Archive for December, 2013

Web Link: http://www.physicianspractice.com/law-malpractice/how-erisa-affects-medical-practices
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), is a federal law that was originally intended to protect employee benefits and pensions. The current judicial interpretation allows health insurance companies to deny employee claims with impunity. Under the law, instead of protecting the employee, governments and charities are can be sued for punitive damages and attorney’s fees for bad faith claims practices.

Many critics are now wishing that this law had never been established due to its apparent reverse nature. Although it was originally intended to protect benefit plan participants, the opposite has taken shape. If you feel that your practice is feeling this law’s effects, you may want to look into this law and how it could affect your bottom line.

Data from How America Searches: Health and Wellness has shown that over 34% of patients use social media to search for health information. This means practices should strongly consider having a presence in the social media community. Here are 5 examples of how you can let the web work for you by using it’s marketing advantages:

1. Tweet Live Procedures – Henry Ford Hospital was the first to tweet updates throughout a kidney surgery live from the OR. Medical and non medical people alike tuned in with interest, following along and gaining HFH quite a bit of attention.

2. Train Medical Personnel – Showing employees how to utilize social media and how important it is to the organization can provide many benefits such as these:

-Giving trainees a forum to ask questions and quickly receive answers
-Providing presenters with immediate feedback from trainees (i.e., if trainees have mastered a concept of if more guidance is needed)
-Enabling organizations to complement healthcare marketing efforts by sharing slideshows, video or pictures from training sessions on social sites like YouTube or Flickr

3. Research Mainstream Media – Middleberg Communications reports a 29% increase in the amount of journalists that use social media while reporting. Healthcare marketers should focus on blogs and forums to share success stories and medical advancements.

4. Communicate in Times of Crisis – Providers can use social media sites to stay up to date with patients during disasters or other dangerous situations. During the November Ford Hood shooting, Scott & White Healthcare used their twitter to to provide updates minute to minute. Steven Widman, an employee recorded these findings to the Found In Cache Blog:

-Twitter followers increased 78% in just three days
-Scott & White Healthcare was listed on the front page of Twitter as a “trending topic”
-The hospital’s YouTube channel was ranked the 79th most viewed non-profit channel during the entire week surrounding the crisis

5. Provide Accurate Information to Patients – There is so much inaccurate information available on the internet, it is hard to find a reliable source. Using social media to give patients accurate information will help them trust you and keep coming back to your organization for more information.

For more detail on the 5 examples of social media click the link below:
http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/01/social-media-healthcare-marketing/

The government has announced they will be providing grants for community health centers under the Affordable Care Act. The White House estimates the grants will help nearly 1.25 million new patients through funding many community health centers. Community health centers are many people’s primary source of care in major cities. The grants will focus on funding and improving health centers in underserved areas and ones that provide primary and culturally competent care.

Enrollment events for the ACA are taking place at these health centers as well. Most recently, a health center in Detroit held an enrollment event where people could come sign up for the new Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid. Since 2009, community health centers have delivered care to over 4 million new patients and 21 million people each year. Since then, HHS has helped support 450 new access points through the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act to bring care to 2.5 billion patients across the nation.

Often, patients seek care through health centers because they are without insurance or a primary care physician. These centers provide education and services to people who would be otherwise confused where to turn. Employees and a community health center can provide you assistance when searching for insurance and can answer questions about the new changes. These new grants will provide centers the opportunity to grow and assist even more people.

The White House speaks more about grants and investing in community centers here:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/11/07/investing-health-our-communities

Getting involved in the vertical rising of online health has many disadvantages. Be sure you know what you are getting involved in and how to not get lost in the complex internet world. Here are 5 things you should know about marketing for health:

1.    Health Management is evolving – Customers are demanding more choices and price transparency. They are looking to connect with doctors digitally more and more.

2.    Compliance is paramount – Healthcare is a unique area for it usually doesn’t allow of mistakes or second chances. Keeping up to date with HIPAA and Medicare/Medicaid regulations is done easier through online channels.

3.    Chronic health conditions are growing – Chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, are on the rise. The number of diabetics is thought to double by 2050. Offering information and solutions to a larger audience is possible through effective online marketing.

4.    Health issues are emotional – Tap into people’s emotions, marketing to help people cope with their feelings will make an impact and add value.

5.    Patients need a voice – Patients appreciate having a place to connect and interact with people they can relate to, so create platform for this to happen. Social media has been the perfect place for people to support each other and seek expert advice.

Find out more about what you should know when marketing health at the link below:

http://feedfront.com/archives/article007792

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, healthcare costs have risen by just 1.3%. That is the lowest rate ever recorded since the beginning of tracking healthcare spending. The last three years have also seen the lowest healthcare inflation, 1%, in 50 years. The recession put into focus the importance of reducing healthcare costs and spending growth.

Although the new act has been helpful for structural change, it has also been riddled with problems during its start up period. Cost reductions are leading to the restructuring of the Medicare and Medicaid budget predictions for 2020. Congress believes costs will continue to decrease so spending projections are down by $147 billion.

Some reports coming from the CMS are reporting higher numbers than ones coming from the White House. But, numbers have still declined in recent years. This is also in part because the government has started more cost-sharing and many insurance deductibles have increased.

Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said “Private insurance spending grew at an annual rate of 1.6% in the last three years, while Medicare spending had 0.0% growth rate and Medicaid spending was actually minus 0.5%.”

Read more about declining healthcare spending at this link:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2013/11/20/health-care-spending-growth/3650243/

 

As 2013 comes to a close it is time to prepare a marketing strategy to move you organization into 2014 and beyond. An article posted to the Huffington Post entitled “Tips to Crank Up Marketing in ’14” is encouraging companies to begin taking stock into their future marketing approach.  Organizations must prepare to go beyond marketing and enter the world of publishing as more uses seek valuable, informative content, not just product sales. Content must be developed and distributed to various social media mediums, through press releases, and via video to channels such as You Tube.

 

Consideration to the accessibility of such information via mobile platforms and by location is paramount as more users access the information while on the go, typically looking to act on a product in response to an immediate need.  If information is not easily accessible or compatible with the medium the end users chooses they will move on in a rapid fashion.  The optimization of your web page to ensure a high search engine ranking and once selected designed to load at lightning speed is critical to obtaining potential clients and convert them to customers.   

 

Check out the full article by clicking Tips to Crank Up Marketing in ’14. Entering into a strategic marketing partnership with a professional ensures you are up to date with marketing trends and are able to dedicate your focus to daily operations while ensuring daily generation of the crucial content needed to interact with your potential and current customer base. Contact Koreen Hart of Hart Marketing by calling (321)-662-1660 or via email at koreen@hartincorporated.com. You can also check out the Hart website at http://www.hartincorporated.com/#.