Jun 23 2016
It’s the gender twist to the old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
When it comes to health, men* often are cast in the role of the horse, with “water” being played by any of the health care providers he needs to see when “dehydration” (illness or injury) sets in.
I recently had my own experience with this when my husband was diagnosed with ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. He spent three miserable days with a fever, chills and fatigue before he even considered calling the doctor. It was the classic and highly caricaturized “man-healthcare” scenario, with excuses including:
Once all of my husband’s “yeah, buts” were addressed, thankfully, he went to see the doctor. He received the treatment he needed and is on the road to recovery. But the difficulty in getting…
Jun 16 2016
Being an influential communicator in today’s ever-evolving media landscape can be challenging. So how can we as communicators continue to connect and engage with consumers? Brand journalism and content marketing have exploded in recent years, making today’s communicators indispensable.
Earlier this week, I attended Ragan’s Health Care PR & Communications Summit. The pre-conference workshop, hosted by Mark Ragan, focused on brand journalism for corporate communications and how organizations are using it to connect with consumers, enhance media coverage and engage employees. Throughout the workshop, we discussed building content platforms and developing internal editorial processes, as well as how to engage consumers in your stories.
We took a deeper dive into brand journalism and the new role of the communicator from developing content strategies to turning employees and customers into brand ambassadors. Below are a few takeaways from the workshop and the role brand journalism plays in an organization.
Become the media versus asking the media to write your stories. It’s no secret the newsrooms are shrinking and journalists are becoming more strapped for time. But our stories still need to be shared. To ensure this, communicators need to develop a content strategy and write
Jun 9 2016
While “thought leadership” is not a new phrase or concept, it’s certainly en vogue right now. In fact, thought leadership is one of the most frequent asks in the Requests for Proposal that cross my desk. And the interesting thing I’ve learned from talking to these companies is that there are different definitions of what it is; different expectations about what it looks like; and, different beliefs about what it can accomplish.
As recent headlines and sound bites have featured fallen thought leaders, rising thought leaders and those who only think they are thought leaders (you know who you are), I thought I’d offer my perspective on the topic and a few tips for using thought leadership as an effective strategy for your personal or corporate brand.
Defining thought leadership
While there are several acceptable ways to define thought leadership, I define it as an earned outcome of a purposeful, integrated communications strategy. Key ingredients include passion, relevant experience, meaningful content, and a point of view. Thought leadership can apply to an individual brand such as Warren Buffet, a regular go-to on financial matters, or it can apply to organizational…
Jun 2 2016
When I began my current job, it was not only the start of my public relations career, but it was my first job having anything to do with healthcare. I had absolutely zero experience in health and that’s not always easy in an industry as intimidating as healthcare. Politics kept me interested and involved in healthcare policy, but I was fine with being a spectator on the bench. To actually be involved in the business was a whole other game, and not one that I was sure I knew how to play.
However, in a matter of months, I already feel like I’ve gained a second education from being exposed to a variety of health client work. And while the road can be rocky at times, I’ve condensed some of the things I learned along the way into four points that can benefit anyone who is looking to get their foot in the door of healthcare PR.
1. It’s okay to not know
I still find this to be true every single day that I come to work. The fact of the matter is that most PR professionals in the health industry are PR professionals first. While some may have
May 19 2016
When it comes to politics, you could call me a-political. If faced with a choice between donkeys or elephants, I’d likely go with a giraffe. That’s not to say I’m not interested in politics, but my work in PR means I understand the behind-the-scenes message and perception crafting which inherently makes me more suspicious. And I’ll admit, I don’t take the time to weed through all of the information on each candidate’s true position, so I don’t always feel informed enough to have an educated opinion.
But because I work in healthcare, which is a major topic in the political landscape – at least in between the mudslinging – I do believe it’s important that I understand where candidates stand on these issues so I know how a decision could affect my clients (and me as a potential patient/consumer). So as we move toward conventions, I’m wading through the muck and sharing my findings with you. Here’s a very basic overview of where the candidates stand on a number of hot topics in healthcare:
May 12 2016
My childhood memories of Grandma fall into two categories: before stroke, and after stroke.
Before stroke, I remember her soft hugs and constant laughter and how she always smelled of delicious baked goods from her kitchen. After stroke, I remember her wheelchair, the antiseptic smell of the nursing home, and how the stroke permanently robbed her of her ability to hug, speak and laugh.
That was in 1971. This Stroke Awareness Month, I was surprised to learn that while 80 percent of strokes can be prevented with the management of key risk factors like high blood pressure and by living a healthy lifestyle, there is still an enormous gap in treatment options for stroke once it does occur. Ischemic strokes – the most common kind resulting from a blockage in a vessel supplying blood to the brain – must be treated with clot-busting drugs within the first three to four hours to improve the survivor’s chances for recovery. Endovascular procedures to remove the clot are also an option, but they must be performed within six hours of the stroke event, and only after the clot-busting drugs have been administered.
Unfortunately, according to the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, less than
Apr 28 2016
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Forum where the topic was innovation in healthcare. The annual event celebrates hundreds of women in the Twin Cities healthcare community, and recognizes pioneers and leaders in health innovation—both in Minnesota and around the globe.
A highlight of the evening was listening to the keynote address given by Cindy Kent, president and general manager of 3M Drug Delivery Systems. Cindy addressed the audience with her remarks on innovative leadership and categorized the attributes of an innovative leader with three words: being, thinking and doing.
Confident, authentic and accountable. Building confidence is critical when it comes to being a leader. Cindy spoke to a concept called “The Confidence Gap.” According to The Atlantic, “evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence.”
Innovative leaders are authentic and accountable. Being a genuine person will let those…
Apr 22 2016
In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article author, Uri Neren (@urineren), postulates that the single greatest factor required for successful innovation is scarcity. In fact, organizational processes have been developed to mimic scarcity and foster innovation including Systematic Inventive Thinking and the “Productivity” method. And, all this time I thought necessity was the mother of invention – turns out it’s the evil step-mother scarcity.
In healthcare, innovation is the new queen. But in healthcare, scarcity is not a generalized state but rather its financial scarcity as seen in dwindling reimbursements, growing healthcare needs and their associated costs, and health care reform implications. There are plenty of patients and an increasing number of CPT codes but the dollars available to treat these consumers does appear to be finite.
In the not-so-distant future we may all actually be treated by a personalized healthcare companion like Baymax from the movie Big Hero 6. (As long as my Baymax can fly so that I can avoid stressful traffic jams, I’m down with this idea. Until then, I will refer to one of the websites designed to reduce stress that my colleague,…