I consider the springing up of regional health care conferences to be a signal that the tide is turning. A critical mass of health care stakeholders are no longer just passively listening; they are now actively engaging in conversations and taking action as a result. The belief seems to be that the more conversations that happen, the greater chance we have of enacting change in all corners of the health care system.
This week I will be attending the latest in this type of regional conferences, the Connective DX Boston Executive Forum (CDX) in Boston. It is an invitation-only afternoon gathering of senior health care executives discussing the “state of the state” of patient interaction in digital experiences. The program includes four speakers:
- Kate McCarthy, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research
- Aaron Watkins, Senior Director of Internet Strategy & Digital Content Marketing, Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Matthew Templeton, Innovation Catalyst, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
- Dave Wieneke, Digital Strategy Director, Connective DX
I spoke with event organizer James Gardner and asked him the following questions:
What benefits do you hope attendees will receive by attending?
- Get an up-to-the-second view of the health care industry from Forrester Research
- Hear how Johns Hopkins Medicine is driving growth with digital innovation and engagement
- Learn how design thinking is enriching the Blue Cross Blue Shield member experience
- Enjoy an interactive discussion and peer networking with fellow Boston health care leaders
How did you select the speakers?
We curated the afternoon’s speakers with an eye to our overall theme of “health care innovation in the age of the empowered patient.” Kate from Forrester has made this one of her research priorities and speaks/writes about it often. But, we also wanted practitioners who are in the trenches, especially from the provider and payer worlds since they are currently undergoing so much disruption and change. Aaron and Matt were perfect for this perspective. Plus, they’re charismatic and known as great people.
What do you think hospitals are struggling with the most right now related to digital experience?
It’s no secret that hospitals have traditionally not made marketing, especially web marketing, an organizational priority. That’s all changing as they realize that digital experiences are an important part of the overall patient experience and can play a critical role in revenue generation and organizational reputation. Unfortunately, world-class digital experiences are challenging to architect, implement and sustain — more so if the org skills, tools, and mindsets are weak or non-existent. You discussed with Aaron how hard it was for him to get traction at Johns Hopkins … imagine that challenge at a smaller community hospital or even a large metro system.
Building on James’ comments, here are the top three things I expect to hear this week:
- I’m intrigued that the speakers will be focusing on the age of the empowered patient. Many of you know that I have invited many respected guests on the Health IT Marketer Podcast to speak on the topics of participatory medicine, empowering patients, clinical innovation and digital health. Likewise, I co-hosted a webinar on overcoming clinician pain points to adopting connected health. So I suppose you can say that the forum will have my attention.
- One question I regularly run into is how marketing fits in. There still seems to remain a dichotomy of those who prefer to keep marketing siloed in its traditional space of increasing patient traffic, versus those who recognize the vision of convergence with digital health. For instance, innovative providers are using many activities that would typically be considered under the marketing bucket such as user-centered design, mobile app development, social media listening, SEO, and drawing Web traffic as pieces of actual clinical tools both in and out of the exam room. Are hospitals catching on, or do they maintain that marketing and IT don’t mix? I’ll be keeping an ear out for an answer to that question.
- Finally, I expect a robust conversation about innovation and design thinking. I remember just a few short years ago when I was single-handedly designing the first iPad app for a major device company. I based the UX on a corresponding website design, which was basically all we had to go on back then because no one knew how users would respond to iPads. Design thinking has evolved numerous times since then, and I would hope that it will begin to bear itself in more of the health IT tools that are in providers’ hands.
Subscribe to the Health IT Marketer Podcast to hear exclusive excerpts from the forum in upcoming episodes. And thanks to James Gardner and Dave Wieneke at Connective DX for the invitation. On top of being gracious hosts, their team puts out a great newsletter on digital experience and related trends called Connective Thinking.