#PRSAHealth Preview

HCAHPSNext week I have the honor of speaking at the PRSA Health Academy Conference with one of our clients, Cynthia Schmidt, the chief of marketing at VCU Health System. I’ve never spoken at a conference, and if I’m being completely honest, I’m a tad terrified. But, the good news is this topic is something I’m SO passionate about – the patient experience. In one of my recent posts, you learned about my own patient experience navigating the health care system. In this presentation, Cynthia and I will examine this topic from the role of a health care communicator. How can we help our institutions improve the experience for their patients and ultimately improve their HCAHPS scores? If you are attending PRSA Health Academy, I hope you’ll stop by our breakout session, “More Than a Score: How Employee Engagement Makes HCAHPS Matter.” If you aren’t, here are some of the high level thoughts:

  • To truly engage your staff in service improvements and drive action, they have to see HCAHPS as more than a score that simply affects reimbursement. For some, that may be enough of a reason…
Digital Marketing

Coming up at #PRSAHealth

During the second week of May, health care communicators from across the country will gather in Cleveland at the 2015 PRSA Health Academy Conference. Experts from national health systems, associations and agencies will discuss some of the biggest trends and challenges facing the industry.

PadillaCRT is the presenting sponsor of the event, and as a member of the health team, I’m looking forward to joining the conversation. Two of the programs, especially, have caught my eye.


1. Think Like a Scientist, Communicate Like a Storyteller, presented by Spectrum.  As a media relations specialist, this is a big one for me. Yes, we know that human interest stories are often the quickest way to capture someone’s attention, but what lies beneath the emotion? Data. Without research and insights, you’re only telling half the story. A solid foundation based in data is critical for a good healthcare story, and I’m looking forward to hearing what the Spectrum team has to share.

2. Making Cause-Related Marketing Social, presented by New York–Presbyterian. Everyone knows that NYP does social well – they engage with influencers every day. Just recently, they dedicated…


Being the CEO of Your Life

The TrustThis week, I had the pleasure of attending the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST 2015 Forum in Minneapolis. Save for the snow in April, it was a fabulous event designed to celebrate female leaders in health care. The room was full of outstanding and accomplished women who have made a significant difference through their work in the industry. They were inspiring and fabulous all at the same time and I was in awe.

Aside from seeing PadillaCRT’s own Janet Stacey onstage presenting as the current president of the TRUST, the highlight of the evening was a keynote address from Cynthia Lesher. Though she is the former president and CEO of Northern States Power Company, she must have been a standup comedian in another life. The 900+ women in the room collectively went to snap a photo with their phones when the slide with Cynthia’s 9 facts of life appeared. These were my favorites:

1. LET GO of guilt

If only it were that easy right? While debriefing with my colleagues, this was the take away that resonated with the majority of us. In a client service industry, we expect excellence and often…


Keepin’ it mobile: Health and fitness apps take over

iphone large

Health care mobile applications are emerging everywhere. We can’t get away from them. Run if you can, but the Nike+ Running app will be tracking how fast and where you go.

Jokes aside, the health mobile app space is becoming more and more crowded. Just this week, more than 13 new health care apps were introduced to sync with the new Apple Watch. Others are introducing new capabilities to sync with Apple’s HealthKit. And more are sure to follow.

So, with the continuous influx of health apps, how are marketers making sure their apps are seen and downloaded? Here are a few quick examples:


Ancient Diseases – The Answer to Today’s Healthcare Challenges?


It’s been said that you should look to the future, with an eye on the past. In healthcare, especially in the past week, it seems that people have taken this advice to heart.

We look to researchers to innovate to develop more effective treatments for the greatest healthcare concerns like cancer, but it turns out that innovation often starts with a look back.  Way back.  Here’s a glimpse at some of the most recent studies that are leveraging ancient diseases and treatments:

2,000+ years old:

An Egyptian stele dated as old as 1580 B.C. depicts a man with polio, indicating that the virus has existed for thousands of years.  Today, researchers at Duke University are using the virus to help treat glioblastoma brain tumors, which have had a low five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent.  The re-engineered virus kills glioblastoma cells while sparing healthy tissue, and prompts the immune system to continue to attack the cancer cells after the virus clears the body.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Duke molecular biologist Matthias Gromeier explained, “All human cancers, they develop…protective measures that make them invisible to the immune system and this is precisely what we try to…


National Stress Month: 3 tips to reduce your daily stress

As we kick off another month of 2015 (and spring!), I encourage you to take some time to think about the different methods that help you cope with stress. April is National Stress Awareness Month, and as humans, we are constantly faced with busy schedules and tight deadlines, all of which can leave us feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed.

Every day, we encounter stressful events or situations, ranging from personal financial issues to work-related stressors – and we’re finding ourselves in these types of situations more and more. According to the American Institute of Stress, nearly 44% of Americans feel more stress than they did five years ago.

The American Institute of Stress lists four levels of stress including acute stress, the fight or flight response; chronic stress, one’s cost of living and daily routines; eustress, daily life stress that has positive connotations; and distress, one’s job security, financial problems and health problems.

Stress affects all of us indifferent ways, whether that’s lack of sleep, overeating or various health conditions, which is why it’s important for us as individuals to learn the best way to manage our stress. For me, a quick run, or practicing yoga, are good…


What I Learned While Touring Japan

I recently took a journey halfway around the world. And while I love to travel, I had no idea that I would fall in love with a place that was so vastly different than what I’m used to – especially after 20 hours of flight time. If I’m being honest with myself there are two times others should avoid me – before 10 am on any given day and after approximately fifteen minutes on a flight.

I think most people know that Japan’s healthcare system is above average. In Japan, a person’s entire medical history is attached to their social security card. No faxing documents from one specialist to another (is faxing still a thing?) or making phone calls – all pertinent information is available to all doctors. And, even though I didn’t visit a doctor’s office while in Japan, I did notice other cultural differences that put them a “health grade” above the rest.

Cover your mouth.

Have you ever seen photos of Japan and noticed that a bunch of people may be wearing masks? For some, that’s an odd ritual, but when you’re there, it makes total sense. Japan may be one of the most considerate places…


Without a Leg to Stand On: Take 2 – More on My Experience in Healthcare

Last December, I offered four insights that came as a result of seven months of rehabilitation after back and knee surgeries. I admitted that healthcare from the patient’s perspective is quite humbling – and much different than what my 25+ years of healthcare experience had taught me.

Here are the four observations that I wrote about in that last blog post:

  • Good medical insurance is amazing.
  • The Emergency Room is NOT the answer to better healthcare delivery. 
  • Being a nurse is a “calling.” 
  • Physical therapists are my new best friends. 
  • I withheld one other observation, because the jury was still out on my full recovery. Today, the jury remains out, but I thought I’d share anyway.


    A smart doctor is a cautious doctor. My experience can attest to both sides of this truth.

    When disks in my back ruptured and pinched nerves shut down my left quadriceps (thigh muscle), I was fortunate to already have a relationship with a top regional spine surgeon. He hurriedly “fixed” me and sent me home to rehabilitate. His instructions were to walk as much as possible and as soon as possible, and he scheduled physical…


    Modern Mentoring: The New Mentoring Mindset

    modern mentoringEarlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a Women’s Health Leadership TRUST panel where the topic was modern mentoring. The speakers discussed how mentor relationships today do not only benefit the mentee, but the mentor as well. Teaching and learning are now two way streets in modern mentoring, as age groups like millennials bring advanced digital knowledge to the table.

    Mentor and mentee relationships are a crucial part of everyone’s professional development. The panel discussed the key pillars of modern mentoring:

    • Open and Egalitarian: Modern mentoring should occur in an open environment, allowing everyone to learn and teach.
    • Diverse: Diversity is essential to modern mentoring. Not only does this include race, gender and age, but you also want to have cross-functional, cross-geographical and cross-generational relationships. Different perspectives within the relationship can help create new ideas and bring issues to light.
    • Safe and Judgment-Free: Mentoring relationships should be a safe place to ask questions and share experiences. Keeping your mentor relationships separate from performance-related systems and processes is crucial in creating these safe and judgment free zones.
    • Independent and Autonomous: Organizations that are implementing modern mentoring need to realize that all…

    Humanizing Your Brand, On Purpose

    Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Ragan Communications’ Social Media for PR and Corporate Communications Conference at Disney World. I was overwhelmed by the wealth of information I gathered, the caliber of the speakers, and of course… the magic of Disney.

    Speaker after speaker addressed the need to humanize your brand – to put a face on your company and give outsiders a behind-the-scenes view of your organization in order to create connection. So, rather than give you a simple recap of the conference, I’m going to attempt to humanize my company’s brand. Inspired by the honesty and raw beauty of this post, I give you my story – the story of a girl whose own health struggle led her to a fulfilling career in healthcare communication.

    In high school, after a run-in with a nasty case of mono that landed me in the ER twice, I noticed a change. Playing my favorite sports seemed harder than it used to, the comfort of my bed was more attractive than an evening with friends, and I started to get sick. All. The. Time. For three years I went from doctor to doctor searching for answers,…