GenY to the Xpower

Online Patient Communities by Valerie Hoven
March 28, 2011, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, HIT | Tags: , ,

This article talks about how more patients are using social media to make healthcare decisions. We all knew this, but I’m curious as to what conditions/diseases are most talked about online? This article says a lot of decisions were made about gastric bypass surgery online as well as diabetes.

What are some other ones? I’m on in the transplant community. But what patients have strong communities, and which ones are strong for making healthcare decisions? I can see how transplant is strong, but we don’t need to make a lot of healthcare decisions. Diabetes patients however, do make a lot of decisions I bet, like what is the best glucose meter, etc.

So as a marketer, who are these communities? And which ones do you market towards? Both? The ones who need to make decisions? The ones with a strong relationship? Regardless, there’s so much opportunity out there. Very exciting and reassuring for us online marketers 🙂


A Million Dollar Direct Mail Success by Valerie Hoven
December 2, 2010, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Healthcare

This is now the second article I’ve read saying that direct mail is a poor marketing tactic, calling it a “dinosaur,” fail or just an archaic type of outlet that’s “dead.” Direct mail isn’t dead. And the people who say it’s a poor marketing tactic are people who shouldn’t have a job in marketing. Your direct mail didn’t fail, you just missed the three important factors to all direct mail campaigns: a targeted audience, a clear call to action and an aesthetically pleasing look that should identify your brand. Don’t blame the mail because you failed as a marketer.

Here’s a million dollar example. Hopkins Medical Center, a leading academic medical center, uses direct mail as a major source for their patient-directed marketing. They sent letters to 300 patients who just had bariatric surgery. The letter talked about the benefits of body sculpting, and then it was signed by their doctor.

Cost for mailing 300 letters: $2,285
Net Revenue: $2,290,000
Contribution Margin: $1,079,000

For direct mail, you must have a specific call to action (ie purchase body sculpting). You must have a targeted audience (people who just had hundreds of pounds surgically removed) and a nice look to the mail (formal letter from the doctors).

At my hospital, we offer dozens of free events and classes to the community. For about a dozen of them, we send them an invitation in the mail. On average, roughly half of the people who attend the events come from direct mail. And on average we get $30 million in net revenue a year from new patients who attended an event, and half of them came because they received a postcard or letter in the mail inviting them to it.

Saying direct mail is dead is a strong statement, and it’s flat out wrong. Are we sick of junk mail? Of course! Is direct mail junk mail? It shouldn’t be.

My company blocked Yammer! by Valerie Hoven
July 8, 2010, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, Intranet, Life, Web 2.0

So after I became a hero at my hospital, IT went and blocked Yammer. Yup. What do I do now? I feel helpless. I thought they were on my side.

A couple weeks ago, I posted a story on my intranet about Yammer. I told employees about it and all the wonderful ways it can help you at work. Dozens of people joined within days. Within a couple weeks, we reached 100+ members of Yammer (up from roughly 50). Conversations more than doubled on Yammer, too, after that announcement. I even wrote a blog post about all the wonders of Yammer.

Now, the almighty IT department came and shut us down. I keep getting emails asking why the site is down or if the link is broken. I have to break their hearts and say “It’s not you, it’s not me, it’s IT.”

And yes, IT also blocks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. And my hospital has pages on all of the above.

Toot Toot! I’m a healthcare hero :) by Valerie Hoven
June 30, 2010, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, Life

So I’m totally going to toot my own horn and announce to my dozen readers that I am now a healthcare hero! Read all about it here.

Healthcare IT Communications: Presentation Posted! by Valerie Hoven
June 28, 2010, 6:57 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, HIT

OK so I finally loaded the presentation from the AAMC conference on to YouTube. To see “Geek is Chic: Communicating Technology in a Changing Healthcare World,” go to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital YouTube site. Search for the first part of two videos: Communicating Technology In A Changing Healthcare World Part 1 and Part 2. Or you can go directly to part one.

Contact me if you want to see samples, the full CPOE communication plan or other questions about how to communicate your IT projects at your hospital. P.S. I do not know how to implement CPOE in your hospital, only how to tell your employees!

Six things to know about replacing pagers with smartphones by Valerie Hoven
June 4, 2010, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, HIT, tech | Tags: , , ,

So here’s a white paper that lists six things about replacing your hospital pagers with smartphones. It basically lists the first reason as “everybody else is doing it, so you should, too.” (Paraphrasing.) The next five reasons are warnings! They aren’t good for crisis communications, you will have more than one brand inside your hospital that will cause issues, there isn’t one solution for database SMS management, you will send redundant messages in efforts to reach everyone… I am NOT seeing the benefit here!

One of the essential things missing from this list is cost. Don’t forget that the price to replace a smartphone is much higher than to replace a pager. You get 100 new residents every year, and sure enough a dozen of them will drop their pagers in the toilet.

There are plenty of success stories with smartphones in hospitals, but they seem to focus on the iPhone.

So do I support smartphone adoption? Well, I sort of have to. But with all new system adoptions, a lot of planning has to go into it first, and just like the white paper says, the only benefit so far will be that we jumped on the bandwagon, but like everyone else, we will be sending pages/texts using a variety of systems, hitting the same users. What’s a better solution? How have these smartphone companies not come up with a better system for us, ie one shared database where we can send messages from one system and hit only the users we need? Sounds like a money maker!

TGIF! I’m crabby today…

Presentation help needed! by Valerie Hoven
May 28, 2010, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, HIT, tech

So my last post was my far my most popular post ever, and I wanted to follow up with something super cool (ie my presentation from AAMC), but I don’t have the proper chord to upload the audio.

Anyway, in my job, I can spend one day entirely on intranet and one on IT comms. It might be because I’m so talented that my role expands across all practices at the hospital because all departments need me. Or it’s because I’m young and the lowest on the totem pole here, so I get the “scraps” of jobs. 🙂 Either way, it’s working out. But it means that sometimes my blog is all over the place! Hence the Gen Y name. Like the typical 20-something, both me and my job cannot be defined with a title.

While we’re still working on relaunching our intranet, I’ve been knees deep in IT communications. I was put on a new project that is so huge that I can’t even wrap my head around it. The project is really an “idea” of sorts on how to improve the patient experience through better processes and more efficient IT programs. Sounds right up my alley! Except my role is to explain that in a graphic. In my research I was introduced to Prezi. Anyone used this? I like it, but if it goes for too long I get dizzy. I want an easy program where I can do some animations of sorts. Suggestions?