A "HealthTweep" Pulse Check

Exploring transformational potential of social media

Posts Tagged ‘health

HealthCamp San Diego 2011

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Hot of the press! HealthCamp San Diego will be held in conjunction with the Health 2.0 Spring Fling on March 20th, 2011. Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and the Rady School of Management.

For details, click here.

 

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Who Should Manage Your Social Media Strategy [Accepted for publication in The Physician Executive]

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By Kent Bottles, M.D., aka @kentbottles and Tom Sherlock aka @coloradohealth

Hospital and medical group leaders are facing the most challenging healthcare environment in recent memory. The need to decrease per-capita cost and increase quality to respond to federal healthcare reform and the global economy is a daunting task that requires two-way communication with a broad range of stakeholders. As reform unfolds, hospitals and medical groups of all sizes are embracing social media tools as soon as they realize that they’re no longer optional.

At least since the first quarter of 2010, analysts have been reporting that websites and search engines no longer dominate online communication.[i] Deloitte’s Social Networks in Health Care [ii] recently concluded that healthcare executives:

“who do not consider how to incorporate social networks into their future strategies risk being run over on the super-highway of health information sharing.”

Your social media strategy will work more smoothly when no one department has control, because it’s likely that before long employees in many of your departments will be using social media to do their jobs. It’s time for your Internet strategy to be managed by a qualified person — definitely one of your best-and-brightest — who reports directly to senior management and works with all department heads as an equal colleague.[iii]

You no longer have the opportunity to be an early adopter, but you can give yourself a big advantage by having people in every department who’ve been trained how to use social media intelligently, and who follow the lead of your social media manager. It’s essential that you understand that each of these tools is designed to nurture personal relationships and thereby strengthen loyalty to your institution:

  • We use Twitter as our principal example because it’s a more important business tool for hospitals and medical groups than Facebook.
  • If your organization isn’t already on Facebook, you should wait until you have a specific strategic reason for using it.
  • Blogs can be particularly effective business tools if they let readers get to know and understand the blogger. Paul Levy’s “Running a Hospital” blog[iv] has shown how a CEO blog can be a powerful communication and branding tool.
  • Many of your people should be listed on LinkedIn. Each person’s profile will be unique, but a certain amount of coordination is necessary to make sure your institution is identified accurately and consistently, for example.
  • Your YouTube channel can present videos that let people get to know some of your key physicians and nurses, for example. Your social media manager can see to it that the content, style, and production values of your videos will send the right message about your organization.

You might conclude that you need to hire someone new to manage your website and your social media strategy. But don’t rush into a decision to bring in someone new to be your social media manager just because they have experience with these tools. It would be far better to find someone who is already thoroughly familiar with and personally committed to your institution.[v]

Note right away that social media is not something you use for advertising or marketing, and that it doesn’t duplicate or replace any of the functions of your website. When you reduce it to its fundamentals, social media strategy isn’t complicated. It’s social. It’s about establishing and nurturing authentic relationships in ways that will build loyalty to your institution. Your social media manager will:
Listen to what’s being said about you anywhere on the Internet, with special attention to your own social media channels.Respond by engaging those who are talking to or about your organization.Establish relationships by showing people respect, honesty, and enthusiasm, and then nurture those relationships by authentic personal interaction. Your social media manager will…..   (Read complete blog post, here).

To listen to Kent’s sage yet witty podcast, ‘Muddling Through The Week In Healthcare’, click here or on the BlogTalkRadio image.

Kent Bottles, M.D., is a former medical school professor, president and ceo, chief medical officer, and chief knowledge officer who is now an independent health care consultant, keynote speaker, and writer. kentbottles@gmail.com and http://twitter.com/KentBottles

Tom Sherlock is an Internet strategist, Website producer, and content developer who has worked with businesses and healthcare professionals since 1994. tom@aicolorado.com and http://twitter.com/ColoradoHealth

MIA? Not Really…

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There is much happening in the whirlwind of health reform, and the granular transformation enabled by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The theater in Washington notwithstanding and well as the growing storm of legal challenges to the insurance mandate leave much of the implementation path somewhat clouded.

Yet the ‘roll up your sleeves and make a difference’ crowd rather than whine and obstruct, are rather busy and focused on the granular transformational opportunites written into PPACA.

You will find some of the more interesting posts and updates from the proactive players at ACO Watch, and well as it’s sister podcast via ACO Watch: A Mid-Week Revew.

Three recent posts are well worth singling out, they include:

Jaan Didorov, MD, and publisher of the Disease Management Blog, on ‘No Faux ACO’s Here!’ A play witty on CMS Administrator Don Berwick’s earlier industry admonition, as well as ‘How To Get Independent Physicians Into an Accountable Care Organization‘, offers select insights and commentary of a mature IDN, absent the staff (or employed group)  model DNA typically associated with Mayo, and Kaiser Permanente ACO strains, but more of a private/voluntary medical staff model culture, over at Advocate Health Partners.

Also, check out ACOs and the Shared Savings Program; Some Common Misconceptions, by Reed Tinsley, CPA.

We welcome your comments and engagement!

Launch of ‘ACO Watch’

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Welcome to ‘ACO Watch‘. With the first official ACO to be so anointed shortly by the regulatory apparatus in Washington, DC and/or Baltimore, we thought there might be a place to monitor, track, educate, inform and perhaps even entertain as we witness the ramp-up for the ACO indusry – staggered as it may be.

Opening post is pasted below:

Welcome to ‘ACO Watch’ – keeping a pulse on the race!

October 5th, 2010 § 1 Comment

With the March passage of the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the ‘follow the money’ floodgates are once again opening for hospitals, physicians, integrated delivery systems, health plans, and consultants. This time, instead of migrating ‘HMO lite’ (neither staff nor group model) platforms into mainstream medicine via IPAs, we’re now talking about their ‘new and improved’ successors broadly cast as ‘Accountable Care Organizations aka ‘ACOs’.

Some call it ‘managed care 2.0′, while the more cynical among us envision it as the full employment act for consultants, and health care lawyers, shopping a not ready for prime time, if not fundamentally flawed ‘business model’.

Given the high level of interest in these ostensible quality promoting, while cost restraining entities, the staggered implementation timeline in general, the ACO January 1, 2012 fuse in particular, and the broad brush framework intentionally reflected in PPACA, we thought it a good idea to keep a pulse on the ramp up to the highly anticipated ‘go live’ date.

We welcome your interest and contributions to this conversation.

Please check out ACO Watch or updates, guest posts, news, conferences and webinars that may be useful to you!

Written by 2healthguru

October 8, 2010 at 4:31 PM

A Strategic Medical Group Algorithm To Assess ‘Social Media Readiness’

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So what is social media really all about in terms of its relevance and application to medical groups, whether single or multi-specialty? Is it really about a better way to push an often boring, ‘look what I/we can do’ PR messaging? Or is it a genuine offer of a transformational opportunity to re-engineer health care operations and practices in service of quality, access, cost transparency and patient engagement? I say one way to get closer to an answer is to walk through this initial set of questioning recently developed for a client.

ACO Medical Group (ACOMG) Strategic Questions

Is there a perceived need among the partners for a formal planned marketing and communications function at the Group level? Yes/No?

If no, end of conversation and on to the ‘next prospect’.

If yes,

Is the web viewed as a material source (actual or potential) for patient acquisition, business development, and connectivity with key ACOMG constituents? Yes/no?

If no, end.

If yes, should ACOMG invest in a coordinated and comprehensive ‘web presence’ that builds, positions and maintains real-time, interactive capabilities via a coordinated yet distributed set of both ‘push’ and digital interactive properties.

If no, end.

If yes, is ACOMG presently enabled to perform as a content development, publishing and management company that feeds and curates these content, keyword, market and niche rich community management properties?

If yes, end.

If no, are these core skill sets presently domiciled at ACOMG staff (whether via professional or administrative staff, consultants, etc.)?

If yes, end.

If no, how will ACOMG acquire, develop or otherwise embed the needed skill sets and core competencies?

Build, buy or do nothing?

If build, or buy is there a budget benchmarked to a formal marketing and communications program consistent with published management company guidelines as a percent of revenue or expenses? If yes, game on. If no, end of conversation or need for additional education (good luck!).

And while you consider this ‘social media readiness assessment’ do bear in mind that the world continues to spin and has minimally surfaced the following things to consider:

Additional strategic considerations to throw into the mix as market conditions and environmental context:

On the future of community medicine in general, or your version of community medicine via your specific specialty:

1. What alliances and/or networking arrangements should your group be considering?

2. What vehicles (legal entities or other forms of organizations) should your group be considering, e.g., single specialty IPA, or ‘super IPA’ (re-purposed specialty GPO), MSO, super MSO, associating with a 3rd party PPMC (i.e., US Oncology), linking with an hospital system (which one, might there be more, or even a multi-hospital vehicle to be created?)

3. What formal strategic positioning thought is underway given the relatively short horizon for ACO participation? Have you evaluated the range and wisdom of various participation options, i.e., as single sites; as an integrated group; with hospital participation or not ( a very key question)?

Basically [medical group leadership], do you have previous experience in dealing with these strategic issues (many of which seem to be re-cycling prior themes albeit with ‘new and improved’ acronyms)? Is there ‘institutional memory’ from the HMO, IPA, MSO, or PHO days? Is the ‘wisdom’ of the senior members of the group being shared with the younger generation, who carry the longitudinal stake in the practice’s sustainability? Or is the default position just to do nothing and see what happens?

Bottom line is it’s all about choice… and there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ here, only informed/uninformed choices and consequences; and inaction, denial or minimization is a firm choice, no doubt with inevitable consequences! Cheers!

Direct Provider Access Networks: DIY Healthcare Reform Now! – A SxSW Panel Picker Entry

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Thanks to the initiative of Alex B. Fair, founder, CEO and chief evangelista of FairCareMD, the priceline for matching doctors to patients ‘one deal at a time’; an impressive roster of healthcare innovators have teamed up to carry the message on alternative forms of healthcare delivery and finance at SxSW 2011.

The program description reads:

Doctors, Employers, and most Americans are unclear on how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will work for them but a few million of us are not waiting to find out. With over 100 million Americans paying directly for a large portion of their care themselves, the need for a better way to Go Direct for care has never been greater.


In the past year over 2 million Americans and thousands of doctors have started using “Direct Provider Access” networks (DPAs) rather than traditional insurance-based medicine alone. This is because these new websites and physician practice models allow for DIY Healthcare Reform NOW and provide better care at reduced costs compared to insurance-based medicine.


Patients are taking charge of their own healthcare, paying directly, and using insurance for emergencies only. Doctors love DPAs too because being paid directly lets them put the Care back into Healthcare. Direct Pay medicine reduces overhead costs by up to 40% allowing them to spend more time on giving great care. This significant mindshift is changing the healthcare landscape.


In 2010 DPAs have been the fastest growing networks in America and they have even been written into the Healthcare Reform legislation. In a short, interactive play starring some of the leaders of the DIY Healthcare Reform/ Patient Empowerment movement we will show how DPAs are changing the ‘patient experience’ and improving care.


1. What are Direct Provider Access networks and what can they do for me?

2. How do/ will DPAs interact with the healthcare reform act of 2010?

3. Why did these not exist before? Isn’t this the same as old fashioned doctors? How does this tie in with Social Media?

4. Why can’t we have true pricing transparency in healthcare and what needs to change in order to get there?

5. What is the future of DPAs – will they just be swallowed up again by Insurance companies?

Confirmed panelists include:

Please consider voting us into the first ever healthcare track at SxSW, here!

‘Direct Practice’ Medicine Gaining Increased National Visibility

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A recent clip featuring Garrison Bliss, MD, founder of Qliance was profiled on NBC Nightly News under the title of ‘Flat-Rate Health Care A Viable Option?’

As this form of innovation is a niche, and largely unknown part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), I include it, here.

Kudos to Dr. Bliss and the Qliance crew!