Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Julia Mastropaolo 10/27/17 - 3:40 pm

Top 11 takeaways from the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference

Austin was the place and healthcare digital transformation was the case. Presenters enlightened us with case studies across web, CRM, digital marketing, SEO, and content marketing, including some juicy “nuts & bolts” tips.If you weren’t able to take yourself away for the 21st Annual HCIC, here’s our take on the top 11 takeaways:

  1. Redesign your website with a “Patient-First” mentality. This includes headings, page titles, and all content. Jerry Griffin, Penn State Health Director of Web & Digital Services, explained their web redesign involving a 66 percent reduction of 200 links on the home page, elimination of content redundancy and consolidation of content around 70 key condition hubs. I liked Jerry’s “garden hose” analogy – it provides one powerful source until you put your fingers over the water stream, thus fragmenting the flow. I also liked his comparison to buying a house. “You go in with parameters to buy a house that will have good resale, good schools, and that you can grow old in. But you end up with the house you fall in love with. It’s the same with hospitals. People have to have an emotional connection with the hospital and it has to feel right.”
  2. “Mobile-First” web mentality is also key. We are all more comfortable testing website design in a desktop format, but it’s critical to test your new website in a mobile format. If you are not conducting your studies in person, send a URL to participants so they can evaluate within an actual mobile device.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use guerilla web usability studies. Penn State pulled people waiting for loved ones in the surgical suite waiting room for wireframe studies, finding they appreciated the distraction and  the $20 Starbucks gift card. Since six people can determine 85 percent of results, starting with a small sample is a good idea.
  4. The concept of “digital marketing” should be dead. So says keynote speaker, John Matson, Cleveland Clinical CMO. Why? Because it’s intrinsic. Virtually everything has a digital application. With a departmental mantra of “Digital. Mobile. Measurable.” and a 75 percent digital paid media budget, he only hires digital marketers who embrace analytics. And as a “digital publisher,” he also puts adequate money behind creating scale. Because what’s the sense of creating  so much content and not push it out for people to read?
  5. Stop random acts of content. Rather, we need to “repurpose and reimagine,” espouses keynote speaker, Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert. How? Nielsen research shows  we trust each other far more than we trust companies and organizations so REAL people are the most effective messengers. We need to get off the unsustainable hamster wheel of content creation and get EGC (employee generated content). Your endocrinologist doesn’t have time to blog?  Ask him a question, press start on your phone and repackage the raw content. Or just ask him to leave you a voice mail and create a podcast. With consumers visiting 38 percent fewer websites per month than 2010, your website is less important.  Hence, you must become an “Everywhere Brand,” spending to promote your “greatest hits” (best content) and pulling people to your site.
  6. Live by the Golden Gate Rule with your website. Translation from Clarisa Gerlach- Purks, Web Content Administrator of Moffitt Cancer Center: Once the entire Golden Gate Bridge is done being painted, it’s time to begin again. And it’s exactly the same way with your website. (Unfortunately!)
  7. Don’t wait for the stars to align to get patients to interact with your patient portal. In order to get those meaningful use dollars, segment the target audience from nonusers to enrolled but not using to active users, and use your CRM for variable messaging to increase usage. This wisdom spoken by Judy Winkler, strategic marketing director of OSF HealthCare, who was rewarded with positive usage results.(Another presenter mentioned the importance of putting the Patient Portal button right next to the Search button on your website, to reduce his highest Search term of “Patient Portal.”)
  8. Pick a CRM partner you are in love with as you will be working together for three years. Words of advice from Laura Lea Jones, CEO of LionShare, Inc. If you ‘re having trouble getting your CRM up and running, you’re not alone.  The panel of experts from Healthgrades, LionShare Inc., Evariant, Influence Health, and Tea Leaves Health concur on critical success factors: An aligned culture of Marketing, IT and Finance working together; Baby steps – getting a few campaigns going before complex programming; Budget to run campaigns; Attention to fixing your call center as a first impression response; Coaching from your CRM vendor; Decision if you will be using a self-service vs. full service model. As one stated, “CRM is a very expensive engine. You need someone to put it in your car. Once it’s installed, you need to decide how you will make your race car go. Will you be driving or hiring a chauffeur and be in the passenger seat?”
  9. A brand is no longer what you tell your consumers you are. It’s what they tell each other you are. Keynote speaker, Larry Bailin, CEO of Single Throw, emphasized the importance of thinking like an innovator. Who would have imagined Amazon’s autonomous drone package delivery or the Seattle Amazon go grocery store with “just walk out technology” (that means no need to check out since billing happens thru your app)? How do we take this mentality to healthcare?  Using virtual reality of an MRI experience in children’s hospitals to reassure kids before their procedure is one example.
  10. The Human-Computer Interaction Lab at University of Maryland knows a lot more about us than we may want them to. director and keynote speaker, Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D., explained how algorithms and artificial intelligence are predicting things in our future – including our health, happiness and love life – with startling accuracy. For instance, identifying people who will have heart disease and obesity risk by looking at their social media circles. And don’t forget the recent murder trial that used FitBit data as evidence.  Healthcare marketers need to start thinking now about ways to balance available personal data with reputational harm.
  11. Last but not least — throwable microphone boxes! Called Catchbox, they certainly made a long day of sitting more engaging and entertaining as presenters threw the microphone box to audience members with questions.

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