Quick tip on how to get staff to wash their hands

Institutions that exhibit strong compliance with hygiene show strong declines in infections of all types

Institutions that exhibit strong compliance with hygiene show strong declines in infections of all types.

In a recent article on FierceHealthcare, the editors compiled four videos from health care providers that encourage staff—everyone from custodians to physicians—to wash their hands. These videos had been posted on YouTube, and one of the points of the article is that hospitals and other institutions are turning to social media to cut down on hospital-acquired infections.

Why is this still a problem? It’s not as if we haven’t been taught from childhood that washing our hands is an important part of staying healthy.

The American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute conduct “A Survey of Handwashing Behavior” every few years. The most recent study included a telephone survey, in which 96 percent of people said they always washed their hands after using a public bathroom. But reality tells a different story. In the latest survey, restroom observers reported that 85 percent of men and women observed at public places in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco washed their hands after using a public bathroom.Read full post...


8 words and phrases health care communicators should outlaw

It’s time to stop utilizing.

It’s time to stop utilizing.

You see them all the time. Predictable, cliché, meaningless words that just fill space. They’re in nine out of ten health care ads. As a writer, they drive me insane. Here’s an irritating eight we can all do without.

State of the art: What exactly does that mean? Whose state are we talking about? And what art is this that has a state?

Utilization: Whatever happened to plain, old-fashioned “use.” Perfectly good word. Three letters. Says the same thing. Think about it.

Innovation: What exactly is the innovation? Why can’t you tell me what it is? Do I have to guess? Are you afraid to let me know because I will be so amazed I will fling my clothes into the wind in wild abandon, run down the street naked, crying tears of joy and amazement?Read full post...


Some caviar with your cardiogram, sir?

Hospital food is going gourmet. Yum!

Hospital food is going gourmet. Yum!

I’ve recently become obsessed with where my food comes from. And I don’t think I’m alone. There are farmers’ markets and Whole Foods popping up all over the place. Whole Foods’ labels don’t just give you the “Best Before” date on your New York strip, they tell you where the cow lived, his name and what he generally liked to do on the weekends. Restaurants are at it, too. I went to my first all-raw vegan organic café the other day. It’s a trend that’s picking up speed. And people are voting at the cash register. I have a friend who likes to call Whole Foods “Whole Paycheck.” But like thousands, I’m willing to pay more for a better product, which is presumably healthier, too.Read full post...


Only 4 percent of U.S. hospitals have blogs—yikes!

As all hospital content creators know, there is no shortage of stories to tell.

Everyone blogs—kidscatsStarbucks, even an accused criminal. But in the world of hospital communications, blogging is not nearly as prevalent. In fact, fewer than four percent of hospitals have them—185 to be exact, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Health Care Social Media List.

It’s a little surprising that more hospitals haven’t embraced the blog as a way to share their stories. A blog offers a controlled communications channel that engages and drives measurable web traffic. It showcases the organization’s personality and mission. I would challenge any PR or marketing pro to come up with a tactic that does all that—in 300 words or less!

Read full post...

Paging Dr. Marcus Welby: why private practice doctors switch to urgent care

“My time was spent fighting insurance companies and doing paperwork instead of caring for patients.”

“My time is spent fighting insurance companies and doing paperwork instead of caring for patients.”

My father was a family medicine doctor for more than 40 years. Running a single-doctor practice, he wore many hats. Not only did he need to be a healthcare expert, he was also a small-business owner, accountant, HR director and IT person—roles he was never trained for. All while facing the challenges of practicing medicine: malpractice insurance costs, low reimbursements, government regulations and the uncertainty of healthcare reform.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised by what I heard from doctors who left private practice to work in urgent care. Read full post...


Finding the right doctor for every age

How do marketers make patients “brand” loyal to their PCP?

The days of doctors making house calls may be making a full circle as the new focus for insurance companies is promoting the importance of the primary care physician. In a world where people change doctors like they change their socks, how do marketers make patients “brand” loyal to their PCP?Read full post...


Who cares about the Breakfast Club?

Don't forget about Gen X when you're planning your next hospital marketing campaign.

What about the Xers? So much of the healthcare marketing we see now is geared towards the Boomers. Boomer this, Boomer that—Boomers even have their own health conditions named for them, like “Boomeritis.”  How old do the members of the Breakfast Club have to be before they become a target audience for your hospital service lines?

Here’s a tip if you are going to start messaging to Generation X, leave the Boomer-speak at the door, a whole other language is required.Read full post...


Is it time to bust some new moves in hospital advertising?

It can be scary to bust some new moves.

In all communications with consumers, whether it’s online, in print or over the airwaves, it’s easy to forget that we’re just talking to people. Usually that’s because there’s a laundry list of information that “needs” to go into each ad. In fact, in healthcare advertising there’s a well-known dance:

Step 1: Mention skilled doctors, latest technology and dedicated staff.

Step 2: Throw in a patient testimonial.

Step 3: Always tell people about your awards (even if they have no idea what you’re talking about).

Step 4: Grab a partner (preferably a celebrity).Read full post...