Move Over Digital Health

The future of health care is not a device or a drug yet to be discovered. As the market for digital health technology continues to expand, trailblazing hospitals are preparing for digital medicine instead. Here are a few of the latest ways digital health is changing.

Demand for new positions

The health care industry’s shift toward electronic health records has spiked demand for new positions and teams. Many progressive hospitals are building clinical innovation teams called upon to apply the same rigor of evidence-based health care principles to digital medicine. That means doing no harm, delivering effective and patient-centered care, and doing so in a timely and efficient manner while incorporating digital tools and capabilities. Other hospitals are hiring nurse informaticists, a role that combines a nurse’s traditional skill set with expertise in systems, analysis and design. Why? Because engineers and IT professionals just don’t have the clinical expertise to introduce and manage these systems, not to mention prevent potentially life-threatening technical errors. The future of health care will be counting on these staff members to actively test data to make sure accuracy and transmission between devices and systems is working properly.


How influencers are changing the way we talk about health care

Whether it’s on the news, Facebook or comes up over drinks, there seems to be one particularly hot topic of conversation right now – and that’s health care.

Sure, a good portion of my workdays focus on health care because of the clients and colleagues I work with, but this is different because I’m hearing and seeing more conversations about health care outside of the workplace – likely due to the ongoing uncertainties of what health care is going to look like under the Trump administration.

These uncertainties have influencers using their platforms to raise awareness about the health care debate and what it means for consumers. Last month, we saw late-night comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, trade in his typical joke-filled monologue to discuss his newborn son’s heart surgery and the importance of access to affordable health care. Kimmel simply stated that that before Obamacare, “if you were born with congenital heart disease, like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition.”

This is a line that struck a chord with many of Kimmel’s viewers, ultimately


Is #StatusOfMind on Your Client’s Mind?

I’ve gotten in the bad habit of checking my social media platforms from bed every morning when I wake up. Twitter gets me the news. Facebook shows me who had a baby or got married (yes, I’m in that stage of my life.) Instagram makes me want to quit my job and travel the world. Out of those three platforms, guess which one is the most detrimental to young people’s mental health? Instagram.

Researchers from the Royal Society for Public Health in conjunction with the Young Health Movement published the report entitled #StatusOfMind, which looks at the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health and well-being. The researchers surveyed almost 1,500 young people, ages 14 to 24, from across the U.K. Based on the ratings participants gave each social media platform, the five most popular platforms were given the following ranking:

  • YouTube (most positive)
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram (most negative)
  • While the researchers acknowledge there is still much to be learned about social media’s impact on mental health, much of the report really resonated with me.

    One participant from northern Ireland wrote: “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if…

    Consumer Marketing

    Is the Amazon Effect Coming to Health Care?

    I think it’s safe to say that Amazon is a household name for most American consumers. There’s also a name for the disruptive impact the company has had on consumers and businesses alike — the Amazon Effect.

    For brick and mortar retailers, the Effect has resulted in store closings, supplier price re-negotiations, and weak attempts to mimic the Amazon distribution model. It’s even having a ripple effect on grocery shopping, since retailers like Walmart have had to re-energize food and beverage sales to compensate for merchandise revenue lost to e-commerce.

    So what does all this have to do with health care?

    Amazon has been toying with the idea of breaking into the multi-billion pharmacy market for years. And according to a recent article, it’s getting more serious. Amazon is investing in new executive health talent, including Mark Lyons from Premera Blue Cross, and they’re already selling medical supplies and equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs, heart and oxygen monitors and wound care supplies. Sure, prescription medications will present some new regulatory hurdles, but somehow I think Mr. Bezos will be undeterred.

    If successful, Amazon’s latest plans will cause the greatest…


    Applying a Doctor’s Office Standard to Health Care Studies

    Communication within the walls of a doctor’s office has improved greatly over the past 40 years. There was a time when women would awake from a breast biopsy to find that she had breast cancer and that a mastectomy had been performed – without her consultation.

    Patients are now completely involved in the decision-making process due to the recognition that every decision cannot be viewed as strictly a medical judgement, but as a patient value judgement.

    As a result, doctors present treatment options, with variables and trade-offs, in an unbiased and straightforward fashion. This is because doctors are cognizant that patients react differently based on how a treatment is framed, especially in outcomes.

    As a study on framing medical choices highlighted, people opted for procedures with a “90 percent survival rate” over a procedure with a “10 percent mortality rate,” despite the outcome being identical.1

    While the doctor-patient communication channel has grown significantly, it pales in comparison to the growth of health care information available through social media and online sources.

    A 2016 study performed by the American Press Institute (API) found that 51 percent of Americans get their news from social media.2



    Health Care Complexity Calls for Full-Service Partner

    Who said health businesses can’t have it all?

    You can, and you should.

    A full-service agency partner offers most (if not all) the communications services your company needs to effectively build, grow and protect your brand.

    Specialty firms, without question, do award-winning work. But if you think twice, health care’s complex, extremely intricate ecosystem requires a perfectly aligned strategy and deep understanding of health’s wide spectrum of unique audiences.

    I may be a bit biased, but I think a full-service agency offers health clients a more comprehensive, one-stop, 360-degree worldview. Seamless messaging and most (if not every) communications discipline you need is united “under one roof” to forge a comprehensive client/agency strategic partnership around your brand.

    Years ago, I helped lead a highly specialized health care PR firm. While we worked on some amazing programs, many of our clients regularly lined us up with other specialty agencies that also offered niche services.

    The other firms each provided a separate service needed, such as digital health programming, pharmaceutical sales materials support and medical advocacy programing. Others specialized in physician-to-physician communications, Rx and corporate branding and proprietary health market research, to name a…


    Ch-Ch-Changes: AHCA, Health Care Consumerism and More

    As General Eric Shinseki once said, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” If there was one theme at this week’s Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit in Austin, TX, it was that we, as health care communicators, need to stay ahead of the changing landscape. We heard references to Blockbuster and other companies that have gone the way of the dinosaur because they didn’t get ahead of change.

    And, the times they are a changin’ (there are a LOT of songs about change).

    American Health Care Act

    Last week, Congress passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the so-called “zombie bill” that died and came back, to replace aspects of the existing Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”). I attended several sessions focused on the topic, with some key takeaways:

    • ACA is still the law of the land and those who have pledged to repeal it still have a great deal of work ahead of them.
    • The Process: The Senate has formed a 13-person working group, led by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, to construct its own version. If, in fact, it


    Telehealth: Transforming Patient Care

    Last week, I attended the American Telemedicine Association‘s 2017 conference in Orlando to find out what’s new in telehealth and how it’s impacting patient care. Here is what you need to know about telehealth in 2017:

  • Endless uses for telehealth: When most people think of telehealth, they think about a patient with a cold calling a physician virtually from their home. While this is still accurate, there are many more applications for telehealth today, including:
  • Expanding access to health care: Telehealth is quality health care when, where and how patients prefer it. Telehealth does not replace in-person office visits, but is an important part of the continuum of care for patients in some cases helping local physicians treat patients more effectively. In fact, 71 percent
  • Healthcare

    Engaging Health Care PR to Help Unleash Commercial Potential of New Rx Products in Development

    A successful pharma product launch and rollout requires an enormous amount of operational and cross-functional execution. That’s true no matter if the company is a large pharmaceutical company or a small to mid-sized one seeking to introduce a biologic intervention, drug, vaccine, device, or assay.

    All too often, unfortunately, public relations agencies are engaged too late in the game—just prior to an anticipated FDA approval and for a communications launch plan.

    It’s best to begin market development 18-24 months ahead of launching a product. That’s where a communications firm who knows pharma and medical science is critical.

    A pharma company’s new product point person is tasked with creating a winning playbook—one that stays one step ahead of the competition.

    At the same time, s/he is tackling intricacies of market access and research, pricing/reimbursement and scientific clinical trial data submissions. These include stakeholder and opinion leader engagement and concomitant data disseminations to inform clinical guidelines and policy engagement, not to mention a successful and compliant regulatory pathway.

    Pharmaceutical companies big and small can fall into the trap of siloed operations to the demise of a product’s promise. They miss how public relations can be maximized to generate and leverage pre-market opportunities

    Consumer Marketing

    How Instagram is Driving Consumer Trends in Healthy Living

    Instagram has been a key player in the social media world over the past year, as the platform has continued to add different features to build and improve user experience. And whether you love the changes or hate them, you’re probably talking about them. But with all of these changes, the bottom line has stayed the same – visual content performs best. More and more brands are turning to Instagram for influencer and ambassador programs, building brand awareness, and marketing campaigns – and the industries getting the most bang for their buck are health and food. But why has Instagram become such a hot commodity?

    Image result for people taking pictures of food


    Seeing is Believing

    With the amount of health and wellness content on Instagram, it’s nearly impossible to do a quick scan through your feed without being greeted by a photo of what your friend ate for dinner, or the ever-popular #TransformationTuesday progress photo. Recipes are now simplified with quick tutorials that can easily be bookmarked and saved for later. New or challenging exercise videos are demonstrated via Instagram Live or…