Marketing For Healthcare Providers

Healthcare is rapidly changing. As a practitioner, how should you think about attracting new patients, navigating online reviews, and building a brand? Read this report.


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Health IT’s Top Trends: A 2015 Forecast

Doctors and hospitals often exist in a universe parallel to the consumers, patients, and caregivers they serve, a prominent Chief Medical Information Officer told me last week. In one world, clinicians and healthcare providers continue to implement the electronic health records systems they’ve adopted over the past several years, respond to financial incentives for Meaningful Use, and re-engineer workflows to manage the business of healthcare under constrained reimbursement.

In the other world, people – patients, healthy consumers, newly insured folks, kids, and caregivers – are seeking convenient, pleasant, frictionless experiences from the health system. Demands from these people are pushing the health system to transform in ways that serve them the way Uber, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Apple do. In a nutshell: as people pay more out of pocket, due to growing penetration of high deductible health plans and bigger out-of-pocket copayments, patients are morphing into healthcare consumers and as such expect care to feel and act like other retail channels they patronize. Read more…

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Why Rounding with Nurses Is as Important as Ever

Whenever possible, I make a point of rounding on patients with their nurses present. I rely on nurses to be my eyes and ears when I’m not at the bedside. I need their input to confirm patient self-reports of everything from bowel and bladder habits to pain control, not to mention catching early warning signs of infection, mental status changes, or lapses in safety awareness. Oftentimes patients struggle to recall bathroom details, and they can inadvertently downplay pain control needs if they don’t happen to be in pain when I visit them.

A quick check with their nurse can clarify (for example) that they are asking for pain medicine every two hours, that they have missed therapy due to somnolence, that their wound incision looks more red, and/or that they haven’t had a bowel movement in a dangerously long time. All of these are critical details that I wouldn’t necessarily know from talking to the patient alone. Some of this information is not accurately captured in the electronic medical record either. Read more…

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Let’s Make Strides to Improve Women’s Cardiovascular Health

At the age of four, my daughter Bek began to have troubles with fatigue. Her mother noted that she was drinking more water and seemed to have to go to the restroom more frequently than her peers. As two physician parents, we began to go through a “worst case scenario” differential diagnosis. As her symptoms continued, we both became concerned that she might have diabetes – a dreaded disease without a cure. Within a few days we had her tested with and were devastated to learn that she did in fact have Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes. We were admitted to Duke Medical Center for insulin initiation and diabetes education. Our lives were forever changed. Read more…

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Lung Cancer Screening and Shared Decision-Making

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officially proposed coverage for annual low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for lung cancer in current or former smokers, aged 55 to 74 years, with at least a 30 pack-year history. In doing so, CMS followed the lead of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which had previously given a “B” grade recommendation for screening in a similar population through age 80 years.

In the November 1st 2014 American Family Physician cover article, Dr. Thomas Gates reviewed concepts and controversies in cancer screening. Dr. Gates observed that in the 1960s and 1970s, physicians were misled by lead-time and length-time bias into believing that screening smokers for lung cancer with chest radiography saved lives, when in fact, it did not. Read more…

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Why You Should Make Your Digital Footprint Social

Establishing a digital presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for healthcare professionals, medical practices, and institutions. Yet something that often gets obscured in the discussion is the fact that at its heart, digital media is about people.

As such, it’s about relationships, and it’s about communication, and increasingly, your digital footprint means educating, engaging, and growing your audience.

When you do this in a way that authentically reflects you and your interests, you can improve outcomes, compliance, and potentially even the bottom line of your practice. This is because the more existing and future patients trust and connect with you online, the more quickly they’ll reach out with questions or problems, and the more frequently they’ll have access to the kinds of tools and support you can offer (both directly and through your social feed) to help them get and stay healthy. Read more…

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Let’s Get Proactive about Millennials and Heart Health

Lately, I’ve been hearing an awful lot about millennials, and how they’re the up-and-coming sector of our economy. So I did some research: I discovered that they’re nearly 80 million strong, and aged between 17 and 34 years. Far too young to be able to impact their heart health, right?

New data from the NIH’s ongoing Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study says maybe this group does need some heart education. Read more…

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Science and Serendipity in Seven Easy Steps

You know the story. It goes something like this:

On an ordinary September morning in 1928, Alexander Fleming, a Scottish bacteriologist working at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, came back from vacation to find that one of his Petri dishes containing Staphylococcus aureus growing in culture had been contaminated by greenish mold.

Instead of throwing a fit, Fleming grew curious over this finding. After much thought and months of further testing, he discovered that there was something in the fungus that had killed off the bacteria, and he isolated this mysterious fluid. He would later call this substance penicillin. Read more…

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Six Mistakes Doctors Make Online

Doctors make lots of mistakes navigating the world of social media. And for good reason: few of us have been trained to understand the tools, let alone the rules, of public life. I’ve been connecting with doctors as long as social networks have been available. Here are a some mistakes (and a few solutions) I’ve seen:

Believing that you’re a clinic, not a person. While @SameDayLapBand might seem like the best way to build your practice, it overlooks what human engagement is about. The patients who might hire you for their surgery are more likely to respond to a person than a clinic. When choosing how you position yourself on social platforms, be you, not a building or a procedure. Build your identity around your name. You’ll be more believable and real. Read more…

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Digital Health’s Secret Recipe

I understand that for some, digital health still might be a bitter pill, but the promise of techno-medical mumbo jumbo is bold and transformative. That being said, in my opinion, the “secret sauce” to digital health might be a bit outside the conventional “drug development” methodology– both in logistics and psychology.

Therefore, I thought it would be fun to take a page out of IBM’s Watson playbook. IMB recently used “cognitive cooking” to combine a wide variety of ingredients to craft entirely new, often unexpected, and frequently delicious taste sensations. For example, who ever thought of combining bourbon with vanilla, bananas, and turmeric? Yep. Watson did. Because digital health combines a variety of flavors that some might not immediately appreciate, I reasoned that we can apply the very same “cognitive creating” approach. Let’s have a taste… Read more…

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The Power of Reversing Roles

Another day, another pacemaker, at least so it seemed at first.

The usual steps of greeting the patient, answering the last questions, consent signing, placement of the IV, EKG leads, prepping of the surgical site, and initiation of the preoperative antibiotics had all taken place. Now, the patient lay there, smiling, knowing he’d made the right decision after years of struggling with his arrhythmia in other ways. His heart was showing signs of slight weakening and his arrhythmias remained too fast despite a multitude of therapies, so he had agreed to proceed with placement of a biventricular pacemaker with later ablation of his AV node. Read more…