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Our Final 2017 #HIT100 List

Posted on July 28, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Much like social media, the #HIT100 is never without a few challenges, but I’m also happy to say that this year’s #HIT100 exhibited an extreme amount of gratitude and appreciation from and for thousands of people in the healthcare social media community.

I’m impressed by the number of people participating in the #HIT100. Symplur calculated that the #HIT100 hashtag generated 42 million impressions across 6195 tweets and 1852 participants (some just used the hashtag for discussion and not a nomination). Those are impressive numbers.

As I mentioned, I don’t intend to publish a ranked list of the #HIT100 as has been done in past years since I think ranking on the #HIT100 can be easily gamed and therefore ranking on the list has little meaning. However, I think a list of 100 social media accounts that many in the community recognize as valuable is something worth sharing. It’s a great way to discover new accounts, be reminded of accounts you haven’t seen in a while, and find new sources of information and insights into the industry. This year we had quite a few people I’d never seen before and what seems like a larger international group than previous years.

I’d hoped to find a way to publish the final 2017 #HIT100 list where it would list the top 100 accounts in random order that changed on every refresh. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time available to really flesh this out. So, I’ve resorted to publishing the #HIT100 list in reverse ABC order (because the A’s always get first and so why not the Z’s this time?).

Over time I hope to publish other interesting insights and charts from the nominations including popular hashtags, other engagement stats, those only nominated by one person to the #HIT100, those who weren’t on previous #HIT100 lists, etc. For now, take a minute and browse through this impressive list of people who largely care about using technology to improve healthcare.

Finally, a big thank you to Joe Warbington (@JWarbington) from Qlik for providing a pretty amazing tool for me to analyze all the #HIT100 nominations and Dennis Dailey (@_hitshow) who suggested I work with them. I’d seen Qlik work on EHR data, but I didn’t realize it could so easily collect and analyze Twitter data as well. Thanks to them for providing the tool I could use to analyze all the nominations.

Data Disclaimer: We made an effort to ensure the data was as accurate as possible for this list. However, since we see this just as a fun activity of social discovery and appreciation, we didn’t go to great lengths to ensure the accuracy and won’t be publishing the “rank” on the list. In fact, we’re sure it’s not 100% accurate. If that’s an issue for you, we welcome you to pull the data from Twitter and do your own analysis. We welcome any and all to take the nominations and use them however they may. The beauty of the #HIT100 is that it’s all available to anyone to assess, slice, dice, interpret, and use however they see fit. If people publish 20 different #HIT100 lists, great. More discovery of new and interesting people for everyone involved. The following is our quick and dirty analysis of the nominations.

#HIT100 Twitter Accounts
@womenofteal
@wareFLO
@vishnu_saxena
@VinceKuraitis
@VictorHSW
@ukpenguin
@tweettiwoo
@Tony_PharmD
@TextraHealth
@techguy
@stacygoebel
@smithhazelann
@ShimCode
@ShereesePubHlth
@SeanSaid_
@sarahbennight
@rtoleti
@Resultant
@Respond_Rescue
@ReginaHolliday
@realHayman
@RBlount
@RasuShrestha
@R1chardatron
@PointonChris
@PharmacyPodcast
@PharmacyEdge1
@PatientVoices
@pat_health
@orpyxinc
@nrip
@nmanaloto
@nickisnpdx
@natarpr
@NaomiFried
@MMaxwellStroud
@mloxton
@mikebiselli
@MichelleRKearns
@Michael81082
@MelSmithJones
@melissaxxmccool
@Matt_R_Fisher
@markwattscra
@maria_quinlan
@marcus_baw
@MandiBPro
@lynnvos
@Lygeia
@LouiseGeraghty5
@lisadbudzinski
@klrogers5
@KenRayTaylor
@JWarbington
@justaskjul
@jotaelecruz
@JoinAPPA
@JohnNosta
@JoeBabaian
@Joan_JJ_Mc
@Jim_Rawson_MD
@JennDennard
@JBBC
@jaredpiano
@janicemccallum
@JamieJay2
@jameyedwards
@jamesfreed5
@innonurse
@healthythinker
@HealthData4All
@HealthcareWen
@gnayyar
@ginaman2
@GilmerHealthLaw
@GeriLynn
@ErinLAlbert
@endocrine_witch
@EMRAnswers
@ElinSilveous
@ebukstel
@DrTylerDalton
@drstclaire
@drnic1
@drlfarrell
@DmitriWall
@dirkstanley
@dflee30
@dchou1107
@dandunlop
@CTrappe
@Colin_Hung
@CoherenceMed
@CancerGeek
@burtrosen
@BunnyEllerin
@btrfly12
@Brian_Eastwood
@Brad_Justus
@billesslinger
@BGerleman
@BFMack
@BarbyIngle
@AllanVafi
@AinemCarroll
@ahier
@2healthguru
@_FaceSA

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the #HIT100 this year. Let’s keep sharing the good and showing appreciation for the people who influence our life for good.

Past #HIT100 Lists:
2016 #HIT100
2015 #HIT100
2014 #HIT100
2013 #HIT100
2012 #HIT100
2011 #HIT100

Best Practices for Patient Engagement

Posted on July 13, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby, Marketing Strategist for Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Brittany Quemby - Stericycle
Knowledge is power… so the saying goes.  When it comes to patient engagement, it couldn’t be more true. Being “in tune” is the key to unlocking the ultimate patient experience. Knowing what your patients need and want allows you to close the gap and deliver on those desires, while developing a deeper connection through effective patient engagement.

Here at Stericycle Communication Solutions, we are a group of individuals with all different types of needs and wants as patients. Below are some of the best practices that we preach to our doctors and healthcare providers when it comes to patient engagement and the patient experience:

Connect with meaning – Reach us where we spend most of our time. Roughly two-thirds of us own a smartphone, meaning we have access at our fingertips.  We expect an interactive and omni experience with our healthcare providers. We are looking for simple ways to connect with our doctors, schedule appointments, and prepare for important appointments.  By engaging on these terms, healthcare practices can be sure to connect to patients on a deeper level and encourage repeat visits to their health system.

Engage through multiple and preferred channels – We expect our healthcare experience to fit seamlessly into the rest of our lives. This means integrating with the technologies that we prefer including online, in person, and on our devices.

Did you know that:

  • 91% of us email daily
  • 77% of us set up appointments with their primary care provider via phone call
  • Text messages have a 98% open rate

These simple touch points, enables you to effectively engage using more than one mode of communication, ensuring you connect with us the right way each time!

Get personal! – Patients are no different than the everyday consumer.  We love personalization. In fact, 47% of us said we wanted “personalized experiences” when it comes to our health. Communicating based on our specific needs and wants gets noticed and evokes action! This allows providers to not only connect on a more personal level with us, but also empowers us to take an active role in own healthcare.

Involve Us! – Keep us in the loop! We are more involved in our own health than ever before.  Use of health apps and wearables have doubled in the last two years. We want to play an active role when it comes to important healthcare related moments.  Both US consumers (77%) and doctors (85%) agree that the use of health apps and wearables helps patients engage in their health. We want to be involved; take advantage!

To learn more about effective patient engagement, download this patient engagement whitepaper.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality call center & telephone answering servicespatient access services and automated communication technology. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services.  Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

Healthcare Communication Cartoon – Fun Friday

Posted on July 7, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Happy Friday Everyone! This feels like a short week because of the holiday. Time for some fun Friday. I really like this first one because it has so many layers of humor. IT people like myself will see the humor from the tech angle, but nurses will see the humor from the overworked nurse angle. Tech will hopefully help with situations like this.

And the importance of communication in healthcare. Another area where tech should help, but in many cases it’s hindering us.

Voting for the 2017 #HIT100 Starts Now!

Posted on July 4, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It’s the fourth of July and that has traditionally been the start of the #HIT100 nominations. The first #HIT100 was started by Michael Planchart, the person behind the Twitter handle formerly known as @theEHRGuy (he gave custodian of the Twitter account to someone else and Michael seems to have gone anonymous for some reason), as a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday and turned out to be a fun way to get to know many of the various healthcare social media influencers throughout the summer. Even with Michael now off social media, we hope we can carry on the tradition that Michael started by continuing to encourage people to participate in the nominations for the #HIT100.

If you missed past versions, the #HIT100 is a way for you to recognize your peers, friends, and heroes who have been contributing to the #HealthIT, #HITsm, #hcsm, #HITchicks, #hcldr, #HITMC and other related communities through their tweets, blogs, books, etc. Your nomination is a small reward for their efforts and all of the nominations in aggregate make for an amazing list of people working to improve healthcare.

In order to make the nominations meaningful, we ask that all nominations include the person being nominated, the #HIT100 hashtag, and a short phrase or hashtag identifying why you’re nominating that person. You don’t have to explain why you’re nominating someone, but if you don’t do it then it generally lacks meaning and looks like you’re just trying to game the nomination process. Take the time and make your nominations something that provides value to the person you’re nominating.

Also, if you really want to go the extra mile, Michael has asked people to do what they can to support the challenges the Venezuelan people face right now where many people are starving and can’t get medications. I really like Michael’s idea of doing even more with our #HIT100 nominations. So, even if you don’t connect with his Venezuelan request, think about ways you can better help those in healthcare who need it the most.

Here’s an example nomination: “I nominate @MandiBPro to the #HIT100 list because she’s a sincere advocate for the patient and doing what’s right in healthcare.”

We’ll be using the following rules for how we’ll be counting nominations (others in the community are welcome to use their own methods):
1. Twitter accounts must have existed prior to today.
2. The nomination process is completely socially biased, but we’ll filter obvious abuse where reasonable (Did the Nigerian Princess with no followers really nominate you?).
3. RTs will be counted if they include the required elements.
4. Thank you RTs by the person being nominated will not be counted, but we do encourage sincere gratitude being expressed to those who nominate you. If you remove the nomination from your tweet you’ll have more room to show thanks without cluttering the stream.
5. There will only be one round of voting.
6. Please do not include the #HITsm or other hashtags unless they apply to the person(s) being nominated. Let’s be conscious of unnecessarily adding tweets to everyone’s stream.
7. Nominations will be counted at the sole discretion of the hosts and anyone else is welcome to chop up, analyze, the nominations however they see fit as well. This is for fun anyway, so don’t stress it.
8. Last but not least, you must have lots of fun!

I’m looking forward to seeing all the nominations. Plus, we’ll publish a list of the top 100 nominations and a number of other lists that come out of the nominations as well.

Legal Disclaimer: By submitting a nomination, you agree that any statements are your own opinion otherwise you would not have written or tweeted the message. All statements, whether funny or not, are your own information and thoughts. Funny tweets add no weight to your vote, but if you make us laugh we’ll love you for it. All other generic disclaimers apply, we just couldn’t take up any more words to state them.
Legally disclaimer originally offered by @Matt_R_Fisher and reused here for your entertainment.

Past #HIT100 Lists:
2016 #HIT100
2015 #HIT100
2014 #HIT100
2013 #HIT100
2012 #HIT100
2011 #HIT100

Value-sizing The Patient Experience

Posted on June 8, 2017 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Sarah Bennight, Marketing Strategist for Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms

In health IT, we talk about the patient experience all the time. Many of us have dedicated our entire careers to improving the patient experience. It has become so central to improving healthcare that patient-reported experience results determine a significant portion of reimbursement.

But today’s patient experiences do beg the question: are they a pie in the sky dream or something tangible that can be addressed in our organizations?

To tackle the patient experience, we have to audit all contact points to determine areas of weakness. A great way to start is by creating a healthcare consumer journey map. Identifying each point a patient could potentially interact with your organization is key to ensuring their experience will be great. Once you have identified each potential encounter, mystery shop that experience as if you were the patient to test your brand’s current performance. When determining whether or not your organization provides a great brand experience, you may find yourself comparing your performance to the top brands you work with on a daily basis.

For example, I recall a time when I studied abroad in the United Kingdom. Upon arriving in a foreign country after 22 hours of travel with little sleep, I needed to eat. I vaguely recalled passing a familiar restaurant sign on the way to my flat: McDonalds. And though I didn’t really love the golden arches at the time, I chose to eat there. Why? Because I knew what to expect. I knew how to order, what menu items would be available, and what it would taste like.

By focusing on consistent interactions and expectations for their customers, McDonalds has created a strong brand. In fact, when asked about introducing new products during a 2010 CNBC interview, former CEO James Skinner said “[McDonald’s doesn’t] put something on the menu until it can be produced at the speed of McDonalds.”

Can your healthcare consumers count on a consistent experience when contacting your organization? Your brand experience should encompass the entire health system to build confidence and loyalty in your brand. Creating consistency across each encounter begins with simple questions. Was their initial call met with a timely, sincere, and welcoming voice? Was parking convenient? Are average waiting times reasonable? Do Center A and Center B provide the same quality support? Is their bill easy to understand? If your answers are all yes, it’s more likely that patients will continue to choose your organization.

When patients feel confidence about provided services and perceive value in the care you provide, brand loyalty is achieved. What’s more, many studies show that patients who have great healthcare experiences and are confident in the level of care they receive will have better clinical outcomes. Value-based care demands consistent, evidence-based clinical interactions. But we can’t leave out the important patient experience outside the walls of the exam room.

After my exhaustive travels, I certainly had a better outcome by relying on my trust in McDonalds’ brand. I chose to value-size my meals frequently throughout my England journey – not because it was the best tasting food, but because I could always rely on consistently convenient and quality experiences. The healthcare industry can certainly learn a lot more from cutting edge commercial companies when it comes to creating loyalty. To learn more about the patient journey and loyalty, download our e-book.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality call center & telephone answering servicespatient access services and automated communication technology. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services.  Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

Staying Connected Beyond the Patient Visit

Posted on April 20, 2017 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby, Marketing Strategist for Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Brittany Quemby - Stericycle
I see it everywhere I go – heads down, thumbs flexing. We live in an era where our devices occupy our lives. When I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight, standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to be called at my doctor’s office, I see it – heads down, thumbs flexing. Although I wish we weren’t always heads down in our phones, it is inevitable, we rely on our smartphone to stay connected.  As it stands today, roughly two-thirds of Americans own a smart phone, meaning they have access to email, voice, and text at their fingertips.

The increase in connectivity that the smartphone gives its user provides physicians a whole new way to communicate beyond the patient visit. Below are some tips that can help healthcare professionals stay connected while improving engagement, behaviors, and revenue outcomes.

Consider the patient’s preferences
Quite often only one piece of contact information is gathered for a patient and it is typically a home phone number. Patients expect to be communicated with where it is convenient for them, and in a recent survey on preferred communication methods, 76 percent off respondents said that text messages were more convenient above emails and phone calls.  If you are looking to connect with patients in a meaningful way, consider asking them their preferred method of contact to help maximize your engagement.

Use a various methods of communication
Recently we surveyed over 400 healthcare professionals to learn about the ways they are communicating and engaging with their patients. Our findings revealed that 41 percent of physicians and healthcare professionals utilize various methods to connect and communicate with their patients.  Long gone are the days when you could reach someone by a simple phone call. Today, if I need to get in touch with someone this is how it goes down: I will email them, then I will call them to let them know I emailed them, and then I text them to tell them to go read my email.  A recent report shows that on average 91 percent of all United States consumers use email daily and that text messages have a 45 percent response rate and a 98 percent open rate. Connecting with patients through multiple channels of communication can show a significant change in patient responsiveness and behavior, including an increase in healthcare ownership, a decrease in no shows, and a substantial increase in revenue.

Automate your patient communication messages
Investing in an automated patient communication solution is a great way to connect with your patients beyond the doctor’s office. It will not only increase patient behaviors, efficiencies, satisfaction and convenience, but will also dramatically impact your bottom-line.

A comprehensive automated patient communication platform allows include regular and frequent communication from your organization to the patient in a simple and easy way.  Consider implementing some of the following automated communication tactics to help you increase your practice’s efficiencies while continuing to engage with patients outside of the office:

  • Send appointment reminders: Send automated appointment reminders to ensure patients show up to their appointment both on time and prepared.
  • Follow-up communication: Patients only retain 20 to 60 percent of information that is shared with them during the appointment. Send a text or email with pertinent follow-up information to increase patient satisfaction and decrease readmissions.
  • Program promotion: Connect with patients to encourage them to come in for important initiatives your practice is holding like your flu-shot clinic.
  • Message broadcast: Communicate important information like an office closure or rescheduling due to severe weather.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality call center & telephone answering servicespatient access services and automated communication technology. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services.  Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

Healthcare IT Marketing Is Needed – #HITMC

Posted on April 7, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The past 3 days, I’ve been deep in the thralls of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference (HITMC). It brings together a few hundred of the leading healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. This year we have quite a few healthcare (not IT) marketing and PR professionals as well. I think at HITMC 2018 we’re going to have to expand the conference to include all healthcare marketers as well. Regardless, I’m extremely proud of being part of such a great community.

Yes, I said community, because that’s what HITMC really is…it’s a community of healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals. It’s something special and I think those in attendance at the conference feel it when they attend the event. Those who attend, care for each other and want to see the rest of the community be successful. At this year’s event we’ve also incorporated a number of outside perspectives to try and make sure we’re not just an echo chamber of the same people saying the same things. That’s a challenge that we’ll continue to battle.

What’s been amazing to me about this community is how much they want to improve healthcare. Certainly there are a few outliers that are only in this for the money. However, the large majority of marketing and PR professionals do the work they do because they believe they can impact healthcare in a good way. They believe that the products and services their company offers can make healthcare better. That’s a powerful idea and I assure you that most of them have this as their goal. They could probably make more money pedaling nail polish or other consumer product, but they chose healthcare because of the unique mission healthcare offers.

At last year’s event I had this epiphany when I realized that the work we do with the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR community is important not just for the individuals who attend the conference and not for the companies whom they represent, but for healthcare as a whole. Many of the marketing and PR professionals in the HITMC community work for companies that can make healthcare better. Many doctors, nurses, front desk staff, etc are suffering needlessly because they don’t know that there’s a solution to their problems out there. That’s where marketing and PR professionals come in. If they’re not doing their job, then many people suffer in ignorance.

As I mentioned, there are some rotten apples out there that are only in it for the money. They aren’t trying to market something of value, they’re just trying to line the coffers of their company. However, my experience is that these people are more the exception than the rule.

This conference is exhausting to organize. Especially for my wife who bears the largest burden as I’m busy working on the conference. However, when I think about the importance of the work we do, it makes me proud to be a small part of the extraordinary HITMC (Health IT Marketing and PR Community).

Why Provide Consumer-minded Communications? Patients Expect Them

Posted on March 9, 2017 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Chelsea Kimbrough, a copywriter for Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Chelsea Kimbrough
With technology advancing rapidly, communication has become both more accessible and more difficult than ever before. Today, Americans nationwide communicate with their smartphones via various social media platforms, mobile calls, text messages, applications, and more. In fact, 80 percent of consumers now own a smartphone for personal use, which could include making purchasing decisions and seeking out support with not only commercial industries, but with healthcare organizations as well.

Patients instinctively utilize the communication methods they are most comfortable with when interacting with healthcare organizations. These often include traditional methods such as live voice appointment scheduling and telephone answering. But as healthcare consumerism has grown more prevalent, these methods also frequently include digital and automated solutions such as online self-scheduling, appointment reminders via text message, and other automated messaging options.

As a self-professed consumer-minded patient, I tend to seek out the latter communication methods when it comes time to contact my healthcare provider. If there is an option to schedule an appointment online from the comfort of my own home, I take it. When asked if I’d like to opt in for email, voice, or text message reminders and messaging, I always indicate ‘yes.’ And if given the opportunity to meet with my physician virtually rather than in the office, I jump at it.

These features and functionalities provide me with the freedom to more proactively manage my healthcare needs without disrupting my day-to-day responsibilities. This freedom is also why I’ve become a loyal patient to my local provider. And I’m not alone.

As reported by the Beryl Institute, 87 of consumers say the patient experience is extremely important overall and 67 percent report that it plays an extremely important role in their decision-making process. Communication plays a major part in what patients view as their patient experience. If my healthcare provider were to only provide traditional live voice services, I may not have been as apt to schedule an appointment. Similarly, if they focused solely on digital solutions, they could miss out on other valuable patients.

So, what’s the answer?

Healthcare organizations should holistically approach communications with a combination of traditional and technology-based communication methods. Patients must be able to communicate however they feel most comfortable, including via a traditional phone call or by receiving important appointment information via automated emails or texts. Healthcare organizations that provide a combination of live voice, digital, and automated communication support tools are more apt to meet the diverse and evolving expectations of their entire patient population. In turn, these same organizations are more likely to successfully foster ongoing patient loyalty and satisfaction.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality telephone answering, appointment scheduling, and automated communication services. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services. Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

Top 3 Tips for Taking on Digital Health

Posted on January 18, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby, Marketing Strategist of Stericycle Communication Solutions as part of the Communication Solutions Series. Follow & engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Brittany Quemby - Stericycle
The other day I deleted several apps from my mobile phone. One I had downloaded when I was traveling, one took up too many gigs on my phone, and the last was one I downloaded to track specific health activities last January probably hoping to achieve one of my many New Year’s resolutions.  This happens to me all the time – I download an app or tool, use it once or twice, realize I don’t have any use for it or haven’t used it in 3 months and end up deleting to free up space on my phone.

This got me thinking about digital technology in the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, every day there is a slew of digital health tools developed that take a lot of time, money and effort and then go unused by the user for a variety of reasons. I picture something like a digital health tool graveyard that exists somewhere in the cloud.

After I got the mental image of a technology version of the Lion King’s Elephant Graveyard out of my head, I began to ask myself why so many digital heath technologies went stale. What needed to change? The time, money, and beautiful design that is put into development won’t draw patients by the masses.  The thing about digital health is that there has to be something in it to evoke a user’s actions.  Below are 3 important strategies I believe we need to all keep in mind when taking on digital health:

1. What does the patient EXPECT?

It’s no surprise that patients want technology incorporated into their healthcare.  However, it’s essential to couple the right technology with appropriate expectation of the user.  What you THINK a patient expects, might not always turn out to be the case.  According to a recent study by business and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners, 91 percent of healthcare customers say they would take advantage of mobile apps when offered.  However, according to an Accenture report, 66% of the largest 100 US hospitals have consumer-facing mobile apps, 38% of which have been developed for their patients, and only 2% of patients are actively using these apps. When users are met with digital health technology that lacks the expected user experience, they are left feeling disappointed, unfulfilled, and begin looking elsewhere for services.

2. What does the patient WANT?

Patients are longing for a consumer experience when it comes to their healthcare.  New research shows that “patients today are choosing their providers, in part, based on how well they use technology to communicate with them and manage their health,” says Joshua Newman, M.D., chief medical officer, Salesforce Healthcare and Life Sciences.  Patients crave technology, customization and convenience.  There is no doubt that digital health tools satisfy the convenience factor.  However, they are nothing without a customized experience. Limiting your interactions with patients to an out-of-the-box, one-way digital communication strategy can be disadvantageous and could mean you aren’t reaching patients at all.  Digital health that is personalized, optimized, and sent through multi modalities allows you to be sure that you are engaging your patient in a way they want.

3. Where does the patient GO?

It’s no surprise that patients expect a consumer experience when it comes to interacting with their healthcare provider. But mastering digital health must include more than just mobile apps and the doctor’s office.  A digital health strategy that connects with patients across the entire continuum of care will optimize their experience and satisfaction.  In a recent study by West Monroe Partners called No More Waiting Room: The Future of the Healthcare Customer Experience, Will Hinde, Senior Director says “we’re starting to see more providers incorporate the digital experience with their office visit, by shifting to more online scheduling of appointments, paperless office interactions, following up via email, portals, and mobile apps and taking steps towards greater cost and quality transparency.”  Connecting with patients outside of the doctor’s office and in places where they frequent most allows for better changes of engagement, leading to greater experiences.

Tackling digital health can be daunting and unsuccessful if it’s looked at solely from the angle that technology is king. Looking at it from the lens of the patient becomes less intimidating and more likely that your digital health efforts don’t end up in the Elephant Graveyard.

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality call center & telephone answering servicespatient access services and automated communication technology. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services.  Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms

5 Tips When Implementing a Secure Text Messaging Solution

Posted on December 20, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Matthew Werder, CTO, Hennepin County Medical Center. Thanks to Justin Campbell from Galen Healthcare Solutions for facilitating this guest post for us.

Now twelve months into our secure messaging implementation, and it’s safe to say our transition to a secure-messaging application with the aspiration to eliminate pagers has been quite a journey.  Recently, I answered a couple of reference calls on the selection process from some of my healthcare colleagues and determined it was time to share 5 (of many) tips for implementing a secure messaging solution.  Like most healthcare technologies, what may appear to be simple isn’t and even with the best of the best implementation plans, project manager, and leadership support – the road to implementing a secure messaging solution contains many challenges.

To start, here are five tips that have left me with scars & memories:

#1 – Define Your Strategy.  Are you just adding another technology, enhancing an existing, or just buying into the hype of secure text messaging applications?  In his post dated January 26, 2016, Mobility Solutions Consultant, Jason Stanaland from Spok stated, “secure text messaging should be implemented as a workflow solution, and not simply a messaging product.”  Before putting ink to paper, ensure that your goals are aligned, providers are supportive, and a measureable outcome has been identified.  Just because you can implement a technology doesn’t mean you should.

#2 – Beware of the Pager Culture.  In the words of Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for lunch,” and the same can be said for the pager culture.  This was impressed on me last summer when a physician stopped me in the hallway and had questions about the new text messaging solution we were implementing.  She was very excited and encouraged to hear that we were taking communication, mobility, and security seriously.   What I wasn’t prepared for was her question, “What is your plan to address the 4, 5, and 9-digit callback needs?”

In many institutions, a pager Morse code exists.  Telemediq’s Derek Bolen wrote in December last year that the, “Pager culture’ is real, and extremely persistent, in healthcare.” Judy Mottl, of Fierce Mobile Healthcare, talks about “Why the pager remains a viable and trusted tool for providers.” She wrote that the pager has been a resilient tool and in order for new technologies to replace it, they must overcome the benefits of such a simple mobile device – the pager!  Don’t underestimate #PAGERPOWER!

#3 – Text Administration and Etiquette Policy.  If your goal is to replace your paging system or add a secure text messaging solution in addition to pagers, your paging and messaging policy will need to be archived and a new text messaging/secure messaging policy will need to be authored.  Who authors the policy will be a collaborative effort between the medical staff, legal, IT, nursing, compliance, and operations.  Gentle reminders as written by Dana Holmes, Family Lifestyle Expert of the Huffington Post, in her 2013 blog, “A Much-Needed Guide to Text Etiquette”, highlights the necessary rules and guidelines of texting. Many of these are well known, yet good reminders in the adoption of secure text messaging in healthcare.

#4 – Think Beyond Text Messaging.  Regardless of your strategy, text messaging alone will provide minimal value.  Organizations implementing secure text-messaging solutions should think beyond the implementation and think in terms of “Connection Point” or “Communications Hub” opportunities with the patient/customer in mind.  On August 19, 2015, Brad Brooks, TigerText Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stated that secure texting not only fosters a collaborative environment, but it also enables users to quickly communicate and coordinate with other colleagues while eradicating the need for multiple devices and tedious communication channels. Unlike emails, secure texting is instantaneous and avoids outside threats or hackers. Secure texting encompasses everything we love about mobile messaging, but with built-in features and tools to help one work faster and more easily with his or her team.  Does the vendor have a roadmap to take you where you want? Intersect it with patients, and make for texting amongst patients and provider. Include the patient, how can they take advantage of the texting platform?  Turn it into an engagement tool.  Drive collaboration and improve the patient experience and family experience.

#5 – Enjoy and Have Fun.  I am amazed at times when technologists don’t embrace the adoption of a new technology that could have a significant impact on their organization.  The secure text messaging industry is rich and deep right now with countless options and innovative solutions at every corner.  You run into unforeseen obstacles and workflows, and despite the promise of a short implementation multiple it by two.  We all know that change in healthcare is challenging and exhausting so enjoy the ride!

Of course there are many more. At last count, about 37 additional lessons and tips should be considered when implementing your new secure-messaging solution, so feel free to comment and share your experiences.

About Matthew Werder
Matthew Werder brings over 20 years of healthcare experience in his position as Chief Technology Officer at Hennepin County Medical Center, a 477-bed Level 1 Trauma Center and Academic Medical Center in Minneapolis. In his role, he is responsible for advancing HCMC’s technology vision and strategy to enable the organization to achieve its critical priorities.  Currently, Matthew is leading the development of an enterprise telemedicine strategy, migration to a new data center, and leading the execution of the organization’s technology strategy.

Prior to his role as CTO, Matthew was the Director of Supply Chain at HCMC, where over the course of 4 years achieved over $12M in cost savings while transforming the supply chain organization whom received recognition by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as Pros to Know.  He also worked as a Supply Chain Manager for Medtronic, Inc. at their Physiological Research Laboratories and in the Global Strategic Sourcing group. Matthew is a certified Master Lean instructor and previously worked as a Lean Consultant with Operational Excellence, Inc. 

Matthew holds a Master’s Degree in Health and Human Services Administration from Saint Mary’s University and graduated from Concordia University with a degree in natural science.  He has presented and been published on several topics focusing on operational excellence, cost management, technology and the patient experience, and strategic sourcing for services in healthcare.