by Jenn Riggle
Does your hospital have good news to tell? Maybe you’ve reached a milestone, like performing 1,000 liver transplants, pioneering a new medical procedure or watching a patient who beat cancer run the Boston Marathon.
These are all great stories, but how can you leverage social media to tell them?
Here are some items to keep in mind if you want to create buzz on social media.
Have a plan: Don’t wait until the last minute. Meet with key stakeholders three months ahead to flesh out the story and decide how “mediagenic” it is. Do you need to hold celebratory event and what should that event look like? Does this event become the vehicle for telling your news? Or is this a personal story, which would be better suited in by a video and media interviews?
Frame your story: Building a story is like building a house--you need to follow a plan and frame it well. Otherwise, it will fall apart and won’t have the impact you want. Ask yourself: What’s the news? Is it hard-hitting news or feel-good story? Who’s going to tell the story? Would it be more interesting if the hospital tells the story or the patient tells it? Decide on a strategy for sharing your news, and determine the ultimate message you hope to provide. Plan for photos or videos if needed.
Show, don’t tell: The old adage goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and this is especially true for social media. Images help to bring your story to life, increase engagement on Facebook and help your post stand out on Twitter. So be sure to think about how photos or videos can help tell your story.
Blog about it: Your hospital’s blog is the living and breathing part of your website, so any new marketing content should be posted there. Blogs don’t have to be your typical written article, they can contain a variety of content--including videos. So if you post a video on YouTube and/or your website, be sure to also feature it on your blog. This will make the video easier to find, and allow you to share it on social media to bring more visitors to your website.
“Slice and dice” content: Think of the commercials for those kitchen tools that can slice your veggies a bunch of different ways--and do the same for your news. Think outside of the box and consider creating multiple blog posts that focus on different story angles. Not only does this prevent blog posts from becoming too long, it makes the story easier to read and allows you to “feed the beast” by creating multiple days of blog content. You can also create a video from the same story. Different people like to access content differently, so keep that in mind when you look at your distribution strategy.
Share on multiple channels: Be sure to share your news on all of your social media channels, including the blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram (if you have one). And don’t forget LinkedIn. LinkedIn members, while business professionals, still need healthcare services and may be interested in your news. And positive stories on your LinkedIn page will also help your recruiting efforts.
The more the merrier: Hospitals are often one of the biggest employers in a community, so it’s no surprise that one of the best ways to share your news is to encourage your employees to share it on their social media channels. And while many hospitals don’t want their employees using Facebook at work, positive news stories and videos are perfect for Facebook, so try designating times to be online or specific staffers who are sharing content.
Hashtags aren’t just for Twitter: After spending time to create compelling content, make your news easy to find and use the right hashtag. Hashtags help people find and track content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. So when thinking about hashtags, pick a popular hashtag that people already use and consider creating one for the event (so it’s easier for you--and viewers--to track).
Repeat, repeat, repeat: Don’t create just one social media post and walk away. Instead, create multiple posts that direct people to your website for more information. This is especially useful on Twitter, where there is so much content. You can create a tweet that announces the news, one that includes a statistic you mentioned in your post and one that highlights a quote from the post, just to name a few.
Don’t forget the basics: Even if you’re sharing your news on social media, don’t forget to issue a press release announcing news. Not only should you send the release to local media, be sure to post it in your news section of your website. In addition, be sure to share a link to any videos and or photos you used to tell your story, which reporters may also utilize.
By leveraging social media, hospitals have an opportunity to celebrate their good news and find creative ways to share it with others. So think outside of the box and have some fun. You might be surprised by the results.
Jenn Riggle is the senior director of public relations for Compass Professional Health Services.
My team has recently been conducting anthropological research for several healthcare clients. What we are seeing is a compilation of changes taking place that are completely redesigning how consumers are seeking healthcare and their satisfaction when receiving it. Increasingly, today’s healthcare users are designing the care delivery system to match their personal tastes and styles--colored by their frustrations with their current physician and the overall experience with his/her practice.
I’d like to share with you some of what we are noticing and the supporting research regarding the coming cultural impact of these changes.
The “Yelp-ification” of the patient experience. Today’s physicians must maneuver within tight time slots to see, diagnose and treat a patient. While they are trying to deliver the right care and record it on patients’ medical records, patients are experiencing a fast-paced session, no time to really speak with his/her doctor and often a lack of clarity as to what they should do to resolve their condition. These frustrated patients are seeking some type of solution.
As similar research conducted by Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide states, “Physicians are the experts in medicine, but patients are the experts in their own experiences. Communication is a two-way street and nowhere is this more important than during an office visit—this is the backbone of patient-centered care and shared decision-making.”
What happens after a fast-paced session is often less satisfactory than the patient desires. This leads, to the physicians’ chagrin, to the “Yelp-ification” of healthcare. Patients are going online and telling everyone what they thought of that doctor’s experience. Doctors are in denial, appalled and frustrated. Patients are just telling it like it is—at least for them. And in one physician’s case, that negative review was all about his poor access, bad parking and inconsiderate office staff.
Consumers are now relentlessly shopping online for care. Healthgrades is the new “go-to” place for millions of people who go searching every day for a medical service. Or WebMD or Patientslikeme.com. Why the dramatic rise in comparison shopping? People have large deductibles. They are paying huge out of pocket expenses. They want the best deal.
In our research, consumers kept telling us they do not have credible experience on their own making medical decisions except on the basis of cost with the hope of quality. Yet, they are perfectly fine trying. Doctors have become a commodity in the consumer’s mind. As one interviewee said: “Aren’t all doctors the same?” Followed by, “Don’t they all practice evidence-based medicine?”
More than half of millennials use retail clinics, urgent care centers or emergency rooms for nonemergency care, according to a survey by FairHealth, and they are more prone to do so than people in other age groups.
As one doctor, a millennial herself, said: “My generation is all about convenience and preventive health. We don’t want to see the doctor in person, which is one reason why we want to stay healthy.”
This same half of millennials in FairHealth’s survey stated that “their doctor would not recognize them if they crossed paths walking down the street.” With so few traditional PCP relationships, it’s no surprise that the number of retail clinics in the U.S. has soared in the past 10 years. For a generation accustomed to leveraging their purchasing power in the most expedient and hassle-free ways, millennials are driving the retail clinic proliferation.
Ron Rowes, M.D., chief medical officer of Prominence Health Plan, sums it up very well in a USA Today article: “They’re used to reaching out when they need something, getting instant gratification, moving on and only coming back when they have the need again.”
Ironically, many of the consumers we have been studying are not millennials (in their 30s) but baby boomers (in their 60s and up). This demographic is facing the current changes in healthcare delivery with very different emotions and frustrations than the younger group. Their doctors are too busy to see them for more than a few minutes. Getting answers to questions is difficult. Knowing what comes next is unclear. While they are “loyal” and have “relationships” with their PCP, they aren’t sure this is of much value to their health or their care when they need him/her.
It’s a perfect storm that must be addressed, not avoided.
This tipping point in healthcare service delivery is here, there and everywhere. What to do? We need to step back and solidly re-think these changes and how to best provide care for a complex, multi-generational population that is now going to be driving the solutions to their care rather than accepting what doctors, hospitals and insurance plans mandate for them. It’s an uphill climb but it must be done, and fast.
Andrea J. Simon, Ph.D., is a former marketing, branding and culture change senior vice president at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. She also is president and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants.
by Ron Shinkman
John Oliver's HBO show "Last Week Tonight" has raised comedy to a mixture of guerrilla politics and performance art by undertaking real-life actions to reinforce its overall message. "Last Week Tonight" has founded a fake church, created a new mascot for the tobacco industry and even sold front row tickets at Yankee stadium for 25 cents apiece to defeat the team's elitist marketing tactics.
Late last week, Oliver gave thousands of Americans some peace of mind that their past health problems won't plague them for years to come in the form of harassing lawsuits or phone calls from bill collectors. I'll get to how shortly.
One of the components of Oliver's weekly show is an in-depth investigation into the social, political and commercial issues troubling America. His most recent installment was on the debt buying and collection business. It has a ridiculously low bar of entry--"Last Week Tonight" incorporated such a company online in Mississippi for only $50. In many states, there is no license required to collect debts.
by Raymond Hino
Throughout my career in hospitals and healthcare, I have always been drawn to the ritual of daily patient rounds. I have had the privilege of working in hospitals as large as a 430-bed urban teaching hospital and as small as 25-bed rural community hospitals. Every hospital experience has been unique and highly rewarding in its own way, but one common denominator for me is that the best hospitals that I have worked in have often made good use of daily interdisciplinary rounds.
For example, the teaching hospitals are renowned for the phenomena of daily teaching rounds in which the teaching staff lead a troop of young interns and residents. But I have been equally impressed when I worked in a small hospital in rural Montana and our four-member medical staff made a practice of conducting morning rounds together, along with the nursing staff to get the maximum medical care for each of our hospital’s inpatients. How great it was for each of our patients to receive decades of medical and nursing experience.
I am proud to say that my current hospital, a community hospital in Northern California, has found a valuable role for daily interdisciplinary rounds. Our rounds are attended by hospitalists, social workers, rehabilitation professionals, nurses, pharmacists, infection prevention specialists, dietary experts, case managers and discharge planners. Sometimes even an occasional hospital CEO will stop by to observe the process. All are welcome and encouraged to contribute.
Recently, one of our new nurses said, “This is so great! I have only read about interdisciplinary rounds, but never experienced them before.”
Rounds usually begin, promptly at 11 a.m. with an overhead page to alert our team that it is “time for rounds.” Our team assembles in a conference room, located close to the patient rooms for convenience of our staff. Each patient is presented by their nurse, with any updates and valuable insights into the care plan for the day. This is a wonderful opportunity for clinical staff to interact, communicate and plan for the best outcomes.
Interdisciplinary rounds are a significant time commitment and financial investment by our facility. However, they are well worth the cost. Can you imagine the combined salaries for everyone in the room? The advantage is that we are able to use our work time to address the most important aspects of care and to identify priorities. We have also found that by doing rounds, we are providing individualized care to meet our patients’ immediate needs.
Some positive benefits include opportunities to clarify drug orders, and sometimes to change the orders based upon input from the pharmacists. Most importantly, we have found that our patients become more personal to our staff. Dietary concerns are addressed from intake to NPO for procedures, as are the need for patient and family education or food preferences. Social services and counseling needs are addressed, which is especially important for difficult cases. And there is no doubt that patient safety is enhanced through the experience and medical errors are reduced.
We highly recommend interdisciplinary rounds to all other hospitals. The quality of our communications have been greatly enhanced with our patients and their care teams, including family, primary care providers and caregivers. It is clearly a win-win situation.
Raymond Hino, MPA, FACHE, is the president and CEO of the Sonoma West Medical Center in California.
“You’re short on ears and long on mouth.”
~ John Wayne, Big Jake
Richard Branson brilliantly references this quote in his book “The Virgin Way” as he highlights the importance of listening.
As I was recently enjoying that read, I was brought back to my days leading a nonprofit research organization created to innovate healthcare delivery and improve the health and wellness of physicians and nurses, patients and families, and stakeholders throughout the healthcare system.
Much like Richard Branson, we learned very quickly that it was critically important to listen and to learn from one another if we were to achieve our mission--believing that each of us has much wisdom to offer.
For us, "Circle Process" was one of our means to instill the art of listening throughout our organization.
“The circle is an ancient form of meeting that has gathered human beings into respectful conversation for thousands of years," Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea explain on their website, Peer Spirit. "What transforms a meeting into a circle is the willingness of people to shift from informal socializing or opinionated discussion into a receptive attitude of thoughtful speaking and deep listening.”
Three key components of the process that we embraced included:
You may note in your meetings that contributions from individuals range greatly, be it due to an extroverted versus introverted preference or for other reasons, and thus wisdom within the room may be missed.
At the nonprofit, our "Research Circle" included a cross section of folks throughout the system: A physician researcher, psychiatrist, family practice physician, nurse practitioner, medical assistant, patients, family members, a businessperson and managed care executive, a research assistant and students, among others.
I remember intentionally using the “listening piece” (as I choose to now call it) and having the opportunity to truly listen to each of these individuals within this safe space as they contributed amazing insights and wisdom from such varied lenses and different perspectives with the sole intention of making things better.
It was powerful and led to innovative access programs, improved quality improvement initiatives, more meaningful research, and better outcomes for our clinicians, patients and families, staff, and community.
Today, as I reflect on Circle and the importance of listening, I am thinking about many lost opportunities where the varied perspectives and drivers of improvement in healthcare are not truly understood--and where the great many opportunities to move away from "shame and blame" and move toward “understanding and collaboration” are lost because we are not truly listening.
I have found Circle and Circle Process to be a powerful tool. And yet, like technology, it is only a tool. There are many ways to enhance our ability to lead and be of service to one another. To be open and to be vulnerable.
And yes, listening is key.
The next time you are engaging in a discussion to improve the healthcare system, I ask that you take a step back, ask a minimum of two clarifying questions, truly listen to the answers, and as Alan Alda famously said (paraphrased here): "Be open to be changed by the other person."
Improving healthcare is not about any one of us being right; improving healthcare is about all of us coming together to make things better for others.
Thomas H. Dahlborg, M.S.H.S.M., is an industry voice for relationship-centered compassionate care and servant leadership. He is a keynote speaker, author, consultant and adviser and is the president of the Dahlborg Healthcare Leadership Group.