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Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

Preserving History with the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame

January 26th, 2012 No comments

Last week, I was on site at a client’s, conducting the final meeting of a planning engagement. As we discussed the next course of action, I began thinking about the dramatic increase in healthcare organizations’ Web needs over the past five years since I have been part of the Greystone team. I was reminded of just how far the industry has come in the sixteen years since the founders of Greystone.Net first predicted that the organization’s Web site would grow larger than a mere “marketing tool” to become an industry-wide tool for hospitals and healthcare organizations.

So much has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen in the hospital Web industry and it is important that we begin to preserve where the industry has been, not only as a reminder but as an inspiration for future endeavors. Just as it is important to preserve history in other areas and industries, Greystone saw the need to help preserve a record of the innovators, providers, and organizations in our industry. Thus, the inaugural class of the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame honorees were inducted at the 15th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

Although initially organized by Greystone.Net, in the future, the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame will be an independent organization, whose annual inductees will be selected by an independent Board of Judges. Next Wednesday, February 1, 2012, the official period in which candidates for the Class of 2012 Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame can be nominated begins. We encourage you to go online and submit a candidate for this year’s honorees. Candidates can be submitted in the following three categories: Innovative Individuals, Innovative Provider Organizations, and Innovative Products and Services. For the rules and regulations, please visit www.hihof.com. All nominations must be submitted by June 1, 2012 by means of the online nomination form.

Honorees for the Class of 2012 will be announced at the 16th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference, which will take place November 12–14, 2012, at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. Please assist us in preserving our industry’s history by volunteering to be on the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame judging panel or by submitting a qualified candidate for the Class of 2012.

Mobile, Strategy and Cars – Oh My!

The North America International Auto Show kicked off in Detroit this week with industry and press events, opening to the public this weekend. You might be wondering with that has to do with healthcare, mobile or strategy. Well – there’s a lot to learn from an event like this. It’s a venue for the auto manufacturers to showcase their products and concepts. With thousands of people attending, it’s one big marketing event. A large majority of the world’s auto manufacturers are there, side by side creating a great comparison shopping opportunity for consumers. This is interesting to consider – what would you do if your hospital were in that type of venue? How would you differentiate your hospital from your competition?

In many ways the auto show is a design extravaganza – both from the vehicles exhibited as well as the exhibits themselves. Each manufacturer has its own unique design style and brand representation, just as hospitals do. While you may not find yourself competing for consumers in a venue such as this, you do present a very public way to comparison shop – your Web site. Now, imagine if, like at the auto show, your Web site was on display, side by side with your competition. How do they compare? Does your site look and function a lot like theirs or are you differentiating? How? With the start of the New Year now is a good time to think about how you achieve some differentiation for your organization through site design and web strategies. For a fresh perspective and possibly some inspiration, take a look at other sites. To start, check out the 2011 Greystone.Net Best in Class Award winners. If you’re interested in specific guidance, look into having an in-depth site assessment conducted.

Speaking of getting inspiration, consider this – an American auto manufacturer is researching how to use mHealth in their vehicles. As reported in MobiHealthNews, Ford is actively researching how to do in-car health monitoring. Now that’s really making mHealth mobile! It also may result in an innovative and unique use of a vehicle. If an auto manufacturer is pursuing this research, mobile is definitely a part of their strategy to attract and engage consumers. The key takeaway here is this – develop a plan to engage your consumers on the mobile platform in a unique, innovative and useful way. The first step is a mobile strategy that effectively aligns your organization’s strategy with mobile tactics. Be sure to consider things like Ford is seeking to do. With their research they’re looking for ways to embed mHealth usefully for consumers in their product. While a hospital’s product isn’t a vehicle, the end consumers are the same and have a key device – the smartphone. As you’re developing your plans, be sure the mobile web site is included. Move further down the path and consider what other useful applications you can implement to put your hospital in the consumers pocket. Think about conversions and transactions; think about what your target audience could use their smartphone to do with your organization. Schedule an appointment? Contact your non-emergency / after-hours clinic? Find their way to you? You need not develop the mobile site or app yourself, partner for solutions to implement your plan.

If you haven’t guessed already; I do like cars, for reasons similar to why I like the Web and mobile – technology, innovation, design and functionality. And now, I’m off to prepare for doing some comparison shopping!

Are QR Codes relevant for YOUR mobile strategy?

October 5th, 2011 No comments

The conversation continues about QR codes. According to Mobio™, QR barcode scanning in North America grew 1200% in the last half of last year. Quick response codes already make sense with consumer products for purchase information, competitive pricing information, coupons or discounts, but how are they relevant for healthcare? Relevance is the key question about how QR codes can work with your healthcare marketing strategy. Are you just adding QR codes because it’s a hot ticket right now, or do you actually provide a value added to your current or prospective patients?

Does that value added apply to your target market? Does your target patient even use smart phones? Do they even know what a code-reader is, let alone have it on their phone? Your mobile communication strategies need to be relevant to your customers in order to improve the experiences of your customers.

These are important points to think through before you jump in this still emerging communication strategy. Practical application is key! QR codes could be used to direct patients to virtual tours of your facility such as maternity tours, campus maps, increase Facebook likes, increase blog subscribers, downloads free vod/pod casts on a particular service. Whatever the use, it is important to remember the relevance they bring to the organization’s strategic purpose.

Also, remember to have your QR codes link to a mobile-friendly Web site. What’s the purpose of implementing QR codes into your mobile strategy if there’s no mobile-friendly Web site for the user to connect to from their mobile-friendly device? Finally, always remember to test, test, test! You need to ensure the QR code will work on multiple wireless devices before the campaign goes live by testing multiple readers and mobile-friendly devices.

It’s a fast-paced market out there…not only staying ahead of innovation, but also integrating creative solutions into a mobile strategy that works. Make sure you’re thinking through all the points to your strategy.

Born in 1992

October 11th, 2010 No comments

This Fall, the entering college class will graduate in 2014 (those born primarily in 1992) and I worry we won’t be ready for them as healthcare marketers and Web strategists unless we start right now. Is your organization ready? Does your organization have a strategy to get ready?

Most of these new college students are part of the post-email generation – those who grew up in a digital world and who think technology is just too slow. According to the Beloit College Mindset List, the class of 2014:

• has never seen John McEnroe play professional tennis
• has never known a time when Korean cars weren’t on American roads
• know Fergie as a pop singer, not a princess
• has only heard Nirvana on the “oldies” radio stations
• has never known the Supreme Court without Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Their reality and their experience base are so different than ours. As we develop increasingly more sophisticated Web sites, should we really be concentrating on mobile strategies and apps? Five years ago, YouTube had just launched, yet today, Americans watch 31b videos on YouTube each month. What is the next YouTube and how do we prepare for it? Many of our organizations still block employees’ use of social media Web sites. How will we communicate with the latest generations if we don’t even let our employees access the very tools that the new generations rely upon every day? That policy is wildly dangerous from a long-term perspective. And for those health systems putting-off the development of patient portals that encourage patients to conduct business with them electronically, time is running out. Soon your organizations will be effectively obsolete to many in the coming generations. They won’t have time for hospitals and health systems who can’t  leverage today’s standard tools.

Fall is a great time for reflection. So this Fall, each of us should look at our broader Web strategy – not just our Web sites – and pledge to get ready for generations of future patients, physicians, volunteers, employees and donors — those who most likely won’t be routinely visiting our Web sites or reading emails from us, but will still want to communicate in new and undefined ways. There is a great future out there for our taking. Kind of makes you wish you were born in 1992.

Health Content – Is It Filler or Is It Fundamental to Your Web Strategy?

May 12th, 2010 No comments

Health content is essential to the success of a hospital’s Web site. If a patient or user is searching for information on a particular diagnosis or treatment but are unable to find relevant information on your Web site, they will not only visit another site, but their experience may also leave a lasting negative impression of your organization. As a user, if I could not find relevant, in-depth information about bone cancer on a Web site, for example, I would assume that the hospital does not have the necessary services to treat me, or that it is simply not a very sophisticated hospital. Most purchase this type of content from a health information vendor and some even create their own content. Regardless of how it is obtained, the key is to provide some type of health content on the Web site; which can be evaluated using the following questions as a guideline:

Is the content:

  • Customizable to include hospital specific information? Are the health pages hospital-branded?
  • Flexible to be integrated with other relevant content such as doctors, classes and events, services, etc.?

Are interactive health tools available?

  • Quizzes and calculators
  • Drug database
  • Risk assessments

So yes, clearly health content is important and at a minimum, these points should be incorporated when including health content on your Web site in order to meet user expectations.

Who exactly is interested in health content and what are their behaviors? Research indicates that most users who search infrequently want to see moderate depth on a health topic. These “infrequent users” search online once or twice a month. This may include information on symptoms, complications, or diagnoses.

Some users generate searches more frequently and have a higher adoption of online health activities that are related to daily healthcare. These are the users who are more interested in up-to-date health news, tracking vital signs, etc.; they tend to put more emphasis on trustworthiness than do average health users. Additionally, they tend to visit more sites and want to read as much as possible on their topic of choice.

Forrester research indicates:

  • Seventeen percent of online occasional health users have one or more chronic conditions; fifty three percent are in good health
  •  Twenty-three percent of online frequent health users have one or more chronic conditions; forty-three percent are in good health.
  •  Thirty-four percent of online power health users have one or more chronic conditions; forty-two percent are in good health.

Interestingly, loyalty to health Web sites is relatively low; only nineteen percent of health users admit to consistently using the Internet for health information. In addition, according to Forrester research in 2007, health insurance Web sites and over-the-counter drug sites were more commonly accessed than hospital Web sites! This however, should be considered an opportunity to become the Web site of choice in your region by implementing a strategic plan that includes a targeted campaign providing unique information to each audience mentioned above. Also keep in mind that because of the lack of loyalty, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to attracting these users.

Key takeaways to consider when creating your health content strategy:

  • Health content is important to all health-related audiences, from the occasional user to the power user.
  • Unless you are a power health user, loyalty to a specific Web site is low when searching for health content.
  • The less healthy you are, the more likely you will search for health information and will be interested in up-to-date health news, tracking vital signs, etc.
  • The less healthy you are, the more likely it is that you will want detailed information on the topic of interest.
  • Implementing a well-thought SEO strategy is essential in attracting health users to your Web site.

Take this opportunity to add targeted health content if you have not done so already, or develop a strategy that will draw users to your site and will be compelling enough to keep them coming back.