5 Reasons to Rethink Building Your Own Patient Engagement Solution

5 Reasons to Rethink Building Your Own Patient Engagement Solution

By UbiCare   5 Reasons to Rethink Building Your Own Patient Engagement Solution “Why wouldn’t we build our own patient engagement solution in-house?” It’s a question we hear often enough from hospital and health system marketers that we figured we should blog about it. Here are 5 good reasons why: Behavior-changing health content is a complex and scientific topic. About 60 percent of healthcare marketers create at least one piece of content each day. And that’s likely content that’s focused on attracting new business, not the kind of educational health content designed to improve patient outcomes. For example, did you know that  people need to hear something 7 times before they fully understand? Our writers and editors thrive on that kind of research and knowlege about human nature, and they use it to create evidence-based content that gets patients to take action. Technology is like a garden. Our CTO Chris Turner likes to say, “Technology is like a garden. You can’t just build it and walk away. You have to weed it and maintain it.” The point is that maintenance often falls off the radar when the next project takes focus. In-house patient engagement technology is just one more thing for your already overworked IT team to manage. And it’s simply not necessary when the technology available today is made to plug and play. Automation saves you time. While research, content creation and technology maintenance are serious drains on your time, technology that automates patient education saves you and your care team time. With an advanced health engagement technology in your back pocket, you can automate your patient education to ensure your patients get the right information at the right time. In other words, you can set it and forget it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Modern health technology has come so far that there’s just no need to build something new when you can take advantage of the diverse capabilities of existing health IT solutions. Further, health systems are trending toward consolidating their IT infrastructure, not making it more complex. Integrating an existing patient engagement solution into your current systems makes more financial sense than building something new. You trust experts for a reason. I’m a bad skier, and I’m OK with that. If someone were to ask me to teach them to ski, I would say, “I am the wrong person to do that.” Some things are best left to those with specialized expertise in their field. They’ve honed their skills over many years, learning what works and what doesn’t. With all of the priorities you’re balancing, creating an effective engagement solution is one item you can confidently outsource....

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The Health Leader Forge – Sean Tracey, Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Sean Tracey Associates

The Health Leader Forge – Sean Tracey, Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Sean Tracey Associates

The Health Leader Forge is a long form podcast featuring in-depth interviews with amazing leaders who work in health and healthcare. In each interview, we explore the leader’s career journey up to their current role and organization, discuss their current role and organization, and then conclude with their views on leadership.  Sean Tracey, Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Sean Tracey Associates Today’s guest is Sean Tracey, the founder, CEO, and creative director of Sean Tracey Associates, a full service marketing and brand strategy firm located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I spoke with Sean because over the years his firm has worked extensively with healthcare organizations, helping them craft their internal and external brands and marketing strategies. In this podcast we talk in particular about his work with Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, but Sean has worked with a many other healthcare organizations including developing the Tufts Health Freedom Plan brand with Tufts Health and Granite Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Hartford Health. He is currently working with the newly formed North Country Healthcare, whose CEO, Warren West has been a previous guest on the Forge. Sean has also worked with large, national brands such as Sears and MasterCard. This was a fun interview because Sean has done so many diverse and interesting things in his career, including being a jazz trumpeter, producing a TV show called, “The Best of New England”, and making a feature length documentary called, “The Jesus Guy”. One of the things I found most interesting was our conversation about leadership in an industry where most organizations are project-based, and teams may form for a day or many years, depending on the length of the project. We close on a discussion about developing a personal brand, which I think is particularly valuable for any professional to think about. Links to the Podcast Edited: https://soundcloud.com/healthleaderforge/sean-tracey-founder-ceo-and-creative-director-of-sean-tracey-associates-1 Full...

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Healthcare Technology Is Closing the Gap in Breastfeeding Support

Healthcare Technology Is Closing the Gap in Breastfeeding Support

By UbiCare   Healthcare Technology Is Closing the Gap in Breastfeeding Support On June 26, NPR’s Michaeleen Doucleff published Secrets Of Breast-Feeding From Global Moms In The Know, highlighting different cultures’ approaches to breastfeeding. What follows is a response on how healthcare technology can make up for what American women lack in terms of breastfeeding support.  NPR’s spotlight on the challenges that U.S. women face when it comes to breastfeeding in this culture is critically important for new moms learning to breastfeed. American women don’t have the maternal support enjoyed by the Himba women of Namibia, thought to be one of the most effective breastfeeding populations in the world, according to the NPR piece. With limited maternity leave and family members scattered across the country (if not the world), a new mom in the U.S. often doesn’t have the luxury of learning from her own mother how to feed and care for her newborn. Our data confirms that women want to use healthcare technology to close the gap in breastfeeding knowledge and support; more than 413,000 patients at more than 158 hospitals worldwide are using mobile health technology to help manage their pregnancy, childcare and breastfeeding information needs. The technology they use allows the healthcare provider to step into the “grandmother” role—when a new mom’s own mother is far away—by delivering breastfeeding guidance to patients’ mobile devices, mapped to the mother’s precise week postpartum, and allowing patients to learn and ask for help 24/7, without cost. U.S. women feeling alone with their breastfeeding challenges rely on this digital connection with their hospital for the answers and support they need. It breaks the stigma for moms struggling with breastfeeding and gives them the “grandmother” touch any time they need it. Bio: Betsy Weaver, Ed.D., CEO/President and Founder of TPR Media (d.b.a. UbiCare), is a nationally-recognized innovator in patient education and healthcare communication. She created the first email services designed to enhance hospitals’ care connections with patients and streamline processes for staff. In 2010, she created UbiCare, the first hub platform for healthcare, incorporating email, social media, text messaging and web services to engage patients and improve outcomes. Twitter |  Facebook |  YouTube ...

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Surprising Statistics on Text Messaging and What They Mean for Healthcare

Surprising Statistics on Text Messaging and What They Mean for Healthcare

By UbiCare   Thinking about implementing text (SMS) communications with your patients? Texting, the 160-character messages sent to and from a mobile device, is the most widely-used basic smartphone feature. Since 2009, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged that texting is an easy way to share health messages with large populations. But is it effective? Here are some surprising statistics about text messaging and its applicability in healthcare. Stat 1: Text messages have a 98% open rate. The Deeper Dive: Research shows that nearly all text messages are opened. But text message open rates are defined differently than traditional email open rates. A text message is counted as opened when it arrives on your phone, NOT— as you might think—when you open your messaging app to read it. That said, the high open rates are still good news. Most smartphones are set up to automatically show a preview of each text message. So, you can count on most people scanning your text enough to click for more information of interest, especially when it’s personalized to their care experience. Texting patients to guide the care episode: See how it works.   tat 2: Text messaging is the most widely- and frequently-used smartphone app. The Deeper Dive: People use smartphones to text more than they use other apps, including health apps. A Pew study found that 97% of Americans use their phone’s texting feature at least once a day. Break down that data by age group and it doesn’t vary much: 100% of 18- to 29-year-olds use text daily or more often, and 92% of those ages 50 and older do as well. Still, it’s worth noting that video, voice calls and email remain popular, too, among all age groups. Stat 3: 80% of people worldwide want to text with their doctors. The Deeper Dive: Texting has become the accepted way for healthcare consumers to communicate—not only with their friends, but with their healthcare providers, too. Your patients are not just okay with you texting them—they expect you to. Text messaging is where patients are. To guide the conversation and move healthcare forward, it’s important to pay attention to patients’ communication...

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Tap Into Human Nature to Engage Patients

Tap Into Human Nature to Engage Patients

Posted by UbiCare   One of my favorite health quotations comes from Florence Nightingale’s classic Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not: “Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.” The phrase, in a book first published in 1859, speaks to the idea that patients have strong, often conflicting emotions related to whatever care episode they’re dealing with. Pair those feelings with the fact that health information can sometimes be unfamiliar and scary, and it’s understandable that patients have a hard time comprehending and retaining a doctor’s instructions and advice. At UbiCare, we believe there are 3 key dimensions that effective healthcare education must include to address patients’ emotional needs, impact their behavior and, ultimately, improve their health outcomes. For patients to absorb health information, that information must acknowledge their emotions—their reactions to diagnoses, treatment and recovery plans. It must also recognize that health events do not occur in a vacuum; they occur within people’s already busy lives. With this in mind, here’s a look at the 3 key dimensions health content should address:   1. Knowledge The knowledge dimension deals with the details patients need to understand their diagnoses and treatment. This dimension is also critical to meeting patient safety goals, particularly when it comes to self-care. Educating patients about caring for their incisions once they’ve returned home, for example, is one item in the knowledge dimension that reduces the risk for complications and readmissions and improves patient outcomes and satisfaction. 2. Executive Function Executive function helps patients organize the knowledge they receive in a usable way. Health content that addresses executive function does so by facilitating planning, setting expectations and promoting decision-making. Information that prompts patients’ executive function skills well before a surgery date has a big payoff for hospitals. In a Gallup study, 72% of patients who strongly agreed that they knew what to expect after surgery said they were extremely satisfied with their surgery results; only 8% reported post-surgical problems. In other words, when health education provides patients with a clear understanding and expectations about how surgery will go, what they need to do to get through it and how they’ll return to their normal lives afterward, those patients will have a better overall experience. 3. Emotional/Psychosocial Health education in the emotional or psychosocial realm helps patients feel supported, understood and less stressed. It also nurtures patient-provider relationships. Patients want better relationships with providers, and this can happen when doctors encourage and respond to them as partners in their care—using health education that focuses on relieving anxiety, answering patients’ common concerns and providing guidance. Patients forget 80%–90% of what they hear at a doctor’s appointment. Add to that the belief...

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Social Standards for Healthcare Brands

Social Standards for Healthcare Brands

By Smith + Jones   When was the last time you scrolled through your Facebook newsfeed and a company didn’t try to sell you something? For better or for worse, social media has changed. What was once a way to make connections with old friends is now a full-on marketing free-for-all. In fact, 90 percent of U.S. companies are using social media to market their products and services. How is your organization keeping up with this demand? We understand — when it comes to social media marketing, sometimes it’s a challenge to stay organized and focused. Your marketing team is tasked with juggling all their other responsibilities and maintaining your company’s social media accounts. But in today’s world, healthcare brands need a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, etc. to make social media marketing worthwhile. We created a social media white paper {http://smithandjones.com/resources/whitepapers/social-standards-for-hospitals-and-health-systems/ ] to help healthcare brands develop the ultimate social media plan for their individual organization. From editorial guidelines to a free social media tool, your marketing teams will learn how to develop a brand voice, create a content and social media calendar and streamline the internal approval process. Click here to learn about how to optimize your hospital’s social media plan. Thank...

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Engaging the Modern Patient [Infographic]

Engaging the Modern Patient [Infographic]

by UbiCare   Hospital executives and patient educators often ask me how patients—particularly younger ones—like to communicate with their doctors nowadays in the age of millennials and apps. Patients are people and we need to engage them as such. Regardless of age or other factors, they use email and text all the time in their daily lives and want to communicate with their doctors, hospitals and physician practices through those channels too. UbiCare researched this question and compiled the findings into an infographic that is full of information about patients’ health communication preferences and how hospitals can manage a patient’s episode of care better when they share patient education proactively through email and text. In fact, not only does emailing and texting patients about their care work better to improve health outcomes and promote behavior change, it can save you a lot of time and money. Just imagine not having to answer all those patient calls with common questions, scheduling unnecessary doctors’ appointments or worse, dealing with costly hospital...

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Social media strategies for healthcare brands

Social media strategies for healthcare brands

By Smith & Jones   Social media plays a significant role in marketing healthcare to your audiences and the demand for this type of communication is growing. That’s why social media marketing can no longer be a one-man operation. Healthcare brands should consider spreading social media responsibilities across their organization to get more people involved and keep up with demand. In our latest Brains Over Brawn podcast, President of Smith & Jones David Vener meets up with Jessica Columba, a partner of the firm Med|Ed Digital and expert social media strategist. Jessica specializes in training regulated industries on how to use social media to build brand awareness and grow online communities. Jessica also teaches them how to leverage social media to respond to real-time crisis situations. “Five years ago, there wasn’t an awareness that we even needed in-house dedicated social media management,” Columbo said. “Now slowly, I am seeing the social media point person within the organization having the opportunity to do a lot of training and decentralization of the expertise across the organization.” Dave and Jessica also discuss healthcare brands’ customer service obligations on social media. More and more, customers use social media as a vehicle to provide feedback, positive and negative, or ask questions. How your organization responds to these interactions is crucial. “Most customer service issues are going unanswered. There are plenty of statistics that show when a user tweets out a complaint against your brand or regarding your a brand, they expect a response within 60 minutes or less. We’re not staffed for that appropriately yet,” Columbo said. “We don’t invest in those opportunities to convert dissatisfied customers into brand advocates.” To learn more about the changes in social media and what your brand can do to keep up, listen to our latest...

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How Can Hospitals Use Texting to Improve Patient Care?

How Can Hospitals Use Texting to Improve Patient Care?

When was the last time you talked to your friend? Your mother? Your old college roommate? Now think—did you actually talk to them? In person or on the phone? If you’re like most Americans, you probably conversed with them via text, email or social media. In fact, a recent Gallup poll finds that texting and email are the most frequently used forms of non-personal communication for adult Americans. So is a cellphone, because even when we do use a phone, it’s typically not a landline, the survey reveals. For all Americans under age 50, the survey finds that texting is the most dominant form of communication. Given these changes in our own everyday interactions, why does the healthcare industry insist on sticking with old forms of communication? Healthcare needs to embrace email and text as the preferred and most efficient patient-provider communication methods, just as we have accepted—and really, expected—email and text communication in our daily lives. So far, most attempts to incorporate texting into a healthcare setting have involved simple alerts, such as medication and appointment reminders. While helpful, these messages just scratch the surface of what’s possible. Text alerts like these don’t qualify as dynamic communication; they’re really just one-way, robotic messages. A better way for the healthcare industry to use texting is to guide personal, two-way conversations between patients and providers that engage patients in their care. Hospitals and health systems can push out en masse—and in a targeted, customized way—health information that: builds patients’ knowledge about their health, from pre-care to post-care relieves patients’ anxieties, and sets expectations. This essentially guides patients through their care when they’re not in the hospital or a doctor’s office. Of course, texting that guides patients through their care is different than texting patient-care directives. In December 2016, the Joint Commission updated its recommendations to advise against the use of secure text messaging for patient care orders. Instead, texting should focus on population-based information and patient support—addressing not just health education, but also common anxieties, expectations and shared needs. This will foster connections between patients and their hospitals, improve patient satisfaction and boost the patient experience. Each connection not only guides patients through their episode of care, but also builds their trust in your hospital—and the likelihood they’ll recommend you to their friends and return with their families for future healthcare needs. Texting can also spark other opportunities to interact with patients. Imagine patients letting you know how they’re doing or what their current challenges are. Aggregate this kind of data from your entire patient population and you’ll get a picture of your population health and what your hospital can do to improve outcomes. Healthcare traditionally lags behind on the adoption of new digital technology. Patients are calling (pun intended)...

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