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Marketing Your Medical Practice in the Digital (Social) Age

Posted on June 28, 2013 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.

On Saturday, June 30, Tweeters, Instagramers, Pinners and the like will gather to celebrate the fourth annual Social Media Day, presented by Mashable, a leading online source for news and information focused on the Connected Generation. And each year, social media plays a greater role in #healthcare and #HealthIT. Here are a few stats from recent months:

  • 51% of those surveyed say that digital health communications would make them feel more valued as a patient
  • 90% of adults 18-24 years of age say they would trust medical information shared by others in their social media networks
  • 41% of people say social media would affect their choice of health care provider

To raise awareness about the social media benefits for health care professionals, I asked Dr. Lawrence Rosen, an athenahealth client, social-savvy clinician, practice owner and influencer, about best practices and tips for marketing a medical practice on social networks.

When did you realize it was time to put your practice on Facebook? When was that ‘a-ha’ moment?

It happened the day I started my practice, The Whole Child Center, in 2008. I recognized that savvy parents were using Facebook to gather and share information about their kids. They not only wanted to post photos of their one-year-old’s birthday party but also wanted to interact with their health care providers. I thought it would be great if we could develop this online community to build on the brick-and-mortar community we developed within the four walls of our practice.

To create an effective Facebook strategy, it’s key to know your audience and what you’d like them to do. Who are your Facebook target audiences? Are you surprised by any groups that you’re reaching?

As a pediatrician, my primary target audience is easy—moms. And for Facebook, that’s a key demographic. Recent insights showed that 80% of our Facebook audience is women with more than 60% ages 25-44.

The most surprising demographic? Other health care practitioners interested in the unique integrative and eco-sustainable approach we take to medicine.

Discuss the types of content you have generated and how you personally grown your Facebook presence and, in essence, your practice.

Initially, our content was mostly health information, current articles and trends in the news. I then realized that photos and videos garnered much more interest, so we developed a space for parents to post photos of their kids having fun in our office. With HIPAA concerns, we are really careful to never post patient information directly, but parents can certainly share information about their own experiences, and they love sharing these pictures. Also, I’ve found videos of my media appearances or webinars, when posted on seasonal or topical issues, always get a lot of likes and shares.

What are examples of online content that have increased visibility or engagement for your practice? 

The most gratifying and widespread content has been related to our response to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy tragedy in New Jersey and New York. We posted a call for new or gently used baby equipment—strollers, car seats, high chairs—for one of our practice’s  moms to deliver to a devastated section of Queens, NY.  In one week, we gathered enough donations to fill a box truck. This mom, who had family in the damaged area, was so thrilled to partner with us, and it really helped raise awareness in our area of the plight of young families.

Are there any rules of the road, things people should remember when marketing their practice on a social network?

Don’t post private information. Don’t pester your audience by posting 40 things a day. Be strategic, know your audience, pay attention to what people like and share, and keep your content relevant to hot topics, and local or regional health issues. In general, stay away from divisive political or religious issues.

What you post is going to be seen as a reflection of your organization’s values and will positively or negatively affect your reputation. Recognize the power of your social network to engage and build your community.

Dr. Rosen is an integrative pediatrician based in Oradell, N.J. and a contributor to the athenahealth blog

Healthcare IT and EMRs – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on May 26, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

There are different challenges that come with creating PHRs, especially with adolescents. Certain aspects of PHRs can be hidden from parents, such a pregnancy tests or information on reproductive health. Boston Children’s Hospital has created a special adolescent PHR, that will allow parent’s access to certain files, while keeping some available only for the eyes of the the adolescent.

EMRs are created to increase efficiency of care, eliminate paper records, and optimize care. However, when a person wants to access medical records, they often have to wait days, if not weeks, for the results. Is there a way to have EMRs help patients easily retrieve medical records?

There are many great EMR bloggers out there. John took a trip down memory lane to remember the blogs he first read when he started blogging 7.5 years ago. Do you recognize any of these legacy EMR bloggers?

Do you consider EMRs to be “cool” in the world of Health IT? In this light-hearted post, Jennifer reflects on different parts of Health IT, specifically EMRs, and what she would define as cool. Be sure to chime in on this conversation.

Some people really love their EMRs (or, at least, try to convince themselves that they do!) Two physicians from North Carolina made this clever video, as a way to express some of their frustrations with EMRs in a lighthearted, and fun way. You definitely won’t want to miss this!

The latest innovation from Google may have a big effect on the future of healthcare. Google Glasses, though not created specifically for the healthcare community, could prove to transform healthcare as we know it. From helping medical students learn material, to assisting in the ER, the possibilities appear to be endless.

Health IT and Cancer — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on May 25, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

Topic One: What are the unique #HealthIT opportunities to improve cancer patients’ experience during treatment?

Topic 2: How can technology improve the lives of post-treatment #cancer survivors?

 

Topic Three: Where do patients fit into emerging models of personalized medicine driven by #bigdata?

Topic Four: Is there a role that #HealthIT can play in cancer prevention and early detection?

EHR Debates and The Growth of mHealth – Around Healthcare Scene

Posted on April 7, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

With the dissatisfaction that many have felt from EMR, providers and patients alike, outside healthcare companies are coming up with new ideas on how to help. Healthpons, a healthcare version of Groupon, recently launched and aims to help people find affordable care, and allow providers to market themselves. Is this “cash for care” model a trickle down effect of EMR Dissatisfaction?

Among the debates related to EHRs, one of the biggest is about purging data. On one side, people believe that all data from a person’s life in order to give the best care possible. Another camp believes that keeping EHR data opens up the door for the institution being held liable. What do you think?

Hospitals are implementing EMRs left and right. However, who is it that pays for it? Some argue that it’s the consumer, others sometimes even say it’s the insurance companies. In the end, it’s the hospitals themselves.

How do you measure the quality of a doctor? In same ways, it’s impossible. Ideally, there would be a way to determine whether the quality of care a doctor provides is worth the cost they charge. However, there are risks involved in this, and really, it’s hard.  Don’t we all want the best doctor possible, for the lowest price? How can we keep doctor’s accountable for the care they provide?

If you have a hard time deciding the quality of a doctor, why not take matters into your own hands? Most people know that Google contains a plethora of health information, and that smartphones have a variety of health-related apps. The digital health market is growing at a fast rate and more technology is being released each day. What do you think the future holds for mHealth?

The past few weeks, some well-known names in health IT have lost dear family members. Remember these people in your thoughts.

Communication With Providers, Patient Alert Fatigue, and #HealthIT — #HITsm Chat Highlights

Posted on April 6, 2013 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

#HITsm T1: How do you WANT to communicate with your healthcare provider? How does it differ from what’s available?

 

#HITsm T2: How can we avoid patient alert fatigue as we move toward engaged care and #mHealth acceptance?

 

#HITsm T3: Will the shortage of qualified #healthIT professionals to fill openings force a delay in meeting Meaningful Use requirements?

 

#HITsm T4: Open Forum> What #healthIT topic has interested you most this week?

Where is the Value in Health IT?

Posted on August 10, 2012 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.

What a powerful question that I think hasn’t got enough attention. Everyone seems to be so enamored with EHR thanks to the $36 billion in EHR incentive money. I seem to not be an exception to that rule as well. Although, at least I was in love with EHR well before the government started spending money on it.

While so many are distracted by the government money I think it’s worth asking the question of where the value is in healthcare IT.

Practice Management software has a ton of billing benefits. Is there a practice out there that doesn’t use some sort of practice management software? I don’t know of any.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) has a ton of value for reducing duplicate tests. Certainly we have challenges actually implementing an HIE, but the value in reducing healthcare costs and improving patient care seems quite clear. Having the best information about someone clearly leads to better healthcare.

Data Warehouse and Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) has tremendous value. RCM is not really sexy, but after attending a conference like ANI you can see how much money is on the table if you deal with revenue integrity. I add data warehouse in this category since they’re often very closely tied together.

Since this is an EHR site, where then does EHR fit into all this? What are the really transparent benefit of using an EHR. I know there are a whole list of EHR benefits. However, I think it is a challenge for many doctors to see how all of those benefits add up. EHR adoption would be much higher if there was one big hair benefit to EHR adoption. Unfortunately, I don’t yet think there’s one EHR benefit that’s yet reached that level of impact. I hope one day it will. Not that it matters right now anyway. Most practices wouldn’t see the benefit between the EHR incentive weeds.

Food Brings Clinical and IT Together and Other Clinical-IT Perceptions

Posted on August 8, 2012 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.

I’ve gotten quite the response from my post about Hospital IT and Nursing Perceptions on EMR and HIPAA. Since many of you don’t read all the comments (particularly those that are sent to my by email or left on other social media), I thought I’d share a couple of them that I found worth sharing.

First up is what I think is an eternal principle: FOOD!

As an Rn who spent most of 30yrs in IT thus works well:

Advice for Nursing: Sent Pizza
Advice for IT: Bring Doughnuts

Then take the time to listen. Ya gott’a have Big Ears!!!!!!!!!

Since I’m an IT Guy by background, I can assure you that I’ve done amazing work on the back of doughnuts. Although, I think Pizza would have worked for me as well, but it’s hard to beat a great doughnut. I do like the final comment though about listening. I always love “breaking bread” with someone because then you have something special that remains with you after the fact. Plus, I have a great memory and so once I’ve shared a meal with someone I will never forget them (their name maybe, but never them).

This next opinion is a bit stronger (and possibly more cynical), but I hope will start some really good discussion.

I’ll tell you I’m a former clinical lab person who moved to IT, so I have a warped sense of nursing and their perception of their purpose in life from way back.

IT’S PERCEPTION OF IT: We’d be more than happy to double our personnel in order to halve our response time if administration would fork over the budget for it. We have done everything we can think of to speed response time—help desk carries the phone with them at all times so they can answer it regardless where in the hospital they are, we have the capacity via VNC to spy on a session so the person doesn’t have to wait for us to walk over to the nursing unit to see what is going on, and more. If the people other than help desk are not on the phone, they get the call when it is forwarded.

IT’S PERCEPTION OF NURSING: Nurses are control freaks with OCD issues. We have a computer every four feet along every wall in every nursing station, in every patient room, and on wheels so they can be taken anywhere they want. They decide which one they are going to use for the day and, if it dies, they cannot be pried away to a different device. THEIRS is broken. And they have no idea that electronics are part of patient care now, not just an add-on to their work. Too many cannot comprehend that because they don’t feel like scanning a patient armband before giving them meds, it is okay to get the computer off their back by scanning anything with the patient number on it instead—a marvelous way to circumvent patient safety aspects of computerization.

If nursing (and physicians, too, for that matter) spent as much energy deciding they were going to learn how to most efficiently use their electronics as they do complaining about them, there wouldn’t be extra time taken away from patient care. It would become a break-even proposition.

One thing is absolutely certain: it’s not an easy task to bridge the IT and clinical divide. I bet a great book could be written on the subject.

Perceptions of Hospital IT and Nursing

Posted on August 3, 2012 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.

In response to my post about the Old Boys Club of Healthcare IT, David Allinder, RN offered these interesting perceptions of IT and nursing. These are generalizations, but worth considering:

PERCEPTIONS OF IT: The IT department is sealed behind coded doors locked away from patient care. The only way to contact them is by calling the help desk (which usually doesnt). Time is taken away from patient care to sit on hold for what seems like forever. And then after you define your issue they say let me contact the IT person they will call you back.

PERCEPTIONS OF NURSING: Nurses are control freaks with OCD issues. No one had better mess with my unit, pateints, processes, workflow. Nursing is sitting in a hallway with opened desks with call lights and phones constantly ringing they are there to respond instantly to demands and requests. Nursing are at the bedside taking care of patients. Electronic devices take too much time away from the patient care. I cant do my job because the stinking computer is broken AGAIN.

Don LeBreux summarized my feelings on the above comments, “Your “perceptions” are basically dead on. Funny and sad.”

What strategies have you seen that work to bridge the divide and overcome these perceptions?

Despite Focus On Security Compliance, Provider Data Still Isn’t Secure

Posted on April 26, 2012 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

It looks like we’ve got a billion-dollar mismatch between rules and reality here. An established security research firm has released a study suggesting that while providers are working hard on meeting HIPAA and other security regs, their data isn’t any more secure than when it was before

Kroll’s 2012 HIMSS Analytyics Report: Security of Patient Data, concludes that the rate of  provider data breaches has been rising over the past six years, despite pressure on providers to conduct more security audits and otherwise tighten up their data ship.

What’s scary about this trend is that the healthcare institutions surveyed by Kroll don’t seem to be aware of the problem.  Health IT execs rated themselves at 6.4 out of 7 (seven being “extremely prepared’) on their readiness to address data security. That’s up from 6.06 in 2010 and 5.88 in 2008.

But the data Kroll gathered suggests that they’re overconfident at best. It found that 27 percent of respondents had reported a breach during the past twelve months, up from 19 percent in 2010  and 13 percent in 2008. Worse, of those who saw breaches, 69 percent of providers had seen  more than one breach.

Now, it would be easy to say that regs like HIPAA, Meaningful Use standards and the Red Flags rules are malformed, and that this is just another case of government getting it wrong to industry’s detriment. If there’s any truth to this notion, I do hope CMS leaders take notice and adjusts some of its requirements;  Heaven knows they’d get plenty of credible, carefully thought-out feedback if they ask.

Unfortunately, though, I suspect far from being that easy. We’d all love it if we could just follow the rules, get government approval then say “stick a fork in it, security’s done.”  But as readers know,  security is such a complex mix of implementing technologies and changing inappropriate behaviors that it’s hard to tease out just what went wrong sometimes.

Still, it’s good to have an organization like Kroll remind us that meeting HIPAA requirements isn’t the be all and end all.  Unfortunately, it’s really just the beginning.

Interoperability versus Usability in Best of Breed or All-in-One HIS Systems

Posted on January 31, 2012 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.

In a number of my online conversations we’ve been having really in depth discussions about the idea of whether it’s better for a hospital HIS system is better as an All-In-One system or whether Best of Breed healthcare IT systems are better. Much of this discussion has been sparked from posts done on my Hospital EMR and EHR blog. So, if you’re in the hospital space and are not following that site, you should. You can even sign up for the Hospital EMR and EHR list if you’d like. Anne Zieger writes most of the content there and she doesn’t mince words.

In all of these discussions, something became really clear to me:

The best reason to use Best of Breed healthcare IT systems is for usability.

The best reason to use an All-in-One system is for interoperability.

Some people may see this as too simplistic, but I loved a quote I read recently that said you don’t truly understand something until you can describe it in a simple form. I actually heard Bill Belichick do this talking about what he looks for in receivers for his Football team (Anyone excited for Super Bowl Sunday?). He said he likes a receiver that can Get Open and Catches the Ball. Seems far too simplistic, but it’s so simplistic it’s genius.

I think the same could be said for evaluating hospital IT systems:

The thing I like most in a healthcare IT system is one that’s Usable and Integrates Well.