Without a leg to stand on: Four observations about healthcare (that I learned the hard way)


I have worked with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, outpatient services and medical professionals for more than 30 years. I thought I really KNEW the healthcare industry.

But, I learned more during the past seven months than in all the 30 years before.

In May, ruptured discs pinched nerves in my back and literally drained all strength from the quadriceps muscles in my left leg. Three days after surgery, while dutifully doing my walk therapy, I stumbled and immediately depended on my “good” right leg to steady me.  Evidently, one of the seven pre-MRI falls had damaged or stretched my right knee.  Instead of steadying me, the Patellar tendon in my right knee ripped apart in multiple places.  My knee cap was yanked into my thigh and a sunken hole replaced my previously dependable knee joint.  Ouch.

As I laid on the ground suffering, I knew my wife was (now) right.  I did not have a leg to stand on….

But, this became the first day of my real on-the-job healthcare training – as a patient.

Based upon my first seven months of first-hand experience, here are four key learnings and observations:

  • Good medical insurance is amazing. I admit, understanding the 47 different…
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    5 Healthcare Trends in 2015

    Tis the season for trend articles!  PadillaCRT looked at trend predictions for the past few years and looked ahead. We found two trends that deserve more momentum in 2015, two that are “coming soon to a health care organization near you” and one trend that we hope gets a little more air in 2015.


    The Good: we’re hoping 2015 is the year for these two trends.

    patient-engagement-team 21. Patient engagement. This has eluded healthcare organizations longer than the “National Treasure” eluded the Gates family.  (According to the movie trailer that was at least three generations.) When patients are effectively engaged, patient outcomes improve and cost drivers are positively affected.

    A mentor once told me, “Healthcare is personal and healthcare is local,” and she was right.  What is more personal than the health of you or a loved one? For patient engagement to be successful it needs to be led by patients and driven locally.  The Care Copilot Institute, a new effort from AllinaHealth and the Robina Foundation is such an effort.  All too often healthcare organizations are using a megaphone to engage patients. We need to put the megaphone down and start…

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    Nobody Needs the Doctor’s Office

    Convenience is the most important aspect of the new healthcare world.

    These days, a sore throat doesn’t always warrant a call to your primary care physician. Instead, a quick search on your favorite health site can give you the information you seek and you don’t even have to leave your desk. Ever heard of WebMD? (Uh, yeah).  The last place any of us want to be is in a doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, waiting to get an answer and just waiting to catch what the guy next to us has.

    At the Virginia Society of Healthcare Marketing and PR (VSHMPR) Fall Conference, I learned consumers are no longer accepting the traditional patient-doctor relationship. We are empowered. We are informed. We are connected. And we’ll take drastic measures to avoid a doctor’s office.

    One medical groupThat’s why One Medical Group is reinventing the doctor’s office. If you ask them, they prefer not to be categorized as a doctor’s office at all. They don’t treat patients, they engage with members. Appointments are not only guaranteed to start on time, but also last longer and offer a higher quality interaction. They also…

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    Corporate Responsibility

    Promoting Healthy Habits in the Workplace

    Yesterday, the New York Times Well blog ran a story about the effects of exercise on the human brain. For a while now, people have believed that regular exercise improves cognitive function, but a recent study examined just how real those benefits are. Not surprisingly, the results suggested that not only does exercise change the [...]


    Positioning for Success: What’s Next for Health Trade Associations

    DCPadillaCRT is proud to sponsor “Positioning for Success: What’s Next for Health Trade Associations,” a half-day event intended to bring health trade association professionals together to explore how to successfully navigate this brave new world. The event is being held in Washington, DC at the Grand Hyatt Washington on Thursday, November 20th from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    As government scrutiny and regulation increases for health care professionals, associations are faced with new challenges and opportunities to demonstrate value to their members. With featured speakers from The Advisory Board, The Kellen Company, Epstein Becker Green and our very own PadillaCRT, the event will provide insights on how to successfully navigate the ever-changing healthcare world. Attendees will walk away with tools to help shape their organization’s 2015 strategy, including:

    • New research and important trends
    • Insights into effective communication with legislators and regulators
    • Strategies to increase member engagement and retention
    • Risks that impact the reputation of the association and its members – and how to prepare


    8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

    8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.Game Changers – The…

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    Leveraging Awareness Months: Lessons Learned From a Month of Pink

    The big, pink awareness month behemoth is over: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while many of us are sick of pink and ready to move on to the next thing, it’s worth a look back at the last month to see what ideas we can apply to other awareness campaigns throughout the year.

    It’s not just about the products. There are plenty of consumer products taking advantage of breast cancer awareness month. But it’s not just about the Estee Lauder, Aerie and Avon consumer product brands of the world. A lot of health care organizations are taking back health awareness months and making the month their own.

    Start a dialogue. Awareness months are meant to spark conversation. Now is the time to get your experts front and center. Mayo Clinic devoted six of their podcasts during October to breast health education with various physicians who could share their expertise. The podcasts are still available online, providing a longer-term resource for people searching for information. Cleveland Clinic also offered their expertise, inviting people to ask questions about breast cancer throughout the month using the hashtag #KnowPink on Facebook and Twitter. Physicians were on hand to…

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    6 Easy Ways to Get Local News to Cover Your Story – and Why It’s Important

    AnchormanChances are you have some great stories to tell: from patient success stories and new research to helpful information that impacts the lives of people in your community. And, your local news is often an effective channel for furthering awareness of your healthcare organization and getting your stories told.

    Generating local news coverage can be fairly easy if you know the best practices. Here are six simple tips to help you get started:

    1. Make it Routine. Whenever you are in the early planning stages of an event, make sure media outreach is always a part of your efforts. Think about the people involved – are you working with a patient family or a big community partner? Is the local mayor coming to your event? Your news media want to know about these things, so be sure to tell them!

    Calendar2. Use Community News Calendars. Submit informational and fundraising events that are open to the public to local news community calendars. Daily and community newspapers, TV stations (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) and entertainment websites generally have community calendars. Try to submit your…

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    Survey Says: Using Survey Data in Consumer Health

    If you work for a brand that doesn’t necessarily have news to report on a regular basis, sometimes you have to create your own news. And, survey research is a great way to do that! After the award-winning success of our last public education campaign with the American Physical Therapy Association where we identified the Top 10 Fittest Baby Boomer Cities in America using survey research, we decided to use the strategy once again in a campaign for National Physical Therapy Month. APTA staff worked with members to determine 7 common myths about physical therapy that may discourage consumers from experiencing the benefits of physical therapist treatment. From those myths we developed a survey to determine the extent to which they exist among their target audiences. We used various tactics to debunk these myths, including media relations, advertising, a webpage and an infographic. Here are the four best practices I learned for effectively leveraging survey research:

    APTA Infographic PortionCreate an Infographic

    I know this one may seem fairly obvious, but when used correctly, infographics can be a wonderful tool, especially in consumer healthcare. Infographics take detailed, sometimes boring information…

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    #Fun #Fearless #Fail


    Ah, the Internet: every brand’s frenemy. Brands spend countless hours (and sometimes dollars) to grasp the ever fleeting, and often snarky, attention of the Internet (referenced here as a collective group). In today’s Buzz Bin, I’m going to break down a few recent campaigns that have the Internet abuzz.

    Fun: Sherlock the lost & found Beagle

    Dutch airline KLM recently made headlines for their new video, which features their arguably cutest employee, Sherlock the Beagle. In the video, Sherlock is seen returning forgotten items to customers throughout an airport. The video caught the attention of many because of the adorable dog, but there’s an underlying message that marketers should take note of: KLM cares for its customers and their belongings, and will do whatever it takes to keep customers happy, safe and on-time. As consumers increasingly information gather through reviews and secondhand experiences, as opposed to company created ads and websites, brands must understand that showing, not saying, is imperative to cultivating trust.

    That said, I wish this campaign had a happier ending. Unfortunately, as many viral videos and stories seem to end, this one was just a marketing stunt. Take note, marketers: the only thing worse than lying…

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    Beyond the booth: 10 tips for hosting successful media events at trade shows and conferences

    Trade Show BadgeIndustry trade shows and conferences can be a great way to reach important audiences for your organization, including potential customers, investors and partners – and media.

    Media attend conferences to learn what is new, innovative and trending. Conference attendees and people unable to attend look to media coverage for information and scoop on what they should be paying attention to in their industries. So, how do you break through the noise and really engage media at trade shows?

    One option is to take it outside the conference hall doors and host an ancillary event with your key experts, partners and media. Here are a few tips to make this type of media event successful:

  • Have a purpose. Before diving in to plan an event, determine your goals. What do you want to get out of this event? What do you want media to take away? Media events can be a great way to deepen your relationships with industry media contacts, demonstrate your organization’s expertise in your field, share new information and more. Determine your goals, and let the goals inform your planning and messaging.
  • Play by the rules. Most conferences and…
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