SHSMD17 – Day 3 – Upping the dose of perspective

Day 3 reaffirmed that SHSMD17 was all about giving attendees perspective. However, unlike Day 1 where opening keynote Ceci Connolly spoon fed the audience her insightful healthcare perspective, Day 3’s keynote speakers, Mick Ebeling and Amy Herman, inspired and taught the audience how gain a better perspective.

Lunchtime keynotes are always challenging – there is constant clinking of cutlery and people are often more focused on their meal than the speaker. It was a testament to Ebeling that his presentation was so riveting that there was almost complete silence. Right from the start, it was clear this would not be your “normal” keynote. Clad in jeans, t-shirt and baseball cap, Ebeling captured the audience’s attention with his amazing journey of success through impossible projects.

The journey started when Ebeling was the head of a film production studio in LA. A last minute decision to attend a gallery event led to learn of Tempt One, a talented street artist who had become bedridden with ALS. Tempt could only communicate by blinking his eyes when his family pointed to the right letter on a piece of paper. Appalled at how absurd it was that in this modern age, someone had to resort to using the alphabet printed on paper to communicate, Ebeling decided to help the family pay for a “Steven Hawking device” so that Tempt could “talk” to his family again. That alone was a noble gesture, but then Ebeling did something that would change his life, and the world – he made a commitment that he would find a way for Tempt to create art again.

With that, Ebeling set out to create a device that would allow Tempt to paint using nothing but his eyes. He gathered a bunch of smart people in his home and through grit and determination they hacked together what would eventually become the EyeWriter. They used off-the-shelf parts from Radio Shack and Home Depot along with the camera from a Sony Playstation. Armed with Ebeling’s device, Tempt.

The act of committing to solve a problem THEN figuring out how to actually solve it, became Ebeling’s mantra. He founded Not Impossible Labs and tackled the problem of children amputees in war-ravaged Sudan. Dubbed “Project Daniel”, Ebeling and his team used 3D printers and down-to-earth engineering to develop prosthetic limbs that could be produced by locals for less than $100 (compared with $15,000 for a typical prosthetic arm). Project Daniel won international acclaim.

Ebeling saved his most powerful story for last. After developing a set of wearable blue-tooth vibration generators to help deaf people experience music (a wrist unit might be the guitar, while the foot unit might be vocals and a chest unit drums), a member of the Not Impossible team thought the devices might help patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. You can watch this incredible story here.

Through his stories of triumph over the impossible, Ebeling changed the audience’s perspective on what’s possible. Suddenly healthcare’s problems didn’t seem all that daunting anymore.

Everything that is possible today was at one point in the past, impossible. Impossible is therefore only a temporary state of being.

Where Ebeling inspired the SHSMD17 audience to reconsider their perspectives, the SHSMD17 afternoon keynote, Herman, provided the audience with the tools necessary to actually change perspectives.

Herman, an art historian and attorney, became a sought-after lecturer after she began using art to hone the skills of Homicide Detectives in the New York City Police Department. The success of her class garnered national attention and she has since trained intelligence agencies, the FBI, elite military teams, first responders, local law enforcement and even ER/OR/Trauma teams in healthcare.

Using only pictures of art and artwork, Herman, took the SHSMD17 audience through a series of exercises designed to strip away people’s ingrained perception biases and experiential assumptions – referred to as “perception anchors”.

The first exercise was designed to highlight how much power our personal experiences exert on our perception. Herman asked audience members to pair up and had one person close their eyes. Using only words, the other person was shown a piece of art and asked to describe it to their partner. At the end of a minute the partner open their eyes to see how close their imagined image was to the actual piece.

After the chuckles died down, Herman revealed that in almost 90% of the time the describer fails to tell their partner the type of art they are describing – a painting vs a photo or sculpture. This critical piece of information seems obvious, yet in the heat of the moment this critical piece of information is often overlooked. Herman went further and said that in more than 50% of the time the describer skips over the common objects that are in the painting – the table, the fruit and strings of pearls around the woman’s neck.

Herman’s most powerful exercise – and the one most applicable to healthcare – involved a photograph of an elderly Asian woman holding a young Caucasian baby. When Herman showed this picture to non-healthcare classes, they used words like ‘nanny’, ‘baby’, ‘nephew’ and ‘neighbours’ to describe the photo, however, from her healthcare classes she often received diagnoses like “down syndrome”, “astigmagtism” and “thyroid condition”. The exercise clearly demonstrated how perception bias can have real life-and-death implications. If clinicians and nurses made these observational statements based only on a photo, then it is likely they do the same when walking into the exam room or their ER.

At the end of Herman’s keynote, I found myself wondering if it would be feasible to add her course as a Quality Measure.

Both Ebeling and Herman put an exclamation point on Day 3. Each delivered a keynote that upped the dosage of perspective that started with Day 1 presenter Ceci Connolly.

Together, Connolly, Ebeling and Herman truly changed my perspective on my personal challenges and the challenges facing healthcare.  They all seem smaller now.

SHSMD17 – Day 2 Recap – Keeping it Real

One sign of a good conference is that the day flies by. You wake up, grab a coffee and before you know it the bartender is letting everyone know it’s last call. That was pretty much my Day 2 experience at SHSMD17.

The day started early with a keynote session by futurist Daniel Burrus who spoke about basing strategic decisions on “hard truths” vs soft opinions. According to Burrus a hard truth is a future fact – something that is almost certain to come true. He offered several examples including: more data will move to the cloud, the number of goods purchased online will continue to grow and tasks performed by drones will grow in sophistication.

Burrus provided a fantastic summary slide of his hard truths:

I am convinced Burrus wrote his keynote specifically with Twitter in mind. He delivered his presentation in bite-sized 140 character-long quips which made it easy for live-tweeters to craft their messages. Here are just two examples:

The remainder of SHSMD Day 2 was filled with concurrent sessions separated by breaks in the exhibit hall. Three sessions stood out for me.

Mark Jones, President and Michael Chetham MD, Chief Surgical Quality Officer at Orlando Regional Medical Center presented a raw and unvarnished behind-the-scenes look at how their organization responded to the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in 2016. Both presenters repeatedly spoke about how they relied on the strength of pre-established working relationships with staff, vendors, law enforcement and local city officials to get through the situation. Those relationships were sources of energy and support.

Mark Head, VP of External Affairs at South Nassau Communities Hospital and Bill Wax, President at Wax Custom Communications showed how advanced analytics and predictive marketing helped them improve the utilization (and recognition) of their facility by local residents. They presented a fascinating mashup of patient data, demographic information, spending tendencies and geo-spatial data (from ESRI) that allowed them to better focus their marketing dollars and outreach efforts:

Dan Dunlop (President at Jennings), Julie Henry (VP of Communications at North Carolina Hospital Association) and Vanessa Stafford (Director of Communications and Member Services at New Hampshire Hospital Association) presented a very interesting set of case studies on how they used a combination of social media, dedicated microsites and infographics to engage patients. The latter generated what I consider to be the best quote of the conference so far (from Dan Dunlop):

For me, all the presentations on Day 2 kept things real. Nothing was pie-in-the-sky, everyone presented material that was down-to-earth, immediately implementable and realistic.

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There was no better way to end the day than gathering with friends from the #HITMC #hcldr and #HITsm communities. Turn-out was fantastic. Shout-out to our sponsors @dot_health, represented by @SidoniaRose and @HealthTechJen. Everyone had a great time.

Special mention and thank you to @paul_griffiths for graciously inviting the #HITMC group to join the MedTouch and Acquia dinner event. Your hospitality was amazing and all of us appreciated the yummy pizza!

If you are at #SHSMD17 tomorrow (Tuesday) or are in the Orlando area, we would love to have you join us at the Universal City Walk for #hcldr chat at 8:30pm ET. @dandunlop and I will be live-chatting from a restaurant. We will tweet out the restaurant location once we determine where the SHSMD evening is being held. Hope to see you!

SHSMD17 – Day 1 Recap – Time to Think Differently

Although not an official theme for the 2017 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD17), it was difficult not to characterize Day 1 of the event as one in which attendees were encouraged to “think differently” about healthcare and healthcare marketing.

Right from the start, SHSMD17 organizers challenged the norm by holding a cocktail reception BEFORE the opening session. This unconventional approach was utterly brilliant given what they had in store for attendees in the the conference kick-off.

To get things started, local a cappella group, reVoiced, serenaded the audience with an amazing rendition of the National Anthem. They quickly followed with an impressive vocal performance that was reminiscent of an opening number from ‘Glee’. It was a pleasant departure from standard conference fare.

Opening keynote speaker, Ceci Connolly, President and CEO at the Alliance of Community Health Plans, later took the stage and gave a thought-provoking 60 minute presentation that challenged preconceived notions of healthcare’s biggest challenges. From high-deductible plans to rising drug prices to payer consolidation, Connolly repeatedly offered new perspectives and ways to re-frame issues. She ended by asking the audience to “think differently about healthcare” and suggest we take the lessons learned from seat belt safety initiatives and apply them to healthcare.

Following the keynote, attendees were treated to yet another reception, this time in the SHSMD17 exhibit hall.  A quick tour of the hall yielded a pleasant surprise – mixed in with the usual booths from marketing agencies and consulting service companies, were several technology vendors. Unlike prior years, there were a number of marketing automation providers, content management platforms and patient analytic engines.

Also noticeable was the diversity in booth messaging. There were pop-up banners everywhere extolling the benefits of expanding beyond healthcare marketing’s traditional roots. You could almost see the words “marketing as a strategic partner” floating above the LED-powered booth halos.

For me the clearest evidence of “thinking different” came in the form of a simple SHSMD17 sign – one that I felt elegantly demonstrated that healthcare marketers are approaching things from the right perspective – that of consumers and patients. It also showed that marketers have a sense of humor.

 

3 Things To Look Forward To At #SHSMD17

This week I will be heading to the AHA’s Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development annual conference (#SHSMD17) being held in Orlando September 24-27.

SHSMD is targeted at PR, communication and marketing professionals that work on the provider side of healthcare. About half of the attendees are from hospitals and large health systems. The balance are from agencies, marketing service providers and MarTech companies. In 2016, there were over 1,800 attendees along with 140 exhibitors.

As a marketer from the vendor side of healthcare, SHSMD gives me a unique opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like for marketers inside hospitals. The terminology is the same: acquisition, impressions, conversions, and content, but the context is completely different. Most of us in the HITMC community are ultimately measured in terms of revenues and deals won. At SHSMD the measures of success are patient volume, appointment density and HCAHPS scores.

This will be my third time attending SHSMD and I’m really looking forward to it. I will be live-tweeting the event using the hashtag #SHSMD17 and blogging daily about the latest news from the conference. NOTE: If you use any sort of Twitter utility like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, I would strongly suggest adding “-booth” to your search parameters to filter out the numerous booth cattle-call tweets…which is really ironic if you think about it.

Here are the top 3 things I’m looking forward to at this year’s event:

  1. Ed Bennett @EdBennett and Cynthia Floyd Manley @CynthiaManley session Improve Patient Satisfaction with Hospital-Sponsored Online Support Groups – Monday September 25th at 11:30am. I met Ed many years ago at a #hcsmca meetup in Toronto organized by my good friend Colleen Young. Ed gave a talk about the challenge of proving the value of social media to hospitalists. His insights were spot-on and I’ve been following him ever since. Similarly I have heard Cynthia speak about her experiences at @VUMCHealth and came away with new appreciation of how hard it is to get content approved for marketing purposes inside a hospital.
  2. SHSMD Exhibit Hall. The SHSMD exhibit hall is fascinating. There is no better way to get a sense of what will be trending next year than to see what the agency vendors are displaying in their booths. In 2015 a lot of signage was centered around patient acquisition. In 2016 it was physician referral directories and matching patients to physicians within the network. As well, there is nothing more fun than to watch vendors try to attract the attention of fellow marketers. Let’s be honest, marketers are jaded when it comes to exhibit halls. We’ve all been there and done that. SHSMD exhibitors, therefore, have to work doubly hard to be noticed. If you watch carefully you can pick up useful ideas that you can use to improve your own booth experience.
  3. Connecting with great people. To me there is nothing better than connecting with people at conferences. I love catching up with old friends (like @DanDunlop and @kate_gillmer from Jennings Healthcare Marketing as well as @SarahBennight from Stericycle Communication Solutions) and trading exploits from the past year. I also enjoy meeting people in-person who I have gotten to know online. However, my favorite is meeting new people and learning their personal stories – especially how they landed in healthcare marketing.

With regard to #3, if you are heading to SHSMD or know someone who is, please let them know about the #HITMC, #HITsm and #hcldr meetup happening on Monday evening 5:30 – 6:30pm at the High Velocity Sports Bar in the conference hotel. The meetup is being sponsored by our good friends at dotHealth. We’ve set up an Eventbrite registration for the meetup – so we can get the right number of tables. It should be a fun event!

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We're glad you found the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community (or as we affectionately call it...HITMC). This blog is a place for healthcare IT marketing and PR professionals to come together and share their insights, skills, expertise with other people trying to make healthcare better through the use of technology. This blog grew out of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference which is held annually. We look forward to connecting and learning from you. Please feel free to reach out to us on our contact us page if you have any questions.

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