end measurement more effective.

Reed: I think that’s one thing that we shouldn’t gloss over is the investment in people. So, what we’re really looking at from an analytics and measurement standpoint is not just the technology but the human power side of the equation, of making sure we have people in there with the right skill sets, that can actually manage and take advantage of the technologies we’re investing in.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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March 29, 2018

The Internet Wants to be in Your Clothes: A Conversation with the Hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast – Part 1

By: Kayla Zamary

We had a lively conversation with two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, joined Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, for a conversation…

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We had a lively conversation with two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, joined Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, for a conversation on the challenges and trends affecting healthcare marketers. Binary Fountain is proud to sponsor this podcast – read on to learn why.

KB: What are the top trends and concerns you hear these days from healthcare marketers?

Reed: Do more with less – people’s budgets not going up year over year. They’re steady if they’re lucky  – if they’re not rolling backwards, so they must make the best use of dollars and staff time.

Chris: Reed is right – budgets are flattened or have gone down. How do we approach that? How do we do more? It’s really important to measure the effectiveness of current spending on advertising and on marketing. Which channels work properly. Are we investing in the right keywords. How do we throttle down expense without sacrificing results? These are good questions that should be asked, so it’s more important now than ever.

new mindset new results

Reed: It’s a pretty broad area, to do more with less.

Chris: At my new job at Fairview, we’ve been discussing this. How do you and your team work, and how can you be more efficient. Lean practices – fewer, more productive meetings, looking at ways to prioritize work with a static staff. It’s a discipline that’s challenging for hospitals to do, to function in cross-functional cooperation. My company has daily huddles for choosing what issues to escalate. This can go through teams all the way to the CEO. This breaks down roadblocks and delivers real results.

Reed: Multi-disciplinary teams are common in the clinical environment, but new to marketing and communication. IT&S is an easy one, where you can see some blurring of the line between marketing and quality as more organizations work through the Baldrige process. As Chris mentioned, looking for efficiencies. And reputation management, thematically what is happening online – how your brand is talked about, and what people are needing and wanting online – kind of flows into the quality side of the equation as well, much like grievances would in the hospital environment, or somebody mailing a letter. Digital is becoming a way that consumers expect to interface with your organization. Through that, Marketing communication seems to own that equation a little bit so they’re becoming part of conversations that they have not been historically.

Chris: What we’re really saying here, is that hospitals, which are traditionally seen as kind of these big, siloed organizations, they’re really trying to break that mold down and become more agile, become more effective – to break down those silos. That is a huge trend that’s happening. It’s not really being seen from the outside in, but it’s going on and will probably continue throughout this year and into future years.

Reed: Along those lines, that’s why you’re starting to see things like chief experience officer or someone who’s over that patient experience because they need someone to wrangle this whole scenario. You’re used to seeing something like that in organizations like the Cleveland Clinic, but now you’re starting to see this – I’ve seen it here in Texas in what I’d consider a rural hospital having a chief experience officer. It’s something you would not have seen earlier. They’re very in line and integrated with patient access as well as marketing, as well as quality and IT&S. That’s interesting.

Chris: I want to underscore something about that piece, which Reed alluded to earlier. Digital has caused an acceleration to the end of silos. It has blurred the lines between departments almost before people are ready to have them blurred. Reed and I were talking to hospitals five, six years ago, about the fact that the experience of people going through our web site intersects with the Patient Portal and things like that.  Digital has kind of blurred those lines for us, right? But now people are really operationalizing that. Without sounding like we’re patting ourselves on the back, digital has driven that, and that’s a good thing for organizations.

KB: One thing I’ve noticed that goes with your point about digital breaking down silos, is the connection now between marketing and patient experience departments.  Patients’ experiences are now captured online – it’s no longer just CAHPs surveys. Now, patient experience professionals and marketing people who never really talked, are now being introduced for the first time. And to your point Reed, what you said before about marketing and the IT department working more closely together:  So there’s the convergence that digital is causing. Do you think this is causing some of the push to do more with less?

Reed: That’s a fair point. A lot of the do more with less push is driven by uncertainty in healthcare right now, specifically around reimbursements. What revenue’s going to look like moving forward. So organizations are not as willing to make those big investments from a technology or manpower standpoint, in what has historically been considered a cost center. That’s the hard part. I think digital is a double-edged sword – there’s that many more things we can do, but there’s also now the responsibility because we can do it, to tie that back to the financial metrics.

Chris: It is a double-edged sword. Because it gives you the insight into the measurement of that, but it draws you into that uncomfortable conversation – are we measuring effectively, are we gaining the right insights from these digital tools? People don’t like it, using digital as a way to save costs, but it can also highlight areas where maybe things aren’t working as effectively. Traditionally in healthcare, hospitals are not very good at reporting out bad news. Sometimes your measurement strategies tied to some of these digital things, come back with “Oh, this isn’t working so well.” And then, what do you do?

analytics

Reed: It’s kind of that old adage “Don’t ask the question if you’re not going to like the answer.” It’s kind of like we may have patted prematurely ourselves on the back on some of our big ideas and campaigns or other initiatives. Now we’ve got the opportunity to see, is that really the case?

Chris: Now you’ll have to become more sophisticated with measurement and analytics. We were just talking about this in the Touchpoint podcast.  Are you measuring things in a way that will actually give you the insights you really need so that you can move forward and optimize. It presents a whole new set of challenges which honestly as an industry we should be talking this way, but for many healthcare marketers it’s a little bit challenging.

Reed: I think the reason it’s challenging is because the people that run hospitals where that be administratively, or in the marketing and communications world,  have always run hospitals. So you don’t very often hear “Where’d your new CEO come from?” “Oh, He came from Samsung.” That doesn’t happen. So that’s why when we’re making these dramatic shifts, around like say measurement, those are skill sets that folks just have, and historically have not have had to foster.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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