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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Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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