3 Ways Your Hospital Can Use Periscope

periscope

You’ve probably heard some buzz about Periscope (it hit 10 million users this summer), but have you thought about using it at your hospital?

Here’s why you might want to: Periscope is about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, in real time. Imagine if you could show the world what life is really like at your hospital. Download the app, browse a map for live streaming video and click on a user to get in on the action.

Once you’ve done that, check out these ideas on how to use Periscope at your hospital:

  • Interviews: Followers love to see other people and hear their perspectives. Use your hospital’s Periscope account to broadcast interviews with a doctor who is pioneering a breakthrough procedure, a nurse who has gone above and beyond or a patient who had a great experience at your facility.
  • Facility tours: Use Periscope to provide followers with a “sneak peek” of facility upgrades you’ve been making, a new wing slated to open next month or your redecorated pediatric floor featuring bright, cheery colors. Provide a brief tour of your labor and delivery area to share with OBs whose patients will be delivering at your hospital.
  • Events: Shoot video of events at your hospital, so that those who can’t be there in person can still share in the fun. Fundraisers, groundbreakings and award ceremonies are great, celebratory occasions to include videos of on your Periscope account.

On Periscope, you don’t have to worry about getting these videos professionally edited. People want “raw,” real footage that provides an insider look into the everyday workings of your facility, your staff and your patients. Viewers want to see your hospital through Periscope, just as they would see it as they walk through your hallways.

Originally appeared on WriterGirl & Associates.

Why Your Hospital Needs a Patient Portal

patient-portal

One of the biggest trends in hospital marketing today is creating patient portals. These portals provide a variety of benefits and services to your staff and patients, in a digital format that’s easy for your patients to use.

Recently, we created more than 25 pages of content to update Indiana University Health’s patient portal. This portal allows patients to view lab results, pay bills and schedule appointments. But we know that not every patient is tech-savvy, so when we wrote the content, we wrote it like we were sitting down with the patient and showing him or her how to use it.

Of course, a patient portal is only useful if patients are actually using it. To help IU Health get patients logged into the portal, we created mini help manuals. For example, the first one we wrote is, “Access Your Account.” This manual shows patients how to log in and get started with the basics of the portal. Such step-by-step tutorials help to alleviate any fears and reduce intimidation about using an online portal.

IU Health’s patient portal is part of their overall EMR (Electronic Medical Record) strategy. With the new healthcare law, hospitals receive compensation when they complete EMRs, and the portal allows patients quick and easy access to their PHR (Personal Health Record). It’s a win-win for everyone. Another benefit of having a patient portal is IU Health can expect to see reduced call volume for their staff, since patients can use the portal to conveniently set appointments or request prescription refills, 24/7.

Need more help convincing your C-suite into updating your patient portal? Here are a few tips.

Originally published by WriterGirl & Associates.

5 Ways Your Physicians Can Help Build Your Brand Identity

doctors

As a marketer, you already know how important your hospital’s brand identity is. But do your physicians understand how much they can help build your brand?

Here are a few ways to engage your physicians to help build your brand identity:

Treat them like brand ambassadors: If you’re not already, now is the time to make a conscious effort to engage your physicians in the brand identity (and overall marketing) efforts. Remind them how important they are in the marketing process. Physicians can help your hospital differentiate itself with a compelling, consistent and comprehensive brand identity that helps it stand out from the other healthcare organizations in your area fighting to capture consumer attention. Getting buy-in for your hospital’s latest marketing campaign from your physicians and other staff may seem fairly basic, but it’s something that’s too often overlooked. Because they’re on the front lines every day with direct patient contact, physicians are well-positioned to become your top brand ambassadors.

Show them the numbers: Because physicians are fundamentally scientists, they react well to seeing statistics and other numbers, in plain black and white. Show them how your hospital’s recent social media efforts have driven traffic to your website’s “Contact Us” page, for example.

Be specific: Physicians are extremely busy people with limited attention spans for action items outside their normal day-to-day schedules. Be sure to assign them clear tasks with established deadlines. Most physicians are happy to provide points of differentiation for their service line,  but need clear direction on such tasks with a set due date.

Communicate industry insights: Not only should you continually educate your physicians on the latest happenings on your internal marketing campaigns, you should also keep them in-the-know on what’s going on in the wider healthcare marketing industry. Trends like social media marketing or physician blogging may seem like old news to you, but not to your physicians.

Find a common goal: Physicians close the sales loop for your hospital — determining whether or not that patient will continue doing business with your hospital, or even refer others there. Remind your physicians that promoting a positive, consistent brand identity is, in the end, about boosting your bottom line.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Contract Writing Team

writing-team

Let’s say you’ve made the decision to engage the time and talents of a contract writing team to beef up the content of your website. Now, what? To be sure you maximize your contract resources, keep these tips in mind:

Firm up your site map now. We can’t stress how important it is for you to engage your service line leaders, marketing team and IT support in order to create a highly detailed site map before the writing team comes along. An effective site map should include a listing of all pages, subpages and specific content that should be included on each page. If you don’t have the site map ready for your writers, you run the risk of the writers themselves burning a ton of hours fleshing out the site map — and their time is much better spent on writing.

Gather SME information. Communicate with your subject matter experts (SMEs) in advance to let them know the outside writing team will be contacting them. SMEs are usually busy doctors who don’t have a lot of time to sift through their email and it’s easy to ignore a message from an unfamiliar email address. If you can walk down the hall and chat with Dr. Smith about being a SME for your upcoming writing project or send an introductory email to introduce the writer, it can help keep things moving.

Settle on your brand voice and editorial style. Try to come to an internal agreement on your organization’s brand voice, as well as the editorial style and formatting you would like the writing team to use. Is it “healthcare” or “health care”? It’s up to you.

Be realistic about your internal team. Sure, you probably have a super internal marketing team and service line leaders that would love to help out on the writing that needs done, but you’ve hired a contract writing team for good reason: there simply aren’t enough hours in the day! At the same time, make sure the appropriate internal folks budget several hours each week to tackle edits, provide feedback and answer questions for the contract writers. If not, you run the risk of your writing project getting delaying because the writers are waiting for answers or edits that are impeding them from moving forward on the project.

Review sample pages. Especially when the writing team begins work on a new service line or when a new writer is brought onto the team, we recommend working with the team to review a couple sample pages to make sure everyone is — ahem — on the same page before charging ahead. There will likely be several rounds of reviews between the writing team’s own editor, your marketing department and SMEs, so make sure the content is on track before asking for too many hours out of everyone’s busy schedules.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.

How Helpful is Your Hospital’s Website?

hospital-website

Is your hospital website designed for the patient? If it’s not, they’ll be unhappy.

Need proof? Kentico Software recently released a survey that showed 71 percent of people said their healthcare providers’ website could be more helpful.

The survey also uncovered a list of the top “wish list” items that patients want. Take a look at the top three items on the wish list, along with ideas on how WriterGirl is helping our clients make their websites more helpful.

  • Making “Contact Us” easier. The contact page — with its prominent location in the top site navigation — provides multiple options for contacting Houston Methodist. Patients can use an online form to schedule appointments or call to make an appointment using a local, toll-free or international-friendly phone number. The Texas hospital also provides clear contact information for billing questions and career opportunities.
  • Ease of finding information and getting questions answered. El Camino Hospital’s new website features simple navigation that connects users with answers to their healthcare questions. The website homepage even features estimated ER wait times. This newly redesigned website provides a lot of relevant information, all organized in a structure that makes sense to patients – not just the hospital personnel!
  • Healthcare professional biographies. We worked with Washington, D.C.-based MedStar Health to develop personalized provider biographies for their website. In most cases, we were able to interview the providers to ask for details about their education, experience, clinical expertise and even their personal life. Including provider biographies on a healthcare website is a great way for patients to personally connect with their physician, nurse or midwife.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.

El Camino Hospital Debuts Dazzling New Website

el-camino

Want to see an example of a hospital website that puts the patient first?

Take a look at what’s going on at the Silicon-Valley based El Camino Hospital.

True, we’re a bit biased (we helped write 400+ pages of content and still have more to go), but we think you’ll love how it’s easy-to-use, informative and visually appealing — all at the same time.

Here’s what makes it pop:

  • Responsive design. Catering to a patient population that is tech-savvy and likely to access the site from a smartphone or tablet, the website is fully responsive and adaptive when viewed on any device. And of course, the content is, too.
  • ER wait times on homepage. While this may seem like a small detail, including ER wait times front and center on the homepage provides patients with useful information that can help them avoid surprises when they show up for emergency services at the hospital.
  • Simple, streamlined navigation. Designed with patient needs and questions in mind, all major site branches are easily accessible from the landing page. That means patients spend less time hunting around for information they need.

Ready to redesign your website? Contact us today.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.

3 Innovative Instagram Posts from Hospitals

instagram

Here’s a stat to think about: There’s more than 300 million monthly active users on Instagram.

Or to put it another way: More people are using Instagram than Twitter.

We love seeing hospitals staying active on this social media platform. Here are a few ideas to inspire your account:

  • Houston Methodist (@housetonmethodist) “We Noticed You” highlights an exceptional staff member with a photo and quote from a patient showing how great they are. What a nice way to honor staff members who’ve gone above and beyond, as well as to show the community how they’re an outstanding healthcare organization.
  • Baptist Health of Florida (@baptisthealthsf) Family Fit Fest — an ongoing health and fitness initiative that Baptist Health sponsors — includes a weekly healthy eating challenge. For this, an Instagram post contains a collage of three healthy ingredients. It challenges families to create a meal using these ingredients and then, share their photos of the creative, healthy meal.
  • Nebraska Medical Center (@nebraskamed)  Nebraska Medical uses their Instagram as a major component in their fundraising campaigns. They share patient stories to inspire donations and make celebratory posts when certain fundraising milestones are met.

If your healthcare system isn’t on Instagram yet, what are you waiting on? We’d love to see the ingenious ways you can make use of this powerful, image-based social media platform.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.

3 Hospitals that Virtually Connect Patients with Loved Ones

vintage-card

We’ve all been there — a loved one is currently in the hospital, but work, school, childcare or other obligations prevent us from visiting that person. How do we show that we’re thinking about them, even when we’re unable to visit? Our three clients have found a creative solution to that dilemma:

  • Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health – As a service available for any current inpatient at Riley Hospital, a loved one can complete a simple online form and an eCard greeting will be sent to the patient. The eCard service is offered during weekdays.
  • Baptist Health of Kentucky – Send any patient who is currently in the Emergency Room or receiving outpatient surgery or diagnostic testing an eCard, which will be delivered by a volunteer within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.
  • Broward Health of Florida – Choose a personalized image and send an eCard to anyone currently in a Broward Health facility.

Best of all, eCard services are free to the patient’s friends and family, as they are delivered by volunteers at most healthcare facilities. What a great way to show someone you care and are thinking about them, when you aren’t actually able to visit the hospital.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.

Patient Portal: If You Build It, Patients Will Come

man-on-laptop

Online patient portals are all the buzz these days — and for good reason. They can provide a variety of benefits and services to your staff and your patients, in a digital format that’s familiar to more and more patient demographics. And what’s even better, patients are interested in using online patient portals:

Benefits of Patient Portals

Need to convince your C-suite into a letting you build a patient portal? Here are some of the benefits to tout:

  • Communicate more effectively: Both doctors and patients can see all history and information at a single glance, allowing them to quickly spot trends and pinpoint problems.
  • Reduce phone call volume: Patients can book appointments on the portal, freeing up office staff to attend to patients who are in the office for their appointments.
  • Request prescription refills: The ability to refill prescriptions online can also reduce in-office patient wait time since prescriptions can be refilled outside of the office visit.
  • Share records with specialists: Portals provide the physician with the ability to securely and easily share complete or selected medical records with a specialist who needs to collaborate in the patient’s care.

Attracting Users to Your Portal

At the same time, simply establishing a patient portal at your facility isn’t enough to drive real, sustainable engagement of your patients and providers.

Ensure that you’ve developed (and received buy-in) on a plan of spreading the word about your portal to patients, physicians, nurses and staff members. A widespread marketing campaign can help everyone understand the benefits of the portal.

In addition, speak with the representative from your portal software provider for tips on the best ways that various members of your staff can most effectively and appropriately share information about the features and benefits of your portal. You’ll want to make sure you spread the gospel of your online portal to patients of all ages and demographics.

Originally published on WriterGirl & Associates blog.