Posts Tagged ‘healthcare trends’

By Jeff Smokler

Today’s healthcare environment requires that hospital administrators and communicators alike embrace new communications viewpoints and tactics. Otherwise, they risk being outpaced – and out maneuvered – in an increasingly competitive marketplace. IMRE Health has identified five of the biggest trends affecting hospitals today, along with recommendations for healthcare communicators on how to attract patients, improve internal and external relationships, and ultimately rise above the crowd in this new generation of healthcare marketing. (more…)

By Jeff Smokler

Affordable Insurance Exchanges Communicating in the Era of Health Insurance ExchangesThe March 12 release of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) final rule on health insurance exchanges made one thing very clear: One size will not fit all.

The experience of a healthcare consumer in Maryland could be very different than one in neighboring Virginia. This makes sense, given the enormous variation in demographics across the nation.

As health insurance plans gear up to fight for their fair share of the millions of new customers expected to purchase coverage on the exchanges, their communications and marketing strategies will have to mirror the flexibility set forth in the HHS rule.

That said, there are a number of things that all health insurance plans need to consider as they formulate their marketing strategies. (more…)

By Daphne Swancutt

Updated Harris Interactive Logo 300x153 Healthy Behaviors Not Improving. Who’s Accountable?

A recent poll from IMRE conducted online by Harris Interactive reveals some sobering data. Bottom line: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

At the highest level, the survey shows that two-thirds of adult Americans admit they don’t live a healthy lifestyle all the time. The primary reasons aren’t surprising: Time, money, and that living a healthy lifestyle at all times is just not a priority.

Call them excuses, but it seems that despite a national push for greater attention to getting and staying healthy, increasing healthcare costs, and obesity and chronic disease epidemics that are sucking the life out of us, it’s just not resonating.

So, what can we do about it?

First, consider that this is—or will become—everyone’s problem. Whether you’re an individual, an employer, a school, a government organization or a nonprofit. Everyone needs to buy in to the fact that problems don’t fix themselves, people fix problems. This particular problem needs hoards of attentive and motivated people.

We’ve been in a collective conundrum about all of this for decades. Some argue that making individuals more accountable for healthy behaviors is key. Maybe. But what about the folks living hand-to-mouth, with language barriers, who sacrifice medical care for a trip to the grocery store or their children’s education? All the talk about making health a priority isn’t translating well to these groups, much less the groups living with fewer such challenges.

As a communicator, I am dumbfounded. If starting a national movement focused on motivating healthy behavior is truly a priority, we are failing. So, here’s my prescription:

Government: Get your rear-ends out of process perdition and come up with solutions that inspire, rather than endless tripping over administrative bureaucracy.

Employers: Give your people a break. We’re a national mess of stress, and we know about the outcomes. Stress leads to depression, leads to overeating, leads to lack of motivation, leads to little exercise, leads to diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Schools: Seriously, start talking to students the minute they enter the system about how important it is to be healthy, and everything they can do to make sure that they develop healthy behaviors. Give them the tools to educate their parents, too. Kids can actually do this. It’s like “teach your parents well.”

All others: If you’re not talking the talk, then start. If you’re talking the talk and not walking the walk, you’re part of the problem. Set an example, encourage, show your stuff and put your money (not junk food) where your mouths are.

As health communicators, we need to push harder for a seat at the big table. Then we need to advocate strongly for a more aggressive point of view, total engagement, messages that are delivered repeatedly in language that is understood, and action that truly motivates.

We’re at a crossroads here. Consider taking the road less traveled and bring some people along with you.

By Daphne Swancutt

It’s no easy pitch to suggest that pharmaceutical companies—many of whom are barely tepid about social marketing—need to get real. And, nothing screams louder for this than the move by pharma in to emerging—or pharmerging—markets.

glocial 300x300 Why Pharma Should Be Thinking ‘Glocial’

Conversations are global and, yes, health is social. In two of the most significant pharmerging markets, Russia and China, mobile and Internet use are astonishing.

Fifty-three percent of Russians use the Internet, and 80 percent of them own a mobile device. In China, nearly 320 million people use the Internet via their mobile devices. The numbers are also increasing in other emerging markets, such as Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, and India (where nearly 3 million are already using Google+), etc.

All of this presents a pretty compelling argument for pharmaceutical companies to gather themselves and start thinking globally about their social presence—or glocial presence. Which brings us back to the difficult pitch. With pharma notoriously flappable where social is concerned in the U.S. and Europe, it’s a stretch to think they’d embrace such uncharted territory in emerging markets.

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Seniors Taking Charge Online

By Daphne Swancutt

Here’s an eye-opening statistic: The largest increase in Internet use since 2005 has been in the 70-75-year-old age group. Forty-five percent of them are online today versus 26 percent just four years ago, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Why is that important? For a few reasons:

  • It speaks to a growing trend
  • It means seniors-part of your demographic-are not on the sidelines anymore
  • It’s a good time to remember that one of the top reasons anyone is going online is to search for health information

Another statistic for healthcare organizations to consider? Pew also reports that only 14 percent of boomers say that Internet content is focused on them. From our perspective, that includes healthcare content.

Healthcare communicators-including marketing and PR folks-are busy and challenged with diminishing budgets. But, this is a movement that’s here to stay with plenty of opportunities to stand out and make a difference.

Will you keep up with the seniors?


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