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Tag Archives: Care

Congress seeks solutions for fraud in home care for seniors, disabled

A House subcommittee heard from officials from the GAO, HHS’ Office of Inspector General and the CMS on how to combat home healthcare fraud.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

17 trends that affect health care

America spends $ 3.8 trillion on health care. Do you know what’s driving and shaping the significant changes we can expect in the industry this year?

Legacy-DNA, a health care marketing agency, has created an infographic featuring 17 trends that health care communicators should pay attention to. For example:

  • The progress of virtual health: Video consultations will reach 5.4 million by 2020.

  • The explosion of 3D printing: Researchers and surgeons experiment with prosthetics and small implants.

  • The growing attention of consumers: By 2018, people are expected to spend $ 6.5 billion on fitness and wellness.

How will you connect your PR, marketing and branding initiatives with these trends? Take a look at the infographic to see 14 other trends unfolding this year:

(View a larger image)


(Image via)

This article was first published in March 2016.

Live updates: Will anyone care about the Chargers in L.A.?

Live updates: Will anyone care about the Chargers in L.A.? Jan. 12, 2017, 1:04 p.m. The Chargers are leaving San Diego for Los Angeles, owner Dean Spanos announced in a letter posted on the team’s website. Jan. 12, 2017, 1:00 p.m. StubHub Center: It’s the Galaxy’s world, Chargers will just play… – Los Angeles Times

How to distill complex health care stories

Medical mumbo jumbo has no place in today’s consumer-based marketing practices.

Confused patients, family members and people in your community won’t stick around and try to decipher your message.

As communicators, we must translate highly complex verbiage into clear, concise, compelling—and jargon-free—words and images. Within the process, we often forget the “V” word: value.

Progressive marketing and PR pros are focusing on value when creating videos, blog posts, events and more.

[WHITE PAPER: How to communicate with a millennial workforce.]

Pharma first

At Bristol-Myers Squibb, one challenge for communicators is to help doctors understand new treatment options, such as immuno-oncology cancer regimens. When pharma can educate providers, they in turn can handily share information with patients. Invoking complex science to “show and tell” alternatives to the “long-accepted method of treating cancer with radiation and chemotherapy” is no easy task. Medical Marketing and Media reports:

“We spent a lot of time thinking about how people who aren’t from the pharma industry can relate to and understand how immuno-oncology works,” explains Carrie Fernandez, head of U.S. communications for Bristol-Myers Squibb. “For example, on our I-O discovery website, there’s a graphic comparing a garden to immuno-oncology. We’re trying to break it down in a way that people can get the a-ha moment in their head without having to understand a Kaplan–Meier curve.”

Fernandez notes Bristol-Myers Squibb is working with advocacy organizations including Stand Up to Cancer to reach and educate patients. Those partnerships go along with the digital campaign, Ready. Raise. Rise.

New drugs, such as immunotherapy and hepatitis-C treatments, are often criticized for being wildly expensive. However, Spectrum Science Communications president Jonathan Wilson says companies need to remind patients of the value first. “A drug may cost a lot of money in the short term, but you have to think about the value these medicines bring over a lifetime,” he explains.

Though Mylan and other drugmakers have recently come under fire for price gouging, a growing number of pharma companies continue to break down their wordsmithing and images and ramp up value propositions. According to

Astellas’ corporate campaign is one of several in the industry currently that highlight the good work pharma companies do. Using employees is a tried-and-true approach for pharma companies to humanize what they do and create empathy. Pfizer’s current corporate effort, for instance, shows its scientists and others taking a drug from just an idea all the way through to a patient’s medicine cabinet. And Merck’s online and social campaign “Humans for Health” is a deep dive into its employees’ passions around their work.

The new 30-second commercial, part of Astellas’ ongoing run with CNN, shows Astellas scientists and others at work and play, talking about their focus to work together to improve people’s lives. It ends with the line, “Turning innovative science into value for patients.”


The post continues:

While that line has been part of Astellas’ vision for years, according to an Astellas spokesperson, it’s new wording for the corporate CNN campaign. Last year, the commercial featured Astellas’ CEO and also its chief medical officer in a longer one-minute ad that focused on innovation and the company’s responsibility to its patients.

The idea of patient value jives with current medical, political and cultural healthcare conversations in which value is a key theme. That’s in part because of the anticipated move to more outcomes-based healthcare where value is a core measurement. However, patient value has also gained traction, particularly in pharma, thanks to ongoing drug pricing criticism. Incorporating value into the pricing equation has become strategic.

Consider how communicators at Seattle Children’s Hospital have used video to explain the complex and emotionally charged issue of pediatric bioethics. The hospital explains the purpose of the four-minute clip on its YouTube channel:

This video describes the work of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics and its impact on patients, families and providers who are dealing with challenging ethical questions. 

(Image via)

Digital connections are essential to patient care

Digital patient-provider connections are a must for value-based care. Still, a significant amount of health data collected by physicians is collecting cyber-dust somewhere on a network.

A post from says communicators and hospitals must efficiently form meaningful relationships with patients. The result? Value-based health care.

This infographic says:

· Some 30 percent of patients who emailed their clinicians called and visited physician offices less frequently.

· More than 80 percent of patients forget what they have heard in the doctor’s office.

· Digital patient education improves patient experience and cost of care for hospitals, staff and consumers.

Take a look:

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(Image via)

University Hospitals will provide joint replacement care to GE health plan members

General Electric has selected University Hospitals, Cleveland, to provide joint replacement surgery to eligible out-of-state health plan members.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Mayo Clinic Care Network partners with Indiana health system

Beacon Health System is the first Indiana health system to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Would body cameras on doctors improve health care?

Picture this: A physician is accused of inappropriately touching a patient during an exam. Authorities immediately access video taken from the clinician’s body camera to determine what transpired in the examining room.

If body cameras are effective in policing and racial profiling, can health care benefit from the technology as well?

Steven Strauss, a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, raised the issue in an op-ed published in Monday’s Los Angeles Times.

Leaving aside patient outcomes, there are also highly credible accusations that medical staff have groped and sexually abused sedated patients . Body cameras on doctors and nurses might well prevent such incidents, or provide evidence if they did occur.

Doctors_Bodycams_Facebook reported that the video cameras could also address claims of inferior medical treatment for minorities:

In general, African Americans and other people of color receive inferior medical treatment, leading to higher death rates. David Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard, who has researched this issue, writes that blacks and other minorities receive fewer diagnostic tests, fewer treatments, and overall poorer-quality care — even after adjusting for variations in insurance, facilities, and seriousness of illness.

Physicians’ body language and minority patients

According to the Huffington Post, a recent study of body language as it relates to physician communication and patient care proves Williams’ point. Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study’s senior author, said her team analyzed audio and video recordings of doctors who interacted with black actors. The actors were asked to portray dying hospital patients. The providers knew they were involved in a study but didn’t know what the researchers were looking for, HuffPo reported. The result? African-American “patients” received less-compassionate care from real doctors than did their white counterparts.

Barnato said: “Although we found that physicians said the same things to their black and white patients, communication is not just the spoken word. It also involves nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, body positioning and touch.”

The Huffington Post goes on to say the research suggests the doctors in the study let their black “patients” down.

When interacting with whites—explaining their health condition and what the next steps might be—the doctors in the simulations tended to stand close to the bedside and were more likely to touch the person in a sympathetic way. With blacks, the doctors were more likely to remain standing at the door of the hospital room and to use their hands to hold a binder—a posture that could make them appear defensive or disengaged.

RELATED: Fine-tune your internal communications measurement and earn buy-in for your team.

Still photos and social media expose elderly abuse

Video cameras aren’t the only tool that can be used to improve patient care. Consider the repugnant activities of numerous staffers at nursing homes nationwide. Many have been convicted of breaking abuse and privacy laws when they posted photos on Snapchat and other photo-sharing platforms. The Chicago Tribune reported a few months ago:

The incidents illustrate the emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy and, at the same time, its powerful potential for capturing transgressions that previously might have gone unrecorded. Abusive treatment is not new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexually assaulting residents, sedating them with antipsychotic drugs and failing to change urine-soaked bedsheets. But the posting of explicit photos is a new type of mistreatment — one that sometimes leaves its own digital trail.

One facility, Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Washington modified its internal communication policies after an incident in 2014, according to the Tribune:

In a statement, PrestigeCare said it fired the employee, alerted authorities and instituted new, stricter cell phone and social media policies. “We take these situations very seriously and are thankful that our own internal procedures alerted us so promptly to the issue.”


Communicators, do your crisis plans include this aspect of social media policy and employee culture? Are you coaching providers on body language as it relates to patient care? Where do you stand on the introduction of body cameras in medical situations?

How health care communicators are handling Flint’s PR crisis

Flint, Michigan probably won’t experience a slow news day for some time.

The many media layers behind the mishandling of lead-contaminated public drinking water continue to evolve.

Here are four recent developments. Take a look at how health care and PR pros are working their respective angles.

1. Hacktivists. A spokesperson at Hurley Medical Center, where the story broke, confirmed Thursday that the publicly owned hospital had been the victim of a cyberattack. Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha is the whistleblower from Hurley who began looking into dangerous lead levels in Flint’s children some 18 months ago.

Spokeswoman Ilene Cantor released few details but said:

Hurley Medical Center has IT systems in place, which aid in detecting a virus or cyberattack. As such, all policies and protocols were followed in relation to the most-recent cyberattack on our system. Patient care was not compromised and we are closely monitoring all systems to ensure IT security is consistently maintained.

According to, the attack occurred one day after hacktivist group Anonymous released a four-minute video threatening action against those responsible for the crisis. The video calls for Snyder to be arrested on criminal charges. “We must remind the city officials of Flint we do not forget and we do not forgive,” the narrator said.

Dave Murray, Snyder’s press secretary said: “We are focused on helping the residents of Flint get the assistance they need.”

2. Visuals and children. TIME has featured the faces of Flint on its cover this week. News and PR professionals typically like to spotlight children in photos and videos, and TIME’s cover shot reveals the emotional impact of the faces of Flint’s most vulnerable population. The boy shown on TIME’s cover is a toddler whose face is covered in rashes. The child’s mother said the rashes are the result of contaminated bath water. She calls it his Kryptonite.


3. Community outreach. Health care communicators and schools are taking a lighter yet still serious approach to the lead contamination crisis. Several “Family Fun Nights” have been held in Flint, and more are scheduled. The community-type events feature face-painting, balloons and games, as well as blood tests to detect lead levels. Flint Community Schools District Nurse Eileen Tomasi said: “We don’t know what’s going to happen with this [testing] yet. Our goal as a district is to get parents information so that they can make the best decision for their children.”


[RELATED: Are you prepared for a crisis? Build a top-notch incident-response plan with this free download.]

4. Leadership crisis. The fallout continued this week with word Thursday that Susan Hedman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator overseeing Michigan, had resigned.

A statement from Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest director Henry Henderson read in part:

The EPA’s previous response to Flint was, frankly, part of the problem. This new, more urgent approach shows different thinking from the top, reflects an awareness that the situation in Flint is just unacceptable, and it points the Agency in the right direction. However, we remain very concerned that the people of Flint cannot simply rely on agencies that have to date utterly failed them.


Mobile health care marketing: Weighing risks and rewards

Hospitals have engaged fewer than 2 percent of patients with their mobile apps.

Still, new research from Accenture has found that 54 percent of patients would like to use their smartphones more to interact with health care providers.

How can communicators narrow this sizable gap?

Hospitals must address patient frustration with proprietary settings and poor functionality. “Mobile health app usage has grown rapidly over the past three years, but the response from health care providers has been woefully inadequate,” according to the study. It goes on to say that evolving consumer expectations and what’s being delivered are not in sync.

Consumers said they want health care apps to address the following three priorities. However, Accenture says only 11 percent of providers have proprietary apps that meet consumer needs:

  • Access to electronic medical records

  • Ability to book, change or cancel appointments

  • Option to refill prescriptions


As marketers and PR pros strive to improve digital interactions with patients and communities, consider this statistic from Accenture: Seven percent of consumers have switched health care providers due to substandard engagement. Similar to disgruntled customers who leave cable TV and cell phone service providers, this switching could translate to a loss of more than $ 100 million in annual revenue per hospital.

Smoke, mirrors and mobile

A post on said that although several marketers—including Web MD—have made a strong push for health care apps, doctors and providers must roll out a greater presence on mobile and SMS to connect with consumers.

Research from Kentico, an e-commerce and health care marketing company, found that 40 percent of respondents have experienced difficulty in navigating health care sites on their smartphones.

Jim Panagas, director of public relations at Kentico, said websites that aren’t optimized for mobile will deter repeat visitors.

“Establishing mobile-first options on health care sites should be a top priority for marketers. Possible features could include a chat box to speak to a live representative, filtering tools to sort through based on ailments and a user-friendly interface,” according to the post. 

[RELATED: Get advanced video training from Red Bull, one of the leading content creators on YouTube.]

One recommendation from Accenture is for providers to partner with tech companies such as ZocDoc for appointment scheduling or InstaMedGo for bill payments. Isn’t is easier—and more enjoyable—to market the overall patient experience strategy when it’s a positive one?

A disconnect between monitoring and marketing?

Fitbit has enjoyed an impressive marketing ride, but there are some bumps in the road. In California, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against the company over its heart rate monitoring.

Plaintiffs and other consumers claim that the “PurePulse trackers consistently misrecord heart rates by a very significant margin, particularly during exercise” and is inaccurate to a dangerous degree.

In a statement, the company said it will vigorously defend the suit, adding:

“Fitbit trackers are designed to provide meaningful data to our users to help them reach their health and fitness goals, and are not intended to be scientific or medical devices.”


The price of overpromising in health care

Though some organizations and providers may appear to be faltering on results delivered, the Federal Trade Commission is focused on potentially misleading language from marketers and advertisers.

Last week, the FTC slapped Lumosity, an online digital health company, with a $ 2 million fine toward consumer redress. Commissioner Julie Brill issued a statement that Lumosity had made false and unsubstantiated marketing claims that its “brain training” program would:

  • Delay age-related decline in memory

  • Protect other age-related cognitive conditions

  • Reduce cognitive impairments associated with various health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke


Brill had a stern warning for marketing professionals in health care: Don’t overstate the benefits of products or misleadingly imply that improvements in a game or app can transfer to real-world benefits. Brill said creating health and wellness apps that don’t have scientific evidence to back up marketing claims won’t be tolerated.