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April 10, 2018

Binary Fountain Powers Patient Experience Ratings for US News & World Report Doctor Profiles

By: Kenneth Brooks

U.S. News & World Report, the world authority in hospital rankings and civic journalism, has begun a new collaboration with Binary Fountain that adds patient experience ratings to U.S. News Doctor Finder physician profiles. By analyzing online physician reviews, Binary Fountain’s Provider Social Index® delivers exceptional patient experience insights, empowering consumers to compare other people’s…

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U.S. News & World Report, the world authority in hospital rankings and civic journalism, has begun a new collaboration with Binary Fountain that adds patient experience ratings to U.S. News Doctor Finder physician profiles. By analyzing online physician reviews, Binary Fountain’s Provider Social Index® delivers exceptional patient experience insights, empowering consumers to compare other people’s doctor experiences and make informed healthcare choices.

“It’s the quality of Binary Fountain’s patient experience data that makes this a valuable addition to the U.S. News profiles,” says Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “People who visit the doctor profiles  will find summarized patient review ratings that they can trust.”

Chad Smolinski, chief product officer for U.S. News, explains that, “In the age of healthcare consumerism, patient experience information has become a crucial piece of information for patients and families when choosing a physician.” He adds that this partnership “allows U.S. News to expand the breadth and depth of relevant, trusted data we can provide to patients,” as they search for a new doctor.

“We are excited to partner with U.S. News to further enhance their doctor profile pages with patient experience ratings, delivering industry-leading insights, data and analytics on thousands of doctors across the country,” says Ramu Potarazu, Binary Fountain’s president and CEO.

Recent survey data shows that 95 percent of respondents regard online ratings as “somewhat” to “very” reliable, and 75 percent say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when choosing a physician.

Provider Social Index’s Natural Language Processing engine extracts insights from online reviews based on 10 physician-related patient experience metrics and derives an overall patient experience rating for each physician profile . The different metrics include:

  • the thoroughness of the examination
  • the doctor’s ability to answer questions
  • the clarity of instructions to the patient
  • the amount of time spent with patients
  • the provider’s attitude; the provider’s past success
  • the provider’s attitude, and more

The ratings do not assess medical quality, but offer a reflection – scored from “fair” to “excellent” – of patients’ overall experience with the physician. Beginning with Family Medicine doctors, Binary Fountain-powered patient experience data will be added to U.S. News profiles of practitioners in a wide range of specialties in coming months.

About the Author

Kenneth Brooks

Kenneth Brooks serves as Binary Fountain’s senior director of marketing. He brings more than 15 years of high-tech marketing experience, including 7 years in healthcare technology, to the company. In his role, he manages brand awareness and demand generation programs.

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April 05, 2018

The Internet Wants to be in Your Clothes: A Conversation with the Hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast – Part 2

By: Kenneth Brooks

In this post, we continue the conversation with Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Joined by Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, they…

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In this post, we continue the conversation with Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Joined by Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, they dig into the challenges and trends affecting healthcare marketers. If you haven’t yet, you can read part one to catch up on the the beginning of the conversation.

KB: When I hear “doing more with less” I think usually that means that certain things get cut out. Is there anything you’ve seen going by the wayside, or getting less spending, because what you’re talking about here is what can we do to spend ten percent less, or be more efficient in terms of our keyword buys. Is there more focus on digital and less on the offline stuff? What have you seen?

Chris: Well billboards are going away, for sure – just kidding! I have this perverse thought that I will die by a billboard falling on me – an ironic death! People are still doing traditional things, and I don’t think we’re ever going to remove that from the lexicon of marketing in hospitals, but certainly there’s more focus on how we measure the success of that. At least we’re starting to have that conversation. I was looking today at industry benchmarks which had metrics for all the digital pieces, but when it came to billboards, and radio spots and tv spots, it was mysteriously blank. So I’m not sure what that means – blank is probably accurate for what they can measure from it right now, but what’s weird is that it never fell off the list. Honestly if we would stop doing it that would be awesome. I believe multi-channel is the way to go. What do you think Reed?

Reed: I don’t think we’ll see the traditional marketing avenues go away, and I don’t think they should. But I think we’ve got to be realistic about their role is within the plan. This may be a little simplistic, but the idea of putting a physician on a billboard… that’s probably not overly advantageous but as long as everybody is intellectually honest about why we’re doing it, I’m fine with that, as long as we’re being honest about it. But the problem comes when we’re doing things, around the wrong expectation. We end up expecting more out of a medium than we really can glean or measure. So if you have a new brand, or you’re doing a branding campaign and you want to have billboards in the market, or it’s a hyper-competitive market or something like that, and you feel like brand awareness, top of mind is important and you can make the case for that I think that’s fine. But I think we need to understand why we’re doing things.

Chris: I think a lot of times people are talking digital as the way forward. This really means to prioritize digital as tactics. The other channels need to be there. It’s just more like instead of becoming digital only, we become digital first, because that’s actually going to get you a lot closer to where the conversion occurs. It’s going to get you a lot closer to understanding how people are consuming your various touch points.  But I like the way you said it Reed, it’s fine as long as we’re being honest about what traditional can actually do. Actually someone asked me about a billboard today, and that’s how I’m going to come back to him. So, I like that Reed, thanks!

Reed: So what else? Mobile first – that just means a responsive web site, right?

Chris: We need an app!

Reed: Right, we need an app!

responsive designChris: Really, it’s more than just an app. Mobile is misunderstood, but it’s important. People do think mobile first is, like what Reed said, that responsive web site or an app. It’s simply realizing that the Internet is spreading off of the computer, into multiple devices. The one in your pocket is one, the one on your night stand, the tablet that you’re using, but it also is now getting into your watch, your little Alexa device. The Internet of Things, that’s what mobile is. It’s getting into your clothes!

Reed: That’s the headline!

KB: We’re seeing how things are being questioned, in terms of how everything is being invested in terms of marketing efforts, billboards are always in question, just being honest about it. What are you seeing? If there are a few more dollars being put into a certain initiative or channel, what do you see that money going to right now?

Reed: What should it go to, or what is it going to?

KB: You guys can riff on that both ways . . .

Reed: Hospitals are never going to be the first ones to market around something new and cutting edge, because what’s the upside? They’re going to let some of the organizations even some of the other verticals run out in front and see what works and doesn’t work. We’re still seeing things that may be considered a little old hat, where there’s a little less noise, that work pretty well. Internet radio for example – Pandora, iHeart Radio, things like that where people are able to advertise. I would say hospitals are just now starting to look at Instagram and maybe things like SnapChat, asking “How should we be using this,” where they were just a place to park some photographs. Where I think they’ll start going, and Chris I’ll let you chime in on this, is probably the voice first components that we’ve seen Mayo and others do.

Chris: Absolutely, I think you’re right, Reed. It’s really about the Internet of Things, voice first, Alexa, Google, those kind of things. It’s designed to make it more easy to access, so we’re seeing a lot of organizations that are adopting that technology into their work streams. It could be for marketing. For example one hospital has enabled not only being able to find out where your nearest urgent care center is by asking their Alexa device, but then because they

smart watch

have Uber connected to it, they can order an Uber to take them to that urgent care center just by asking their device. That’s kind of a cool technology that marries the experience together. That’s not only happening with voice first; I see a lot of organizations are using Fitbits and Apple watches, and connecting that data into the patient record. That’s happening  more frequently. What you’re doing is basically taking Internet connected devices, to make the experience more seamless and easy. I think that’s where we’re seeing a lot of cool investments and experimentation in, and we’re seeing a lot of outside companies come in.  Reed I’m surprised we haven’t talked about artificial intelligence or anything like that.

Reed: Yes, AI, chatbots, even the VR and AR stuff is starting to kind of bleed in there.  But predominately, that’s probably the next wave, when you’re looking at things like voice first is hospitals’ investment in both AI and chatbots.

Chris: Another thing I see having worked with hospitals for the last couple of years, they are starting to dedicate moneys to infrastructure to measure more effectively. Whatever that is, CRM, marketing automation, whatever it may be on the back end, there’s a strong desire. They may not know where to spend that now, because the solutions are a little sub-par right now for hospitals and health systems, but they’re still really looking at how they can do that better, and they’re starting to invest time, people and resources and also technology to make that back end measurement more effective.

Reed: I think that’s one thing that we shouldn’t gloss over is the investment in people. So, what we’re really looking at from an analytics and measurement standpoint is not just the technology but the human power side of the equation, of making sure we have people in there with the right skill sets, that can actually manage and take advantage of the technologies we’re investing in.

About the Author

Kenneth Brooks

Kenneth Brooks serves as Binary Fountain’s senior director of marketing. He brings more than 15 years of high-tech marketing experience, including 7 years in healthcare technology, to the company. In his role, he manages brand awareness and demand generation programs.

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March 29, 2018

The Internet Wants to be in Your Clothes: A Conversation with the Hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast – Part 1

By: Kenneth Brooks

We had a lively conversation with two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, joined Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, for a conversation…

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We had a lively conversation with two people who really understand and know how to articulate today’s challenges and opportunities in healthcare marketing and patient engagement, and really love to talk about it. Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, hosts of the Touchpoint Podcast, joined Kenneth Brooks, Binary Fountain’s Senior Director of Marketing, for a conversation on the challenges and trends affecting healthcare marketers. Binary Fountain is proud to sponsor this podcast – read on to learn why.

KB: What are the top trends and concerns you hear these days from healthcare marketers?

Reed: Do more with less – people’s budgets not going up year over year. They’re steady if they’re lucky  – if they’re not rolling backwards, so they must make the best use of dollars and staff time.

Chris: Reed is right – budgets are flattened or have gone down. How do we approach that? How do we do more? It’s really important to measure the effectiveness of current spending on advertising and on marketing. Which channels work properly. Are we investing in the right keywords. How do we throttle down expense without sacrificing results? These are good questions that should be asked, so it’s more important now than ever.

new mindset new results

Reed: It’s a pretty broad area, to do more with less.

Chris: At my new job at Fairview, we’ve been discussing this. How do you and your team work, and how can you be more efficient. Lean practices – fewer, more productive meetings, looking at ways to prioritize work with a static staff. It’s a discipline that’s challenging for hospitals to do, to function in cross-functional cooperation. My company has daily huddles for choosing what issues to escalate. This can go through teams all the way to the CEO. This breaks down roadblocks and delivers real results.

Reed: Multi-disciplinary teams are common in the clinical environment, but new to marketing and communication. IT&S is an easy one, where you can see some blurring of the line between marketing and quality as more organizations work through the Baldrige process. As Chris mentioned, looking for efficiencies. And reputation management, thematically what is happening online – how your brand is talked about, and what people are needing and wanting online – kind of flows into the quality side of the equation as well, much like grievances would in the hospital environment, or somebody mailing a letter. Digital is becoming a way that consumers expect to interface with your organization. Through that, Marketing communication seems to own that equation a little bit so they’re becoming part of conversations that they have not been historically.

Chris: What we’re really saying here, is that hospitals, which are traditionally seen as kind of these big, siloed organizations, they’re really trying to break that mold down and become more agile, become more effective – to break down those silos. That is a huge trend that’s happening. It’s not really being seen from the outside in, but it’s going on and will probably continue throughout this year and into future years.

Reed: Along those lines, that’s why you’re starting to see things like chief experience officer or someone who’s over that patient experience because they need someone to wrangle this whole scenario. You’re used to seeing something like that in organizations like the Cleveland Clinic, but now you’re starting to see this – I’ve seen it here in Texas in what I’d consider a rural hospital having a chief experience officer. It’s something you would not have seen earlier. They’re very in line and integrated with patient access as well as marketing, as well as quality and IT&S. That’s interesting.

Chris: I want to underscore something about that piece, which Reed alluded to earlier. Digital has caused an acceleration to the end of silos. It has blurred the lines between departments almost before people are ready to have them blurred. Reed and I were talking to hospitals five, six years ago, about the fact that the experience of people going through our web site intersects with the Patient Portal and things like that.  Digital has kind of blurred those lines for us, right? But now people are really operationalizing that. Without sounding like we’re patting ourselves on the back, digital has driven that, and that’s a good thing for organizations.

KB: One thing I’ve noticed that goes with your point about digital breaking down silos, is the connection now between marketing and patient experience departments.  Patients’ experiences are now captured online – it’s no longer just CAHPs surveys. Now, patient experience professionals and marketing people who never really talked, are now being introduced for the first time. And to your point Reed, what you said before about marketing and the IT department working more closely together:  So there’s the convergence that digital is causing. Do you think this is causing some of the push to do more with less?

Reed: That’s a fair point. A lot of the do more with less push is driven by uncertainty in healthcare right now, specifically around reimbursements. What revenue’s going to look like moving forward. So organizations are not as willing to make those big investments from a technology or manpower standpoint, in what has historically been considered a cost center. That’s the hard part. I think digital is a double-edged sword – there’s that many more things we can do, but there’s also now the responsibility because we can do it, to tie that back to the financial metrics.

Chris: It is a double-edged sword. Because it gives you the insight into the measurement of that, but it draws you into that uncomfortable conversation – are we measuring effectively, are we gaining the right insights from these digital tools? People don’t like it, using digital as a way to save costs, but it can also highlight areas where maybe things aren’t working as effectively. Traditionally in healthcare, hospitals are not very good at reporting out bad news. Sometimes your measurement strategies tied to some of these digital things, come back with “Oh, this isn’t working so well.” And then, what do you do?

analytics

Reed: It’s kind of that old adage “Don’t ask the question if you’re not going to like the answer.” It’s kind of like we may have patted prematurely ourselves on the back on some of our big ideas and campaigns or other initiatives. Now we’ve got the opportunity to see, is that really the case?

Chris: Now you’ll have to become more sophisticated with measurement and analytics. We were just talking about this in the Touchpoint podcast.  Are you measuring things in a way that will actually give you the insights you really need so that you can move forward and optimize. It presents a whole new set of challenges which honestly as an industry we should be talking this way, but for many healthcare marketers it’s a little bit challenging.

Reed: I think the reason it’s challenging is because the people that run hospitals where that be administratively, or in the marketing and communications world,  have always run hospitals. So you don’t very often hear “Where’d your new CEO come from?” “Oh, He came from Samsung.” That doesn’t happen. So that’s why when we’re making these dramatic shifts, around like say measurement, those are skill sets that folks just have, and historically have not have had to foster.

About the Author

Kenneth Brooks

Kenneth Brooks serves as Binary Fountain’s senior director of marketing. He brings more than 15 years of high-tech marketing experience, including 7 years in healthcare technology, to the company. In his role, he manages brand awareness and demand generation programs.

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March 12, 2018

Webinar Report – Creating a Hospitality-Influenced Reputation Management Strategy in Healthcare

By: John McFeely

On February 21, we attended a very detailed and useful webinar hosted by Greystone.net, which featured two leaders from Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s marketing team, along with Binary Fountain’s own Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford. Healthcare consumer trends and reputation management During Aaron’s introduction, he offered supporting data points on why online consumerism is…

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On February 21, we attended a very detailed and useful webinar hosted by Greystone.net, which featured two leaders from Florida Orthopaedic Institute’s marketing team, along with Binary Fountain’s own Senior Vice President of Marketing, Aaron Clifford.

Healthcare consumer trends and reputation management

During Aaron’s introduction, he offered supporting data points on why online consumerism is making managing online reputation a must:

  • According to a McKinsey study, consumers want the same qualities in healthcare companies that they value in other companies
  • 77% of people search online before making an appointment with a healthcare provider
  • 85% of respondents will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 BrightLocal consumer survey

Reinforcing that top health organizations recognize the impact of reputation on revenue, Aaron cited surveys showing that a difference of one star in business ratings can impact revenue by 5 to 9% (Yelp, 2011), and that higher percentages of positive reviews can increase average monthly patient volume by 13 to 17% (HCA Physician Group, 2015).

Creating a hospitality-influenced reputation management program

Next we heard from two marketers who implemented a highly responsive and very successful reputation management strategy for Florida Orthopaedic Institute.  Donna Bossuyt is their Director of Marketing & Customer Service, and Kim Mott serves as Marketing & Customer Service Manager. Florida Orthpaedics Institute has 10 locations across the Tampa Bay region, employing 43 providers and 600 professional staff members. Annual patient visits are nearly 200,000, and in 2017 the Institute recorded more than 54,000 new patients and over 20,000 surgeries.

Five star rating customer service

Donna and Kim described how they built a reputation management program that took important cues from the hospitality industry. Drawing in part on her experience in hospitality with Starwood Hotel and Resorts, Donna created a program that takes customer service to a higher level by delivering consistent, exceptional service at every patient touchpoint. Emphasizing “WOW factors” in training and in practice, they’re helping Florida Orthopaedic Institute move from a physician-centric culture to a patient-centric one.

They made their case to the company from board to physicians to staff, that customer service and reputation management play a measurable role in attracting new patients, and building revenue based on satisfaction ratings. These are the four objectives of their plan:

 

  • Increase positive reviews
  • Deliver high-touch service recovery
  • Improve service based on patient insights
  • Bring awareness of feedback to Institute leadership

The challenges they described in implementing the plan will be familiar to most people working in customer care:

  • Inefficient processes
  • Paper surveys – difficult to collect insights
  • Online reviews – managed manually, it’s like herding cats
  • No organized response procedures
  • Small reputation management team

Needing a central point for managing online reviews and patient surveys, an efficient workflow for responding to reviews, and a way to create and share reports with physicians and staff, they chose Binary Health Analytics.

Binary Fountain’s solution helped them capture and analyze patient feedback, uncover actionable insights, engage patients and increase the volume of positive reviews and comments, and report to staff, physicians and C-suite executives.

online feedbackThis helped Donna and Kim place a high priority on responding to patient concerns with a high-touch approach. They were able to dynamically assign the correct staff for follow-up on negative comments and ratings from surveys, setting a target of responding within 24 hours of a negative review alert. Online review follow-up was facilitated by Kim, who would work with the appropriate staff to deliver service recovery.

Donna and Kim described the initial concerns of their physicians, who are perfectionists and data-driven. They were anxious about negative reviews and reacted with a “take this down” response. Using Binary Fountain to analyze data and generate reports, they educated the physicians on their patients’ feedback and helped motivate them to embrace their role in improving their online reputation.

Similarly, they encouraged staff engagement by sharing positive comments, and using patient insight reporting to spot areas in need of additional training and coaching.

Finally, Kim and Donna reviewed data on how the program improved scores on surveys and ratings sites and how they documented their outcomes for C-Suite executives, and described lessons learned in the process. They offered advice on communicating and gaining buy-in to the culture-changes on the way to effective reputation management, and offered their insight on improvements to come.

A lively question and answer section followed, addressing more than 15 questions from webinar attendees.

If you’d like to listen to the webinar recording, click here.

About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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February 20, 2018

Physician Practices Making a Difference in Patient Experience and Patient Loyalty

By: Brian Williams

Lately, two articles in trade publications have featured Binary Fountain customers who have achieved notable gains in patient experience and patient loyalty. We’re always proud to celebrate success, so here’s more on our partners in the news, KureSmart Pain Management and Florida Orthopaedic Institute: KureSmart Pain Management improves physician and patient loyalty ratings Healthcare IT…

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Lately, two articles in trade publications have featured Binary Fountain customers who have achieved notable gains in patient experience and patient loyalty. We’re always proud to celebrate success, so here’s more on our partners in the news, KureSmart Pain Management and Florida Orthopaedic Institute:

doctors office waiting areaKureSmart Pain Management improves physician and patient loyalty ratings

Healthcare IT News talked with Nick LaRosa, Director of Sales and Marketing for KureSmart Pain Management. The interview showed how the Mid-Atlantic’s leading pain management practice uses Binary Fountain to help manage patient experience and gain actionable insight into its online reputation.

Binary Fountain’s platform gives KureSmart the tools to benchmark performance across a range of patient experience categories, and saves time by aggregating all feedback into a single view, said LaRosa. “We could even drill down into the data to get to the heart of a patient’s concern – or compliment.”

After sharing patient feedback with physicians, KureSmart’s overall patient experience score increased by 68 percent and patient loyalty increased by 52 percent.

Nick LaRosa reported that ratings on bedside manner rose by 150 percent. “We also saw an increase in the number of positive online reviews by 52 percent. Between 2016 and 2017, KureSmart saw a 4 percent increase in utilization rate and achieved a 29 percent growth rate that nearly doubled our number of new patients,” he said.

For more on KureSmart Pain Management and the ways we work together to improve customer response and reputation management, see Sabrina Egan’s blog post. Also, have a look at this case study to learn how KureSmart uses digital patient surveys to improve online reviews and scores.

Florida Orthopaedic Institute manages online provider reviews to improve patient retention

Patient Engagement Hit published an article on Florida Orthopaedic Institute, and how they work with Binary Fountain to manage online provider reviews, address patient satisfaction issues and support patient retention efforts.

Marketing and Customer Service Director Donna Bossuyt and Kim Mott, Marketing and Customer Service Manager, use Binary Fountain tools to track online provider reviews and compare them with hard data from satisfaction and experience surveys collected at its 10 locations in the Tampa region. Patients are very comfortable with posting reviews online, says Kim Mott. “It’s a place for them to really state their opinion on how they really feel.”

Doctors, however, sometimes regard negative reviews as exaggerated. Kim says attitudes changed when her team demonstrated that in-house surveys and online rating sites reveal exactly the same concerns with communication and physician wait times. Today, using Binary Fountain alerts, Florida Orthopaedics responds to negative online reviews within 24 hours. Sometimes, physicians reach out by phone to further explain a treatment plan or diagnosis. In the story, Kim Mott says that by responding right away, “We’ve seen patients completely remove reviews or leave a comment on the review, saying, ‘Oh, they got to me right away and handled the issue,’ or change their star rating.”

You can learn more from Kim Mott and Donna Bossuyt when they join us for a webinar entitled “Creating a Hospitality-Influenced Reputation Management Strategy in Healthcare,” learn more and reserve your place here.

About the Author

Brian Williams
Engagement Manager

Brian helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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January 31, 2018

Healthcare Security – Corporate Culture and IT Security

By: Mark Beckmeyer

Here’s more from Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security. Mark’s 30 years of experience gives him deep insight on the ways that healthcare entities can evaluate, implement, and maintain their security compliance programs. Privacy and security as corporate culture My previous blog described some of the threats that keep healthcare IT security executives…

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Here’s more from Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security. Mark’s 30 years of experience gives him deep insight on the ways that healthcare entities can evaluate, implement, and maintain their security compliance programs.

HIPAAPrivacy and security as corporate culture

My previous blog described some of the threats that keep healthcare IT security executives awake at night. Day-to-day defenses against hack attacks, ransomware, PHI exposure and HIPAA violations occur at the operational level. But it’s vital that the enterprise-wide culture of security originate from the top. An active, involved Chief Security Officer, working with CIO, CTO and compliance executives, will drive the organization to stay current on security innovations and evolving threats, to continuously adopt and implement IT safeguards and to enforce privacy and security policies with regular awareness and training updates.

 

Management sets the tone

In the 2017 attack on Equifax, hackers exploited a known security flaw to steal records of 143 million people – names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses and more. The company admitted learning of the vulnerability two months before the attack, and in the end the CIO and CSO were fired.  In a company that sets high security standards from the top down, would the flaw have been patched as soon as it was discovered?

In my career, I have seen pro-active organizations embrace security, versus the kind of reactive approach that can often lead to forming the foundation for enabling the development and propagation of security risks. If top management doesn’t understand the ROI of security – if executives think of it as an expense and not an investment in the company – this lack of commitment can have costly consequences.

A case in point is a large health insurer. An on-site risk assessment revealed that their data center had no backup power supply, a problem the company chose not to address quickly. Soon afterward the data center was knocked out of service by electrical damage from a hurricane. It’s ironic that an insurance company was reluctant to invest a small amount to insure uninterrupted operation of vital systems.

Top management should never be stuck saying, “We didn’t know about this vulnerability” when a breach happens. C-level executives must engage in a regular back and forth with IT and security managers, to reinforce the cultural commitment to security, and to receive reports from the operational staff. Details like making security a standing topic of weekly staff meetings can go a long way in supporting communications. If not, the consequence is that management forfeits the chance to set the tone, and could leave itself in the dark on the news of risks, and responses to actual breaches.

Exceptional security means no exceptions

Even more dangerous, management sometimes behave as if security standards don’t apply at their level. There was a CIO who actually helped architect an internet access system that bypassed security. In another case, staffers used secure servers to store personal music files. Physicians are important, but they should never be allowed to dictate the organization’s approach to security.

Compliance is a milepost, not a destination

Whether due to lack of vision or misperception of the true cost, management might make the mistake of checking off regulatory and procedural boxes as the end goal. As important as HIPAA compliance and SOC 2 certification are, they are mileposts on the road to healthcare information security, not destinations.

Best practices with staff

Although people in IT often fulfill multiple roles, best practice argues against putting the same person in charge of both IT and security, because this can lead to blind spots. It’s not easy to design a demanding penetration challenge exercise on your own IT systems.

Ideally, every employee’s performance evaluation should include criteria for meeting security goals, with positive points for training and awareness participation, as well as negative points for actual breaches.

Excellence at all levels

An organization’s culture of security should commence at the very top from the board of directors to the C-level executives and throughout all levels of the workforce. Establishing security as a performance metric helps keep awareness high, and demonstrates the tangible commitment of the organization to effective security.

We hope that every healthcare organization and practice will work to be the best of the best. Excellence is measured not by the size of the budget, but by the strength of the commitment to excel at security and to operate at a level well above minimal standards of compliance.

Mark Beckmeyer, D.Sc., CISSP, is Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security.

Do you have a healthcare information security concern or question? Let us know what’s on your mind, and look for answers to your concerns in future posts from Mark.

About the Author

Mark Beckmeyer
Director, IT Security

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December 28, 2017

2017: A Look Back at Healthcare Marketing

By: Brian Williams

Recently we chatted with Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior VP of Marketing about the year that’s coming to a close. Here some of Aaron’s thoughts and observations on this year in healthcare marketing. 2017 has seen continued rapid expansion of transparency and reputation management as more and more providers and companies recognize the importance of…

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Recently we chatted with Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior VP of Marketing about the year that’s coming to a close. Here some of Aaron’s thoughts and observations on this year in healthcare marketing. 2017 has seen continued rapid expansion of transparency and reputation management as more and more providers and companies recognize the importance of patient engagement.

Also, we’ve continued to see content marketing take on new forms. From video to podcasting, rich and useful content has taken over the space once occupied by blogs that resemble press releases.

woman laptopThe year of the video
Video is more widespread and the range of topics it’s used for has expanded. Following the lead of pioneers like Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic, healthcare has embraced video for engaging patients with tons of new small-scale content.

In the past, videos tended to celebrate and spotlight the business, with ribbon-cuttings and announcements of new services. This year, many more health systems are creating and promoting video content that focuses on benefiting their patients.

As smart phones, social media and live video events converge in channels like YouTube, Instagram, and especially Facebook video, the audience has expanded dramatically and enthusiastically.

Online marketing budgets are shifting focus
Here’s a trend that picked up in 2017, and shows every sign of accelerating in 2018: We’re seeing top of the funnel budget priorities move away from SEO and toward social advertising on channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (for B2B marketing). With more toolsets and insights, social advertising is rising, but is still far from hitting its peak.

New tools in customer support
Chatbots are rising fast as a tool for interacting with and engaging patients. Making use of progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing, they’re a powerful way to collect and deliver information and to provide support. Additionally, Forbes reports “The Customer Experience Cloud” is gaining prominence. In addition to the marketing cloud and sales cloud, bringing together data and insights from the customer journey to better serve the customer is becoming a high priority for many organizations.

Once a headline, now a habit
Mobile communications has long since evolved past the “What will they think of next?” stage. Now, for huge numbers of people, it’s the everyday way to connect with healthcare. Once it was a headline, but today, with a smart phone in every pocket and purse, it’s how we interact. Whether it’s researching a symptom, finding a physician, or leaving a review for a physician, a vast majority of people use their mobile device over a desktop to perform these tasks.

In the same way, marketing automation has moved from innovation to maturity. Along the way, public acceptance has risen – the key to continued success in this area is personalization.

Finally, the spread and the success of these trends and tools – mobile access, video, patient interaction and marketing automation – has meant that they are not just for the biggest health care providers. Now, providers of every size can adopt, embrace, and reap the benefits of transparency, patient engagement and reputation management.

About the Author

Brian Williams
Engagement Manager

Brian helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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December 19, 2017

How to Address Three Common Concerns That Can Slow Down a Reputation Management Program

By: Sabrina Egan

When your job is to get a reputation management program up and running, you want to make sure that momentum doesn’t evaporate. What steps can you take to make sure things stay on track when you run into a roadblock? Recently, members of our Binary Fountain Customer Success Team gathered to offer some advice to…

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When your job is to get a reputation management program up and running, you want to make sure that momentum doesn’t evaporate. What steps can you take to make sure things stay on track when you run into a roadblock? Recently, members of our Binary Fountain Customer Success Team gathered to offer some advice to staffers who are getting started with their reputation management programs.

We’re tight on resources, time and staff”

Starting up a reputation management program can seem overwhelming. The marketing manager or other staff members tasked with the effort may not feel like there’s enough time to start managing all the online reviews and surveys they receive. Our team recommends the old axiom about how to eat an elephant: take it one bite at a time. Once you begin breaking things down into manageable components, the program becomes more approachable. Plus the tools we offer can help save time in your daily efforts.

Another approach, especially in small-to-medium-sized medical practices or facilities, is to decentralize responsibilities. Individual practice managers – not just marketing – can take on reputation management tasks. They’re already more familiar with their physicians, their services and in some cases help coordinate their patient survey program.

“Responding to reviews — where do we begin?”

There are so many components to reputation management that it can be difficult to decide what to tackle first. The Binary Fountain customer success team suggests responding to all reviews, positive or negative, as a best practice. However, as a first foothold, it makes sense to choose service recovery as the first priority. Collect some data on providers and locations. If one stands out as having a lower reputation, start there, track results, and work toward improving sentiment.

When it comes to which sites to start with, get your dashboard in order and start with one review site, such as Google my business, recommends the team. You can prioritize which sites to add from there based on where reviews are coming from.

“What if we don’t have many reviews?”

The problem of not enough reviews is worth tackling, too – analysis shows that when searching for a provider people value the volume of reviews in addition to the quality. With the right campaign of post-visit surveys and scheduled email follow-ups, the reviews will accumulate, and the quality is likely to rise as well.

Because it’s now a necessity to demonstrate “return on engagement,” there’s no time like the present to get busy, inviting and gathering reviews, and responding to both unfavorable and favorable ones.

Are you responsible for getting started with reputation management? Do you need some advice on some of the questions we’ve touched on so briefly in this post? Contact our team for more information on how to get started with transparency and reputation management.

About the Author

Sabrina Egan
Engagement Manager

Sabrina helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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December 05, 2017

Highlights from the Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement survey

By: George LaDue

Recently, Binary Fountain commissioned the OnePoll research organization to connect with more than a thousand adults who report having a physician. The purpose of the survey was to learn directly from healthcare consumers what things matter in their patient experience and to get a fresh look into their use of ratings and review sites. The…

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Recently, Binary Fountain commissioned the OnePoll research organization to connect with more than a thousand adults who report having a physician. The purpose of the survey was to learn directly from healthcare consumers what things matter in their patient experience and to get a fresh look into their use of ratings and review sites.

The survey, entitled “Healthcare Consumer Insight & Digital Engagement,” yielded these two top-line findings:

  • Healthcare consumers continue to count on online ratings and reviews when choosing a provider.
  • Non-clinical aspects of the healthcare experience play an important role in the attitude of consumers toward their providers, and in their online reviews.

“Online ratings, reviews and social media need to be carefully monitored and evaluated by healthcare providers to remain competitive in today’s healthcare market,” says Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior VP of Marketing.

Binary Fountain Consumer Survey Infographic

Online ratings matter – a lot
Online reviews and ratings have evolved and spread from restaurants, hotels and ecommerce purchases to a role of considerable importance in healthcare. In search for unfiltered opinion, today’s patients turn to online ratings and reviews as part of their process of researching and choosing a provider. These findings clearly illustrate the power of rating and review sites in today’s age of healthcare consumerism:

  • 95 percent of respondents regard online ratings and reviews as “somewhat” to “very” reliable.
  • 75 percent of Americans say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when choosing a physician.
  • 30 percent of consumers share their own healthcare experiences via social media and online ratings and review sites.

Which rating sites rank highest?
What are the top sources respondents use to choose a physician? Thirty-four percent use Google; 17 percent HealthGrades; 13 percent Consumer Health Ratings and Rate MDs and 12 percent Yelp.

Millennials share their own healthcare experiences online
Among respondents aged 25-34, some 60 percent of respondents say they share their physician/hospital experiences via online platforms, including social media and online ratings and review sites. The survey reveals that respondents of all age groups prefer Facebook for sharing their healthcare experiences – except for 18-24 year-olds, who flock to Twitter.

Consumers expect “care” with their healthcare
In today’s experience economy, there is a direct connection between patient experience and reputation. According to the survey, the factor that matters most to patients when they rate or evaluate a physician is “a friendly and caring attitude.”

When responses are separated by gender, the most important factor to women is “a friendly and caring attitude,” while men believe “thoroughness of the examination” is the most important factor. The second most influential factor for all the patients surveyed is “thoroughness of the examination,” followed by “ability to answer all my questions.”

Aaron Clifford comments on the impact of these responses: “Industry research shows online ratings and reviews do not indicate the quality outcomes of the healthcare providers, however, they do provide insights on how the patient is experiencing various aspects of care.”

The main pain point is time
Asked what is the most frustrating issue about a visit to the doctor, survey respondents across the board mentioned “time:”

  • All ages (except the 18-24 segment) answered “wait time” as the most frustrating thing about visiting the doctor.
  • Millennials between the ages of 18-24 are three times more likely to be frustrated with “having to schedule an appointment” than any other age group.

In response to the question, “what is one thing you think your doctor could do better,” nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) wrote time-related recommendations, including such suggestions as: reduced wait time, better scheduling of appointments, stop overbooking appointments, offer more availability and respond to patient calls faster. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents offered qualitative time-related recommendations: make time to be friendlier and more caring, spend more time listening to my concerns and answering my questions, and take the time to provide a better bedside manner. All of these dissatisfaction triggers relate to service delivery, rather than clinical outcome.

Overall, the survey reveals a great deal about the close relationship of patient experience to the quality of online reviews and the reputation of the provider.

As Aaron Clifford puts it, “Now more than ever before, healthcare providers need to play an active role in managing their online reputation in an effort to improve patient experience and increase patient retention.”

About the Author

George LaDue
Sales Director

George helps healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.

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November 30, 2017

Webinar Recap: Innovating the Digital Healthcare Consumer Experience

By: John McFeely

In case you missed it, the Forum for Healthcare Strategists hosted a webinar, “Innovating the Digital Healthcare Consumer Experience.” Moderated by Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, the webinar featured digital healthcare trends marketers need to plan for and act on to stay ahead of the consumer curve and Providence St. Joseph Health’s (PSJH) approach to creating a better…

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In case you missed it, the Forum for Healthcare Strategists hosted a webinar, “Innovating the Digital Healthcare Consumer Experience.” Moderated by Karen Corrigan, CEO of Corrigan Partners, the webinar featured digital healthcare trends marketers need to plan for and act on to stay ahead of the consumer curve and Providence St. Joseph Health’s (PSJH) approach to creating a better consumer experience.

We first heard from Shweta Ponnappa, Vice President, Digital Marketing at Seattle-based PSJH. Shweta built and oversees the system-wide digital marketing program for PSJH. This not-for-profit health system encompasses some 106,000 caregivers across 50 hospitals and 829 clinics. A digital leader in online marketing, she brings more than 14 years’ experience, including her most recent role at Amazon. Shweta works to bring the user-centricity and measurability of great eCommerce digital experiences to healthcare.

The Three Pillars of Digital Marketing at PSJH

Shweta described three top priorities of digital marketing, and how they’re implemented at Providence St. Joseph Health:

Be Found
Knowing that there are some 50 million searches a day on health and medical topics, it’s imperative for providers to be findable, and to provide compelling information to help the consumer make a choice. Shweta showed before-and-after examples of a physician listing in Google results, and described how to use the to expand on the detail of the basic results. She showed how PSJH utilizes information in physician listings, including prominent display of first-party reviews and ratings.

She also showed that implementing these improvements resulted in a significant (21x!) lift in physician traffic for PSJH.

Location findability improves in very impressive ways when this principle is applied. In one presentation slide, Shweta showed how PSJH achieved a steep increase in searches, views, and resulting consumer actions. 

Be Personal
Shweta showed how PSJH facilitates contact and interaction with patients, in a series of slides illustrating the ways marketing automation is used to help guide patients to utilize the appropriate service.

Be a Growth Engine
Shweta discussed her innovative approach to improvement in her department. As part of their annual team goals, each member of the digital marketing team commits to designing and running two marketing experiments per month. She illustrated their success with examples of a mobile app that helped increase booking rates from 7% to 10%; an email marketing test with a surprising twist that yielded a 46% higher clickthrough rate; and a web content test that helped appointment bookings jump by some 200%.

Concluding, Shweta illustrated some ways that the PSJH marketing platform anchors the enterprise’s digital presence, describing it as, “an ecosystem of technologies that lets us manage, deliver and optimize experiences consistently across every digital touchpoint.”

Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, provided further insights following Shweta’s presentation. Aaron has more than 15 years of healthcare industry experience, most recently as the senior director of digital marketing solutions for HCA Healthcare. There, he created the vision for HCA’s enterprise-wide reputation management program and helped devise and implement digital strategy for 171 hospitals, 119 free standing surgery centers, 830 physician clinics, and multiple business units across the HCA system.

Aaron’s presentation offered more information about review management, transparency, and artificial intelligence. He began by describing the main steps in the healthcare consumer journey.

Consumer Journey
Aaron described the four main mileposts on the journey of the health consumer: 

Discovery
The prospective patient researches symptoms or conditions online, then decides what type of provider to see.

Selection
The patient consults search engines, health directories and reviews sites on the way to choosing a new provider.

Point of Care
Patient’s experience is influenced  by details like directions, office staff, wait times, billing problems, and more. 

Feedback
The patient leaves feedback on a visit to an online review site. 

Reviews Matter
Aaron revealed an impressive result from a recent Binary Fountain survey conducted with OnePoll: 75% of people responding in the survey said that online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician. Aaron also discussed the value of collecting and displaying first-party ratings and reviews sourced from CAHPS surveys – consumers say that star ratings and patient comments are helpful in choosing a provider.

Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing

Aaron described the rising importance of artificial intelligence in healthcare, and quoted a forecast by Accenture that the AI market in healthcare will reach more than $6.5 billion by the year 2021.

He then showed how Natural Language Processing can delve deeper into patient experience than simple survey rating questions. In a slide showing a parent’s online review of a clinic visit with her daughter, the parent’s words are highlighted to show how NLP can analyze sentiment and assign to patient experience categories like timeliness of care, doctor’s bedside manner, office environment and more.

View it Today

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About the Author

John McFeely
Sales Director

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