Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Welcome to IMRE Health IQ

By Brian Simmons

2013 is a new year, and with it, you can expect new insights from IMRE’s healthcare team! We’ve been busy this past year learning from our healthcare clients and working collaboratively with them to develop integrated marketing solutions that drive results. On this blog we plan to share some of the key learning’s from our experience, continue offering industry insight from our healthcare leader Jeff Smokler, and stay abreast of emerging healthcare trends (and legislation) as they continue to unfold.

You can subscribe to our new feed by RSS and can also follow us on Twitter at @IMREHealthIQ.

Or, you can always reach out to our team directly by emailing Brian Simmons at brians@imre.com.

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 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.

iHelp for the Health System

By Kristi Betz

Steve Jobs Healthcare iHelp for the Health System From the plain black turtlenecks he wore, to the products he developed, Steve Jobs was a man of simplicity. His innovations changed the world and redefined the way we think about usability.

Jobs’ futuristic thinking and business philosophy will impact the way we approach business strategies indefinitely, and Apple will be an ongoing benchmark of success for companies and products moving forward.

This got me thinking. Our healthcare system could use a jolt of Steve Jobs. Beyond scrapping it all and starting over, what would Steve Jobs have done, had he applied his forward thinking to our challenged and increasingly complex health system?

Simplify everything.

It’s simple: Jobs would have started by weeding out the noise and creating a system both patients and professionals could understand and easily navigate.

Focus on the end-user’s experience: The patient experience.

By no means is this a new concept. In fact, a 2009 HealthLeaders Patient Experience Leadership Survey found that 33.5 percent of healthcare leaders said the patient experience is their “top priority.” For years, healthcare companies have been investing time and money to enhance and improve “the patient experience,” but the U.S. healthcare system has yet to define what the “patient experience” encompasses. Until that is defined, the end-user’s experience will be anything but seamless.

If Jobs were to define the patient experience, he would create a standard where healthcare professionals spend more time with the patient and less time on administrative work. Like his approach to Apple, healthcare would be less about maximizing profits and more about customer satisfaction. Decisions would be based on the needs of the patient rather than on the needs of the system; and the patient experience would no longer be dependent on whom they see, how long they wait or what type of insurance they have.

Create an integrated system: Can you say iHealthRecords?

By 2014, all health providers will be required to be utilizing EHRs. Sure, this is a step in the right direction, but without the mandate of a universal operating system, care coordination will continue to be a topic of discussion rather than a systematic approach.

Jobs would have demanded an integrated system similar to Apple’s iCloud interface. This set up would encourage simple input making it easy and attractive for healthcare professionals to use. Through an integrated communication structure like iCloud, EHRs could be shared across specialists and hospitals improving care coordination, eliminating duplication of tests and services from provider to provider.

If anywhere the words “think different” need to be applied practically, it would definitely be to our challenged health system. It’s broke; we’ve got to fix it. Why not try an Apple a day?


By Daphne Swancutt

Screen shot 2011 10 10 at 4.39.45 PM Beyond Pink: How Do We Fight For the Cure After October?Since the late 1990s, pink has been synonymous with breast cancer advocacy and awareness. Its success has been both symbolic and tangible.

Today, there’s plenty of awareness. Some argue it’s become a hyped awareness, saturated not only in the color pink, but also in a commercialized and tidy stream of superficiality—concentrated during the month of October.

Despite years of it all, breast cancer remains the most-feared disease by women. Hundreds still die daily; thousands more are still overwhelmed by the complexity of the diagnosis and the volume of information available to them. Others are confused by risk factors, screening guidelines, HRT, and lumpectomies versus mastectomies. A growing number of people—women and men—are simply nonplussed that there’s not more to show from the millions of research dollars that have been spent over decades.

And still no cure, though there are a number of vaccine therapy trials. And questions remain about whether there will be a cure in our lifetime.

Beyond advocacy and awareness, there’s a barely-con­tained scream for accountability. Where are the study dollars going—specifically? How is this helping in the cumulative space of breast cancer investigation? Why is there so little apparent attention given to prevention? What about the ongoing questions surrounding social and racial disparities? Where does personal­ized medicine fit in to treatment? Who are the real experts, and where can they be found?

When will breast cancer cease being a month-long bacchanalia in October, and become a year-long engagement of substance and discovery?

Pink isn’t going away. Neither is access to a constant stream of data—misinformation, disinforma­tion and information without dialog—that opens up even more questions about the future of breast cancer research, and its ultimate goal.

Advocacy and awareness have been successful. Right now, pink may need to have a stronger focus on the curation and expert handling, interpretation and dissemination of these data—as well as a strong statement about where it will lead, and when.

By Christine Pierpoint

There’s a new Internet domain coming out this fall as a way to identify adult entertainment websites. The nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regulates website domains. Last year they announced a move to create the .xxx domain as an alternative to the more common .com or .org domains. In theory, this will be a way for businesses and consumers to clearly identify adult content.

“The creation of .xxx will create a clearly signposted place where adult entertainment can be accessed and allow surfers to have a clear idea of the nature of the site before they click, rather than after,” according to a statement posted on the ICM Registry website, which is the organization responsible for .xxx domain registrations.

Regardless of the intent of the new .xxx domain, there is still the potential for brand names to be hijacked during the initial bidding for URLs. Each time a new top-level domain (such as .tv, .eu or .xxx) is introduced, new Internet “real estate” is created. Depending on the equity of your brand, that real estate can be extremely valuable. For example, imagine someone leveraging a brand name like “Nike” to drive traffic to “Nike.xxx.”

As marketers, we do have options to stop cybersquatters who may try to prompt a bidding war or otherwise cause damage to brand names. We’ve put together the following tips to help you mitigate potential risks:

  1. Trademark holders – If your brand is trademarked, there is a “sunrise” period during which you can block your brand from becoming a .xxx domain. Beginning Sept. 7, 2011, you can apply to the ICM Registry to be designated a “reserved – trademark.” Once accepted, your domain name will be removed from the pool of eligible domains. The sunrise period expires on Oct. 27, after which time there will be a “land rush” period from Nov. 8 – 25 during which the adult entertainment industry will be able to apply for .xxx domains.
  2. Non-trademark holders – if you have a domain name that is not a registered trademark (i.e. tires.com) you have to wait until the “general availability” period begins on Dec. 6, 2011. At that point .xxx domains will be registered on a first-come, first-served basis. You will then be able to register your name as a non-resolving .xxx domain. What that means is that you own that .xxx domain and thereby prevent anyone else from using it.


We’re recommending that all companies take proactive measures to prevent cybersquatting or potential misalignment of their brand with an adult entertainment website. In addition to brand names, you should also consider taking steps to protect your organization’s product names and the names of key executives or spokespersons. Opting out now will help protect against reputation management issues or potential legal battles to defend your trademarks.

Christine Pierpoint is IMRE’s Vice President of Emerging Media. She can be reached at 410.821.8220.

By Kristi Betz

This past July, Disney launched “Building a Culture of Healthcare Excellence,” a product for hospitals focusing on customer service.

When it comes to the guest experience, Disney is a well-oiled machine that healthcare professionals can learn from. Sure, comparing a hospital visit to the Magic Kingdom might seem like the overstatement of the year, but if you’ve ever talked to a patient who has had an awful experience, they too have memories that will last a lifetime—only those memories aren’t magical or enchanting.

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We’re Back!

By healtheditor

It’s official. We’re now blogging at IMREHealthIQ. Stay tuned for expert content and continued industry insight.

You can subscribe to our new feed by RSS or by email. You can also follow us on Twitter at @IMREHealthIQ. For anyone who’s been following @HealthIntel, we haven’t changed the Twitter feed, just the name. You won’t have to re-follow under our new name.

Thanks for your patience!

By healtheditor

iStock 000004391082Medium1 300x199 Demand Your Medical Record. You May Be Pleasantly Surprised.I’m “pleasant.” My neck is “supple.” And I’m neurologically “intact.” Whew…glad to hear that.

Although the compliments were nice, more interesting was from whom they came and why I was now reading them.

For the first time in my life, I was reading what a doctor said about me, in the form of a medical record being sent to my primary care doctor. Inexplicably, the physician, a Johns Hopkins immunologist, mailed me a copy. Wow. How could I have lived this long, and dealt with so many doctors, and never once read what those health professionals had thought. (more…)

By Daphne Swancutt

I’d planned on writing a brilliant post after last week’s  9th Annual ePharma Summit in Philadelphia. I wanted to explain why this statement made by one of the conference’s speakers always makes me bristle.

“Content remains King.”

Someone else’s brilliant post beat me to it, though (h/t Phil Baumann). Still, I have more, probably less brilliant, stuff to say on this irksome, but important, topic.

First, most of us have heard some version of the content-is-king quip. Few of us understand what it really means. So many seem clueless about the power of content. Hardly anyone in pharma knows how to do it well. Finally, and most important—and I did say something along this line at the conference: Content without context is just a bunch of rubbish. (And, by the way, bad content without context should be rammed down someone’s throat.) (more…)


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