Why Health Industry CEOs Should Blog

blog computer keyI recently read an article in a local business trade about what makes a CEO trustworthy to investors. The author told the story of how a woman without financial savvy inherited a portfolio from her father and, in conjunction with a financial advisor, gave a thumbs up or down based on reading the chief executive’s letter to shareholders for each new investment. And you thought no one read those….

Not only are people taking notice of what company executives are saying, but they are also paying attention to those who are not saying anything, or those who speak using corporate jargon. A timely case in point for why to avoid jargon is the recent announcement by Anthem and Cigna regarding their pending merger:

“Together our companies would rapidly build on each other’s complementary strengths to create a diversified platform that could better capitalize on new opportunities and meaningfully deliver innovative, quality solutions to all of our stakeholders,” said Joseph Swedish, president and chief executive officer of Anthem.”

“Anthem expects the combination would be accretive to operating earnings per share and that the combined enterprise would generate significant annual cost synergies by achieving…


Small Changes for a Better Planet AND a Better Business

Foodies, health-conscious people and professional or at-home chefs would probably choose to eat anywhere else before 7-Eleven, right? However, this week’s news has surprised many and has certainly boosted the convenient store chain’s reputation.

mayoIn a recent article by Fortune online, 7-Eleven seems to be more progressive than it may have previously seemed. The author explains that ALL 7-Eleven stores will make the switch from preparing foods with conventional egg-based mayonnaise to a vegan alternative by Hampton Creek called Just Mayo. The mayo is made from pea protein, contains zero cholesterol, and less sodium and saturated fat than its animal-based counterpart. Hampton Creek CEO and founder, Josh Tetrick claims that the company has a mission, and that is to change the food industry and make it kinder and gentler, for people, the environment and the animals. From a business perspective, the way to implement these changes is to make prices competitive enough for companies like 7-Eleven to make the switch. While this is both shocking and exciting for environmentalists, vegans and animal-activists, as 7-Eleven has not been the most progressive company in the past, it is also a win-win for companies looking…


Are fitness trackers the future of healthcare?

wearable-tech-infographic7X4These days, there are very few places you can go without seeing a Fitbit, Jawbone Up or even an Apple Watch. With 1 in 5 Americans owning a fitness tracker, wearable technology is becoming a part of our everyday life.

Having owned both a Fitbit and a Jawbone, I am one of the many who have hopped on this health tracking bandwagon over the past few years. Like others, I enjoy the challenge of exceeding my step and workout goals, seeing a breakdown of my sleeping patterns and having something to hold me accountable on the days where bingeing on Netflix is much more appealing than running.  

A lot of people are skeptical how long the wearable technology trend will last, since a third of the people who buy wearable health devices stop using them within six months. Healthcare professionals, on the other hand, see fitness trackers as a great opportunity for the industry.

Currently these trackers monitor things like steps, fitness, sleep patterns and heart rate, but as technology continues to develop, so will the trackers. Physicians are already using 
fitness trackers to help…


The 21st Century Cures Act: What You Need to Know


Raise your hand if you know someone who could be helped by a drug that’s currently awaiting FDA approval.  Whether it’s you, a family member, or a friend, chances are that someone you know could benefit from accelerated access to a breakthrough drug or device. (there are some good reasons for this protracted process, but more on that later)

With an average timeline of 12 years to get a new drug from the laboratory to the pharmacy shelf (and more than $350 million in research and development costs), many people miss out on the opportunity to access lifesaving drugs and devices before it’s too late.  And, because of the time and cost to develop a new therapy, rare diseases are less attractive for pharmaceutical companies.  With that in mind, it’s no surprise that H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, which is being considered this week in the House, seeks to encourage biomedical innovation and the development of new treatments and cures.

Don’t have time to read up?  Here’s your cheat sheet.


Some elements of the bill include:

  • $8.75 billion in mandatory funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next…

Summer time and sunshine: Tips to keep your skin protected

For most of us, summer is filled with many outdoor activities. Whether you’re spending the day on the boat with family, or having a backyard BBQ with friends, it’s important to have fun—but it’s also important to keep your skin protected from the bright summer sun.

Ultraviolet radiation is no joke. Its effects on your skin can cause damage for years.  So, here are a few tips from the American Cancer Society to keep your skin safe, glowing and beautiful.


  • Stay in or near the shade: This is an obvious one, but it’s also one of the most important. Limit your exposure to UV light and avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight for too long. This is especially important when you’re on the beach or in areas with snow because sand, water and snow reflect sunlight, which increases the amount of UV radiation.
  • Wear clothing: If you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, or in the backyard, be sure to grab an extra t-shirt on your way out the door. There are many different options for this so choose an outfit that’s most comfortable for…

King v. Burwell: Your 5 minute study guide

death spiral

UPDATE: The Supreme Court has upheld ACA subsidies

With just three decision days left in this Supreme Court Term (today, Friday, and Monday), we’ll soon know the outcome of King v. Burwell.  If you’re like 70% of Americans you may have never even heard of this case, but it has major implications for health care in America.  Now is your time to study up – and if you are in the business of health care, it’s time to plan for the implications if the Court rules in favor of the plaintiff.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Subsidies to purchase health insurance on the federal exchange are at risk – with an impact to millions of Americans who may once again join the uninsured.

In a phenomenon referred to as the “death spiral” (which sounds like it is straight out of Star Wars), premiums may rise to an unaffordable level, causing the healthiest consumers (who balance out the risk of the sickest) to leave the marketplace, and ultimately resulting in even higher prices and less choice as insurers cease participation in the federal exchange.

Wait – Death Spiral?!? WHAT?

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare” and…


Health News Roundup

Health is a topic that pervades our news stories and our lives on a daily basis. Whether watching the TODAY Show during your morning routine, flipping through HealthDay while at work or chatting with your friends about ways to get your body ready for summer, health and wellness is constantly on our minds – especially if you are in healthcare PR. Here’s a roundup of the top 5 health conversation from this week:

  • The Quintuplets are Headed Home: The first two of the Budby family’s all-girl quintuplets, the first ever born in the U.S., have been released from Texas Children’s Hospital and the remaining three are expected to be home by the end of next week. I’d say that household is about to get much busier! Quintuplets
  • Popular Heartburn Meds Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Attack: Using a non-traditional research method that analyzed medical records of 300,000 U.S. adults, the study found an association between risk of heart disease and use of proton pump inhibitors, a group of acid-suppressing drugs often used to treat heartburn. It’s important to note that the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, does not prove a…
  • Healthcare

    #SummerTime #HealthyLiving

    Summer is finally here! We can all take a deep breath, venture outside and enjoy the sun. It’s the start of vacations, cookouts, festivals, beaches and so many more outdoor activities. And, as we all know, with so many opportunities to get outdoors it’s the perfect time to focus on our health. Below are a few tips to get your summer started right!

    Wear sunscreen

    The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter and the UV rays are getting harsher. According to the American Melanoma Foundation dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater. If you are fair-skinned and sunburn easily, you may want to consider a sunscreen with a higher SPF.  sunscreen_bottles

    Get out!

    In other words… GET OUTSIDE and smell that fresh cut grass. Getting outside has many benefits including reducing your level of stress, increasing your fitness levels, improving your outlook and helping you focus. Take a nice walk around the block or invite some friends over for a BBQ in the backyard. You’ll feel better, it’s science!

    Bring the outdoors, indoors

    We all love summer for the fresh fruits, veggies and…


    A Checkup for Health Communicators

    15-PCRT-Health-Academy-Infographic-ruleThis week, a number of our health practice team members are attending the PRSA Health Academy Conference in Cleveland, OH. As the presenting sponsor, in advance of the event, we surveyed the health care communications experts attending to get a deeper understanding of the topics that are most relevant to this year’s conference participants. We found our strategies are healthy overall, but some pain points could use further evaluation. Here are some of the most surprising findings:

    • The top health care concern is communicating value to key stakeholders.
    • The top communications concern is social media strategy.
    • Twitter is the most popular social media platform, but respondents reported that Facebook is the most effective.
    • Instagram is clearly growing in popularity, with 36% of respondents reporting that their organizations use the platform.
    • Nearly half of respondents are not using social media advertising though Facebook organic reach has dropped from 16% to less than 2% in the past two years, according to the International Business Times, and the platform is now heavily pay-for-play.
    • 1 in 4 respondents do not have a crisis plan.

    To see all the survey results, check out the…